Using pans

In my Barcelona goodie bag of sketchbooks and other gifts from symposium sponsors I found a little kit of Van Gogh watercolour pans. The box contains a tiny travel brush and twelve colours (a warm and cool version of each of the primaries, a warm and a cool green, yellow ochre and burnt sienna, plus Payne’s grey and Chinese white.) I am used to squeezing out fresh tube colours into my palette but decided to give these a try on my last day in Tossa de Mar. My criticism of pans is often because I see people using colours that look like they’ve been left out in the desert sun for weeks — dried up, cracked, and needing gallons of water to reconstitute. But these little paints were soft and fresh and the colour was fully saturated with the addition of not too much water. The Van Gogh pigments aren’t exactly what I am used to but I enjoyed the unpredictability of the results.

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19 Comments on “Using pans”

  1. Sue says:

    Thanks for the information on the pans!

  2. sefeniak says:

    Great work! And thanks for sharing.

  3. Shari, I just used them last night as was pleasantly surprised at the colors I got out of them. Very rich!

  4. Ross says:

    Looks like a pretty good result… for someone who has disparaged pans in every second post for the past almost two years. : )

  5. Angie Macleod says:

    I love my W/N pans! I had them out on the dock the other day! it makes me think about making colours rather than just out of the tube colours! Your little rendering is quite lovely!

  6. That little bit of extra bleed on the water to the left is perfect. And yeah; I’ve got a whole box of pan watercolors from decades ago, and every now and then (blue moon frequency!), I’ll pull a few of them out, water them up, and get bold and strong colors.

  7. rene fijten says:

    I have used the van Gogh set for years, works fine for sketching up to A4, nice vivid colours. For larger and more subtle watercolours, especially when working wet-in-wet I use other brands like Rembrandt, I find the van Gogh colours a little harsh and “artificial”. Will depend on the paper of course.

  8. Rita says:

    Next time you should try Winsor & Newtons Artists’ pans. I love them.
    Thanks for sharing your paintings. You are very talented. I live in Québec City, so may be we will meet each other one day.

    • I will try them Rita. I would probably like the colours better than these.
      If you are ever in Montreal at the end of the month feel free to join our sketch outing with Urban Sketchers Montreal. We love visitors!


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