Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Cheap paint and FAT32

Last week, I finished my little sketchbook with TrainSketches. Of course, I've already started working in a new one straight away. I hope that they are going to develop into a nice little series of sketchbooks, filled with inspiration I can go back to when looking for some ideas for a painting.

I used my good artists quality watercolour paints for colouring my sketches, but while the paper definitely takes the paint a whole lot well better than a Moleskine sketchbook, I had some problems with the paint bleeding through and ruining the sketches on the other pages all over the place. I also thought that my good, expensive paints were just a little bit too good and expensive to use for these little sketches. Cheaper paints would do more than enough here. So I went shopping on Friday, and bought a little box of cheap paints. The whole box cost me less than one single pan of my good watercolours.

The disadvantage of course is that the colour range is somewhat limited. Only 12 colours, as opposed to the the luxury of my total of 55 gorgeous artists watercolours, which include such favourites of mine as Prussian Green, Indigo and Cobalt Turquoise. The colours in my cheap little new set don't even seem to have names at all.

But so far, they seem to be doing what they are supposed to do - adding (much more) vibrant colour to my little sketches without ruining any of the others - rather well. So far, anyway. I've only done one sketch so far, so we'll have to wait and see about the bleeding through issue when I do the next.

And as to the problem of the limited colour range, I bought an individual pan of a differnt brand to try out, a lovely dark turquoise. It seems to be pretty much the same as the paints in the set, and even mixes perfectly well with the them, so I've ordered an additional box, with 24 colours. They're a little bit more expensive, but still a whole lot cheaper than my good ones.

I was planning to spend a great part of Sunday with some 'proper' painting, after what seems an eternity. I soon realised, however, that that was not going to happen. The thing is, I bought a new computer about three or four weeks ago. Now I guess most of you know what a boring, time consuming business it is to copy files from an old computer to a new one. And if you also happen to be a keen photographer on top of everything else, and easily take 300+ photos on a day out, and keep them as both RAW and JPEG files, the former easily reaching file sizes of 20MB and more, just in case you'll ever want to do some more serious editing than with the lower quality JPEG, once you've got Lightroom installed, like in a million years or so. But you never know. Better save(d) than sorry. But it makes for a lot of file copying, and it takes ages.

And if you then switch from an old, slow paintcovered Windows laptop to a shiny, new iMac, things really get complicated. Because on top of all the copying from one machine to the other, there's also the format issue. At least I now got that second backup hard drive I've been wanting to buy for quite some time. So now I've got a 3TB drive, formatted for my new Mac, and my old 2TB drive, formatted for my laptop, which means that, although I can actually access my photos from my Mac, I can't move them or add to them with it. Luckily, I also have a handy little portable 500GB drive, which works like a simple memory stick for all formats. Perfect for copying stuff from one computer to the other. So I thought. Until I discovered that it seemed to be broken, and refused to have anything moved or deleted from it. I tried using my little 32GB stick, but soon realised that that was not going to work at all. Not if I wanted to get my stuff on to my new computer in anything like under 5 years. So I did some googling, and actually managed to reformat my little 500GB drive in a FAT32 format, which, as I learned, means that it works with both Mac and Windows. And it's now working perfectly again, a fact of which I'm rather proud of, to be honest.

So file copying is now my first priority, and I ended up spending the whole of Sunday with two computers on my desk, trying to copy the files in a somewhat more organised and efficient way than what I've been doing in the past 3 weeks (which is a complete mess). And then I'll just have to reformat the old 2TB drive as FAT32, and I'll have two back ups at last. And then I'll be finally back at my easel.

And in the meantime, I'll just continue with my sketches :)


  1. Oh my - What vibrant and gorgeous colours in your sketch! And 12 colours is plenty - So many colours can be made by mixing anyway!
    We are thinking of getting a Mac next. We are used to windows - so I'll be very interested to hear how you get on with your new Mac and the advantages/disadvantages of having one :0)

  2. Is that a Pelikan set? I love mine and use their opaque colors often. They are lightfast and vivid and mix quite well. I think it's vital to take time from your computer file work and do your sketches, and I'm not just saying that because I love them and want to see them. Everyone needs a creative outlet and the slow colorful effect of sketching and painting is very good medicine. I looked at your photography page, galleries and everything made my eyes very happy. The crisp detail and colors of your photographs are amazing. Thanks for sharing your work.

  3. I am sorry that I rarely leave a comment. I get your updates on mail because it helps me keep up with it more easily than if I have to remember to come visit. The downside is that it is easier to read and keep going with life without leaving a comment and I apologize. I enjoy getting your updates and must say that your blog is the one blog that I read all the way through all of the time. I love your art! Thank you for all the inspiration!

  4. Lovely sketch...bright and cheerful! :)

    Have you tried the Moleskine watercolour notebooks? They are quite different to the Moleskine sketchbooks. At any rate, I hope the bleed-through won't be a further issue now with your new set.

    I'm glad you were able to sort out the format problem.

  5. I think most of the watercolours I use are cheap sets. I was given a new set of 'proper' watercolours in a lovely wooden box years ago and have yet to open them as it seems as shame while I've still got some left in my little cheaper sets!! They'll probably be dried out and useless by the time i come to use them. anyway, you've achieved gorgeous vibrant colours with your new set and if they aren't bleeding through that's the main thing.
    i don't envy you having to copy over all your computer stuff. i hate doing things like that - it's so tedious and time consuming. I'm not sure about apple stuff at all. we got our first Ipad recently for face time with my parents now that we've moved away and to be honest that's all I use it for as I find it very user unfriendly - I prefer my android tablet. So, I'm not sure how I would get on with a mac. still I suppose you get used to things eventually!

  6. I have only just finished the changeover of files onto my new computer... except for the ipod palaver... but it has been a good way to clean out and clean up ,my files and pics and things... but it is like the greatest time suck ever... as to the paints... i use cheap Koh-i-noor watercolours in my derwents and they don't bleed through... so hoping your cheapies do the same... xx

  7. I'm always pleasantly surprised by how well inexpensive water colors perform. I have not had the same luck with inexpensive acrylics.