November Challenge: Make Time To Paint

November Challenge: Make Time To Paint

This month's challenge is to make time to paint so we can improve our craft.  Here are some resources to help you along the way.
October 31, 2022 — KATHERINE TALCOTT
How Water Affects your Watercolor Painting

How Water Affects your Watercolor Painting

In order to take your painting to the next level, you’re going to need to learn how water affects your watercolor painting.

As a watercolor artist or wannabe, you're in the unique position of trying to manage water. Or if you’re a little on the controlling side, like this gal, you may be trying to let the water take control. Either way, a good watercolor artist knows how water affects paint, and what you can do to either help or hinder the way of the water.


How Water will Affect your Watercolor Painting

While watercoloring, water has a unique juxtapositional role to play. It both causes problems and creates solutions. Crazy, right!

Once you learn how to control the water while painting, you’ll also be able to unleash its many powers.

Let's discuss them, shall we!?!

Paint Palette with paint puddle

Creating Paint Puddles

In your mixing area on your palette you'll create paint puddles, or a mixture of paint and water. When you're covering large areas, make sure you have a large paint puddle ready. Control the saturation of your paint puddle by adding more paint (darker) or more water (lighter).

Depending on the size of your paper and the amount of space you’re covering, your water puddle may be pretty large, or you may want to take it to a deeper palate or you can use my personal faves a soy sauce dish or egg holder. Checkout my egg holder palate in the photo!


The Right Consistency

When mixing up your paint puddles, you're going to want a nice smooth consistency. Think latte, rather than water or a milkshake. I love me a milkshake, and they might bring all the boys to the yard, but they ain’t gonna make for a great painting, so mix your paint puddles thoroughly, and save the ice cream for after then painting is done!


Dirty Water vs. Clean Water

If your water starts to get too muddy or cloudy, it is time to change your water! 

It is helpful to have two water cups: one for warm colors (reds, oranges, yellows) and one for cool colors (blues, purples, greens). 

Now, I have to be honest. I often get lazy and just use whatever ol’ water is lying around, so it’s up to you on this one – just know that the color of your water can affect your colors! If you want an earthier color, the muddier the water the better ;)

Identifying Wet and Dry Paint

If the paper seems shiny, it is not dry. You can also hover your finger over the page - if it feels cool, like a tiny cool breath, it is still wet.



Common Fixes for Water-y Watercolor Issues

Watercoloring comes with quite a few opes, ahhhs, and oopsie daisies, but it is a remarkably forgiving medium. Use some of these tips to solve these common watercolor woes.

Oops! The Brush is too Dry

Dry brush with pink paint

Sometimes the problem isn’t the water – it’s with the brush!  It may not be absorbent enough.

If your brush is too dry, you need to load your brush up more.

If it keeps happening, you may need a bigger paint puddle, a larger brush to cover a big area, or your brush may not have the capacity for a large amount of water and you'll need a different brush. Check out this video where I'm geeking out over all of my favorite brushes!


Oops! The Paint is too Wet

red paint with too much water pooling on one side

If your paint is too wet on the page, this can make the pigment slosh around more than you might want and make the watercolor very uncontrollable. 

Don’t worry! All is not lost. You can soak up some of the water with a dry paint brush or a corner of a paper towel.

Harsh Lines

red paint with a harsh dry line

I love myself a little easy fix, and this is a good one!

When part of your painting dries unevenly, it can create a harsh line. You can soften this by going over it gently with a damp brush. It's kind of like ironing out the wrinkles!

Oops! I Made a Mistake

Paint bing removed from an orange square using various techniques

Speaking of fixes –

If you make a mistake and the paper is still wet, you can use your brush or a paper towel to gently lift the paint. 

If the paint has already dried, you can use a little water and a stiff brush, a colorless blender, a "fix it" brush (Princeton Brushes has one), or even a magic eraser!

Brush and Water Control

When you first start out, watercoloring can make you feel a bit like a messy baker. Try as you might, you always end up with a little too much of this or over mixing that – and it often takes a lot of practice before you get the hang of whatever it is you’re trying to make.

Working on your brush and water control are exactly the same.

It’s going to take some time to make your splatters look unplanned, your washes to look even, and your bleeds to heed to your bidding.

Watercoloring is one of those mediums that you definitely have to ‘get a feel for.’

Practice noticing what it feels like to pick up paint with your brush. If it feels like too much, try tapping the paper towel with the tip of your brush. If it feels like your brush is too dry, make a larger paint puddle.

Keep practicing the same movement or stroke over and over until you gain some consistency in both the depth of color and the shape of the movement.

Watercolor is filled with unexpected delights, so don’t fret or freak out if the water doesn’t behave exactly how you want – remember, it may be an oops, but it’s a beautiful oops!

Happy Painting!

June 12, 2022 — KATE TALCOTT
Budget Friendly Watercolor Supplies for Beginners

Budget Friendly Watercolor Supplies for Beginners

If you are exploring watercolor, but you don’t want to invest too much right away, then these budget friendly watercolor supplies for beginners are where it’s at!!!

My friend, I am freaking out over here because so much goodness can totally come from affordable supplies, and I cannot wait to show them to you!

I have spent hours unwrapping, testing, and swatching, and I think I have it narrowed down to my absolute faves!

Remember, if you're absolutely LOVING watercolor and think you want to take this relationship to the next step, you’ll want to head on over to my Guide to My Essential Watercolor Supplies, or you can download my supply list below! 

First up, let’s talk paints!!

The Best Affordable Watercolor Paints for Beginners

After trying oodles of different paint sets with mixed results, I am laying down my official watercolor paint recommendation that is perfect for you beginners and pros who are looking for a great bang for your buck!

Norberg & Linden * Watercolor Paint Set- Pack of 36 colors plus some paper!

I actually bought this set on a whim for my daughter, and I am Suuuuu-per pleased with it!!!

I can honestly say that it is a great paint set for both grownups and toddlers alike!

I love love LOVE all the fun, vibrant colors, and it performs well with watercolor. Although it is not as lightfast (basically this means it will fade over time) as a professional-grade set, it was definitely a delightful painting experience! 

Note: This set comes with a little pad of paper and some brushes, but the brushes are a joke, so you’ll definitely want to pick up some better brushes. (Don’t worry – my suggestions for that are below!)

Before we move on, I also have a runner-up in this category.

I have to take a moment to give a little shoutout to the the Winsor and Newton Cotman Watercolor Paints for folks wanting to dig more into color mixing.  

I personally use Winsor and Newton professional tube paint, so this was the affordable option that is closest to the paints that I use, and, my friends, it did not disappoint!

This kit has all the colors you need to mix any color you want, and it performs very similarly to the professional kits.

The biggest difference between this watercolor paint and the professional-grade paints is in the light fastness (how it ages exposed to sunlight without fading) and the depth of color – but it is still a great little kit to get started.

It also comes in a cute little case that would be perfect for travel – just saying!


Kate huggging a pad of Arches Watercolor Paper


The Best Affordable Watercolor Paper for Beginners

When it comes to watercolor, nothing is more important than paper!!

So – before we jump into the affordable options, I want to talk about my go-to boo, Arches 140lb cold-press paper.

Arches Cold Press 140 lb is my choice for every-day watercolor painting, and although it doesn’t fall under the ‘affordable’ category, I highly recommend it if you're starting to get serious about watercolor!

Now, on to my budget-friendly pick – drum roll please!

Artisto Watercolor Pads (9x12”, 2 pads of 30)!!

This Artisto watercolor paper had just the right amount of toothiness, and it is sturdy! It doesn’t buckle too much, and that is where a lot of water on the paper is going to hold.

I stumbled upon this paper after I got it for my daughter a while back, and I LOOOOOVE it! It is a great option for beginners or for looking for a good practice paper!

It isn't Arches...but it's got something going on!


The Best Affordable Watercolor Brushes for Beginners

I’ve got to get real honest here – brushes that come with affordable sets are all sacks of garbage! 

Yep, I said it and I meant it.

Many of them didn’t give me any precision, and they were really hard to get any water control with.

After filling pages and pages of pages testing out different brushes from all of the affordable watercolor sets I purchased, I had to hand them over to the toddler, and go with a mixed set from a tried and true company that knows what it’s doing!

Princeton Real Values Series Brushes

In complete transparency, I am obsessed with Princeton Brushes, and when I started playing around with their Real Values Set, I was not disappointed!

This Princeton Real Values Set comes with all of the brushes that you need to get started!

So, there you have it –

My full list of budget-friendly watercolor supplies for beginners and budget conscious pros alike. To save you some time, here is the full list one last time.




I know that watercolor prices can sometimes be discouraging, so I hope this helps y’all find some supplies, so you can feel good about getting started and making some art!

Happy Painting!

June 12, 2022 — KATE TALCOTT
5 Reasons Why I Fell In Love with Greeting Cards

5 Reasons Why I Fell In Love with Greeting Cards

I have a confession to make...

I own a stationery shop and I cannot remember the last time I sent out a card "just because".  

There are a myriad of excuses I could make: 

  • I don't have time
  • I'm too busy making cards for other people to send
  • I had a new baby, I'm too tired
  • Nobody's had a birthday recently
  • I can't find my pen
  • People will get it, we're all busy
  • I have nothing interesting to say

The list goes on.  While this is a classic example of "the cobbler's children have no shoes" I realized it was time to get out of my funk and reignite the fire for my love of greeting cards.


hand addressed letter with gelly roll pens


"But how do we do this?!?!" , you ask!

Let me tell you! Just like when you're looking at your husband's stinky socks on the floor for the 1000th time (hypothetically, strictly as an example, babe), it helps to remember about that first date, that first kiss, and all the reasons why you fell in love with your partner to begin with.  So is true about the things we're passionate about.

It is all too easy to get swept up in the romance of that new hobby.  Manically pinning new ideas, BUYING THE SUPPLIES, actually making something that didn't look like it came out of a bog!  But as we do the hobby more, it follows that we may get tired of that hobby, and the sparkle wears off. 

So has been true about my passion for greeting cards.  The fire has dimmed and I need find a way to envelope myself in the warm fuzzies of letter writing that led me to starting my business! (See what I did there...)

So I lit a candle, poured a glass of wine, slipped into my softest jammies and pondered.  What is it that drew me to greeting cards?

Well I'm gonna cut to the chase:   


Five Reasons I fell in Love with Greeting Cards


Kate holds multiple greeting cards up with a big smile!


1. They are so dang personal.  There is nothing more special than writing a letter that is specifically for its intended recipient.  It is a way to say, I get you, I see you, I care about you.  I am a total people person who feeds off human connection like a zombie needs brains. It is such a simple, yet deeply satisfying way to connect with someone and show you care at a deeper level.

2. They are tangible.  While encouraging texts are great, "hey [fire emoji] you look good today" - you'd rarely have the occasion to just stumble upon it and remember how much that message made you feel ready to seize the day! With cards, however, you might find one under a pile of papers on your desk, in a memory box, under the couch, or even in your sock drawer and be instantly tickled by the note inside.  You might have even forgotten that the card existed at all, but here is living proof! 

3. It captures a moment in time.  Nothing gives me greater joy than reading back through the letters that I sent my parents while I was away at sleep away camp.  Literally every day I would write them a letter and berate them for not writing enough, not sending water balloons and lip gloss, pelting them with guilt for their "halfhearted penmanship skills".  Woo baby did I lay it on thick.  While this isn't a side of myself that I necessarily admire, it does crack me up to see how much the apple doesn't fall far from the tree... (oops!)  I don't remember writing those letters, but here they are, my bubbly handwriting with 100 interchanging gelly roll pens that only a pre-teen girl can achieve, for me to giggle at always.

4. HAPPY MAIL! Is there any mail that is as exciting as a hand written card?!?!? NO! Amidst catalogs, coupons, bills, and tax documents, the sweet curlings of a handwritten address on a bespoke envelope with a perfectly paired stamp brings delight that is unparalleled.  Bonus points for a colorful envelope! I feel like sending out mail is a way to manifest the happiness that you hope to receive.

5. The rush of the search! Perhaps my absolute favorite part of letter writing is finding the MOST perfect card for your special person. That moment when casual browsing becomes an absolute compulsion to purchase and write a card immediately to let that person know you're thinking about them.


Kate's little gal delivers her a card while she hams it up for the camera



This rush, this twinkle that radiates down to your soul is a feeling like no other.

This, above all the other reasons listed above is what drove me to creating a stationery shop with cards to help you celebrate your special people.  My greatest. hope is that you'll see a card there and think to yourself, "holy cannoli if that card ain't the exact sentiment I feel for [insert special person here], I don't know what is!"

Even just writing this is giving me all the warm fuzzy feelings.  My hands are itching to rifle through my card drawer and find some kismet cards to send out the door!  I'm making a promise to myself to not let life get in the way of one of my life long passions of fostering purposeful human connection. 


Will you join me? 


Need some inspiration?! Check out our card selection to see if you can find one that is perfect for your favorite human! 



April 04, 2022 — KATE TALCOTT
Brushes Roundup!

Brushes Roundup!

One of the questions I get asked most often is "what brush is that?!?!?!" So here is a roundup of my most often used watercolor brushes! 




If you find this video helpful, I would love it if you would like and subscribe to my YouTube channel
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March 14, 2022 — KATE TALCOTT
Watercolor Painting On the Go

Watercolor Painting On the Go

Have you ever been on vacation and seen something so beautiful that you felt like you HAD to capture it in watercolor? Instead of snapping it with a photo to paint later, watercolor is actually one of the easiest painting mediums to travel with.  


The watercolor supplies are light, they aren't messy, and all the paint needs to activate is water .

Pack a to-go kit with me:



Here are the supplies I like to bring with me when we go on vacation! They are all linked using my affiliate links, but I wouldn't link something that I didn't truly love.


Supplies included are:

Watercolor Sketch Book: Hahnemühle Watercolor Book 8.5"x11"

Paints:  Essee Co Watercolor Paints 

Brushes: Princeton Select Round Brushes


Want more watercolor tips and tricks and my full supply list?!? Join my newsletter:


March 14, 2022 — KATE TALCOTT
Kate Talcott holding floral cards

5 Tips to Squash Limiting Beliefs and Get Things Done!

You've got big dreams that light you afire.  You think about them constantly.   You imagine what your life would be like if only you could (fill in your dream here).

But when it gets down to actually making it happen, you feel stuck.  Whether it's a limiting belief (I could never figure out how to do that), you don't know how to get started, you're worried that it won't be perfect, or something else entirely - something is in your way.


Kate looking perplexed at a to-do list


"I don't have time for that" 

"I'll wait until I feel ready" 

"I'll never be that good"

"What if I can't do it"

"What if I fail" 

"I wouldn't even know where to begin"

"I don't know how to do that"


Do any of these sound familiar? I know I've definitely said all of these things to myself at one time or another. Of course sometimes that big dream has barriers that are out of your control--like, I want to win a million dollars in the lotto, or If only I could go on a shopping spree at Michael's so I could have all the supplies I want. but more often than not,  that barrier is something that we create within ourselves.  

We need to get our of our own way so that we can actually DO THE THING! 


STEP 1: Find the dream!

So the first step is to think about that dream.  Imagine it - what does it feel like? What does it look like?  It might help to write about it in a journal.  Try writing it in present tense, as if you have already achieved that dream. 

Instead of saying "one day I want to be in an art gallery", say "My art is in a gallery and as I walk into the crisp white walled exhibit, I see my art, a splash of color across the walls.  I am wearing a snazzy sparkly dress and I notice all the people looking at my work!  As I sip champagne at the gallery opening, I overhear someone say how it reminds them of their childhood!  I am confident and passionate about each piece!" (Putting on my English teacher hat) Use descriptive words! 


STEP 2: Uncover your limiting beliefs:

Now that you have your dream in mind, make a list of everything that worries you or is holding you back.  For example, "How do I get my art noticed? Will I ever be able to create something good enough? How will I be able to do that while working a full time job?" etc.  


STEP 3: Kick those limiting beliefs to the curb!  

Now that you've figured out what you want and what is holding you back, it's time to work through it and get you on the path to making those dreams happen.  Here are 5 strategies I've used to help get me past my sticking points! 


Kate putting her hand out saying "no" to limiting beliefs
 (me saying "NO, GET OUTTA HERE" to the limiting beliefs) 

5 Strategies to Vanquish Limiting Beliefs

Journal About it!

 Sometimes just writing the words down helps me find clarity about how I'm really feeling.  It allows me to document and reflect on the decision I'm trying to make.  Often, while journaling, I find that I answer my own questions.  Look back at the worries from Step 2 and use that as your journal prompt.  Think about where that belief came from, why does it make you nervous, brainstorm what you would need to work past it.  Don't sensor yourself, just write.  You might be surprised where it takes you.  Often when starting a new project, even if I'm not conflicted, I use this strategy to help focus my direction.

Make a Pro Con List

Just seeing two columns with a concrete data point (aka 8 pros and 3 cons) can help be a quick way to remind yourself that this is worth pursuing.  Sometimes those cons can seem overwhelming, but writing it out in a list gives you an idea of the big pieces you'll need to tackle and a reminder of all the great things that come along with it to make this journey worth it!

To Do List

When getting started, sometimes taking that first step can be the hardest.  At the beginning of a huge project, I like to break it down into tiny steps so that it doesn't feel overwhelming.  Often once I get through that first big step, if is easier to gain momentum and energy for what's to come.  It also helps you from hemming and hawing, since you know exactly what is next on the list. (Need a cute notepad for making a list?!?! Check out the notepads in our shop!) 

Accountability Buddy

When doing something big, it can often be hard to hold ourselves accountable.  It can also feel somewhat lonely.  I will often tell a buddy, or even proclaim it on the internet, so that I feel more motivation to get it done.  It can help if your buddy is doing something similar.  If you're wanting to tackle a new style of painting, it could help if your buddy is also interested in art.  If you're wanting to make your art into a business, finding someone who does something similar would be great too.  Don't have a buddy yet? Go find one! Join a local painting class, strike up a conversation with someone on Instagram who is "totally your vibe" or heck, DM me on Instagram and I'll cheer you on! I am basically a professional (verbal) cheerleader.  Please don't ask for stunts though, I am woefully uncoordinated!

Make the Time

One of the biggest barriers I hear from folks is that they don't have the time.  In this busy world, there is never enough time.  As a mom of two, running a business, and ideally having a vague sense of a social life, I often feel like the commodity that I need the most is time.  However, I am going to tell you what I learned from a very wise professor I had in my teaching program.  

She said that the excuse of "I don't have enough time" is a copout.  We all have the same amount of time.  What we need to say instead is "that is not a priority for me".  If it is something important, we will prioritize it.  Do we have time to get gas or do grocery shopping, not really, but we make time because we have to do it.  What if we also MADE TIME for our dreams! Your dreams are precious and worth prioritizing! Even if it's just twenty minutes a day, take a moment to carve out some dedicated time to focus on your dream.  It might take a while if you have a lot of other responsibilities to juggle, but at least you have those few moments every day or even every week to JUST GET STARTED. 


Kate blowing confetti into the air wearing a party hat


YOU CAN DO THIS! Follow those dreams! I'd love to hear about your big dreams over on Instagram! You can also join my (mostly) weekly newsletter for all things creative! Just fill out the form below! 


March 07, 2022 — KATHERINE TALCOTT
The Importance of Watercolor Paper

The Importance of Watercolor Paper

One thing I love about watercolor is that it is an art form that is super accessible.  There are lots of cheap palettes and it is super easy to clean up and store! Even my toddler can get her own paints out and paint all by herself.  All you need is water, paint, paper, and a brush!  


Once you start diving into watercolor a bit deeper, you're going to find that the quality of supplies you use can actually make a huge difference.While quality paints and brushes are great, I would argue that the biggest X factor is the paper.

When painting with watercolor, the quality of paper is absolutely crucial.  Watercolor needs a special type of paper that is both absorbent but at the same time not TOO absorbent.  The mark of a good watercolor paper is that it keeps the shape of the water you put on the page and dries slow enough that you can manipulate the paint before it sets. 


There are tiny ridges called "tooth" on the surface that help grip the water and keep it in place.  There are two types of paper that are most often used.  Cold pressed watercolor paper and hot pressed.  Hot pressed is smooth (less toothy) and dries faster.  Cold pressed has a deeper tooth and allows you to manipulate the water and paint a little longer.  I work mostly with cold pressed watercolor paper.  

I will use hot press for watercolor lettering because the smoother paper makes it easier for the brush to glide along the page, but that's pretty much it.  I know people who do fine detail work also often prefer hot press, but NOT ME! 

There is also rough watercolor paper which has a really toothy toothiness! I haven't worked with this hardly at all, so I'll leave the explaining to someone else for that one.


Watercolor paper with detailed dahlia


Watercolor is also distinguished by its weight.  The weight speaks to the pounds per ream of paper, but in general, the larger the number, the sturdier it is going to be.  Just like a 90 lb person is going to be easier to knock over than a 190 lb person (Please do not try to knock over anyone! This is a peaceful space!) 

I use 140 lb cold pressed paper for things I'm going to scan.  I prefer 300 lb cold pressed paper for custom portraits.  The sturdier the paper (aka the higher # lb), the less buckling you’ll have.  Have you ever accidentally dropped your book in the bath and all the pages start to wrinkle? (No?!?! JUST ME?!?!) Well imagine if that buckling happened to your beautiful watercolor painting you just made.  That is why you want a sturdy paper.  

There are ways to treat your paper so it doesn't buckle, like pre-wetting it but I'll level with you... I don't do this because I'm always too impatient to start painting.  I usually use a watercolor block, which has glue around the edges to keep it from warping.  You can also tape the edges down with painter's tape.  If it still buckles using a block or tape, you can always flatten out your painting after you are done, but that is a blog post for another day! 

watercolor block with line drawing and art supplies


Also...ever wonder how some paintings have those fancy raw edges that look like perfectly torn paper? Well that is called a deckled edge and there are rulers to help achieve that look.


I could seriously talk about paper all day long, so let me know if you want to learn more! I'd be happy to do a deeper dive! In the meantime if you want to see what paper I use, go ahead and fill out the form below and it'll get sent straight to your email! 


Happy Painting! 

November 23, 2021 — KATE TALCOTT
ART NAPS: an origin story

ART NAPS: an origin story

What can I get done in 15 minutes?!?!

This is a question that many new parents ask themselves.  When babies are little, naps can be unpredictable and few and far between.  We just had our second baby and it reminded me of life with my firstborn, when I first started painting.


In the early days of motherhood, with my first child back in 2019, I was struggling to find a sense of self.  I was also struggling with postpartum anxiety, but I didn't know that yet. I had quit my job as a teacher to focus on being a mom (what I had thought I always wanted to do full time) but was feeling very burnt out.  I needed something to call my own, something to give me peace, and something to clam my racing mind. 

I am a chronic crafter and I love doing crafty things so I figured some sort of creative outlet would be good.  I tried macrame, but it was hard to leave a project mid knot to go pick up a crying baby.  I tried sewing a quilt but same issue--I couldn't figure out how to put it down quickly.  Finally I remembered that I had taken a watercolor course the year before so I got paints out and went wild!

Kate painting flowers

Watercolor, in my opinion, is the perfect medium for someone with an unpredictable amount of time to work.  It doesn't dry out -- just add water and you're ready to paint! It doesn't require a big clean up -- no messy brushes to clean like with acrylic paint.  No toxic fumes -- like oil painting.  No tiny fibers for a baby to inhale like with sewing (is this a real concern?! Was I making this up?!? I remember being really worried about this but I can't remember if it's a thing?!) 

Thus began art naps! When my daughter would nap, I would scurry over to my art room (now her big girl room) and start painting.  Watching the water and paint swirl over the page was so relaxing and meditative.  Accomplishing something, even if it was just a little painting, felt so good! Working on something just for me helped me gain a sense of self. 

As the art naps continued and my daughter's naps (blessedly) became longer and more predictable, my painting improved.  Soon thereafter I realized that I really loved painting and I wasn't too shabby at it, if I do say so myself!  As my confidence and sense of purpose grew, I decided to turn this hobby into a business.  I like to say that napping changed my life! I say it in a tongue in cheek way, but it's really true! 

Now that we are navigating some sort of napping schedule with our second, I'm reminded of how important it is to do something for me while the baby sleeps and I want to encourage new parents out there to do the same! It can be so tempting to do the dishes, clean the house, all the drudgery that HAS to get done, but don't forget that taking care of YOU is just as important as those other things. You cannot be the best parent you can be if you are running on fumes.  If being creative feels like an outlet for you, I encourage you to try watercolor.  If an actual nap is want you need, take that nap! If you need to stretch, take a moment to take care of yourself. 

I'd love to hear what you do during your art naps! Let me know over on Instagram


Are you an artist or dabbler wanting to get into watercolor?!?! Join my newsletter by filling out the form below to get all the tips and tricks! 


November 16, 2021 — KATE TALCOTT
Natural Watercolor Pigments

Natural Watercolor Pigments


Y'all, I am so excited about this  new obsession.  I've been trying out some handmade and natural pigment watercolors and to put it briefly, it has been SOOO FUN! 

To not put it briefly, because you know I am anything but short winded, I wanted to share a bit about what got me on this train and some of my new favorite stores! 

I started my watercolor journey using Winsor & Newton's professional watercolor paint tubes.  I still love these paints, they are my standbys, my golden oldies, my OG babies.  BUT I was curious about trying some colors made from elements of nature! I wanted to see if it would have a different feel to them.

I started with a simple Etsy search and I was greeted with a myriad of options! 


Essee Co. Paint Swatches


The first set I got was from Essee Co and let's just say this was a case of beginner's luck! Their colors are AMAZING, and the customer service is above and beyond.  I couldn't decide which watercolors I wanted so I asked if they could make a set with all of them and they created a listing just for me! I loved the colors so much that I actually ended up buying their "color makers set" where you can mull your own colors from powder, but I am actually using them in their powder form.  They sell tons of gorgeous wells, palettes, and other artist supplies.  I cannot say enough about how obsessed I am with Essee Co! They even sent my daughter some of their beeswax crayons that are oh, so precious! Their sombra color is my absolute favorite.  It is the perfect earthy greeny brown wonderfulness! 

Dreamland Watercolor is another fun brand.  Their IG videos are absolutely drool worthy! Dreamland Watercolor specializes in the most gorgeous metallic colors and my favorite are the color shifting ones.  While this isn't super inline with my style, the quality of the paint pans are wonderful and the colors are just so dang fun! If you're into trippy metallics, this baby is for you! I'll probably use these for fun accents and watercolor lettering projects. Watching the colors shimmer as you put it on the page is absolutely mesmerizing! One pro-tip for all metallic watercolor pans is the longer you let it sit with the water, the more sparkly and vibrant the paint will be.  I like to spray it with a spray bottle then let it sit there for a bit before I get started. Here is a link to me swatching some of their colors.

Art by Waiyi has some lovely colors.  I ended up getting this set and I love how delicate the colors are. They feel very soft and whimsical somehow! I haven't had a chance to paint too much with them yet, but when playing around with them, I loved how smooth the paint went on.


Now here is a fun one! Artsy Oubliette has paints that pack a powerful punch.  I love of bold they are and how they granulate and move across the page.  If you love dark and stormy vibes, this would be a great brand for you.  She also has tons of fun bright colors but they all somehow seem edgy... is that a thing?!?!?! I love how these paints have a lot of grit and personality! 


Colors from Claire Chi Studio


My newest obsession is from Claire Chi Studio! I just got an Ochre set (my favorite color) where she's created a bunch of different hues with an ochre base! I love seeing how my favorite color takes on other forms!  


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Now of course you can do so much with just a yellow, blue, and red but it has been so fun to learn more and play around with all these colors! It has really been inspiring and making me thing about different color palettes and combinations. 

All these paints came in pan form, which is basically a little tin of each color.  It is dry, hardened paint, so you activate it by adding water!  

Some pros of these kinds of paints are that you are supporting small businesses, you get some really unique colors that folks using big box store brands probably don't have, you can mix and match the pans by putting them in a tin and paint on the go! Plus who doesn't love new paint! 

Some cons are that sometimes I like having tubes of wet paint to get a much deeper saturation.  I also like putting my various paints on a palette so I can mix and mingle the paint together without worrying about getting my tin all sloppy.  I think that the more I use these kinds of paints, the more I will adjust to ways of mixing paint without making a huge mess, but in the meantime I'll keep making a beautifully pigmented mess! 

BTW, none of this is sponsored, I'm just a big fan!!!! 

Do you have any favorite handmade watercolor shops?!?! I'd love to hear about them! Find me on IG and share your favorites! If you're a watercolor makers, I'd love to connect too! I'm always looking to try new paints and I'd love to support your business.


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November 02, 2021 — KATE TALCOTT