Hi, I have a weighty post today with two videos. Make yourself a hot drink, pull up a chair and let’s chat. You guys know how much I love to watercolour and as it is probably my most favourite colouring medium I enjoy trying out supplies which are new to me. The Prima Watercolor Confections palettes have been around for a while but this is my first time trying them out and I wanted to see how they compare to the watercolours I currently use. I’ve linked all supplies at the end of this post. Compensated affiliate links used.
In part one of this blog post, I’ll review the Prima Watercolor Confections palettes, in particular, the Tropical and Essence palettes. If this isn’t your thing, then scroll down to part two where I have a video using the watercolours to create a floral greeting card using the Beautiful Flowers set from Simon Says Stamp.
Watch below or in HD on YouTube.
Prima Watercolor Confections are described as Artist Quality. On the first inspection, the palettes are attractively packaged with the boxes indicating the 12 colours included. Inside the box, you get the very cute palette. There is a ring on the back of to help steady the palette in your hand if you were using your paints on the go. The palette is also designed with areas for mixing. This is a standard design for this type of metal palette. There are two deep mixing wells in the lid of the palette and a flap that folds out has 4 angled smaller wells giving a total of 6 wells for mixing but you can also use the areas around the smaller wells for mixing too.
There is a swatch card detailing the numbers of the paints in each row. The 12 paints beautifully wrapped in half pans. Each half pan has a paper wrapper with an indication of the colour and also the number and name of the paint printed. The quality of these palettes is great and the price point is not unreasonable for the palette alone. In fact, I’ve heard of people buying the Prima Watercolor Confections just for the palette and filling them with their favourite colours. But let’s not forget that you are getting twelve colours included as well.
Although a swatch card is included in the box, I recommend creating your own on the watercolour card that you usually use. This way you will get a better feel for how the paints will look and behave when you actually come to use them on a project. Before using your paints it is a good idea to wet them, this helps to activate the pigments in the paints and you won’t have to scrub your brush around to get them started. I use one of two ways to wet my paints. I have a small misting bottle filled with water and give the paints a quick squirt, or I use a plastic pipette to add a drop or two of water to each colour.
One of the key features of watercolours is their translucency which allows you to layer one colour over another and see the base colour still shining through the layers on top. Not all watercolours are translucent but it is a feature worth knowing and the best way to test this is to paint over a black line and then when dry see if any of the paint pigment is visible over the top of the line. If a paint is translucent the black line will look as black as normal, but if not then the line will appear murky. I created my watercolour swatch using my favourite Arches Cold Pressed watercolour card, mapped out the palette areas and wrote the name and number of each paint in pencil. I’ve drawn a thick black line across the areas to be swatched using a waterproof marker. I used a Faber Castell Pitt pen with a broad chisel nib.
The paints rewet easily and I have to say the colours are lovely and concentrated. I used a strong concentration of paint at the top of each swatch area over the black line to get the best impression of translucency and then I diluted the concentration as I bought the colour down the swatch. This way you get an idea of what the colour will look like at its most concentrated, mid value and dilute.
Unlike most artist grade watercolours, Prima does not detail the pigments used to create the paints and they don’t use traditional names to indicate what pigment might be included either. The names are rather delicious though and more enticing than the rather dry traditional format. Information on lightfastness is also rather hard to come by. Someone painting a picture to hang in a gallery would not likely use these paints without more information, but for anyone having fun painting a floral greetings card then why not. A sketchbook project or greeting card is not likely to get sufficient exposure to light for this to be of concern.
As I mentioned, the paints rewet easily and were highly pigmented but diluted nicely to give the mid and lighter values. I will say transparency is an issue for some of the colours. For the Ponder and Serenity paints in the Essence palette, you can clearly see the pigment showing over the black line. It is one of my bugbears with watercolours when manufacturers try and make pastel colours. I’m not sure how they do it, I’m guessing they have to use more fillers and such, but in my experience, the result is not favourable. I find the best way to get a pastel colour is to take a concentrated paint and dilute it, allowing the white of the watercolour paper to create the pastel. So for example, if I wanted to mix a light green, I would take a stronger green and dilute it down until I had the light colour I wanted.
Back to the palette set up and the layout allows for one or two collapsible travel brushes to fit between the rows of paint which would make this a great watercolour set for on the go. Alternatively, you could create your own mix of favourite colours by using the middle row for more half pans and I think this would be my preference.
I rearranged the colours into one of the palettes and doing this I was able to fit 21 paints in the cute palette. This left just three paints out from the original Tropical and Essence palettes and I chose to omit two of the colours with poor transparency, Ponder & Serenity and also Earth which is one of the browns.
So my conclusion is that within the palettes there are some really pretty colours which rewet easily and give concentrated pigments which dilute beautifully. Would I say these are as good or better than, for example, my tubes of watercolour paint such as Daniel Smith? To be honest, I’d say no, however, would I still enjoy using them? Absolutely! In Part 2 of this video, I paint a floral watercolour card with these paints and had a lovely time doing so. In addition, these paints in their pretty palette, contained in half pans are
a) more affordable than the equivalent in tubes and
b) possibly more approachable to new or beginner watercolourists.
These Prima Watercolor Confections are pretty and fun, with paint which is better than student grade watercolour if not perhaps quite as top notch as some of the more traditional watercolour tube paints. Rather than be daunted by the watercolour world out there, I would much rather someone picked up one of these cute and colourful palettes and actually gave watercolour a try and had fun learning to love this wonderful media.
For Part 2 of this review, I will be using the Prima Watercolor Confections palettes to paint a floral greeting card with a no line watercolour style. This is my favourite way to use watercolours and as such, I felt that it would test the paints to the fullest in a style I was comfortable with. I will say, however, that whenever you use new supplies, be it paints, brushes or paper it does take some time and experimenting to get used to the way they react as each has its own individual properties.
Watch below or in HD on YouTube.
For this card, I used the stunning large floral arrangement from the Beautiful Flowers set from Simon Says Stamp. I used Antique Linen Distress Ink to stamp the image on to Arches Cold Pressed watercolour card This ink is light in colour and water reactive so it will disappear when painted to give a no line watercolour look. I stamped the image multiple times until I could see the detail of the flowers while still being subtle and wouldn’t dominate the painting.
I chose a colour palette of the lovely muted Adore from the Essence palette along with Coconut from the Tropicals palette. For the leaves, I combined Palms and Tiki from the Tropicals palette to give a nice desaturated green for the leaves which toned with the muted colours I’d chosen for the flowers.
I don’t know why it has taken me so long to discover this, but I recently started painting with two brushes, one for the paint and one for a damp brush of water. Previously I used to add the concentrated paint and then rinse my brush off slightly to blend the paint out. However, so much of my paint ended up in my water jar which is such a waste. Using two brushes means that I can keep the paint on my dedicated paintbrush to add concentrated spots of colour to areas where you would expect shadows and deeper colour such as the base of petals or where one petal overlaps another. I can then use my brush which is just damp with water to draw out the colour over the rest of the petal and blend it to the lightest shades where the light is hitting it. As I mentioned in Part 1 of this review of Prima Watercolor Confections, the paints rewet easily giving concentrated colour which dilutes out beautifully.
With the no line watercolour style where you don’t have visible lines to help define one area from another it is important to use every trick available to create definition so shadows and highlights, varying colour and saturation, detail lines vs areas with more open space. All these pieces of information give the impression of dimension and help the eye to see the form of the flowers and leaves.
I used some of the leftover paint to add a few splatters and I also used a solution of Perfect Pearls to add sparkly splatters too.
When the panel was dry, I die cut it with a Wonky Rectangle die, added foam adhesive to the back and adhered it to a Neenah Desert Storm card base. I chose a simple sentiment from the Beautiful Flowers set and stamped it in clear embossing ink on Slate card, before sprinkling with white embossing powder, tapping off any excess and heat setting. I trimmed the sentiment to a skinny banner and added over the watercoloured panel with foam adhesive. Finally, I added a trio of Crystal Reflections sequins held in place with Nuvo Delux adhesive.
I’d love to know what you thought of this review post. Did you enjoy this in-depth look at a product? Have you tried the Prima Watercolor Confections palettes? If so what did you think?
You can find links to the supplies I’ve used below; click on the picture or shop icon to get taken directly to the product. Where available I use compensated affiliate links which means if you make a purchase I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. You can read my affiliate and product disclosure here. I genuinely appreciate your support.
Summary of the project which gives all the views of the card in one photo :D I’d love if you pinned and called by on Pinterest :D