Latest Videos - Art Supply Reviews & Tutorials

New 2019 Daniel Smith Watercolor Joseph Z's Cool Grey + Bird Art Demo Painting

When I found out that Daniel Smith released 8 new colors for 2019, 7 of which were shades of gray... I admit I wasn't sure if I wanted any. Gray is easy to mix, but THIS gray is special. I'm not sure if I would have randomly mixed Cobalt Turquoise with Quinacridone Violet and Lamp Black to come up with this "Joseph Z's Cool Grey". Most of the time I just use my "palette dirt" - a random mix of whatever is left in my tray often results in gray. If it's brown I just add a tad of blue to cool it down.



While great for stormy moody scenes and shadows, this color ended up being a real joy to use for animals and birds such as a Gray-Blue Tanager.

 Daniel Smith Watercolor Joseph Z's Cool Grey Color Swatch Gray Card

As the year goes on, more vendors will receive this new product and the price will come down a bit. (Just in case it helps with anyone's searches, Gray is the American spelling of Grey, and Daniel Smith paints use both spellings for different colors.) As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. If you would like to buy any of the supplies I used in this review, the Amazon links are below.


Daniel Smith Red Jasper Genuine Watercolor + Reddish Egret Painting

The new Daniel Smith watercolor "Red Jasper Genuine" is a light red-brown natural mineral pigment slightly warmer than Indian Red. It has gentle granulation. This subtle texture is unlike the majorly granulating Lunar Brown, Tiger's Eye and Hematite minerals. It's texture may disappoint those looking for a ton of granulation, however it's very easy on the eyes for those who don't normally like texture.

Daniel Smith watercolor Red Jasper Genuine swatch card color chart

This color is semi opaque and is not a strong mixer. It is less intense than colors like Permanent brown or Perylene Maroon. Though I will say that even though Perylene Maroon initially goes down very strong, it has more of a wet-to-dry shift and when you add just a touch of it to Burnt Umber the mixture can look very similar to the new Red Jasper Genuine.


Daniel Smith Red Jasper Genuine Comparison Permanent Brown Indian Red 

Because I often paint warm color pieces including birds or other animals, and I'm pretty much obsessed with granulating paints, this color seemed like a good fit for my palette.



In the middle of my debating what to try to paint with this new color yesterday, several watercolor artists on YouTube created inspiring bird theme paintings. Their group, the Animal Artists Collective, was created to help raise awareness and support for conservation efforts. I've been impressed with the many artists participating, and wanted to unofficially tag along. In honor of their kind contributions to organizations that help animals and the environment, half of the profit from this painting will go to Audubon Florida chapter. 
The past months have been difficult on birds in the FL west coastal forests and gulf regions after a particularly bad hurricane destroyed several nesting sites. Nearly five months after the storm, the region still awaits meaningful disaster relief from federal lawmakers. Audubon is active about influencing legislation for disaster relief funding, particularly to include funding for forest recovery. Learn more about Audubon at


A special thank you to Denise Soden and Sadie Saves the Day for their informative videos and beautiful art inspiration. Their channels include a ton of watercolor paintings, pigment spotlights, along with more info about the "Animal Artists Collective" group's goals. Check them out at:



The Reddish Egret is a very unusual bird. Unlike most birds who have a certain color pattern based upon age and if they are male or female, the Reddish Egret can actually be all white or red-brown-gray (called light or dark phase, with about 20% of their population being light). They were nearly hunted into extinction for their feathers, used for clothing and hat adornments for women's fashion in the late 1800s. Luckily in 1918 the migratory bird treaty put a federal ban on hunting them for feathers. Their population is slowly recovering and many of them call Texas home.

The new Red Jasper Genuine watercolor is perfect for more than a few bird species, animals or even canyon scenes. So far, I was able to find the new colors for sale online at Dick Blick, Amazon, The SAA (UK) and The Merri Artist (Oregon USA). As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. If you would like to buy any of the supplies I used in this review, the Amazon links are below.

Daniel Smith Gray Titanium New 2019 Watercolor Review and Medusa Painting


An in depth look at the different titanium colors from Daniel Smith including Gray Titanium, Buff Titanium and Titanium White. Each is a different shade, has different opacity and mixing properties but all are the "same" PW6 pigment. 

 Daniel Smith watercolor Gray Titanium color chart swatch Buff White PW6 comparison

This color seems limited in usage, being a poor mixing color. It has a tendency to dry much less opaque than it initially appears, making it unappealing for gouache type uses. The color looks just like a dirty building, so it may be of some use to urban sketchers for cement buildings, cathedrals, architecture and statue studies. As an example of it's use, I paired it with Buff Titanium for a vintage Medusa Greek Mythology Goddess) carving on a limestone wall:

Update: You can now purchase the new Daniel Smith colors online at big stores like Dick Blick or Amazon. However, I was able to find these paints early, before any other major supplier has stocked them, from a little store in Oregon USA called the Merri Artist here: This was the first time I shopped with them, and I was really happy with the quick service and well packaged delivery. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. If you would like to buy any of the supplies I mentioned in this review, the Amazon links are below.


New Van Gogh Metallic & Interference Watercolor Pan Set + Art Nouveau Painting

Being a long time fan of Van Gogh paints manufactured by Royal Talens, I was very excited to hear in late 2018 that they were planning to release new colors. Van Gogh is the affordable, student grade version of their professional quality paint line "Rembrandt". I say "student" pretty loosely because Van Gogh has been known to pop into professional artists palettes for the last decade side by side with the likes of Schmincke and Winsor & Newton Pro. This is for a darn good reason - their tubes are cheap, yet they only use lightfast pigments and some of the highest pigment loads available at the student price point.

Van Gogh NEW WATERCOLORS metallic interference mica colour paint 2018 2019 release pocket box 

I was finally able to get a hold of some of the new colors they released last fall within the USA. This happened to be a pan set, but I'm on the lookout for the tubes and will let you know if I see them pop up anywhere! Luckily, the metallic and interference pan set is here, and it is gorgeous.

Color Chart new van gogh metallic watercolor swatch interference gold bronze copper

The 12 colors include silver, light gold, bronze, graphite, deep gold, copper and interference blue, yellow, violet, white and red. Unlike the metallic colors which are pretty opaque, the interference colors are nearly invisible on white, but are beautiful over other colors especially black. They are great for adding a gentle shimmer over paintings of insects or birds. If you have ever tried Coliro (previously known as Finetec) then you may be familiar with the reflective mica watercolors often used in Calligraphy and decorative accents in watercolor paintings. Recently Paul Rubens brand also put out a mica shimmer "glitter" set too. While that one is less expensive than Coliro or Van Gogh it has some drawbacks.

Dip Pen Calligraphy metallic gold bronze watercolor van gogh paint drawing

Paul Rubens uses a variety of pigments mixed with their mica, so when you paint you are not just getting a shimmer you are getting an underlying color. For instance a copper paint from Coliro or Van Gogh would be just that - copper shimmer. You can rely on it being lightfast and mixable with any color of your other watercolor paints. Paul Rubens however may have a copper-red, where the copper shimmer is the 2nd ingredient to an underlying red-pigment. That can be nice when you want a pre-mixed rainbow set, unfortunately that may also fade away over time (and about 7 colors in my Paul Rubens Glitter set have faded so far).

Art Nouveau Gustav Klimt Gold watercolor painting Kimberly Crick Van Gogh 

The metallic colors were so opaque, and the interference had a gentle shimmer, when used on dark colors. These would be amazing to paint with starting on a black surface, and Van Gogh also just released BLACK WATERCOLOR PAPER to do just that! I was extremely impressed with these paints and the quality of the box they came in. It was a custom molded plastic box with a high quality travel brush and removable palette tray. For roughly the same price point per-color as Coliro, the case and brush were definitely a better deal with Van Gogh.


My Coliro cases with the clear-acrylic plastic tops have often cracked easily over time and the circular pans are impossible to use with other common watercolor sets you might own. I also noticed that the Van Gogh seems to be more densely packed, vs Coliro's paints that when wet become a paste easy to use too much of at once. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. If you would like to buy any of the supplies I used in this review, the Amazon links are below.


How to use Alcohol Inks and Lift-Ink stamp pad on plastic!

Today I played with Tim Holtz alcohol inks and lift-ink stamp pad on a variety of slick non-porous plastic surfaces:


I used laser cut acrylic charms, domino game tiles and Yupo paper to create some rubber stamped jewelry examples including earrings, necklaces and magnets.



Tutorial video:

Materials used: Alcohol inks and stamp pads here. White beads and flat laser cut acrylic charms here. Leaf and flower beads here. Other materials like Yupo plastic paper and varnishes that won't make alcohol ink bleed before applying your glue, resin or other sealer for durability can be found on Amazon below. I use Krylon Kamar Varnish, but the Golden polymer UVLS brush on is a good option if you do not mind minor brush strokes. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.



Happy Crafting :)


Jerry Q Art Professional Artist Grade Watercolors 12 Half Pan Review

Looking for a cheap watercolor travel set, inexpensive enough for kids or a student, but doesn't contain terrible quality paint? This may be worth a look:
Cheap Jerry Q professional quality artist grade watercolor half pan travel set
This set is priced low, I expected the quality of paint to be poor - but that was not the case. The color selection however, leaves a lot to be desired. For a 12 color travel set you really want it to have a Magenta in order to have floral pinks and to be able to mix purples. Instead you get Prussian Blue (sadly a fugitive color) and two convenience greens. It would have been perfect if they swapped out Prussian and one of the Greens to give you Magenta (or Permanent Rose) and Phthalo Blue.
Jerry Q inexpensive artist grade watercolor travel set color swatch cards
Color selection aside, the paints re-wet easily, were creamy, flowed well and reacted to salt as expected. I had no issues with the paint quality. This is a nice way for younger people and students to be able to afford an artist grade professional quality paint without a big price tag. Useful for those just starting to experiment with artist grade paints, who are learning watercolor basics or don't yet know which colors they will reach for most often.
Art Nouveau painting watercolor review cheap inexpensive half pan travel set
What I did have problems with is the packaging, case and brushes. I admit, I am not a fan of metal travel tins, especially with the sharp edges this one has. Not all corners are rolled over, so the tin is razor sharp in several spots. The packaging looked a bit dingy and banged up when I received it, and the tin had a minor dent. The travel brushes included had nice brush heads that held a lot of paint. The small one fit together snugly, but the large brush fell apart in half when doing gentle motions like dipping it into water for rinsing. You could glue it, but then it wouldn't be a travel brush. You could still use it just holding the small half of the brush while traveling. Those few things that were not paint related I took a star away for. In the end, it's still a great value for the money.



Materials used in this video: Jerry Q 12 watercolor set, Princeton Herirage paint brushes, ceramic cat brush rest, bee paper cold press, waterproof Rohrer & Klingner SketchInk, Rotring Isograph technical pen, Uni-Ball signo gel pen. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. LAUNCH - is getting a makeover!

About me, a story about a tiny home art and crafts business established in 2004:


I can hardly believe it is already 2019! Technology has drastically changed with the times since my original website was created at The internet was a new experience for most people, and having a home computer had just become common. Ebay was a new way to clean out your garage by selling antiques and random household goods. Writing checks, sending money orders and paper catalogs were still quite common. That all changed a lot after 2010!


When websites were created back in 2004, it was a simpler style of html, with page layouts that were not designed for mobile phones or tablets that became so popular for web browsing about a decade later. Over the past few years my customers have shared their experiences with my outdated site, mostly including issues with display and cart errors while using an I-Phone, Apple's Safari browser, tablets and other mobile phones. Over the years I've had my share of challenges as a single-person art and craft business keeping up with technology changes.


Art by Kimberly Crick becomes

I started this business as a way to work from home when I developed a serious illness. I was in college at the time, hoping to also teach art classes. I had to drop out suddenly when diagnosed with Stage IV Hodgkins Lymphoma. With massive debt from cancer treatments and the inability to work outside of the house for several years, I put forth my best effort to improve my artwork and start a home business. It was a scary time of not being sure I could make ends meet.


In recent years, major companies like Shopify, Squarespace and Wix have made creating a mobile-friendly website easier than ever before. Gone are the days where I had to teach myself how to use complicated image editing, managing shopping cart programming and website building software with limited functionality. All the while being the sole proprietor in charge of all products, paintings, photos, publicity, invoicing, packaging and shipping. This was particularly difficult back when I was very sick from chemotherapy. I thought there was no way I would be able to handle the amount of work hours that goes with running your own business.


If it weren't for the support I've received from my deeply appreciated customers, I may not have endured through my struggles. A big THANK YOU for your help in making my art and craft business a success. Due to that gratitude and wishing others to have the option to craft as their job, I am an "angel company" (meaning purchases you make of my artwork's digital files, rubber stamps and other supplies can be used to create goods for sale).


If you have feedback about any of these site changes, please feel free to comment below! I look forward to many more years of sharing art and supplies for your DIY creations, so that you too may have success with turning your creative hobby into a business:)


Kim Crick

Open back pendant trays for resin products new website update mobile friendly

Pretty Excellent MeiLiang Watercolor Review - Best affordable paint set for beginners and card making!

I confess, I'm an art supply junkie. I've been playing with paints and pencils since I was a kid and over the years I've gone through a great deal of art supplies. Many of them could not compete with the high quality of this set. If you are interested in watercolor painting - this is the single BEST DEAL on the market. I only wish it was released years ago to have saved me all the money I spent on lesser quality artist materials!

 Pretty Excellent MeiLiang watercolor paint set 36 color chart review affordable beginner cheap

It's also the watercolor set I would recommend to anyone who has always wanted to TRY watercolors, if you're a crafter making art journals or greeting cards, or even wanting to help a child cheaply upgrade from Crayola/Prang kids grade sets to their first student grade set. Heck, it's so good that even I, spoiled by my artist grade Daniel Smith, Schmincke and Mission Gold paints, still managed to be downright IMPRESSED by this set. At a small fraction of the cost of other paints (you can get this set of 36 colors for the cost of 2 tubes of artist grade paints) it performs almost as well.

I say almost as well as the best artist grade paints for two reasons: One, is all the colors are fairly staining. This can be true for any watercolor brand for certain colors, but this was the majority of them. Now, this can be a good thing for people who like to glaze, as it creates stable bottom layers for going over once the previous layer is dry. It is not good for people who like to use the LIFT method (erasing with a damp brush). However they do otherwise perform well with wet washes, pigment load and the pans are incredibly easy to rewet with a damp brush.

Pretty Excellent MeiLiang Watercolor set review painting color chart swatch rose floral 

The other minor issue is that the color chart was confusing (badly translated) and several colors appear to have optical brighteners (or dye filler). While all colors resulted in beautiful clean mixes, they are not all single pigments and a couple of the colors are not lightfast. If you're familiar with Mission Gold and Qor watercolors, these rival them in vibrancy and intense colors. Some people prefer things muted and natural, or want to use watercolors in a very light pastel tone sort of way. Winsor and Newton Cotman's watercolors are less pigmented than this set, and less vibrant, but they are overall more lightfast. More on lightfast testing coming soon, but so far it appears only 4 of 36 colors are showing any issues.

Pretty Excellent color chart 36 watercolor paint set MeiLiang Amazon review demo

 Watercolor swatch color chart Pretty Excellent MeiLiang paint 36 set travel tin

That being said, this is a remarkably inexpensive set rocking 36 colors in a beautiful tin WITH a travel water brush. It is ready to throw in a purse/backpack and take on an adventure. Personally, I just use it to have a convenient set to paint with when I'm limited on time. There is no need for a separate palette and tubes. Nothing to clean up or set up, just a beautiful set to sit down and CREATE with!

 Pretty Excellent watercolor color chart correct NOT THE ONE FROM BOX

CORRECT COLOR CHART ABOVE - Is different from the one on the back of the box on the physical product. Two colors are different, highlighted on the chart are the ones you will receive instead. A minor issue, mostly because the ones they show you when you order online are actually correct. It's only the box in person and the written codes on the blank chart inside the box that are confusing.

This is the only set most kids, students or crafty adults would ever need to do impressive watercolor paintings. The color selection is robust, with plenty of slightly different colors for mixing new colors (ideal for getting that warm or cool hue just right). With permanent rose and a variety of blues (that thankfully is not limited to ultramarine commonly found in cheap sets) you'll be able to mix other purples long after your purple pan runs out.

Professional artists who sell their work may require greater control over knowing pigment ingredients, an entire line of lightfast paints or the ability to restock colors individually via tubes. Though, the artist grade version of "Pretty Excellent MeiLiang" is "Paul Rubens", which is a little more creamy (just the right amount of gum arabic and low amount of fillers) and shows all pigment ingredients. The Paul Rubens set is on-par with my Schmincke, Rembrandt, non granulating Daniel Smith and other high end paints for a fraction of the cost of those brands.

For everyone else, this set could last you through many many projects and give you the quality needed to not be discouraged. (No one likes wondering "Is it the paint, or is it me?") As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. You can find this set, an affordable paper option, and the Paul Rubens professional quality upgrade, on Amazon through the link below. 


Paul Rubens watercolor review - Affordable professional quality artist half pan sets in 12 24 or 48 colors

Paul Rubens watercolor half pan 48 color paint set dry pigment color chart

If you're a serious watercolor painter, this new brand might make you regret buying other professional paints in the past. I've been painting with Sennlier, Schmincke and Rembrandt for a few years and those paints can cost a small fortune in 48 color sets. Not Paul Rubens though, these are roughly 1/3 the price... but are they good?

Paul Rubens compared to Rembrandt Sennelier Schmincke watercolor paints quality

Not just good. They are great. So great in fact that I am so sad they weren't released to the USA sooner to have saved me a lot of money. There is overall very little granulation in this brand (outside of the normal for Ultramarines, Umbers and Cobalt Teal) so I will not directly compare them to my Daniel Smith paints who are known for that characteristic.

Paul Rubens watercolor painting berry leaves floral sky blue clouds tutorial review

However, they are every bit as good as every other professional quality brand in performance, pigment load, salt reaction, flow, lifting and glazing. Let's not forget almost entirely LIGHTFAST too! Paul Rubens paints have been around for a few years now in China, but it wasn't until mid 2018 the half pan sets started being easily obtained on

 Paul Rubens watercolor lightfast test fade fugitve high quality sun testing light fastness

The 12 and 24 color standard (and also the mica sets) are available here now. The 48 color set is supposed to arrive mid 2019. The importer for Paul Rubens (and their student brand Pretty Excellent "MeiLiang") has been allowing those of us in the states to purchase these safely and quickly. They are even introducing their watercolor papers and brushes now, which are also amazing.

 Paul Rubens 12 and 24 color chart selection set information watercolors

WARNING about buying from China: I tried to get some of the Paul Rubens tubes and other full pan sets that aren't available in my country directly from 3rd party Chinese import sellers. I ended up having great difficulty (between month long shipping times, import duties and sadly a rip-off artist on the Chinese version of Ebay who slapped a fake tracking number on my order and it took months for me to recover the cash!) So I can tell you from personal experience, it's worth the wait for them to become available on from good ol' reliable Amazon.

 Best professional artist watercolor paints Paul Rubens 48 color chart set

Note --- 05-2019 --- 48 SET NOW AVAILABLE ON AMAZON USA. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. They also have a lovely mica based glitter shimmer paint set, which really sparkles on both light and dark papers! 

Daniel Smith Ultimate Mixing Set Watercolor Half Pan Review

This 15 color half pan selection was picked by artist Jane Blundell. If you are a fan of hers and like her color mixing charts or book, then this set was made for you. Unfortunately I do not believe there is a one size fits all "ultimate mixing" selection for all artists, especially if you like bright and unique colors. This set contains too many browns for graphic design, abstract art and vibrant non photo-realism artwork. The price is high for being filled with cheap pigments. D.S. tube paints vary from about $11-$20 a tube, and these colors are all in the $11-$14 range. To put this in perspective, each pan is costing you about $5 when you can get a whole 15ml tube for about $11 that would fill that roughly 2ml half-pan tray about 7 times.

Daniel Smith color swatch Goethite Buff Titanium Ultimate Mixing Set Jane Blundell

You may think this is a great way to try Daniel Smith paints without having to invest in a lot of tube colors, resulting in a higher upfront investment. However, I would take a very close look at the color selection and decide if you think it is worth this price. They are not unique outside of Goethite brown. You can get sets from other companies with these basic colors for a lot cheaper. If you want to see what makes Daniel Smith so special, I highly recommend the primatek granulating mineral color tubes or the 6-half pan sets instead that contain some hidden gems. Such as the Blues set on Amazon full of granulating minerals and the very expensive "sleepy beauty turquoise" which would run you $20 just for that color if you bought it in tube form).

Daniel Smith Ultimate mixing set half pan color swatch cerulean blue chromium jane blundell

The case is compact - that is the best thing to say about it. You can fit many in your purse, a couple in your pocket. The lid does not lay flat and there is a gap so colors can just run out of the case if you try to mix on the lid. I fixed this for myself using Elmers white school glue or a glue gun to create a grid (see picture).

Ultimate mixing set Daniel Smith watercolors palette case glue fix


The paints are high quality, but the price and case were disappointing. Many people assumed this set was ready for travel, then learned the hard way that the paint will end up all over your table (or worse, all over your work) if you use the lid as a palette. Landscape painters seemed to approve of the color selection, while people who love bright or hard to mix colors (looking at you Cobalt Turquoise) were confused by all the browns and a convenience gray (an easily mixed color in a set designed for mixing colors?) While I love Daniel Smith paints, this set just didn't add up in value for me.



Materials used or mentioned in this review: Daniel Smith Ultimate Mixing Set, Primatek Watercolors Set, Blues Half Pan Set, Bee Cold Press 140# Cotton Paper, Princeton Neptune Paint Brush, Rotring Isograph Technical Pen filled with waterproof Rohrer & Klingner sketchINK, Uni-Ball Signo UM-153 white gel pen. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.