Since my first Web TV show last Thursday I have gotten several emails saying, “I think it is great that you are painting with cheap watercolors but I don’t want to or I can’t buy anything new (I completely understand both sides of that statement). Is there anything I can use? I have craft paint, can I use that?”
YES! YES! YES! I discovered this technique at 3am the night before my final was due. I ran out of Ultramarine Blue watercolor paint and I needed more Ultramarine Blue NOW! There is NO all night art supply store so I was in quite a bind. I searched (aka: tore apart my apartment) looking for one tube or a color close to Ultramarine Blue but there was nothing I could use. I sat on my floor absolutely devastated, I was going to fail because I forgot to buy an extra tube of Ultramarine Blue paint. The more I sat there wallowing in self pity I realized I could take some cheap acrylic craft paint and thin it out to make a watercolor. To my surprise it wasn’t a huge failure, it worked! It wasn’t perfect but it would do the job. I was able to finish my final and turn it in on time – I even got an A (much to my surprise).
The consistency is more of a water-down gauche (paler and chalkier in color) but it does work the same as watercolor. It is harder to “fix” mistakes but if you are perfect like Ms. Wyman (my third grade teacher) was you should have no problem.
Here is the “magic” formula 1:4 Ratio (1 part acrylic to 4 parts water). I mixed mine in little solo containers that our duck sauce and hot mustard came in (YAY! Chinese Food). The reason why I chose these is because they have lids and they won’t dry out as fast.