Hands On: Fluorescents and Pearlescents

Last weekend I took a really fun and hands-on class at Kremer Pigments-- making your own watercolor palette using florescent and pearlescent pigments.   Kremer is such an amazing hidden gem in NYC.  You step inside and feel like you're in a scientist's color lab, or in a renaissance painter's favorite studio supply shop. Pure alchemy and  truly a wonderland for color nerds
The instructor Rachel was super kind and knowledgable about mixing pigments together. And she said she used to be a baker which makes total sense as there's a lot of mixing and measuring happening in a lot of these processes. I highly recommend checking out their class offerings if you're into this kind of thing :) They have natural dyes, synthetic pigments, earth pigments, and lots of tools to make your own.  I believe they regularly offer watercolor and oil paint making classes.  Here are a couple of photos of colors I made from pigment mixed with alcohol and a special watercolor medium (contains gum arabic, honey, and a couple other ingredients, smells so good). It was a challenge to get the right texture as you don't want the colors to be insufficiently mixed and therefore too gritty or splotchy.  For this reason you can use a glass muller to grind down the pigment/medium mix until it feels smooth enough.  I often chose to skip this step for most of my colors in favor of mixing with only palette knives as it felt more natural to me to get a better hand feel this way. Lots of chopping and scraping motions involved, so fun! All the colors had fun names like Magic Blue and Sun Gold.
I love love love how my final palette turned out (scroll down to the last image). We had a bunch of florescent and pearlescent pigment options (and you could mix them together too) however I chose to stick more on the pearlescent side.  I decided to do this because florescent pigments are likely to be more fugitive, meaning they will fade faster when exposed to direct light.  I think they may be more synthetic also.  Also I just love the visual effect of the pearlescent pigments.  So subtle and shimmery. I think they will be excellent for wash layering in watercolor paintings and will add a special secret gleam. Check out the gray below that looks like pure graphite liquid. 
Ta-da! The final palette set out to dry and cure before using.