Instead of sleeping in on Sunday morning, a group of eager conservators (myself included) gathered at the Kremer Pigments NYC location for a watercolor workshop sponsored by the Emerging Professionals in Conservation. EPiC is a sub-group of the New York Regional Association for Conservation, begun in 2011, that hosts lab tours, workshops, and social gatherings for emerging conservators. I’m so happy that I was finally able to take advantage of an EPiC event!
Thanks to Becca Pollak, previous Kremer employee and current Buffalo student, 14 workshop participants were able to learn about the nuances of pigments, and how to make watercolor paints. After a quick demo by Becca, each person received one pigment to transform into 14 half pans of watercolor. Surprisingly, it was a lot of work to mix the pigments with the other ingredients (alcohol, water, and medium) and to evenly coat each particle…and we probably could have mulled a lot longer to achieve a more consistent watercolor.
Some pigments required more medium or more mulling than others–all tips that Becca had learned from her many years on the job. My burnt umber was fairly easy to work with, and looked like a delicious chocolate fudge at one point. Actually, all of the pigments looked good enough to eat! As great and fun as it was to create the watercolors myself and know what all of the ingredients were, I would likely need much more practice to equal the quality of the paints that are mulled for an hour in the machine. For now, I think I’ll stick with the store-bought version. But if ever I need a specific pigment (from a specific geographic region, for example), I definitely feel prepared.
Besides being my first experience making watercolors, this was also my first time into the Kremer store. It’s a really cool place, filled with pigments, mediums, adhesives, and everything you could possible need for art-making and conservation. What I liked best were the pre-made sets of pigments for interior decoration, stone inpainting, frames, and more. Maybe this is a conservator thing, but seeing shelves full of pigments arranged in a color spectrum is just so satisfying. I’m looking forward to heading back to Kremer in the next week to pick up my finished pan of watercolors!