Monday 18 September 2017

Doctor's Orders: Yet Another Bloody Art Haul

Oh heck, I've had a LOT lately haven't I?! This is only a small haul and it comes from Amazon UK and from Art From The Heart, which is Mrs Reaveley's shop in Harrogate, North Yorkshire. First time I've used them so this is also a mini-review of Art From The Heart too, I guess.

The Amazon horde isn't very exciting - it's just a jar of Ranger embossing powder (which I didn't bother photographing) in Wendy Vecchi's Tree Branch shade of tan. I've not even photo'd it. Why? It's not new - I have a few jars in stock already, but as with any other discontinued colour that I'm fond of, I stockpile when I see it on sale, as you never know when it will be the final jar in the world! The corresponding Archival Ink in Tree Branch is also apparently long gone, but the re-inkers are relatively easy to get so you can make a pad with a customisable felt ink pad, of course. 

My other Amazon item was a set of Ranger Dylusions Journal Inserts (BUY NOW USA, UK) for the Large Creative Journal. This is a pack of 12 extra pages for the Large Creative Journal - 6 in the standard cream mixed-media paper that we all adore, and 3 of each black paper (the same as in the black square journal) and 3 of kraft process paper - they do use actual unbleached kraft process paper for this stock, and I love that. Same as in the Dina Wakley Media Journal. There are "kraft paper" stocks out there from various craft companies that are really manilla or otherwise that have been dyed to resemble genuine kraft process stock - so it's nice to see Ranger are behaving! I would like a Dylusions journal in kraft paper as I've enjoyed using it in Mrs Wakley's Media Journal - it can take many layers of paint and it copes well with weight too. Doesn't take dyes very well, as it's a bit less porous, but it's a fantastic stock to work on.

My Art From The Heart haul is much better for many reasons! For those who don't know, about 16 years ago, to my knowledge, and I'm sorry if I'm a bit wrong on the dates, Dyan Reaveley went into business running a craft supplies store in her hometown of Harrogate, and running art journalling and mixed media workshops. Over the years, she launched a line of Dylusions dyes made in the UK and sold only at her shop - Art From The Heart - time went by and Stampers Anonymous launched a range of stamps using her designs, and she started demonstrating products for Ranger, clearly catching someone's eye, as Ranger took all of her products in-house and took over the Dylusions brand, selling worldwide. It does mean if you look at her 2010-2011 blog posts from her ledger (an old finance ledger she'd gotten hold of and altered to make an art journal - the size of the pages and their binding as signatures ultimately inspired the Large Creative Journal), you'll see inks in her line called Aubergine and Peridot etc, but when Ranger took over, she rejigged which colours were in the line, and changed almost all of the names to make them 'of a type'. First time I've ever shopped direct with Art From The Heart but they are one of very few ways to buy Dina Wakley and Wendy Vecchi products, other than using Amazon UK or Amazon USA, and I have found that even Amazon doesn't get each new release of colours for quite some time - so I went direct.

First cab off the rank is the packaging - under the layers of bubblewrap I found this beautiful package - nice to see attention to detail and a bit of customer care - it's nicer opening something that feels like a gift isn't it?

Next up are the Dina Wakley Media Media Heavy Body Acrylic Paints. I've never tried these before, and I've really obtained them both out of curiosity myself and because folk had asked me about them. There is now quite a range of colours, including metallics and iridescent colours. They are now sold in both 1 US fl. oz. (just shy of 30mL) and 2 US fl. oz. (just shy of 60mL) sizes - the former are in squeeze-bottles and the latter in tubes. Even the tubes are a fair bit smaller than the typical 75mL paint tubes one get acrylic in for fine art, but price-wise they aren't too bad. Using the Art From The Heart prices, you'd be paying in the UK a very similar price to Dylusions acrylic paint on a price per mL basis: Distress Paint is a lot more costly, so keep that in mind! I went with the smaller pack size as I don't know if I like them yet, basically. I did swatch out the 3 colours that I got - Night (a dark blue that is almost black but not quite BUY NOW USA, UK), Blackberry (a bright violet BUY NOW USA, UK) and Rosy (looks pink in the photos on their website, but it's actually a very subtle and pretty rose-gold with an iridescence to it BUY NOW USA, UK). From seeing Dina's videos, I'd thought they looked much less viscous than CRYLA paints, but when I swatched them out, they held their shape completely for >2h and dried in a raised shape, which was really cool. As per any other craft product, you don't get the pigment information (I wish the craft industry would at least put it on their websites, for both safety, allergy and so as to open their market to artists a bit more. If you think about the Prima and Jane Davenport watercolours, they're virtually identical - I'm sure they both use the same base bought from the same company (which I think is in South Korea) and have custom pigment blends added to it to make their paints - but Jane gives pigment information on hers which makes them infinitely easier to mix and to use in replicating tutorials. Not all "warm blue" paints are remotely similar so you can't just pick anything and expect the same results - especially in watercolour - but as Prima don't mention their pigments (but they tell me they have considered doing so), they will always been the "worse" one of the two, in spite of being largely identical. You also don't get any lightfastness information and I find that pretty important to have. Even if pigmentation and lightfastness are only on a downloadable PDF on their websites, it's really good to have.

I got the Ranger Dylusions set of acrylic paint pens (BUY NOW USA, UK) - I already have the black and white set, but the coloured set that came out in January I've wanted for ages! The colours are Postbox Red (which I have in the acrylic paint already), Squeezed Orange, Lemon Zest, Cut Grass (which I also have the paint of), London Blue and Crushed Grape. I have got the orange, yellow, blue and purple in the spray inks too. I love the colours and hope they're going to release more or the range in this format as they're great for fine detail. If you've ever had any issues using them, watch this video from Dyan as it really helps!

I also got these two Dylusions acrylic paints - Laidback Lilac (BUY NOW USA, UK) and Mushy Peas (BUY NOW USA, UK). Why these colours? The soft furnishings in my front parlour are those colours (and a warm goldenrod type yellow too), and they're from the Summer 2017 release, which also includes Rose Quartz (a very soft pastel pink), Peony Blush (a kind of pastel cerise), Vanilla Custard (a pastel yellow-cream) and Periwinkle Blue (another pastel-y colour but darker - just has that kind of look to it - it reminds me of how blue chalk looks I guess!). They're a really nice release and open up the range to those who like softer "baby" colours. Mushy peas, are, for the benefit of my American visitors are peas soaked with bicarbonate and then boiled to shit - they end up this kind of colour (unless you buy the tinned ones which are almost florescent green!). I love the viscosity of these paints and that I can build up body as well as paint super-thin layers with a blending foam tool.


  1. When I was reading your post about various alcohols, I thought about mentioning that isopropyl alcohol is useful for removing spills of acrylic paint products. (It can also be used for spattering into wet acrylic....) After an art or craft project that gets acrylic on my drafting table (or fingers), I spritz or pat rubbing alcohol on the surface, and the acrylic wipes up easily (with the windows open, of course.)

  2. Yeah I did say it was useful for clean-up but only in passing really. I would not waste the 90% stuff - dilute it down to 70% (about 8 parts into 2 parts water) and use that for cleaning to make it go a bit further.


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