July 15, 2016

Watercolours Made Easy with Aquarelle {Product Review}

Art. We love it at our house. We even have three drawers full of all sorts of mediums. One of our favorite mediums to work with is watercolor paints. When I was given the Aquarelle Monet set by Timberdoodle to review, I looked forward to exploring watercolors with Claude Monet as the inspiration.

Product Information

Aquarelle is a company trying to take the guess work out of watercolor painting for beginners. They have designed pictures to color with a water-resistant technique--the paint flows off the wax barriers and adheres only on the coloring spaces. This in turn allows for the painter to create a masterpiece and explore their colors with guaranteed success.

Aquarelle Monet set ($28.50) explores three paintings by Claude Monet--one of the greatest artists of all time. With this set, the painter gets to paint three images from the series of water lilies images that Monet did. 

Included in this set:
*three pictures to paint
*high-quality, washable, liquid-watercolor paints 
*a standard pipette plus a sturdy dropper 
*a quality double-ended paintbrush 
*plus a color mixing guide

The Aquarelle Monet Set is part of the Timberdoodle 4th Grade Curriculum Package and geared for ages 8+.

How Did We Use the Aquarelle Set?

When I got this set I explored it on my own and decided that I wanted to do the review myself! I knew that if I gave it a go, it would inspire Little Britches to try it himself later because he was overwhelmed when he first looked at it. LOL. 
The supplies
I kicked it off by reading through the included color mixing guide which gave a great introduction to using watercolors, including tips and tricks for getting the colors and designs you desire onto the paper. I especially like the page that gives by drop by drop color matching for creating your own mixtures.
I admit I was a bit intimidated by the big blank paper, even with the raised wax borders as my "lines" color color inside. But I just took a breath and picked a couple colors off the chart to create. I kept looking at the box for reference of the types of dark and light colors and came up with two blues and a green to get started with.
The colors are very rich indeed.
I did notice that there was going to be a LOT of painting of water, and the brush that was included was a very fine tip brush. I wanted something bigger so I grabbed one of our own paintbrushes and used that. It covered WAYYYY more ground. And so with mixing different colors and just taking a deep breath and giving it a go, I completed one of the pictures.
my palette and testing piece
Not bad. I like it more now that it has dried. I wasn't sure about the waters since I had to keep lifting and reloading my brush, but I think it looks pretty good. The shapes of the lily pads and flowers were what were protected with the wax edges. So that gives you "lines" of sorts.

But since I don't always like to color in the lines, I was inspired to create my own mini painting using the back of my scratch piece...

Would I Recommend Aquarelle?

Yes I would! I enjoyed using it and I think creating the colors were the best part. I appreciated that the company includes not just the primary shades (red, yellow, blue), but also throws in magenta and black to make the color mixing even easier. The color mixing is so much fun as you get to test and see what different combinations of the primary colors made. It was very interesting to color the painting and have to think in my head how the waters and such would be. And with this be the Aquarelle Monet set, it is an ideal art set to have on hand if you are studying Claude Monet!

I also really appreciated the quality of the paper. Some watercolor paper is good, but still seems to be too thin if you are trying out new techniques like laying down multiple colors. This paper was top of the line quality--some of the thickest I have ever used.

Anything I would change? I think I would like to have them include the bigger brush. These pieces they have given to be colored are 11.8" x 9.5". With so much open space, the fine tip paint brush included, wasn't going to cut it. It was very useful for the detail work, but I just couldn't use it for anything else. Another idea is to include MINI versions of the paintings to paint. I was intimidated at first--and I'm an adult. I would guess that most 8 year olds would be too. A mini set would be very cool.

And as for the age thing--I know this is for grades 8+, but I don't know if this is really something for that young of child to do. Like I said, even I was intimidated by it. CAN an 8 year old do it? Absolutely. But I would definitely gear this at more of a teenage level unless you have a very art loving younger child. 

Lastly, I would not recommend this set, if you are wanting it as a long term investment. The paints are only going to last for about these three paintings and there are only 3 painting canvases included. So don't get it if you think it's going to be something you would use over and over. It would make an awesome gift though for the painter in your family.

I definitely enjoyed this product and look forward to letting my oldest (age 10) give it a go. I don't know how he will like it...he might be too intimidated by it...but that will just mean more painting for me to enjoy myself! Remember that the Aquarelle Monet set is available through Timberdoodle, and is an element in their Timberdoodle 4th Grade Curriculum Package. You might also want to check out the other line of Aquarelle sets that they carry, as some aren't as "fancy" as these and might resonate more with the younger age.

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