Exploring Watercolor Mediums: Student Grade Paint Pan Sets

By | 23 July, 2020

Watercolor paint sets wildly in price and types.  I’m guessing that the gold standard is Daniel Smith paints in the tubes.  Those are decadently expensive and that’s what Debby Hughes uses!  She’s a master watercolorist and she’s amazing.

For day 2 of the Altenew Exploring Watercolor Mediums class, we used the student grade pan set from Altenew.  This is still one of my very favorite watercolor sets. There are 36 pans of color and I love the selection this set has.  I use it all the time and I’ve barely put a dent in the set.  Although, I’m not going to fib, it looks very well loved!  I’m working my way through a watercolor book on how to paint forest flora and fauna and I’m enjoying that immensely and this set of paints is serving me well for that.

The idea today was to paint something other than a flower and to try something geometric.  I selected Altenew’s Moroccan Mosaic stamp set.  It’s a nice bold background stamp with a small set of extra stamps and lots of great sentiments.

exploring watercolor mediums with altenew geometric patterns

I actually quite like the final product on this one. It almost looks a bit like stained glass.  I also love the colors that I picked out of this pan set.  These colors make my heart sing!

To be honest…this was not the first background I painted. I used the Shine Like a Diamond background stamp and created rows of colors.  I hated it, so it got filed!  There was no saving that piece!  (But, it’s just a piece of paper!)

I didn’t love this one as I was creating it until I added the pink and raspberry colors.  Then it  felt finish.

The technique that I was aiming for was to put the paint down heavier on the right side and then pull it out to a softer shade toward the left side of each geometric panel.  This was good practice.  This is definitely one of the watercoloring skills that I need to keep practicing.  I did a virtual workshop a couple of weeks ago and we did a couple of watercolor floral cards and I was really having trouble getting that gradient in each petal.  I completed the two cards during the class, but they didn’t wow me.  I tried one of them again the next day at my own pace and I ended up much happier with it.

exploring watercolor mediums with altenew geometric patterns

This is the Statement Flowers stamp set and it’s a perfect one to practice watercoloring or alcohol marker coloring with.

What I liked better about this piece than the one I had done the evening before is that I added some purple to the blue flower and some blue to the purple flower.  That gave me the depth of color I was trying to get to in the parts of the flower that seem like they should be darker, like the center of the front bloom.  I also like that strip of Washi tape along the edge. It felt finished when I added that small detail.  I don’t always like the raw edge of watercolor paper on the edge of the card for some reason.

I’ve been practicing the technique that the instructor showed us in that class over the last couple of weeks.  She covered each petal completely with a light watered down wash and then added more of the full color to the base of each petal and then pulled it out with a wet brush.  This is definitely a skill that I’m working on, so I was happy to see that technique in day 2 of the current class that I’m taking.  Seeing it done on something other than a floral was helpful and hearing someone else’s explanation and seeing someone else do it is always helpful as well.exploring watercolor mediums with altenew geometric patterns

You can see the difference with this card that I made during the workshop. The colors are not as deep and the shadows not as striking.

Here are my attempts at the other card using one of my very favorite stamp sets: Peony Spray.

exploring watercolor mediums with altenew geometric patterns

This is the one I made the day after the class.  I like it, but I think it would be better to add a little brown or orange to add that depth of color that I was looking for.  I did a better job on this one with color gradient, but it’s hard to see with just one yellow.  I LOVE this stamp set and the sentiments that it has.

Here is the one I did during the workshop:

exploring watercolor mediums with altenew geometric patterns

I was almost there, I think with the cards I was making in class.  I think I just needed to add more color in the first place.

All in all, I enjoyed taking this workshop.  The Virtual Workshops use the Creativity Kits and they use Zoom so you can ask questions and you can interact with other participants and the instructor.  You complete 2 cards in each workshop and it is a quick hour!  There are usually one or two ladies that dominate the conversation and it is really pleasant to hear the chatter while you are creating.  (Especially after so many months of captivity and creating alone!)  I think that’s why I have been so enjoying the Vicki Boutin Live sessions twice a week.

I’m learning so much and my brain has space for it!  I’m retired now and I don’t have to think about physics anymore!  I have so much space in my brain for the crafty stuff now!

I encourage you to try some of the Live events on Facebook and Youtube and some of the Virtual Workshops being offered by all the crafty companies like Altenew.  It really fills you up and if you glean just one tip from that workshop or class, then you’ve gotten some nugget to add to your crafty bag of tricks!

Supply List:

Are you interested in the products I used?  To make them easier for you to find, I have linked them below. (Affiliate disclosure ) Your purchases help keep my blog running at no additional cost to you and I thank you for the support!


I’m delighted that you stopped by for a visit today!  I hope you are finding time to do something creative for yourself!

Have a splendid day!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.