A Look at the Latest Watercolor Tools

Schmincke’s Horadam Water Colours
Since their introduction in 1881, Schmincke’s Horadam watercolors have been praised by many artists, most notably by the great German Expressionist Emil Nolde. Meliora cogito (“I strive for the best”) is Schmincke’s motto, and this German company, not resting on its laurels, recently reformulated its Horadam Water Colours line. Since watercolor is a combination of pigment, distilled water and binder, the highest possible concentration of pigment ensures an intense color. Seventy-three of the 110 Horadam colors are formulated with only single pigments. Thirty-four of the 38 new colors are such single-pigment formulations.

To bind the pigment, Horadam uses vintage gum arabic. According to company spokesman David Ford, that’s one of the secrets of the brilliant color: Kordofan Gum Arabic, derived from tropical trees in the southern Sahara region of Africa. Since the quality of the gum arabic varies, Schmincke tests each batch before purchase.

We asked artist, author and instructor Betsy Dillard Stroud to test the Schmincke Horadam Water Colours. Read her review here.

Harry Kalish Finest Brushes’ Kolinsky Cat’s Tongue
In a small workshop in Ireland, Harry Kalish’s craftsmen fashion brushes by hand. For his kolinsky brushes, Kalish uses only the untrimmed hair of the tail of male kolinsky sables harvested in winter. Distinctive, the cat’s tongue shape is somewhere between a flat and a round.

We asked Carlton Plummer to describe working with the cat’s tongue brush. Read his review here.

Edroy Products’ Magni-Focuser
Have trouble balancing a brush in one hand and a magnifying glass in the other? Try a Magni-Focuser. A vision aid used by doctors, dentists, laboratory technicians, jewelers?and artists, the Magni-Focuser fits over the head; it can even go over glasses. It’s comfortable because it has a contoured, padded vinyl headband. There’s no center post (as there is in a pair of eyeglasses), so the field of vision is unobstructed. The plastic, front lens unit is washable, and it flips up, so when you want to step back and see at a distance, you can. The Magni-Focuser is available in a range of models. To order one, you need to know the distance you’ll be working from and the rate of magnification you need. If one of your eyes is weaker than the other, you can order an auxiliary lens. Recently Edroy Products released an illuminated Magni-Focuser that includes a light attached at the top. The addition is an 8,000 candlepower Xenon Laser Spot beam that burns for six to seven hours on AA alkaline batteries. Edroy Products manufactures the Magni-Focuser but doesn’t sell it; to find out the location of a distributor near you, contact Edroy Products Company, P.O. Box 998, 245 N. Midland Ave., Nyack NY 10960. Tel: 914/358-6600 or 800/233-8803.

Carolyn Lord exhibits at Nancy Dodds Gallery in Carmel, California, Thompson Gallery in Livermore, California, and Bingham Gallery in Salt Lake City, Utah. She?s a member of the California Art Club, and the National Watercolor Society.

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