Yes, I know “watercolours” is not the American way to spell watercolors. But neither is “aquarelle” which is the name on the box. This is a multi-cultural project, don’tcha see?
The facts are these:
- Watercolours is the Brit spelling.
- Aquarelle means “watercolor” in French.
- Ravensburger (the maker of this kit) is a German company.
- The artist Claude Monet was French.
- Timberdoodle is an American company.
- This is an American blog.
Probably you already knew all that, and don’t really care. I don’t blame you. However, I also have to tell you I received this Aquarelle Monet watercolor kit from Timberdoodle in exchange for my honest review. And too, I’ll be right up front and tell you, I am no Claude Monet. I do admire his work and I enjoy looking at watercolor paintings, but that’s about as far as that goes.
We had the opportunity to review several products for Timberdoodle this fall (including Tenzi, Simbrix, and Puzzleball) and I thought this kit looked like something Rebecca and I would enjoy doing together.
It comes with the outlines for 3 different Monet paintings and a detailed instructional booklet (written in oh-so-many-different languages) with good general information about watercolor techniques. In other words, the instructions aren’t just specific to this particular kit. The 5 colors of paint (3 primaries plus magenta and black) are liquid. The color chart on the back of the booklet is a “cheat sheet” for mixing your own colors. The kit includes a dropper and a handy palette as well as a double-ended brush, in 2 sizes.
Rebecca decided that she wanted to start by practicing mixing colors. I highly recommend that process before attempting the paintings. However, you may run short on paint if you play around with this very much. No worries in that regard, though. We discovered that regular ol’ cheap watercolor paints can also be used the same way.
And that right there is what I love about this kit. Yes, it includes everything you need to complete 3 paintings. But it’s not a kit in the sense that once you’ve completed it you’ll need to buy another one to do something similar. It’s really more of a mini course. Rebecca and I learned a lot about watercolor techniques just by reading the booklet and experimenting with the supplies provided.
The Monet painting outlines in the kit are not printed outlines. Rather the lines are of a translucent waxy substance that repelled the paint but still provided some guidance. Did you ever draw on a boiled egg with a white crayon before dying it for Easter? It’s kinda that idea.
The kit does not include a color guide for the paintings. The only thing we had to go by was the picture on the box, which wasn’t all that helpful, especially since the pictures overlap.
We would have liked more guidance with that, but to quote from the booklet: “You’re the artist! …You decide on the technique and colours to use. Just let your imagination run free and be as creative as you can — that way you’ll be guaranteed a succesful work of art all of YOUR own!”
Successful? Eh. I don’t know so much about that.
However, it was fun… and we learned a lot! I think I’d like to try my hand at freestyle watercolors next time. I think that’s the whole idea.