Reviewed by Louise Totton
I have always wished I could paint. Some people make drawing and painting look so very easy and effortless, whereas I would describe myself as ‘artistically challenged’. A year or so ago, I was trying to work out how to change the timer on my combi boiler (bear with me in this – honestly, it is relevant!), and I could not follow the instructions at all. So, I turned to Google, who in turn pointed me to a YouTube instructional guide for operating my boiler. Within twenty minutes, my timers were reset, and I have found a brand-new source of help for pretty much anything I was struggling with. Since then, I have used YouTube to teach myself to crochet, do some basic maintenance on my car and to get ideas for some face-painting ideas for my children. I find it so much easier to ‘watch’ instructions rather than read them, especially for visual things like crochet and face-painting.
So, with this in mind, I thought that instructional videos would be a great way to begin to learn watercolour painting techniques. Other than lack of ability / inspiration, the other thing that has been holding me back is the overwhelming range of products available and the expense of kitting my self out. Cass Art seemed a great place to start though. The site is simple to use, and is nicely split into categories so I could get straight to the watercolour section. Being a compete novice, and not really understanding the difference between the standard paints, artists’ quality paints, tubes of watercolour and concentrated pigments, I was relieved to see there is an Aspiring Watercolour Starter Set, which contains everything that I should need to at least begin to start to learn to paint. The set contains:
- Winsor & Newton Cotman Watercolour Half Pan Set of 36 (including 2 Artists’ Quality)
- Cass Art Watercolour Gummed Pad 300gsm 12 Sheets A4
- Daler Rowney Simply Gold Taklon Brush Set of 6
At the moment, this set is on sale at £29.50, which is a complete bargain. The normal price is £41.95, which is still a very reasonable price to kit yourself out for a new hobby.
The set arrived in good time and was very well packed and protected. The paints themselves are contained in a fold away plastic palette, with two folding trays to mix colours on. The quality of the paper was excellent – it feels thick and luxurious, and I couldn’t wait to get started. My first port of call was YouTube, where I searched for ‘beginners watercolour tutorial’. I spent a bit of time watching various videos before selecting a couple to try out. most of the videos are less than 7 minutes long, and the ones I chose had very few steps involved. Both tutorials I chose to try out were skyscape type pictures, as they looked the simplest to start with.
I had a fantastic time, and a really relaxing and rewarding afternoon trying out these paints. They are a lovely quality product and really are fantastic to use. The set came with two artists’ quality paints, and I have to say that there is a noticeable difference between these and the standard ones. The colours are so rich, and I plan on getting some more of these to add to the palette. The palette itself has spare spaces for adding any additional colours, which is really handy. I am actually quite proud of my efforts – for someone who has no artistic talent whatsoever, I have managed to produce some paintings that actually look like what they were supposed to look like!
The two tutorials I followed then gave me the confidence and basic skills to have a go at my own skyscape, without following any instructions, which just goes to show how quickly you can pick up new skills if you have the right tools to do it.
I would have to give this set a rating of 5/5, and I can’t wait to get stuck in to doing some more painting. My nine-year-old has asked if we can do some painting together over the holidays, and with it being so simple to create these pictures, I know she’ll be able to do it, and to produce something that she can be really proud of.
For more information or to buy your own watercolours, brushes and paper visit www.cassart.co.uk.