Q & A: What type of paints do you use?

irodori paints

Q & A: What type of paints do you use?

I use a type of watercolor paint called Irodori Antique Japanese Watercolors. They are made in Japan by Holbein.

When I was living in Japan I fell in love with the fantastic contrast of patterns and colors in the traditional Japanese textiles used to make kimonos and yukatas (cotton summer kimonos).  I was looking for a way to paint my own vision of these vivid patterns and came across these watercolors at my local art store in the city of Miyakonojo, Miyazaki, where I was teaching English in an academic high school at the time. I had been using the Holbein watercolor paint set in traditional Western colors for several years at that point and got so excited about this particular Irodori color series as soon as I saw it.

This is the description of the paints on one of my boxes:

“Ancient oriental watercolors are characterized by their delicate hues. Now today’s artist can journey back into time to create with the same timeless palette used by Japanese and Chinese artists 15 centuries ago. Delicate and harmonious, the 48 Irodori colors are created using pure pigment in gum arabic for clean, crisp results that won’t darken or muddy. Highly saturated, they granulate very freely, and are more opaque in the true Asian fashion.”

Sure enough, once I started using this Irodori set in the antique colors, I knew this was the paint for me. That was more than a decade ago and I’m still using the same paints. I’ve had to refill a couple times, but lucky for me Dick Blick Art Supplies carries the series and I can re-order online instead of traveling back to Japan. Although…it would be a wonderful excuse to get to return to the land of the rising sun.

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