Mis?Adventures in Watercolor: Review of Nicholson’s Peerless Watercolors


First, an apology, if the format looks funky–Blogger is fighting me mightily and doing very strange things as I write this post.

I posted briefly about Nicholson’s Peerless Watercolors a few weeks ago meaning to come back after I played with them a bit, to let you know what I found.  The holidays and other reviews intervened but I did get the chance to wet my brush and put these watercolor through their paces.
First, a bit of history.  Nicholson’s Peerless Watercolors are over 122 years old, and they still use the original formula and process to make them.  They are also called Color Film, or paper leaflet paint  and you can see why.  The paint comes on strips of film in a book.  You can wet your brush and take paint directly from the film, or cut off pieces and put them in water.

These watercolors are good for touching up B&W photos, but I can’t find information on their archival qualities, so I’d hesitate before using them on family pictures.  They’d be great for art journaling and mixed media.  

You can buy individual film strips.  I believe there are 61 colors available.  The colors also come in bottles.  Reportedly, the bottled color is more vibrant, but I think the portability of the film strips is what makes the paint so awesome.

After watching this video, Peerless Watercolor Palette, I made myself a palette that would fit in the pocket at the back of my handbook Watercolor journal.
And that is the glory of these paints.  You won’t get more portable than this!  The strips dry quickly, so you can put your palette back in its pocket and go.  However,  I found the paint used up very quickly.  If you intend to paint for any length of time, I’d suggest making up 3 or 4 palettes.  If you make your own palettes, be sure to use a glue or tape  that will stand up to getting wet.  I had problems with my chips coming lose.
I used a water-filled brush for my tests, and did them all my tests in a Handbook Watercolor book.  With all watercolors, brushes and paper make a big difference, so this will hardly be the ultimate test of these paints.
For my first test, I wanted to concentrate on how the paint went down, so I stamped a few things in my watercolor book and painted them in, then did a wash for the background. 
I had a hard time getting a good wash, but suspected my brush was just too small, so I switched to a larger one.  The second wash went down much easier.  I grabbed my Pentel Pocket brush and turned it into a landscape.

And then,  I did a Linda Kemp style negative painting.

Then, at the last minute before writing this, I remembered I wanted to try using the paint directly on rubber stamps.  I made a mess of it, but I was able to tell that I want to try this again when I’m being more careful.  On the watercolor paper, you get a Reiki kind of look. 

The color is brilliant.  It tones down considerably as you add water (most watercolors do) so I don’t think these would be good paints for a large-size wash.  I also got some pilling and I couldn’t tell for sure if it was from the paper or the paints.

Nicholson’s Peerless Paints have some definite drawbacks, but I got 15 colors for $13.95, and I think they are well worth that price.  Their portability (and, yes, I admit it, novelty factor) count for a lot.  The color is brilliant and these will make beautiful cards, and be super-handy for the sketchbook.  I’ll absolutely be going back to pick up some of those individual strips of color.


Other videos:

Peerless Watercolor Altered Art

Techniques with Peerless Watercolor

Peerless Watercolors & rubber Stamping

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