Flying Clubhouse Watercolors

For the past few years, I've made Flying Clubhouse Watercolors. I was inspired to start crafting paint by a love and fascination of raw pigments, and the desire to create earthy colors that suited my own illustration style.

Flying Watercolors have 4 parts - pigment, binder, humectant, and preservative.

It all starts with raw pigment and a handmade gum Arabic binder. The binder is what holds the paint together. The pigment is mulled by hand on a glass slab into the binder until the two are combined. The combination is poured into the pans or half-pans in layers. It takes multiple layers and a long time to for each layer to cure - sometimes days, sometimes weeks. Some pigments cure faster than others. I've found that yellow iron oxide (PY 42) is one of the faster ones, while lamp black (PBk 6) takes a lot longer. The weather can also affect curing, with humidity adding time and dry weather speeding it up.

There's an important ingredient that keeps the watercolors slightly soft - a humectant. I experimented with both honey and vegetable glycerin, and found that vegetable glycerin gave me the best results. The ratio of pigment, binder, and humectant change for each color, because each pigment requires different amounts of each. There's no one recipe for every color.

Since watercolors are exposed to so much moisture, they need a preservative. Originally, I experimented with clove oil, but when it triggered my migraines I switched to the scentless sodium benzoate. It's been a safe and effective preservative for Flying Clubhouse Watercolors.

Flying Clubhouse Watercolors are:
  • Handmade
  • Lightfast
  • Non-toxic (but please don't ever eat them)
  • Vegan
I don't want anyone to worry about fugitive or poisonous pigments when they're making art. These paints are also almost exclusively inorganic earth pigments. I personally appreciate the long history of these pigments and they give beautiful warm results.

If you want to give Flying Clubhouse Watercolors a try, they are now being sold in micro batches at Nature's Generosity and Community Mercentile and Flying Clubhouse Art on Etsy.

Thanks for reading!