Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Review :: Aquarelle Monet

Aquarelle Monet is a unique watercolor art kit (available at Timberdoodle), based on the works of Claude Monet.
The Aquarelle Monet kit contains:
- 5 liquid watercolors (in squeezable dropper vials, similar to what you would find for food coloring)
- a mixing palette (with 20 wells)
- a double-sided paintbrush (size 1 & 2)
- a water pipette
- a small practice piece of watercolor paper
- 3 watercolor paper canvases (approx. 9 11/16" x 11 3/4" each)
- an instruction booklet with paint mixing chart

The instruction booklet has some great information in it, but the only reason it is a booklet is because it is printed in so many languages. Once you find the language you are looking for, it is really only a standard page size of information. Even in that small space, though, it touches on color theory and painting techniques such as: primary colors, color blends/secondary colors, tertiary colors, cool and warm colors, complementary colors, lightening colors, darkening colors, mixing colors, glazing, washes, graded wash, wet-on-wet, lifting off, along with some useful tips. The color mixing chart on the back of the booklet is also very useful.

What the instruction booklet (and the kit in general) does not have is specific instruction to recreate Monet's paintings. Once the basic color theory and paint techniques are discussed, you are on your own to choose colors and test your skills. And if you want to see the 3 original paintings in anything bigger than a 1" x 1 1/2" tile on the edge of the box, you will either need to just look at the portions of the paintings shown on the front of the box or look them up in a book or on the internet. I found it odd that there weren't prints of the original paintings inside the box or instruction booklet. 

The watercolor paper canvases are where the Aquarelle Monet kit really comes alive. Each paper is printed with a resist image - the resist areas will show through the watercolor as white on your finished project. Each watercolor canvas has an approx. 1/4" portion at the bottom which is intended to be trimmed off, making the finished works approx. 9 7/16" x 11 3/4" each.

I let each of my three school-aged children have a turn to sit down with the kit, read the instruction booklet, and paint. 
Here are the results:
(Age 7)
(Age 10)
(Age 12)

As one of my kids was reading the booklet and testing out some paint mixing techniques, this is what I overheard:
"I can't believe I'm adding magenta to something to make green." 
Followed by...
"It made green."

Definitely a learning experience.
With all three paintings completed, we are now left with nearly empty bottles of yellow and blue watercolor, and about 1/3-1/2 of the liquid watercolor remaining in the three other bottles. 

All in all, I found that the Aquarelle Monet kit was a great experience - educational, engaging, and we are left with some great art pieces that are ready for display. One thing I did find that we needed to add to the kit is a larger paintbrush. The included paintbrush is great for detail (both tips are very fine), but it would take incredible focus to use those tiny tips to fill in the large background areas.

And, of course, one of the best parts of this kit was hearing one of my kids say of their painting:
"I'm really proud of myself!"

I'm proud of them, too.
FTC Declaration: Timberdoodle has provided me with a complimentary copy of this product. This does not change the fact that I will give my honest opinion in my reviews.

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