Saturday, April 12, 2008

...shitters...


so, over the past year or so an unstoppable reality has been closing down on me. i am about to run out of my supply of luma and i am not quite sure what i am going to do about it.

luma concentrated watercolor has been my primary medium over the past four or five years. i found it during the days of 'little pea' and my search for the ultimate pea green and found that it was the perfect answer to all of my art making needs...concentrated enough to work as an ink, stable enough to be watered down and used as everyday watercolors. it also performed really well on rives bfk...that bitch of a printing paper i love to torture myself with by drawing on it.

about three years ago i found out that daler rowney who produced luma was discontinuing the line. panic set in and my hoarding began. first i cleared out the risd store...students drool, alumni rule...then the local art supply stores and finally i scoured the web. i even managed to eke out the last two bottles of coffee brown from an art supply store in portland, oregon. these were desperate times...but i was thinking ahead and my stash allowed me to live in a state of denial for awhile.

but here i am, years later and i am hesitant to count how many bottles i have left. i am too afraid to look.

over the past year i have been keeping my eye out for a suitable replacement. over the past few months my active concern has transformed into full fledged 'okay, what the hell are we going to do?' it seems as if concentrated watercolors are a dying breed. there are only two companies that produce them anymore: dr. ph martin and pebeo.

dr. ph martin's radient concentrated watercolors are an automatic no go. the colors are too concentrated...saying 'too concentrated' reminds me of a time when my brother and i cooked ourselves a vegetarian dinner at my sister's house for christmas and it was proclaimed 'too flavorful' by my brother in law.

so, yes, they are too concentrated and by that i mean when i have watered them down they are somewhat unstable when they dry...they get all uneven and weird. how's that for a savvy description? they are also too bright for my needs...painfully bright. i have seen other artists use them in their work and they are awesome at it. i end up feeling overwhelmed.

what truly seals the doctor's fate is that the radiant series aren't lightfast. their primary use is for reproduction work. which kills me. what's the point? lemon juice on paper is more permanent. my only hope with the doctor is a second series called synchromatic. it is primarily used for photos and film. i am crossing my fingers.

as for pebeo i can't find anyone who sells the colorex inks in the united states. the lie that is pearl art supply (seriously, we are on the outs. i am about to write them a break up letter) says they carry them but whenever i order them they are out of stock. i have come to realize that 'out of stock' for pearl paints means 'no longer carrying' since the last time i looked the list of 60+ colors has dwindled down to one lonely bottle of purple. i contacted pebeo via a british art supplier who is now referring me to their german supplier since they don't ship to the u.s. it's pretty ridiculously complicated. for some reason, however, i have a gut feeling that pebeo is going to be the answer to my problems...so in the end it might all be worth it.

until then i have all sorts of varieties of inks slowly making their way across the country to me. i spend a lot of my time in art supply stores staring at the ink section and pulling at my bottom lip, deep in concentration, trying to figure it all out.

20 comments:

Esti said...

I hope you are lucky and find the inks you are lookin for, so we can still enjoy your wondeful art. :)

sara T said...

you sound like gus when he is trying to hunt down some spiffy kind of glue or varnish across the seas...

jen corace said...

gus and i should form a club...or rather a support group. it's an interesting mix of a holy grail-esque quest and anxiety. i love it, i hate it but mostly i just want it to work out.

geo said...

hope you find that special something,you know what they say, it always finds you when you are not looking for it :)

cathy peng said...

hi,
i love your work and just found your blog. sorry to hear that your favourite medium is being discontinued...
i just did an online search for the pebeo colorex inks and if the shipping rates from canada are any better than from europe, you can find them here:
http://www.deserres.ca and typing "pebeo" into the search box.

jen corace said...

cathy! you are a life saver...it's funny i didn't come across this site in my own search. you must have more interweb skills than me. anyhow, i have an order coming my way, i will let you know how it goes.

emily said...

I like combining the title of this post with your new banner. Shitters. You can hear her say it.

cathy peng said...

you're welcome, jen. glad to have helped you. the site is actually for a store here in toronto that i shop at occasionally, so i usually do an online search for stuff before i go in.

Anonymous said...

I've been searching for Luma inks as well...I still have a few bottles left from art school days back in the 80's. I can't believe they discontinued the line. From my experience...nothing compares to them...no other inks are as luminous. It's a major drag.........

Rusty said...

Hi, glad to find that you have used the Luma watercolor for a while. I bought several colors about six months ago. I wanted to get a few more of my favorite colors and of course, they don't make them any more. I asked why and the sales girl said that they faded quickly. Like you I love the color but was afraid to use them in the paintings to sell for fear of that happening. So you haven't had that problem?

Anonymous said...

Luma used to make a "Permanent concentrated watercolor" that did fade. The same thing labeled without "Permanent" faded very rapidly.

I'm still looking for them, as well.

jen corace said...

i haven't had a problem with fading. i have a few pieces that i have kept for myself and they look the same as the day that i painted them. i think it's important to handle works on paper properly...not hanging them in direct, intense sunlight, uv protective glass. but yeah, haven't had any issues with them...which is why i am such a freak for them.

Anna Lloyd said...

I'm sorry to hear your ink woes. It's funny how artists get attached to stuff, I know the feeling.

fanny said...

hi Jen,
this is the sort of situations I hate; and am actually undergoing with polaroid film - not discontinued yet, but I know those days will be gone soon.

anyway, I was wondering if you'd be interested in me buying a couple of pebeo bottles and shipping them to you?
iI realise you wrote this post a couple of months ago, but well...

xx fanny

bob said...

hi there,
just read your entry and i googled "concentrated watercolours" in Dutch - hey, it sounds pretty serious, so why not, right? - and there is a company in holland that sells sth like that. since everyone in holland speaks/reads English, feel free to drop them an email and find out if they can help you. here's their contact:
lascaux colours @ http://www.lascaux.nl/lascaux/?webpage=producten&page=1
Bart Wanrooy Agenturen
E-mail bart@wanrooy.nl
hope they can help you out, caus i do at some point want to own a painting of yours - so far i have two prints from Art Star....;-)
good luck,
robert

bob said...

the link i just gave is just in dutch, but here's one that is also in english....probably better;-)
http://www.lascaux.ch/en/index.php#
cheers,
robert

Melissa Manley said...

Okay seriously, what are we Luma addicts going to do!? I came out of my art supply cave that I evidently been in and was intending to just simply order some more Lumas as mine have dwindled. The set was a gift many years ago... and what do I find...other than I have been living in lalaland...NO MORE LUMA!?
Can't we band together? Can't we wave torches and pitchforks and get something done???!

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I have been trying to find pebeo colorex in Canada for years. It is WONDERFUL stuff. intense colour when you need it - and lightens up beautifully. I have used it to great effect on bristol, plain bond paper, and watercolour paper. It is worth importing - as my small 45ml bottles lasted me almost 20 years of pretty constant use. Good luck to both of us!

Jenny Lee Fowler said...

Just discovered these and I am heartbroken that they are all gone. Any chance that you've found a decent stand-in and are willing to share your secret?