Two water containers?

två vattenbehållare

I recently read an article in which the author praised his recent discovery of using two water tanks. One to rinse the brush in and the other to have access to clean water. This, the author claimed, should make a gigantic difference to the colors in the paintings: much cleaner and clearer colors. I, who have always only used one water tank, which is then used both to rinse the brushes and to take “clean” water from, raised an eyebrow after this revelation.

As I see it, all the colors are mixed anyway. I almost never paint with pure and unmixed paint. The vast majority of colors to be used in a painting are more or less unclear anyway. And in my case, it is the same three or four colors that should still be mixed on the paper. So why this, in my opinion, excessive interest in pure colors?

Sometimes a student asks me after a half painting: “shall I change water” then I answer, “if you want, but it makes no difference”.

I am aware that it is “standard” to have two water tanks. Winsor & Newton even had a water tank several years ago with a wall that divided the cup into two halves, one to rinse in and one to take clean water from. This little, completely unnecessary thing, they sold for too much money. But if you want to be stylish and use a water tank with a W&N logo, then it’s probably worth the money.

Here I paint with dirty and clean water respectively. will it make a big difference?

I did a very unscientific test of clean versus dirty water to find out if it really makes such a big difference as some claim.

For this little experiment, I saved rinsing water from a previous painting I did and compared two different colors mixed with water from the different containers.

I used a cold yellow and a red because these are the colors that are most affected by dirty water, at least green rinse water as in this case. I also used fairly bright colors (lots of water) to make the difference clearer.

Målningen som orsakade det smutsiga sköljvattnet.
The painting that caused the dirty rinsing water.
Rent och smutsigt vatten
The top row is mixed with dirty water, the bottom with clean. Do you think the difference is big?

Sure, you can perhaps see an insignificant difference in the colors, especially in the light yellow, mixed with clean and dirty water respectively. The question is whether the difference is so great that it is revolutionary to use two water tanks. The difference is insignificant and I still almost never use colors without mixing them with another color. All the colors you try to reproduce in a painting are more or less unclear in any case. So I’m going to continue with my dirty rinsing water.

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