Thursday, 15 September 2016

Review of Mont Marte Products and Panda Watercolor

It’s not always that I get to see myself sitting down in front of my laptop and thinking of how I should begin my review for a newly acquired sets of art tools. After a few sips from a cup of an already cold Lipton tea, I am feeling more relaxed and sleepy and the prospect of coming up with a catchy introduction is slowly slipping away from me.

Luckily, the presence of a few *kamikaze mosquitoes is keeping me awake.

*Kamikaze mosquitoes - Mosquitoes that bite and die after a good slapping.
Last week when I went to Theodist here in Port Moresby, I saw this product sitting on a shelf along with other products that belong to the same category. I originally thought of this as some kind of unnecessary invention. With the help of a little creativity, I might be able to build a similar DIY brush washer made of, uhm, an empty bowl and a few clothes peg.

I think that should be easy.

But not quite so. This brush washer from Mont Marte is not as simple as it looks. We can see in the middle that it has a screen mesh with a holder. I suppose that this is to filter out sediments and keep them in the bottom of the container once you scrape off your brush on it.

There’s a spring coil at the top. Its purpose is to hold different sizes of brush handles and it can really hold any size. Brushes with a really thin handle can also fit in if you try and place it at a correct angle (slightly angled to follow the spring direction). 

Oh yes, the whole thing is made of stainless steel. I shouldn't be worrying about corrosion any time soon.

Another nice art tool that I’ve picked up from Theodist is this set of Mont Marte Calligraphy Brush. In some Japanese or Chinese movies that I've watched before, I remember to have seen a scene of someone painting Chinese fonts on more than one occasion. These brushes are very similar to what were used in those movies. If there's one peculiarity that makes this brush stand out from the rest, it would be its ideal shape that allows for a dynamic and round stroke.This is probably the reason why it is also being referred to as "Chinese brush."

The box is elegantly styled with silk cover to present itself with a classy look.

There are 8 different sizes of brushes with holes to which those two handles can be screwed.  I bought this for the purpose of learning how to paint with watercolours. Two years ago, I indulged myself in art and started teaching myself how to draw anime-inspired portraits with pencils which had later progressed to learning how to do colour pencil portraits. After getting the hang of it, I thought that maybe I should also learn watercolour painting.

And viola, here’s a noob “me” buying these brushes.

These brushes go well together with the brush holder/washer. As you can see on the right side, there’s also a thin brush that I intend to use for painting small details. All these brushes are unused yet at the time of this shot.

The spring on top is designed with having two things in mind: to keep the brush tip in the water and to keep it off the water to dry. I like that with this, I can easily transition between the two options. I prefer to do the latter after cleaning the brushes and leave them suspended there for the next use. When the brush is dangling by the spring, the water droplet forming down on its tip is also helping it to retain its pointy shape.

We can think of this picture as a stalactite hanging in a cave. They occurred with pointed tips due to the precipitation of minerals caused by water dripping through the cave ceiling. This action is responsible for shaping stalactites and stalagmites over time.

Here’s a Panda watercolour brand. I bought this from Tango Department Store. Judging from its very affordable price, this brand is meant for student use I guess.  

Luckily, I consider myself as a wishful watercolour art student and this is just enough for me.

This particular watercolour brand is surprisingly easy to mix and use. The colours dissolve well in water and like how any other watercolour should behave when diluted, the intensity of colour is affected by how much water droplets you apply on it. You can see in these two plastic palettes how I have come up with new colours from combining stock colours.

And here’s what I came up with from using these three different art tools. Why bird, you ask? It’s because this is what I think, one of the easiest thing to paint. I have once shown my first watercolour landscape painting to a professional painter. Although I know that it wasn’t a good one, he pointed out my flaws in a suggestive but polite way. He told me to paint small or still objects first. That way, he said that I could slowly but progressively learn how to see and render things effectively. He also said that each object could possess a hundred colour and I must first learn how to compose shadows. 

 Pretty good suggestions, I must say.


  1. Nice review. What paper do you use?

    1. Hi!

      The brand of this paper is "Illustration Book" size A4. I bought this from Theodist in Port Moresby too. This is much better and sturdier for watercolor compared to a Vellum Board.

  2. Hi Glen! Are there any other watercolor brands in PNG?

    1. Hi,

      Yes. In Theodist (Port Moresby Branch), they have Mont Marte Watercolors and some other brands too.


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