And finally I can post the main event of my watercolour goodies series: my Grandmothers 36 halfpan Schmincke watercolour palette.
I could not narrow down a manufacturing date for these tins, but I did learn that Schmincke is still selling these on their webpage, the product code is still the same, probably all that has changed over the years are the included colours.
Inside I found 34 colours, most of them in halfpans, but not all of them the original Schmincke colours or even in labeled pans. Well, that tells me my Grandmother used this box a fair bit, enough to have used up pans and also to warrant some customisation. In the next picture you can see I swatched them all out and if I found a colour name, number or even brand on the halfpan I also took a note of it.
Reactivating all of these beauties was highly exciting and enjoyable, two came back to life in a very strange way. One of the reds in the top row on the right was really grainy and needed a lot of paint to even come up as a colour, and another one reactivated like a sponge. It expanded (like a sponge) and I could take the paint out of the pan centre, but the rims of the paint inside the pan were also of a spongy texture. You can see which one I am talking about in the next picture, top row, 5th paint (orange) from the left.
In the previous pictures you could see the palette all nice and cleaned up, but before I went to cleaning it with a toothbrush and toothpaste, I took samples off every colour that had been mixed on the palette, the last paints out of this tin to have been used...
I was starting to wonder how I could possibly pay homage to the scope of colour and in a way heritage wealth I had been given, so I decided to make a giant swatch card for this Schmincke palette as well. Also I am planning to be using all of these colours so I do want to get a good idea of what they are capable of...
It did not occur to me how big of a swatch card this would have to be until I had the grid all marked out with 1/2“ squares and ready to be labelled with the paint names insofar as I knew them. (Pay close attention to the mixing area in the tin on the right, I will reference this picture later)
But too late now to back down, so I got started slowly but surely.
Even cleaning out the samples from the mixing trays provided me with what seemed like endless entertainment. For the most part the colours flowed so nicely together and culminated in the most beautiful swirly marbeled effects.
Getting there very, very slowly. This is my progress after about an hour of swatching...
But it was so absolutely worth it. I needed several sittings to complete my colourchart, getting faster towards the finish because there were less and less colours to swatch. To help me keep an overview over which colours I was currently doing, I marked thicker lines between the colours of the rows of halfpans and also around the squares with the original shades.
Remember the mixing trays in the earlier picture? I thought I had it as clean as I could get it, but after hours of swatching and mixing paint samples in the same spots...
So that was my gift of my Grandmothers watercolours, I hope you all enjoyed the report of my swatching process, most likely it is much more exciting to do it yourself than to just read about it.
As a little treat I wanted to share a last little surprise here. In my Grandmothers collection were several halfpans with not enough of paint in them to hold on to them and sometimes there also was no colourname. What made 6 of them special however were the pans themselves: they are made from glazed white porcelain, with the name Günther Wagner stamped into the bottom. He was the head chemist, and later owner, of Pelikan. He gave the company its logo with the Pelikan and her chicks that helped me date one of the tins I showed you in my first post. I have not found references anywhere online as to when porcelain halfpans would have last been used or sold by Pelikan, but I can tell they are old and I will definitely cherish (and of course use) them ;-)