Watercolour

Some Fun With Colour

I will begin this post with my custom built Winsor & Newton Professional watercolour paint box:

My W & N Paint Box - NB
My custom built Winsor & Newton professional paint box

This paint box started life as a 45 half pan set of Winsor & Newton Cotman watercolours. Over many months I have gradually replaced the Cotman pans with Winsor & Newton Professional pans of my choice. The colours in this paint box have also been carefully selected to complement the colours in my Daniel Smith custom built paint box. The two paint boxes will constitute my sketching palette when I’m travelling.

There are 32 colours in my Winsor & Newton paint box…

Colours in my W & N Paint Box - NB

Going from left to right and starting with the top row, the colours are:

Naples Yellow, Winsor Lemon, Indian Yellow, Winsor Red, Permanent Rose, Rose Madder Genuine, Ultramarine Violet, Winsor Violet, Indanthrene Blue, Ultramarine Blue (Green Shade), Winsor Blue (Green Shade), Winsor Blue (Red Shade), Cobalt Blue, Cerulean Blue, Manganese Blue Hue, Cobalt Turquoise, Cobalt Turquoise Light, Phthalo Turquoise, Winsor Green Blue Shade, olive Green, Permanent Sap Green, Green Gold, Yellow Ochre, New Gamboge, Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna, Raw Umber, Burnt Umber, Van Dyke Brown, Paynes Grey, Lamp Black and Neutral Tint.

There are also 32 colours in my Daniel Smith paint box too. So that makes a total of 64 easily transportable colours at my disposal when I’m travelling. Happy days!

I picked 3 primary colours from my W & N paint box – Permanent Rose, Winsor Lemon and Winsor Blue (Red Shade) – and created a colour chart to see how many different colours I could create from them. I started with a sheet of A4 Khadi paper and drew with pencil as many boxes as I could fit on the page. When I finished I had 83 boxes, including 3 for my original primaries. That’s a lot of boxes – could I fill them all… ?? A tiny amount of doubt crept in…

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W & N primary colour chart : Permanent Rose, Winsor Lemon, Winsor Blue (Red Shade)

First lesson learnt is to never doubt myself – of course I can fill all those boxes! I’ve done a few of these charts now and it never ceases to amaze me how many different colours/shades you can create from just a red, a yellow and a blue (and water of course)! It’s a great way to learn about colour theory and colour mixing. I highly recommend giving it a go, it doesn’t matter what red yellow or blue you use and it’s FUN !!

My next colour experiment involved Daniel Smith’s Monte Amiata Natural Sienna (MANS). I mixed it with a variety of different blues:

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Mixing Daniel Smith Monte Amiata Natural Sienna with Blues

Firstly I love the lovely soft greys you get when you mix MANS with French Ultramarine. When mixed with other blues you get some lovely earthy greens and wonderful soft turquoise greens.

My final colour experiment for this post is about mixing greys. The ready made grey colours available to the watercolourist are quite limited so learning to mix them is pretty much essential:

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12 Shades Of Grey

Above are 12 shades of grey – 3 are ready made and 9 are mixed. Just in case you can’t read my handwriting, the grey shades are:

Top Row: Raw Sienna + Ultramarine Blue (W & N), Burnt Sienna + Ultramarine Blue (W & N), Paynes Grey (W & N), Paynes Blue Gray (DS), Neutral Tint (W & N)

Bottom Row: Permanent Alizarin Crimson + Viridian (DS), French Ultramarine + Yellow Ochre (DS), Carbazole Violet +Yellow Ochre +Viridian (DS), Raw Umber + Ultramarine Blue (W & N), Indigo + Yellow Ochre (DS), Winsor Green (BS) + Winsor Red (W & N).

Time spent playing with colour is always time well spent – there’s so much to be learnt from it. When I don’t feel like painting something “serious” or specific, some colour experiments are just the right thing and they are so much fun to do!

Watercolour

My Daniel Smith Paint Box

My DS Paint Box - NB

This is my custom built Daniel Smith paint box! I bought the watercolour tin with 24 empty full pans. When it arrived I noticed that I had space to fit in 8 half pans as well, so my DS paint box has 32 colours in it in total. Filling the pans is a slightly fiddly process and takes time – it took me several weeks! I filled the pans in layers and it took about 3 – 4 layers to fill each pan. You have to leave each layer to dry before adding the next – this can take several days, sometimes up to a week! But it was all worth the time and effort.

I now have a lovely set of Daniel Smith paints that is easily portable when I travel. The paints re-wet very easily and I’ve used my DS paint box quite a lot already as you may have noticed from the picture above…

As it’s not obvious what all the colours are from the above photo, I did a quick colour chart:

Colours in my DS Paint Box - NB

From left to right, the colours are as follows:

Top Row: Buff Titanium, Naples Yellow, Cadmium Yellow Medium, Hansa Yellow Medium, Permanent Orange, Cadmium Red Medium, Perylene Red, Quinacridone Coral

2nd Row: Permanent Alizarin Crimson, Quinacridone Rose, Cobalt Violet Deep, Carbazole Violet, Lavender, Indigo, Prussian Blue, Cerulean Blue Chromium

3rd Row: Phthalo Blue Green Shade, French Ultramarine, Manganese Blue Hue, Cobalt Teal Blue, Ultramarine Turquoise, Phthalo Green Blue Shade, Viridian, Prussian Green

4th Row: Cascade Green, Rich Green Gold, Raw Sienna Light, Yellow Ochre, Quinacridone Gold, Quinacridone Burnt Scarlet, Sepia, Paynes Blue Gray

This is quite a comprehensive set of colours and suits my needs. I can pretty much mix all the colours I should need whilst sketching on my travels. You’ll notice there are quite a few blues and greens – they are my ocean colours – I have to have them! I love the ocean and all things related. I love sketching “seaside stuff” when I’m on my travels…

Watercolour

The Fun Way To Learn About Colour

The fun way to learn about colour (colour theory) is to just have fun with it; swoosh different colours across the paper, add lots of water and see what you end up with…

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Daniel Smith’s Cascade Green

Above is just Daniel Smith’s Cascade Green on it’s own in all it’s glory! Notice how the colours separate and granulate with the addition of lots of water. What a stunningly beautiful colour…

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Daniel Smith’s Ultramarine Turquoise

Ultramarine Turquoise does a similar thing – it separates and granulates beautifully with the addition of water. You can see some of the Ultramarine Blue has separated out in places…

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Daniel Smith’s Paynes Blue Gray & Raw Sienna Light

Above is Paynes Blue Gray and Raw Sienna Light. I like these two colours together…

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Daniel Smith’s Indigo & Permanent Orange

Indigo and Permanent Orange contrast beautifully together and mingle quite happily together on the paper…

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Daniel Smith’s Carbazole Violet and Monte Amiata Natural Sienna

I adore the Carbazole Violet and Monte Amiata Natural Sienna together – they contrast beautifully. I think of pansies when I see these colours together…

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Daniel Smith’s Naples Yellow & Rhodonite Genuine

Naples Yellow and Rhodonite Genuine are stunning together – I love them both. They are beautiful for floral compositions – I think of roses when I see these colours together…

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Daniel Smith’s Cadmium Yellow Medium, Cascade Green & Phthalo Green (BS)

I had no idea what would happen when I mixed the Cascade Green with the Cadmium Yellow on the paper but I like the result. I added a touch of Phthalo Green Blue Shade down the left side and it mixed with the other colours beauifully. These colours work well together…

I had so much fun creating these colour samples. I will keep them for future reference and have written on the back of each what colours I used. I’m going to build up a collection of them.

I would like to state here and now that in all of the colour samples here I LOVE the colour runs, cauliflowers and blooms !! For me they’re part what make watercolour such a stunningly beautiful and unique medium to work with. Also I’m a girl hopelessly in love with colour and texture, I always have been and always will be; and Daniel Smith watercolour paints do not disappoint on both counts… !

Why not have some fun with colour this week…

Watercolour

New Colours & Rosebud Sketch

Introducing new colours in my watercolour collection:

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On the left of the chart the colours, from the top, are: Cadmium Yellow Medium, Rhodonite Genuine, Cobalt Violet Deep and Viridian. All from Daniel Smith.

I already have a Winsor & Newton Cadmium Yellow, so why do I need a Daniel Smith one too? I’ll tell you: it’s because the properties of the different brands are different; Daniel Smith Cadmium Yellow Medium is semi-transparent, whereas the Winsor & Newton Cadmium Yellow is opaque.  The DS semi-transparent Cadmium Yellow is going to allow more light to reflect off the surface of the paper resulting in a more luminous painting, whereas the W & N opaque will block more light resulting in a more solid colour. My personal preference is the DS semi-transparent Cadmium Yellow as I’m always irresistibly drawn to the light. But the bottom line I guess is that I need to know the properties of all of my watercolour paints ie. whether they are transparent, semi-transparent, semi-opaque or opaque, and understand how that is going to affect my painting. It may be on occasion that an opaque watercolour paint might be a more suitable option, depending on what I’m painting…

Anyway back to my new colours ~ I love the Rhodonite Genuine, it’s a gorgeous colour! It ranges from a rich dark pink to the most delicate palest of pinks and it also mixes on paper with the DS Cadmium Yellow beautifully to create a wonderful vibrant sunset orange…

The Cobalt Violet Deep and the Viridian have a beautiful granulation. The paler colour mixes on the right of my chart are as follows (from the top):  Viridian, Cobalt Violet Deep + lots of water; Viridian, Cadmium Yellow Medium + lots of water; Rhodonite Genuine, Viridian + lots of water; Rhodonite Genuine, Viridian, Cadmium Yellow + lots of water.  So whilst all my new colours are quite rich strong colours, they will make the most beautiful delicate pale washes with the addition of lots of water…

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Rosebud In A Vase

A small watercolour sketch of a little pink rose bud in a vase ~ just simple watercolour pactice. The pink for the rose bud is Daniel Smith Rhodonite Genuine…

Why not go and have some fun with some new colours… ?

#WorldWatercolorMonth

Watercolour

Exploring Colour

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Paint Your Dreams

My earliest childhood memories of playing with colours was with Carolyn sitting at our kitchen table, probably around 1970 give or take a bit (I’m showing my age!!). We would have our paints and colouring books out and we were very happy. Our paintboxes were very basic – we had a red, a blue, a yellow and a green! And when our paintboxes got a bit posher we also had a white and a black!! So if we wanted an orange, a purple or a brown we had to mix it! We didn’t worry about getting it wrong or making a mess – it was fun, we loved it. Little did we know that such innocent childhood fun would set us up for artistic adventures later in life…

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The only colours Carolyn & I had in our childhood paintboxes ~ a red, a yellow a blue & a green…

Why am I mentioning this? Well, in this post I’m, in effect, going back to my childhood days and I’m starting off with just the basics – a red, a yellow and a blue. And with just those colours to hand I’m going start exploring… and I’m not going to worry about getting it wrong or making a mess… and it’s going to be fun

DS Primary Colours - NB

These are my starting colours – the Daniel Smith Primary Colour Set. One red, one yellow and one blue. No more. The primary colours. So with paints, palette, paper, water and brush in front of me I’m ready to have some fun mixing colour…

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Mixing Daniel Smith Primary Colours

This is the result of a fun evening playing with Daniel Smith primary colours. At the very top of the chart you will see the primary colours on their own ~ all individually gorgeous colours in their own right. At the bottom of the chart you will notice a black colour – this was created by mixing small amounts of each undiluted colour together in my palette. Not all combinations of red, yellow and blue will reach black. But these did, although it did take me 3 attempts to get the ratio of pigments right! Now all the squares in between – 48 of them in total – are all the different colours I created by just mixing together different amounts of the three primary colours. Please view the chart larger by clicking on it as you will get a more detailed view of the lovely colours. So in total on this sheet of paper (19.5 cm x 28 cm) there are 52 colours! I could have created more but I ran out of space…

Now, why don’t I try some different reds, yellows and blues?

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Triangular Colour Wheel 1 ~ Cadmium Red, Cadmium Yellow & Prussian Blue

In my triangular colour wheel above I’ve used Cadmium Red, Cadmium Yellow and Prussian Blue. Notice that the Cadmium Red when mixed with a little Prussian Blue makes a rich brown colour and adding more Prussian Blue to the mix makes black – no purple… !

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Triangular Colour Wheel 2 ~ Permanent Rose, Cerulean Blue & Naples Yellow

In this triangular colour wheel I’ve used Permanent Rose, Naples Yellow and Cerulean Blue. Notice how adding just a little Permanent Rose to the Cerulean Blue makes a gorgeous dark lavender blue.  And Cerulean Blue mixed with a little Naples Yellow makes a lovely pale turquoise and adding more Naples Yellow makes a lovely soft sage green.

These are just two examples but the different combinations of red, yellow and blue you could mix are almost endless. I will continue my colour exploration in another post. There’s a huge exciting world of colour out there to explore and this is only the beginning… !

Watercolour

Hotting Things Up

These are some new hot summer colours I’ve just added to my palette…

Hot Summer Colours - NB
Hot Summer Colours

Daniel Smith’s Quinacridone Coral, Hansa Yellow Medium and Quinacridone Rose. In their undiluted form they are very rich strong pigments but they ditlute to the most beautiful delicate colours…

The Colours Of Summer - NB

At the top we have Quinacridone Coral mixing with the Hansa Yellow Medium; notice the lovely tangerine orange they create together. Next, bottom left, we have Quinacridone Rose mixed with Hansa Yellow Medium and notice the orange is much softer. Bottom right we have Quinacridone Rose mixed with Naples Yellow – the Naples Yellow has softened the pink to a more dusty shade of pink. I’m looking forward to working more with these colours…

I’ve also been playing with some Buff Titanium too and created some lovely colour mixes…

Mixing Buff - Warm - NB

Here I’ve mixed  Daniel Smith’s Buff Titanium with some colours from the warm side of the colour wheel. Top left corner we have Buff Titanium on it’s own. Next to it we have it mixed with Cadmium Red. Line 2: we have Alizarin Crimson with Buff Titanium; Line 3: we have Permanent Rose mixed with Buff Titanium; Line 4: we have Cadmium Orange mixed with Buff Titanium; Line 5: we have New Gamboge with Buff Titanium; Line 6: we have Indian Yellow mixed with Buff Titanium. I love the pale delicate pinks and yellows on the right half of the chart…

Mixing Buff - Cool - NB

Here we have some blues and greens mixed with Buff Titanium – colours from the cool half of the colour wheel. Line 1: Prussian Blue mixed with Buff Titanium; Line 2: Sap Green (left) and Hookers Green (right) mixed with Buff Titanium; Line 3: Ultramarine mixed with Buff Titanium; Line 4: Indanthrene Blue mixed with Buff Titanium; Line 5: Phthalo Blue (left) and Cobalt Turquoise (right) mixed with Buff Titanium; Line 6: Phthalo Blue mixed with Buff Titanium.

I love how the Buff Titanium turns the blues into beautiful soft blues and greys. I also like how it has softened and lightened the greens. Something to bear in mind when mixing with Buff Titanium is that it is a granulating colour, only very mildly, but this may create a slight textural effect when mixed with some colours. That’s not a bad thing at all as I love texture.

I love playing with colour – it’s fun but it also teaches me a lot about how colours react together. And I nearly always get some nice surprises – sometimes the paints do wonderful things you don’t expect…

Just as a final note has anyone tried the Daniel Smith Watercolour Sticks? If so, what is your experience with them? Do you like them and would you recommend them? Please let me know what you think. I’m contemplating buying some to use in a sketchbook when I’m travelling but I would be most interested to know of your personal experience with them.

More colour fun in the pipeline this week…

Erosion Bundles

Art & Beauty In Decay

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On August 22nd 2016 I made an erosion bundle pictured above. It’s a stack of paper and some fabric sandwiched together with all sorts of things – random blobs of paint, tea bags, rusty objects, tumeric etc. I tied it with string and then placed it in the garden to let the elements work their magic on it. On Sunday (27th November 2016), 3 months later, I decided to see how it was doing. It was looking rather worse for wear! So I decided to bring it indoors and open it up! Would you like to see what I ended up with… ??

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Those of you who have done this before will know that you have to peel the damp papers apart very carefully. When my fragile papers came apart I found I had lots of beautifully  stained, aged papers and fabric with wonderful colours and textures…

This is a more detailed view of the above picture:

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Can you imagine how these lovely colours and textures will look in some mixed media art or collage?

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Next is the other side of the above piece of paper:

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With erosion bundles you never know what you’re going to end up with so I was over the moon to see such wonderful colours, textures and stains on my papers…

This is a more detailed view of the above picture:

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This piece of indigo denim  became totally fused together with the papers that surrounded it – they are totally inseparable! Next is a picture of  the other side:

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The rust apparently seeped through all the layers of paper and fabric, along with tea stains from the tea bags…

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What awesome textures – the hint of green colour in the above picture is where some turmeric mixed with some turquoise paint…

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Three months in my garden and these papers look like they could be hundreds of years old! Some lace has become beautifully antique looking…

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Paint stained and rusted indigo denim:

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The rusty items in my erosion bundle became even more rusty and were covered in paper and paint…

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These delicate papers will be now stored very carefully somewhere nice and flat till I get to use them in some art. The fabrics will go into my fabric stash ready for use and the rusty items will get reused again in another project! You can click on any of the images to view them larger.

I hope you’ve enjoyed viewing my erosion bundle results. I really enjoy doing erosion bundles and I’ve already got some good  ideas for my next erosion bundle…

Collage

Seaside Collage Beginnings 2

More pics of my collage papers on my desk, ready to create some seaside inspired collages with. I love these colours ~ blue, indigo, turquoise, green, yellow ochre with hints of orange, mauve and neutral tones…

I have an A3 sheet of acrylic paper which I have covered with Gesso and is currently drying. When dry I will cut it up into 6 smaller pieces and make 6 small collages which will hopefully go in my collaged sketchbook.

Sketchbooks · Watercolour

Colour Study

I’ve started to create a series of colour charts in a sketch book I’ve set aside especially for the purpose. I’ve done this purely for my own personal benefit so that I have a reference guide I can refer to when creating art. They help me decide what colours and shades I want to use when planning my work and they give me an idea of which colours I need to mix get get the desired results.

Colour Chart 1 - RN

I’ve done about 12 of these charts so far and I have made myself use colours that I don’t generally tend to go for as well as my favourites – so I’ve pushed myself out of my comfort zone a little. I’ve found it a really interesting exercise – some colours have reacted quite differently to how I expected. I’ve used just watercolours so far but in time I will move on to some acrylics as well.

I find it inspiring to see the variety of colours all on one page – it makes it easy to see what colours work well together. It’s inspired me to use different colours, tints and shades I might not otherwise have considered.

Most of all though, creating these colour charts has been GREAT FUN!! I find it enormously relaxing and therapeutic!