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…

Winsor & Newton Primary Colours - nb
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:

DS MANS With Blues - NB
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:

Twelve Shades Of Grey - NB
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

Daniel Smith Watercolour Pairs

DS Colour Combinations - NB
Daniel Smith Watercolour Pairs

I indulged in a little colour play very early this morning before it got too hot. Here are 14 pairs of colours I’ve put together on a page in my khadi paper sketchbook. The colours I’ve used are:

Left Column:    (from the top)

Indigo + Permanent Orange, Cerulean Blue Chromium + Naples Yellow, Prussian Blue + Ultramarine Turquoise, Permanent Orange + Phthalo Blue Green Shade (GS), French Ultramarine + Yellow Ochre, Rhodonite Genuine + Cadmium Yellow Medium & Quinacridone Coral + Quinacridone Gold

Right Column     (from the top)

Paynes Blue Gray + Raw Sienna Light, Phthalo Blue GS + Cobalt Teal Blue, Carbazole Violet + Indigo, Buff Titanium + Potters Pink, Cobalt Teal Blue + Buff Titanium, Quinacridone Gold + Ultramarine Turquoise & Viridian + Phthalo Blue GS

All paints used were by Daniel Smith…

The colours in each pair look lovely together. And as far as colour combinations go, I’ve barely scratched the surface. I haven’t consulted a colour wheel for this exercise and there are no rules. I’ve simply used my own judgement as to what colours I feel look good together in pairs. Many of the colour pairs I tried out first on a piece of scrap paper before painting them in my sketchbook.

I love all these pairs of colours but I do have some favourites… ! For example I especially love the Cerulean Blue Chromium + Naples yellow together. Another favourite is the Permanent Orange + Phthalo Blue GS. Also  favourites are the Quinacridone Gold + Ultramarine Turquoise and Quinacridone Coral + Quinacridone Gold….

This is such a fun way for me to expand my knowledge of colours, pigments and and how they react with each other on paper. And it’s also a wonderful way to work out which colours I personally like or don’t like together. I will do some more colour charts like this with different colour pairs – I have lots of colours I haven’t tried yet…

It is worth clicking on the image to view it larger.  You can also take this exercise a step further and put different sets of pairs together to make a foursome; for example why not put the ‘Permanent Orange +Phthalo Blue GS’ pair with the ‘Buff Titanium + Cobalt Teal Blue’ pair – that would make a lovely foursome. Or I could put the ‘Carbazole Violet + Indigo’ pair with the ‘Prussian Blue + Ultramarine Turquoise’ pair – that would be a gorgeous foursome. You get the idea…

Building up a collection of colour charts like this is a lovely way of seeing at a glance which colours could work for you and which do not. So why not get all your colours out and start pairing them up on a large sheet of paper – you may get some lovely colourful surprises…

WorldWatercolorMonth

Watercolour

Exploring Colour

Paint Your Dreams - NB
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…

Paintbox Colours - NB
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…

DS Primary Colour Char - NB
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?

Triangular Colour Wheel 1 - NB
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… !

Triangular Colour Wheel 2 - NB
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…

Watercolour

The Blue Fuchsia

The Blue Fuschia - NB

I bet you’ve never seen a fuchsia quite like this before. If you could buy a fuchsia this colour at the garden centre it would probably cost you a lot of money… !

This painting is based upon an exercise in Jean Haines Colour & Light In Watercolour New Edition but I used totally different colours – creative license… ! Rather than conventional fuchsia colours I used Winsor & Newton’s Cobalt Turquoise Light and Indanthrene Blue. They contrast beautifully. This was painted on Arches Cold Pressed paper and measures 6″ x 9″.

Indanthrene Blue is a new colour in my palette. I have to admit I would have bought the Daniel Smith equivalent but it was out of stock. That said, I’m not disappointed with the Winsor & Newton version – it’s a gorgeous, rich dark blue colour. But it also fades to a lovely pale blue with the addition of lots of water. It also mixes well with other colours and I did a few quick tests in my khadi paper sketchbook:

Indanthrene Blue Mixes - NB

I love all these colour mixes but I especially love the purple shade in the top left corner and the colours in the Cadmium Orange line…

So that’s my watercolour fun for today. Wishing everyone a great creative week ahead…

Watercolour

Mixing Naples Yellow

A little while ago I added Daniel Smith’s Naples Yellow to my watercolour collection. I haven’t used it properly yet so I thought I would start by seeing how it mixes with other colours….

I picked just a few random colours and made a chart:

Naples Yellow - NB

Naples Yellow is a soft creamy mellow yellow and created some lovely soft pastel shades when I mixed it with a few different colours. I particularly liked how it mixed with Daniel Smith’s Quinacridone Magenta – it created what I would describe as “vintage rose” colours  – very lovely and inspiring….

I only tried just a few colours but what I’ve learnt from this exercise is that when I want to use soft gentle pastel colours in my watercolour work Naples Yellow is a good colour to have in the mix….

Watercolour

Ocean Colours

I’m going to begin this post with a little confession…… around 12 years ago I bought myself a pack of 12 Windsor & Newton professional watercolours and it’s only in the last 6 months that I have actually started making proper use of them… ! I’m also pretty sure that I’m not the only person who’s done that… !!

Out of that set of 12 colours there are 2 greens: Hookers Green and Sap Green. These are both colours that I have virtually never used. Like many artists, if I need green I prefer to mix my own from blues and yellows. Last week I decided to have a little play with those greens….

Ocean Colours 1 - NB

I started by mixing Hookers Green with Prussian Blue and some lovely ocean colours began to emerge. I continued by mixing the Hookers Green with Phthalo Blue…. more lovely ocean colours….

I went on to do exactly the same with the Sap Green….

Ocean Colours 2 - NB

 

…. even more lovely, lovely ocean colours emerged! I love these colours ~ they inspire me. I may not use those greens for foliage but they are certainly going to start featuring in some seascapes in the future.

So…. are you one of those people (like me!) who’ve had a set of paints in a drawer or cupboard for over 10 years and never used them? Why not get them out and have a play with them? Go on, you know you want to…. !! You don’t have to create a masterpiece ~ just play with them ~ mix some colours ~ let them run together, mingle ~ have some FUN with them….

Sketchbooks · Watercolour

Shades Of Blue

Colour Chart 2.jpg

This is another one of a series of colour charts I have done in a dedicated sketchbook. These are watercolours in shades of blue and turquoise mixed with Chinese White. I absolutely adore these colours and shades.

These charts are purely for my own reference – I find it useful to have a visual guide of how colours mix together. Sometimes the results are quite unexpected. Plus seeing lots of beautiful colours and shades on one page inspires me. And it’s a really fun thing to do… !