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

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…

Ultramarine Turquoise - NB
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…

Cadmium Yellow & Cascade Green - NB
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

The Blue Mountains

The Blue Mountains - NB
The Blue Mountains

This watercolour sketch is an exercise in layering colour painted on khadi paper and inspired by Hazel Soan’s book The Essence Of Watercolour. When layering watercolours you have to let one layer dry completely before adding the next (unless you’re going for a wet in wet effect). This takes PATIENCE… ! I’ve found that patience is one of the hardest things to learn with watercolour painting – just letting certain areas of a painting dry completely without touching or fiddling. Hazel Soan is so right when she says in her book (link above) that much of a watercolourist’s life is spent watching paint dry… !

My landscape above is monochromatic but the colour was mixed in the palette first. The colours I mixed together for my landscape were: Prussian Blue, Indigo and Cadmium Yellow Medium Hue – all by Daniel Smith.  I’m going to practice layering much more and start experimenting with different colours to develop an idea of how they work together…

#WorldWatercolorMonth

Watercolour

Watercolour Rose Macro

Watercolour Macro Rose - NB
Watercolour Rose Macro

A rose macro painted loosely in watercolour. It was painted on Arches paper. The colours I chose to use were Naples Yellow, Quinacridone Rose and Rhodonite Genuine ~ all by Daniel Smith. This painting is my interpretation of one of my own photos shown below…

Macro Rose

Painting an exact copy of the photo is not what I wanted to do – Hazel Soan’s words ring in my ears “you are using the subject matter to create a watercolour, not using watercolour to recreate the subject”. Just capturing the essence of what’s in the photo or my own interpretation is enough. At the end of the day, for me it’s all about getting lots of practice at painting with watercolours and this was very good practice for me…

#WorldWatercolorMonth

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

New Colours & Rosebud Sketch

Introducing new colours in my watercolour collection:

New DS Colours 1 - nb

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…

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?

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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… !

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

Start Painting!

Start Painting - NB
Start Painting!

A watercolour sketch in my khadi paper sketchbook.  No prizes for guessing which brand of paint these are… ! These tubes of paint were on my desk in my little home studio, they made a great subject to paint. The colours of these paint tubes are Prussian Blue and Buff Titanium.

I enjoyed painting these tubes of paint and I like how my sketch turned out, in spite of it’s imperfections. But I also got some much needed practice at drawing with my paint brush… I’ve learnt and grown from just doing a simple painting like this. Now, what else can I paint… ?

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

Jellyfish

Jellyfish - a - NB

I had a little watercolour fun this afternoon painting some jellyfish. I was inspired by Maria Raczynska’s tutorial on her YouTube channel. Her watercolour work is stunning and inspiring.

This was a fairly simple exercise to do. I varied the composition of my painting a little and also used different paper and different paint. I used Fabriano Artistico watercolour paper ~ 140 lb NOT, 100% cotton. The paint I used was Daniel Smith’s Ultramarine Turquoise. That was the only colour I used. It’s a gorgeous colour and I love how it granulates and separates. A good choice for my jellyfish. I also didn’t do any pencil sketches first either.

The photograph doesn’t really do the painting justice – the reality is much better – however, I have tried to capture the colours as accurately as possible. You can click on the image to view it larger if you wish. I had so much fun doing this and it only took me about 15 minutes to paint. Happy days…. !

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