Sunday, 22 October 2017

Daniel Smith Watercolour Stick Palette

Cigarette case hack - now a watercolour palette :-)

I am back home after a fabulous road trip down and up the West Coast of the US, and while I was away I received many questions about some photos I showed on Instagram (@janeblundellart) of a cigarette case that I turned into a watercolour stick palette. I'll give the details here.

As I've said in other posts, the advantage of sticks is that they are all the same price regardless of series number and that they are a convenient way to transport watercolours. I think of them as pre-dried watercolour - convenient to just cut a piece off and add to a palette as needed. I don't choose to draw with them, though of course you could.

The colours are similar to what I would normally use though some of my favourites are not available as sticks. 

buff titanium
hansa yellow medium (or use hansa yellow light for a lemon yellow)
hansa yellow deep (optional)
quinacridone gold

organic vermilion (since there isn't a pyrrol scarlet stick)
permanent alizarin (since there isn't a pyrrol crimson stick)
quinacridone red (since there isn't quinacridone rose stick)
piemontite genuine (since there isn't an Indian red stick)

cerulean chromium
phthalo blue GS

phthalo green BS
Undersea green
sap green
serpentine genuine

yellow ochre (since there isn't a goethite stick)
burnt sienna
burnt umber (since there isn't a raw umber stick - this is one I'd really like to see added - I love raw umber!)
sodalite genuine (instead of Jane's Grey)

Daniel Smith watercolour sticks used to create a 19 colour palette - no pans needed.

To take it up to 20 colours you could add Indanthrone Blue - a gorgeous rich deep blue, or rich Green Gold - a very green-yellow, or Graphite Grey - a graphite watercolour that is fascinating to use, or raw sienna - I often like to have yellow ochre and raw sienna as extras as well as my favourite goethite since the pigments PY43 and PBr7 mix differently.

A larger palette might fit 24 colours so I'd add the above colours and perhaps Quinacridone Burnt Orange as the 24th. There are 51 sticks to choose from. (You can see them here)

I have simply wet the bottom of each 1cm of watercolour stick and pressed them into the re-purposed palette, which was an early 1900s cigarette case. Provided they are used with care, and not too much water, this palette is a compact and simple one to use.

Happy painting :-)

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Dr. Ph. Martin's Hydrus Watercolours

One of my lovely students, Sakshi, lent me a full set of Dr. Ph. Martin's Hydrus watercolours to test, which was great as they claim to be a range of pigmented lightfast liquid watercolours. Not something I am particularly interested in using necessarily, but interesting to try. I'm curious how they differ from working with pigmented inks.

They came in 4 sets of 12 bottles. Three sets are standard watercolours and the third is Iridescent watercolours. I'll concentrate on the 'normal' watercolours first and I will add those later...

When Sakshi first painted them out, the colours were mostly reasonably smooth, but some have changed quite dramatically over time and had separated in the bottles. I've photographed her original wheels to show the difference (see below). 

Some bottles had pigment and lightfast information on them, but some didn't at all.

I have photographed them in a logical order, though not in the sets they were purchased in. As always I have tried to capture the correct colour and will note below how it differs on my screen.

The Hansa yellow light is a bright cool yellow, the Hansa yellow medium a clean primary yellow. Gamboge is a very warm two pigment mix -  brighter and slightly more orange than it appears on my screen. Hansa Yellow Deep and Chrome Yellow are almost the same orange-yellow hue. Rather like PY110 often looks.

Dr. Ph Martin's Hydrus Watercolours - Titanium White,  Hansa Yellow Light, Hansa Yellow Medium, Gamboge, Hansa Yellow Deep, Chrome Yellow.

Brilliant cad red has no cadmiums at all, but is a Naphthol red pigment. The same pigment is used for Vermilion hue which is just a touch less orange. In between is the mixed hue Permanent red. PR170 has two forms - one more lightfast than the other. I don't know which is used here. Same with Carmine - a pretty colour but I suspect it's the less lightfast version. Alizarin crimson and Deep red rose are almost identical in colour.

Dr. Ph Martin's Hydrus Watercolours - Brilliant Cad Red, Permanent Red, Vermilion Hue, Carmine, Alizarin Crimson, Deep Red Rose.

Crimson lake is also very similar to the crimsons above. PR269 is rated III so not lightfast enough for watercolours. The Quinacridone magenta is a lovely colour but the Quinacridone Violet wouldn't paint out nicely. Nor would the Ultramarine red violet. Cobalt violet looks very like a PV23 but no information was given. Ultramarine does not contain PB29 but a mix that is more like a phthalo blue red shade in hue.
Dr. Ph Martin's Hydrus Watercolours - Crimson Lake, Quinacridone Magenta, Quinacridone Violet, Ultramarine Red Violet, Cobalt Violet, Ultramarine.

Cobalt blue looks like another phthalo pigment - it is certainly not PB28. Phthalo blue painted out nicely. As did Turquoise blue. Blue aqua could do with more blue in it be different enough from Phthalo Green. Sap green separated badly and was very odd.
Dr. Ph Martin's Hydrus Watercolours - Cobalt Blue, Phthalo Blue, Turquoise Blue, Blue Aqua, Phthalo Green, Sap Green.

Viridian is not made with PG18 and is not even a viridian hue -  more like a phthalo green yellow shade. I quite like the Yellow ochre - that might be fun to draw with in a dip pen. The Raw sienna and Venetian red were not at all nice to paint with. Indian red is made with the perylene maroon pigment PR179 and is a rather lovely rich maroon.  Red oxide is more like a dull brown.
Dr. Ph Martin's Hydrus Watercolours - Viridian Green, Yellow Ochre, Raw Sienna, Venetian Brown, Indian Red, Red Oxide.
Burnt sienna is a very strange red-brown. No pigment is given. Burnt umber had separated like Sap green, as had Sepia. I quite like the Raw umber though. I mid brown - not really warm or cool. Payne's Grey painted out nicely and might be good in a pen to draw with. Carbon black was a little more difficult to control.
Dr. Ph Martin's Hydrus Watercolours - Burnt Sienna, Burnt Umber, RAw Umber, Sepia, Payne's Gray, Carbon Black.
Here are the colours as painted out when the paints were first purchased. Some look a little streaky even at this stage. She has arranged them into her own colour sets so this is not a set as it would be purchased.
The first wheel - Hydrus watercolours courtesy of Sakshi.

The 2nd wheel - Hydrus watercolours courtesy of Sakshi.

The third wheel - Hydrus watercolours courtesy of Sakshi.

The 4th set is the iridescent colours. I'll admit that am not as interested in iridescent watercolours, though I realise they are of value to many, especially calligraphers. I'll paint out swatches on white and black paper and add them eventually, but it's hard to really show how they really look in photos as the sheen doesn't replicate.

The 4th wheel - Hydrus Iridescent watercolours courtesy of Sakshi.

Liquid watercolours can be used in the studio of course, and it is easy to create repeatable recipes since they come with an eye dropper. They can also be used to fill water-brushes so they can be used on location. I know of one sketcher who had a water-brush filled with yellow to keep that colour clean. Another uses a range of greys. Otherwise, like inks, they are more risky on location as they can obviously spill.

I allowed my samples to dry and attempted re-wetting them without satisfactory results so they are best used fresh from the bottle.

See also -

Blockx full range here
Daniel Smith new colours 2017 here
Daniel Smith full range here
MaimeriBlu full range here
Mijello Mission Gold full range here
Old Holland full range here
Schmincke new colours 2017 here 
Schmincke full range here
Winsor & Newton full range here

Da Vinci range here
Lukas range here
M.Graham range here
Rembrandt range here
Sennelier range here

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Granulation - what and why?

Goethite, DS. PY43

Of the many characteristics the watercolour artist can explore, by far the most unique and special, is granulation. It's one of the reasons I use Daniel Smith watercolours - they are the masters of granulation.

Granulation is the effect you get when the pigment particles clump together rather than settling evenly on the painted surface. As a very general rule, the finer the particles, the less they granulate. So phthalos and quinacridones, being very fine and even sized man-made particles, appear very smooth in a wash. 

Many of the natural earth pigments, ultramarines, cadmiums and of course the Daniel Smith Primateks have larger, more irregular particle sizes and granulate beautifully.

Sydney sandstone sketch.  Watercolour.

You can increase the effect further 
by using rougher paper and more water.

As I am a realist, I really like to capture the texture as well as the colour of my subject, and granulating pigments helps to create texture in the otherwise 2D watercolour medium.

Buff Titanium, DS

Two of my palette staples are DS Buff Titanium (shown left) and Goethite (shown above). The buff titanium is a granulating ecru colour, prefect for marble, snow gums, and for making pastel hues with other colours. Mixed with Goethite it creates a wonderful beach colour. You can see a lot more about mixing this wonderful colour here and it is mentioned in many of my blog posts here.

Transparent Red Oxide,
DS. PR101 
Together this pair is also fabulous for the fantastic range of colours in Sydney sandstone or the lovely honeycomb colour of Bath.

Adding DS transparent red oxide and/or burnt sienna and allowing the pigments to move on the paper allows the pigments to create extraordinary effects. You can see the granulation of the pigments in the bottom part of the sandstone rock sketch above and the cliff sketch below.

Cliff sketch, Blue Mountains. Pen and ink and watercolour.

Governor Macquarie Rose. Watercolour.

This study of a Governor Macquarie Rose was painted in very soft washes of Piemontite and Quinacridone Rose, with just Piemontite used in the background. The colour changes when used in very weak washes or in mass-tone.

Piemontite, DS

Green Apatite Genuine, DS

Green Apatite genuine is another fabulous granulating Primatek watercolour. It can create interest in passage of foliage as it also moves from brighter greens in soft dilutions to rich deep olive greens in masstone.

The Gasworks, Seattle. Pen and ink with watercolour.

Here I have used a combination of transparent red oxide and piemontite to paint the rusty texture of the Gas Works in Seattle - I love this place and look forward to returning when I go back to Seattle in October. You can also see the texture of Green Apatite genuine in the foreground foliage.

(For more on my upcoming US trip see here)

I love painting rusty things. And dead things, and decay...they could seem a little morbid but I seem them as extraordinarily beautiful :-)

'Past their Prime'. Watercolour and Ink, 2017

The background in this pen and ink study of the dried Strelitzia was painted in a mixture of Goethite, Buff Titanium and Raw Umber. I love the way it produces a texture not obtainable any other way.

Perhaps the most spectacularly granulating pigment is PBk11 seen here in Lunar Black. I generally mix my own black hues, but I love exploring this one for amazing abstract or imaginary landscape studies as you can see in my gallery here.

 I have also shown a swatch of an experimental Daniel Smith colour - the rare and expensive YInMn blue pigment. In any other medium I have seen it, it is a lovely colour but otherwise not anything so very special, but seen here as a watercolour it is really something.

I love exploring all the characteristics of watercolour, whether for sketches on location, urban sketching, botanicals, studio paintings or just to play. But my favourite by far is granulation. 

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Slight setback...

I've been a bit quiet here for a while as I was travelling for 5 1/2 weeks in the UK, Europe and of course to the fabulous Urban Sketchers Symposium in Chicago, thenI had another week away skiing in New Zealand. Where, as those who follow me on Facebook or Instagram would know, I broke my wrist. As it is my right, dominant, hand, it's been scary to see the X-rays and to go through surgery to have it plated and pinned, but I am on the mend and will still be heading to the West Coast of the US in late September as planned.

I'm looking forward to re-visiting San Francisco, driving down the ocean road sketching my way to Santa Barbara, driving to Gig Harbor, returning to the Daniel Smith factory in Seattle, exploring McMinnville in Oregon and meeting up with the urban sketchers from many cities including LA, SF, Seattle and Portland. Details are on my website here.

I am a bit slow one-handed on the computer and my planned full video on-line class launch has been delayed since I can't yet make the videos, but I have a number of posts in mind so you'll hear from me again soon...

Sunday, 18 June 2017

M.Graham Watercolours

M.Graham watercolours have been produced in Oregon for over 22 years. The M.Graham colour chart shows 70 colours and the website is very helpful.

It's been challenging testing the MG paints since they are made with a high honey content, making them tricky to for people to mail out samples. However people have been ingenious - as they have been with the Sennelier range - so I've tested 45 of them and they are beautiful paints, just best suited for studio use and/or less humid environments I think. Here they are so far, laid out in the order of the colour chart.

As always, I have tried to match the colours accurately. The first section are all single pigment cool to mid yellows.
M.Graham Watercolours - Bismuth Vandate Yellow, Hansa Yellow (not shown), Cadmium Yellow Light (not shown), Azo Yellow, Hansa Yellow Deep.

Azo Orange is more orange than it looks here - it is almost a mid orange but just on the yellow side.

M.Graham Watercolours - Cadmium Yellow (not shown), Cadmium Yellow Deep (not shown), Gamboge (not shown), Indian Yellow (not shown), Azo Orange.

Scarlet Pyrrol is a very bright orange-red. Naphthol Red is very rich.
M.Graham Watercolours - Cadmium Orange (not shown), Scarlet Pyrrol, Quinacridone Red, Cadmium Red Light, Naphthol Red.

M.Graham Watercolours - Pyrrol Red, Cadmium Red (not shown), Cadmium Red Deep (not shown), Quinacridone Rose, Alizarine Crimson (not shown).

M.Graham Watercolours - Permanent Alizarin Crimson, Maroon Perylene (not shown), Quinacridone Violet, Ultramarine Pink, Mineral Violet (not shown).

M.Graham Watercolours - Cobalt Violet, Ultramarine Violet Deep, Dioxazine Purple, Ultramarine Violet (not shown), Ultramarine Blue.

M.Graham Watercolours - Cobalt Blue (not shown), Anthraquinone Blue, Cerulean Blue, Ceruelan Blue Deep (not shown), Phthalo Blue Red Shade.
M.Graham Watercolours - Prussian Blue, Phthalo Blue, Manganese Blue Hue (not shown), Cobalt Teal, Turquoise.
There is a good range of greens - useful single pigment mixing greens...
M.Graham Watercolours - Phthalo Green, Viridian (not shown), Phthalo Green Yellow Shade, Cobalt Green, Permanent Green Light.

...and very nice Sap and Olive convenience greens
M.Graham Watercolours - Permanent Green Pale, Hooker's Green (not shown), Sap Green Permanent, Olive Green, Azo Green.
 There are also plenty of lovely earth colours to choose from. I like the purity of the MG pigments - PBr7 for raw siena, PY43 for yellow ochre...

M.Graham Watercolours - Transparent Yellow Iron Oxide (not shown), Yellow Ochre, Raw Sienna (not shown), Nicke Azo Yellow, Naples Yellow.
...PBr7 for Burnt Sienna.
M.Graham Watercolours - Nicke Quinacridone Gold, Transparent Orange Iron Oxide, Quinacridone Rust, Transparent Red Oxide, Burnt Sienna.

And the burnt and raw umbers are a lovely warm and cool deep brown pair.
M.Graham Watercolours - Terra Rosa, Burnt Umber, Raw Umber, Sepia (not shown), Ivory Black (not shown).
 I really like the Neutral Tint being a mix of two bright coloured pigments rather than a black pigment - it keeps life in watercolour paintings and is difficult to find commercially (which is why I make my own)
M.Graham Watercolours - Lamp Black (not shown), Neutral Tint, Payne's Grey, Chines White (not shown), Titanium White Opaque (not shown).
Those who use M.Graham watercolours speak very highly of them. Hopefully I'll be able to eventually try the whole lovely range, even though they don't suit my plein air style of painting.

See also -
Blockx full range here
Daniel Smith new colours 2017 here
Daniel Smith full range here
MaimeriBlu full range here
Mijello Mission Gold full range here
Old Holland full range here
Schmincke new colours 2017 here 
Schmincke full range here
Winsor & Newton full range here

Da Vinci range here
Lukas range here
M.Graham range here
Rembrandt range here
Sennelier range here

I am still working on Hydrus, Daler Rowney, Holbein, QoR, Art Spectrum and ShenHan PWC, though will post up partial ranges of these brands as well.

Lukas watercolours

Lukas it a German company founded in 1862. They make watercolours in half and full pans and large 24ml tubes. They also make some different sets. Paint information is difficult to find so even though I have only tried a little over half of this range, I've decided to post them up. The colour chart and information leaflet is from Jerry's Website and shows 70 colours and no longer includes the lovely Manganese blue.

Lukas Watercolours - Chinese White (not shown), Opaque White (not shown), Lemon Yellow (Primary), Aureolin Hue, Cadmium Yellow Lemon.

Lukas Watercolours - Cadmium Yellow Light (not shown), Permanent Yellow Light,  Gamboge, Indian Yellow (not shown), Naples Yellow (not shown).

Lukas Watercolours - Yellow Ochre Light, Permanent Yellow Deep, Cadmium Orange (not shown), Permanent Orange (not shown), Cadmium Red Light.
 I like PR255 as a warm red so would be interesting in trying the Cinnabar Red. Madder Lake Deep is made from another favourite crimson pigment - PR264.
Lukas Watercolours - Cinnabar Red (not shown), Permanent Red, Cadmium Red Deep, Lukas Red (not shown), Madder Lake Deep (not shown).
 It is a shame they use PR176 in many of their hues - it drops the lightfast rating in every colour it is added to.
Lukas Watercolours - Carmine Red (not shown),  Alizarin Crimson (not shown), Genuine Rose, Magenta (Primary), ruby Red (not shown).
 I am guessing that Purple would look like Quinacridone Violet in many ranges. Dioxazine Violet is very similar across brands - a powerful mid purple.
Lukas Watercolours - Purple (not shown), Dioxazine Violet (not shown), Cobalt Violet, Indanthrone Blue, Ultramarine Blue.

Lukas Watercolours - Ultrmarine Blue lIght, Cobalt Blue, Paris Blue (not shown), Prussian Blue (not shown), Cerulean Blue.

Lukas Watercolours - Phthalo Blue, Permanent Blue, Cyan (Primary), Prussian Green (not shown), Manganese Blue (discontinued).

Lukas Watercolours - Turquoise, Cobalt Turquoise, Indigo, Green Yellow, May Green (not shown).

Lukas Watercolours - Cinnabar Green Light (not shown), Sap Green, Permanent Green Yellowish (not shown), Permanent Green, Cobalt Green (not shown).

Lukas Watercolours - Phthalo Green, Viridian (not shown), Verona Green Earth, Oxide of Chromium, Olive Green.

Lukas Watercolours - Raw Sienna, Gold Ochre (not shown), Naples Yellow Reddish, Burnt Sienna, English Red Light.

Lukas Watercolours - English Red Deep (not shown), Caput Mortuum Deep (not shown), Burnt Green Earth, Burnt Umber (not shown), Van Dyck Brown (not shown).

Lukas Watercolours - Raw Umber, Sepia (not shown), Ivory Black (not shown), Payne's Grey (not shown), Neutral Tint (not shown), Gold (not shown).
There are many more to add of course, which I will do as I come across them. I have read that Lukas is a very affordable watercolour range available in Germany and from Jerry's in the US. Happy painting!

See also -
Blockx full range here
Daniel Smith new colours 2017 here
Daniel Smith full range here
MaimeriBlu full range here
Mijello Mission Gold full range here
Old Holland full range here
Schmincke new colours 2017 here 
Schmincke full range here
Winsor & Newton full range here

Da Vinci range here
Lukas range here
M.Graham range here
Rembrandt range here
Sennelier range here

I am still working on Hydrus, Daler Rowney, Holbein, QoR, Art Spectrum and ShenHan PWC, though will post up partial ranges of these brands as well.