For the next few weeks I am looking at my paint “collection.”
I know better now how to judge what paints to buy, what I might love, and what I have — but it has taken me actually studying (*shudder* *gasp*) pigments to understand color and paint. My best sources for this study, handprint, a guide to painting, paint pigments, mixing paints, color theory. All kinds of great info, a degree in color all by itself.
I mistakenly posted the second post last week instead of this one to start the series:
Tools: Watercolors, 2, Red-Pink
Unfortunately — or maybe not, as the indiscriminate early buying also brought me to where I am today — I bought several paint tubes on the internet before I understood pigment colors. (A good post about pigments, and when I finally “got” it!)
And then there is my recent obsession with mixing colors… Truth is, I will enjoy the colors I’ve got until they run out. AND, I am really getting serious about my palette…
That is what these posts will be about. What I am choosing and why.
From handprint, about how artist’s buy colors:
“There is another layer of marketing that defines the paint manufacturer’s trade
image or brand style — a statement of the company’s goals, its ingredient choices
and paint manufacturing methods — and of course its relationship to you, the purchasing artist. I call this the marketing romance, and it exerts an amazing power over the many compulsive collectors of colored gum among watercolor painters.”
I was one of those collectors, and am
just now beginning to benefit from my studying. I admit, firstly, that yes,
I am easily seduced by the marketing
lore of Daniel Smith. Here are two
paints I am dying to buy because I know
that the ochre from Verona will make
my paintings magically come to life
because everything from Italy is magic,
and that people will clamor to buy my moon-sky paintings if I only have a
Lunar Blue night sky.
“Verona Gold Ochre, above: Pigment mined near this ancient northern Italian city gives Verona Gold Ochre unusual warmth and clarity for an earth color.
Lunar Blue, right: The fabric of the night sky glides off the brush in this heavenly new shade. Granulating lunar black floats above a phthalo undertone, perfect for capturing a moonlit sky. Inky as midnight, or diffused as the moon on water, semi-transparent Lunar Blue lifts beautifully, leaving behind a mere shadow of itself. This moody new watercolor is sure to entrance.”
They say awareness and admitting you have a problem are the first steps
toward recovery. I know understanding pigments, transparency,
and hue steer me toward the right colors for my work.
However, I disagree with Bruce MacEvoy when it comes to Primateks.
In general, I love the effects of the grainy stone colors for skies, stones, cityscapes.
I have a few that I think are duds, but mostly,to use them is exciting, because even if you are quite good with them they can surprise you… and since I’ve already chosen
to embark on a medium that is basically out of control, this works for me!
NOTE: All paints Daniel Smith (DS) unless it says
otherwise — including the Primatek colors.
There is a mystery unless you begin to educate yourself about the various colors,
pigments, and ingredients. It does begin to give you a starting point, even if you are not a chemist, to stop you from buying five of the same watercolor tubes with different names!
I recommend you go to this handprint.com page, “the guide to watercolor pigments“. Along the top are the various colors: Print each one of them and begin,
however, slowly to study the colors you love. Note the pigment nomenclature, which i will highlight below in this section. Highlight the paints you have already bought. Make notes in the margins about the ones you love or hate and why.
TAKE IT WITH YOU WHEN YOU GO TO THE ART STORE!
First, let’s talk colors that look the same,
have the same pigment structure,
or are called by the same name out of the way:
Mayan Yellow looks like Indian Yellow; the Mayan colors are wrapped in DS mys-story:
no pigment names. Two yellow that have the same name: DS’s Indian Yellow is Anthrapyrimidine (sounds like a disease), PY108; M.Graham’s (MG) Indian Yellow is Isoindolinone, PY110. are quite different in pigment and visual appearance.
DS makes Isoindolinone Yellow, PY139, quite opaque but smooth.
Which are keepers? I love DS Indian Yellow and Isoindolinone Yellow.
I won’t buy Mayan Yellow and MG’s Indian Yellow again because they lay down thick, muddy and streaky, unlike DS’s Indian Yellow which will blend.
I don’t see the benefits of the others. New Gamboge is Nickel Dioxine, PY153,
and while thick is not streaky, it can also be thinned for beautiful washes that are never muddy, and so, is a keeper. My favorite go-to yellow is Quinophthalone Yellow, PY138, and Sennelier’s Hansa Light 578, PY153. Note that the both New Gamboge, above, and the latter have the same pigment numbers PY153? I don’t yet understand how that is possible, but am looking at getting that information! Thick or thin,
both are smooth and as transparent as is possible with yellows. In the Sennelier pan colors, few are brilliant, but Lemon Yellow is lively and makes the cut.
Oh, the search for transparent beautiful oranges! Holbein’s Permanent
Yellow-Orange PY74/83-PO73 is deeper than Isoindolinone Yellow, and lovely.
My favorite orange is Holbein’s Brilliant Orange PO7362; Sennelier
Red Orange PO43-PY83 comes in second. Perinome PO43 is deep, and while it can be semi-opaque, is never muddy. The last was originally shown on the Red chart for next week, Organic Vermilion, a Napthol Red, PR188, and while quite opaque, I’ll keep it in my opaques — one of only a half-dozen. I am NOT fond of opaque paints.
Sometimes it is a matter of what I will use. The pale colors do not excite me. I seem to use them in only two places — skin tones and the occasional painted lady (Victorian painted home.) Besides those I’ve discussed, I never will buy Holbein’s Jaune Brillant (Cadmium) PO20-PY35-PW6 as one tube will last me forever.
Sennelier Naples 566 (muddy), QoR’s Nickel Azo (I prefer DS Indian Yellow and/or Holbein Quin Gold not shown yet), MG Azo Orange (Benzimidazolone) PO62, Yarka’s Titan Red (no info, pan, muddy) are no buys. While the latter it might be good for the grand Canyon, I have better colors. The last was originally shown on the Red chart for next week, but I pulled it back into oranges: Sennelier French Vermilion 675,
a pan color, which I find in person a bit flat compared to Organic Vermilion.
I might buy Hansa Medium again, but I doubt it — it is a bit muddy and Quinophthalone is simply prettier! I reach for clear drenched color every time!
In a future post I will talk about the Mayan Colors…
What they are, what I like and dislike about them.
Pentalic Field Journal, Platinum Carbon pen, and Greenleaf & Blueberry,
Sennelier, Holbein, QoR, M.Graham and Daniel Smith watercolors.
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