Tools: Watercolors, 6, Browns and Golds

Each Sunday for the next few weeks I am looking at my paint “collection”,
and why I have keepers and ‘meh’ colors that I probably won’t buy again.
Tools: Watercolors, 1, Yellow-Orange
Tools: Watercolors, 2, Red-Pink
Tools: Watercolors, 3, Greens to Yellows
Tool: Watercolors, 4, Blues to Greens
Tools: Watercolors, 5, Violets, Blacks, Sparkly Colors!


world-watercolor-month-square-badge-31-paintings1Our happy plate, a lovely Italian plate with six roosters, is our go-to plate for special occasions.  This one was created for World Watercolor Month, and timed to work today with my
post on colors for our lovely desserts.

I can’t say gold or rust or brown are my favorite colors, but gads I have a lot of them.  And they are easy to mix, so WHY have I bought so many?  I’ve talked about the romance of color names, enticing you to buy them

W16 4 23 VSW ORTHODOX CHURCH 011Another way we get swayed
is by the excitement of other
artists about favorite colors
Jane Blundell, who loves exploring paint colors,
I admire.  She raved about
Buff Titanium, PW6:1,
as an essential and I finally bought it.
Meh.  It’s fine but I like my other
two coffee-milk greys and beiges better:
especially QoR Ardoise Gray, PBk19,
and Sennelier Warm Grey 705,
W6 / PY42 / PBk / PR101.

And then there are favorite pigments.  Mine is Quinacridone, and I have more
quin golds and red-pinks than any other pigment and am totally admitting
that I will probably try every last one of them until I’ve tried them all!

W16 5 19 PENTALIC ECHINACEA BANNER W16 4 14 VSW GETTY TOMB CHICAGO 13 BANNERW16 3 12 TFK PINEAPPLE 026 BANNERMoral of the story, and this applies to all I’ve written:
Think about how you use your paints, what you like to paint and
what you already have that might do this or that trick before buying…
or try someone’s if you are sketching next to them!

OUTSIDE LOOKING IN WEB LINENOTE: All paints Daniel Smith (DS) unless it says
otherwise — including the Primatek colors.

W16 6 11 GOLD RUST 001W16 6 11 BROWNS 001First, let’s talk colors that look the same,
have the same pigment structure,
or are called by the same name out of the way:

We’ve discussed Caput Mortem / Cote D’Azur, (natural light Caput Mortem),
and the Daniel Smith version is by far my favorite   and Yes, I will make another impassioned plea that if anyone want to sell or donate theirs to me I’d be grateful!  Greenleaf & Blueberry Caput Mortem or Windsor Newton Caput Mortem,
are just not good substitutes for this lovely slightly cool brown!

Sharing names and/or pigment structures: Quinacridone Gold, Quinacridone, PO49  and my favorite quin,  Holbein Quinacridone Gold. Quinacridone + Nickel, PO48 / PY150 have the same name, and M.Graham Nickel Quinacridone Gold, Quinacridone + Nickel, PO48 / PY150 shares the same pigment structure with the latter.  The first two are close in value, but Holbein is so creamy, making wonderful
skin tones, that I prefer it.  The latter two appear completely different,
and it is my own fault I tried M.Graham’s color because I didn’t have my list with me…
I hardly need that addition to my palette and at the time knew I was not fond of
M.Graham paints for my set-ups: M.Graham doesn’t easily dry in humid climates.

Sharing pigment structures: QoR Quinacridone Gold Deep, Quinacridone, PO48,
and Quinacridone Gold Burnt Orange, Quinacridone, PO48.  I
so rarely use these two I’m not sure which I’d keep; QoR has depth of color and DS’s is a bit light in the juicy pigment department.  Now I have to talk about two more I will probably buy in order to finally decide what “quins” I want to keep:
Quinacridone Deep Gold, PO48 / PY150 — same as M.Graham Nickel Quinacridone Gold, above, and I will probably love it because DS dries faster and is less streaky generally, and QoR Quinacridone Burnt Orange, PR206, a completely different structure. In the latter, it has a blue cast?  Or is that the monitor?

(*wait while I break here to put them in my shopping cart*)
(*yes i am a member of PA — pigments anonymous*)

I love sepia brown, in pants and inks.  However, the first two I probably won’t buy again: Blick Sepia, and Yarka Sepia, because they are inferior paints, Blick being very flat
and without nuance.  Yarka is a bit better, and sennelier sings.  I may end up with the
tube version of Sennelier Warm Sepia 440 PAN, PBR7 / PBk7.

The next series of 3-4 color batches tells me I need to understand
another layer to why the same pigments can create such different colors to our eyes.  I know part of it is that they burn them or keep them raw,
but there has to be more to it than that…. right?

Sharing pigment structures: Sennelier Burnt Sienna 211 PAN, PBr7, Pompeii Red, PBr7, Monte Amiata Natural Sienna,  PBr7, Sennelier Raw Umber 205, PBr7,
and Sennelier Raw Umber 205 PAN, PBr7.  The latter two blow me away and
I double checked them because really, these are both Sennelier, same color, same pigments!!!  Monte Amiata Natural Sienna was one of those fell-in-love-with-the-name purchases, and it is a lovely color, but not quite the hype…
I don’t feel transported to Italy when I open the tube.

Sharing pigment structures: Sennelier Venetian Red 623,  Iron Oxide, PR101, Sennelier Venetian Red 623 PAN, Iron Oxide, PR101, Transparent Red Oxide, Burnt Sienna, PR101 and QoR Van Dyke Brown, Synthetic Iron Oxide, PR101.
I will always have a Van Dyke Brown but not sure it will be QoR.

Yellow Iron Oxide, Recycled Iron Oxide, PBr6 and
Brown Iron Oxide, Recycled Iron Oxide, PBr6,
BOTH the same, Really?  I don’t think so!

Today I printed 150 pages from handprint in order to understand
more about paint pigments and how they produce those colors!


Oh, lovely Primateks.  I may have cut my teeth on Hematite
(one of my first watercolor paints, and btw I cut my teeth on Golden’s
Ground Hematite acrylic paint).  I tried the Lapis and quickly realized I was addicted
as I moved to the greens.  The natural browns are incredibly beautiful.
I included Piemonite in this grouping though I forgot to add it to the graph colors.
Of them all, the only one (surprisingly, as I love the stone) I may not buy again is Primatek Minnesota Pipestone, because it simply is too pale.  I’d have to lay it on my brush out of the tube to make it work for the applications I’d use it for.  Keepers
(favorites indicated by **) to be used in landscapes and buildings, especially:
**Primatek Piemonite, Primatek Sicklerite, **Primatek Goethite,
**Primatek Yavapei, **Primatek Tiger Eye, and Primatek Burnt Tiger Eye,


OUTSIDE LOOKING IN WEB LINEThe Keepers, a round-up:

Which are keepers?  A surprisingly small palette, though I will explore the two
“new” quins I discussed above, and keep ALL of the Primateks with the exception of Primatek Minnesota Pipestone.   Holbein Quinacridone Gold. Quinacridone + Nickel, PO48 / PY150, sooooo lovely and creamy; and basic Quinacridone Gold, Quinacridone, PO49, both used so that I replace their tubes every year or more.
Caput Mortem / Cote D’Azur, (Natural light Caput Mortem — plea number four, if I could only get more).  I will buy another Sennelier Warm Grey 705, PW6 / PY42 / PBk / PR101 because I use it in mixing a good deal. Sennelier Raw Umber 205, PBr7, is good in landscapes and even in shadows of trees.  The last three are the best of the true “browns” and I like them for convenience, though they don’t travel with me ever:
Brown Iron Oxide, Recycled Iron Oxide, PBr6, QoR Van Dyke Brown, Synthetic Iron Oxide, PR101, and Sennelier Warm Sepia 440 PAN, PBR7 / PBk7.

OUTSIDE LOOKING IN WEB LINEThe Rarely or Never Agains:

For all of these, they are either too opaque, don’t wow me for what they bring to my
palette for the price and the space on my desk.  I may continue to search, by taking this article to Merriartist, where they know colors and they know their paints.   Some are cheap brands I wouldn’t buy again, like Blick — to me, student grade paint.  Yarka is not a bad brand but I really don’t like pan paints — I don’t want them filled to the brim and …

I might buy a yellow ochre again… Daniel Smith or Sennelier.
It may have its place as I continue to work with it.

QoR Quinacridone Gold Deep, Quinacridone, PO48, Quinacridone Gold Burnt Orange, Quinacridone, PO48, M.Graham Nickel Quinacridone Gold, Quinacridone + Nickel, PO48 / PY150, Yellow Iron Oxide, Recycled Iron Oxide, PBr6, QoR Yellow Ochre, Natural Hydrated Iron Oxide, PY43, Primatek Minnesota Pipestone, Terre Ecolano, PBr7 PR101, Sennelier Burnt Sienna 211 PAN, PBr7, Sennelier Venetian Red 623,  Iron Oxide, PR101, Sennelier Venetian Red 623 PAN, Iron Oxide, PR101, Transparent Red Oxide, Burnt Sienna, PR101, Pompeii Red, PBr7, Buff Titanium, PW6:1, Monte Amiata Natural Sienna,  PBr7, Sennelier Raw Umber 205 PAN, PBr7, Blick Sepia, Yarka Sepia, and  Yarka Burnt Umber.

In a next 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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About dkatiepowellart

hollywood baby turned beach gurl turned steel&glass city gurl turned cowgurl turned herb gurl turned green city gurl. . . artist writer photographer. . . cat lover but misses our big dogs, gone to heaven. . . buddhist and interested in the study of spiritual traditions. . . foodie, organic, lover of all things mik, partner in conservation business mpfconservation, consummate blogger, making a dream happen, insomniac who is either reading buddhist teachings or not-so-bloody mysteries or autobio journal thangs early in the morning when i can't sleep
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5 Responses to Tools: Watercolors, 6, Browns and Golds

  1. Dan Antion says:

    I like the way you explain the things you like and don’t like. Some objective, some subjective, but it all makes sense.


  2. Tracy says:

    Ooh, lovely warm colours. And so much research! I’m afraid I just grab what I like and use it, but perhaps my bulging paint drawer can do with a systematic sort out. I really need to decide why I like what I like and don’t use the other stuff. You’ve inspired me 🙂


    • I started out buying so many $$$ colors, and frustrated that even some at Daniel Smith seemed to be the same. I don’t know who it was that turned me onto Handprint, and the whole pigment thang, but I laid out my colors one day by pigment — Wha-Lah! Duplicates by different names (even among DS.) I am on a limited budget so I finally said, “I want to buy NEW hues or know when I am buying different brands of the same hue (like with Quins, I don’t mind) so I have $$ to spend on what I want!” It seems money gets me to research thangs. I’ve also passed a fe paints on to kids in need. You’d love my sort boxes — old soap boxes, all pretty!


  3. Pingback: Tools: Watercolors, 7, Black, White, Grey and Sparkly Colors!! | D.Katie Powell Art

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