Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Ultramarine PB29 watercolours under the spotlight.

One of my most popular posts to date is a watercolour comparison of blues with 43581 views. While I have these comparisons on my website a well, I thought I'd update these and also post some key pigment comparisons all photographed in the same light at the same time as specific spotlight posts. These photographs are taken under 'sunlight' bulbs with no adjustment.

Ultramarine is made with PB29. It may be called French Ultramarine, Ultramarine Deep, Light or otherwise, but it is almost always a single pigment, granulating and liftable colour. It may be a little more on the purple side (warmer) or a little more on the green side (cooler) but it's an incredibly useful colour to have.

French Ultramarine is often the more purple version, if there is more than one in a range. I don't tend to have more than one version of this pigment, though if you wanted to get two that were very contrasting you might look at Old Holland Ultramarine Blue Deep - which is perhaps the most purple and granulating, compared with Schmincke Ultramarine finest which is the least granulating and a little more on the green side.

Ultramarine Blue Watercolours: Ultramarine - Art Spectrum, French Ultramarine Blue Deep - Blockx, French Ultramarine Light - Blockx, Ultramarine Blue - Daniel Smith, French Ultramarine - Daniel Smith.

Ultramarine Blue Watercolours: French Ultramarine Permanent (RS) - Da Vinci, Ultramarine Blue - Da Vinci, Ultramarine (Green Shade) - Da Vinci, French Ultramarine - Daler Rowney, Permanent Blue - Daler Rowney.

Ultramarine Blue Watercolours: Ultramarine Light - Holbein, Ultramarine Deep - Holbein, Ultramarine Blue Light - Lukas, Ultramarine Blue Deep - Lukas, Ultramarine Blue - M.Graham.

Ultramarine Blue Watercolours: Ultramarine Light - Mission Gold, Ultramarine Deep - Mission Gold, Ultramarine Blue Deep - Old Holland, Olutramarine Blue - Old Holland, French Ultramarine Light Extra - Old Holland.
Schmincke introduced French Ultramarine in 2017. It is a lovely and very granulating version, quite different from their Ultramarine Finest, which I think is the least granulating ultramarine available.
Ultramarine Blue Watercolours: Ultramarine Blue - QoR, Ultramarine Deep - Rembrandt, French Ultramarine - Rembrandt, Ultramarine Finest - Schmincke, French Ultramarine - Schmincke (new 2017)

Ultramarine Blue Watercolours: Ultramarine Deep - MaimeriBlu, Lutramarine Light - MaimeriBlu, Ultramarine Deep - Sennelier, French Ultramarine Blue - Senelier, Ultramarine Light - Sennelier.

Ultramarine Blue Watercolours: Ultramarine - St Petersburg, Ultramarine Blue - Schmincke, Ultramarine - White Nights, Ultramarine (Green Shade) Winsor & Newton, French Ultramarine Blue - Winsor & Newton.

Ultramarine Blue Watercolours: Ultramarine Blue Deep - Wallace Seymour. 

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

'Drawing Attention' - the Urban Sketching Zine.

The Urban Sketchers organisation, which was 10 last year, is going from strength to strength. The monthly newsletter has been redesigned to an informative 'zine' that is packed with information, gorgeous photos and plenty of live links. I am delighted to have been featured in February but I'd encourage anyone interested in urban sketching to subscribe as all the USk events and workshops are being listed in the zine.

Here is the link to subscribe http://www.urbansketchers.org/p/drawingattention.html

Here is the link to the January edition, featuring Rob Sketcherman, Deborah Rehmat, Liz Steel and Lynn Chapman.

And to February,  featuring Marion Rivolier, Marc Taro Holmes and me.

The organisation is gearing up for the next symposium in Porto this July - registration will be open soon - on the 17th February at 15.00 hours GMT - and another series of 10x10 workshops are being offered in many cities around the world. I'm busy working on the next series for Sydney. Hopefully we'll have a great range of workshops to choose from by the end of this month.

Happy Sketching.


Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Holbein Artist Watercolour

Holbein from Japan has been making watercolour since the early1920s. They don't contain any ox-gall, animal products or dispersing agents so are easy to control. They claim that the pigments are more finely ground than in other ranges and describe themselves as "a European style transparent watercolor which preserves the brush handling qualities inherent in Japanese watercolor techniques". They generally rewet beautifully from the samples I have received so can be used fresh from the tube or dry in the palette.

The colour chart shows 108 colours, without the pigment information. They are available in 5ml and 15ml tubes and some pan colours. Note in this range there are only a possible three stars for lightfastness.
The colour chart also shows a series of symbols
T = Transparent,
N = Non stain
E = Easy lift
H = hard lift
X = granulating
B = Semi transparent
O = opaque
S = Staining
I = intense.
I've added this information to the swatches, though sometimes it seems contradictory.

The pigment information isn't included on the colour chart so I've had to search around for that and do the best I can. Some don't look right to me so are in pencil.
Update - I found a link to the pigment information here so have updated the pigments in the captions. Many of the problem fugitive colours have been reformulated :-)

And finally - I have tested less than half of this range but decided to include the empty swathes simply because the pigment information is hard to find. I'll update over time. They are arranged according to the Holbein 2017 colour chart.

I always avoid PR83. The other less lightfast pigment, PT23, has been removed.
Holbein Artist Watercolour - Crimson Lake (not shown but now replaced with PR177+PR122+PV19), Permanent Alizarin Crimson (not shown but now PV19 + PBr25), Carmine (not shown), Rose Madder (not shown), 
Quinacridone Red (not shown).

Holbein Artist Watercolour - Pyrrole Rubin (not shown), Perylene Maroon (not shown), Pyrrole Red, Quinacridone Scarlet, Scarlet Lake (not shown).

Holbein Artist Watercolour - Opera, Brilliant Pink, Shell Pink, Cadmium Red Purple (not shown),
Cadmium Red Deep (not shown).
 This is a really orange version of PR108 in Cadmium Red Orange!
Holbein Artist Watercolour - Vermilion (not shown), Vermilion Hue (not shown but now made with PO73 + PR254 + PY110), Cadmium Red Light (not shown), Cadmium Red Orange, Brilliant Orange(not shown).

Holbein Artist Watercolour - Permanent Yellow Orange, Cadmium Yellow Orange (not shown), Cadmium Yellow Deep (not shown but now made with PO20+ PY53), Cadmium Yellow Light (not shown but make with PY35), Cadmium Yellow Pale (not shown but made with PY35).

Holbein Artist Watercolour - Cadmium Yellow Lemon (not shown but made with PY35), Imidazolone Lemon (not shown), Imidazolone Yellow (not shown), Gamboge Nova (not shown but now made with PY154+PY150+PY110), Permanent Yellow Light (not shown) but now made with PY74+PY83).

Holbein Artist Watercolour - Isoindolinone Yellow Deep, Quinacridone Gold (not shown), Permanent Yellow Deep (now made with PY74+PY83), Aureoline (not shown), Permanent Yellow Lemon (not shown).

Holbein Artist Watercolour - Lemon Yellow, Naples Yellow (now made with PY35+PY42+PW6), Jaune Brilliant 1, Jaune Brilliant 2, Greenish Yellow.

Holbein Artist Watercolour - Olive Green, Leaf Green, Permanent Green #1, Permanent Green #2 (not shown now made with PY74+PY53+PG7), Cobalt Green (not shown).

Holbein Artist Watercolour - Viridian (not shown), Cadmium Green Deep (not shown but now made with PY35+PG7+PG18), Cadmium Green Pale (not shown now made with PY35+PG18), Hooker's Green (not shown now made with PG7+PY110+PY150), Bamboo Green.

Holbein Artist Watercolour - Viridian Hue (not shown), Emerald Green Nova (not shown), Compose Green,
Sap Green (not shown but now made with PY150+PG7+PR122), Terre Verte (not shown).
 Marine Blue is very beautiful :-)
Holbein Artist Watercolour - Green Grey (not shown), Shadow Green, Phthalo Blue Red Shade (not shown), Phthalo Blue Yellow Shade (not shown), Marine Blue.

Holbein Artist Watercolour - Horizon Blue, Turquoise Blue (without PY3), Cobalt Turquoise Light, Peacock Blue, Manganese Blue Nova.

Holbein Artist Watercolour - Compose Blue (not shown), Verditer Blue, Cerulean Blue (not shown), Cobalt Blue,
Cobalt Blue Hue (not shown).
 Both ultramarines are rich and gorgeous.
Holbein Artist Watercolour - Ultramarine Light, Ultramarine Deep, Prussian Blue (not shown), Royal Blue, Indigo.
 Cobalt Violet Light is now made with PV14.
Holbein Artist Watercolour - Lavender, Permanent Violet, Mineral Violet (actually made with PB29+PR122+PB225), Cobalt Violet Light, Bright Violet (not shown).

Holbein Artist Watercolour - Bright Rose (not shown), Lilac (not shown), Quinacridone Magenta (formally Rose Violet),
Mars Violet (not shown).
 These earth colours are nice. Less granulating than some brands.
Holbein Artist Watercolour - Indian Red (not shown), Imadazolone Brown, Light Red, Burnt Sienna, Burnt Umber.

Holbein Artist Watercolour - Raw Umber (not shown but now made with PBr7 + PY42), Raw Sienna (now made WITH PBr7 + PY42), Yellow Ochre (not shown), Yellow Grey (not shown), Umber (not shown).

Holbein Artist Watercolour - Sepia (not shown), Ivory Black (not shown), Lamp Black (not shown ),
Peach Black (Now just PBk6) , Neutral Tint.

Holbein Artist Watercolour - Van Dyke Brown (not shown but this is the real vandyke brown pigment), Payne's Grey (not shown but now PBk6 + PB15+ PR122), Davy's Grey (not shown), Grey of Grey (not shown but now PBk6 + PW6), Chinese White (not shown).

Holbein Artist Watercolour - Titanium White, Gold, Silver, Compose Green 3 (discontinued), Permanent Red (discontinued)

There is a lot to add here, but hopefully it's helpful!

Art Spectrum watercolours here
Blockx full range of Watercolours here
Daler Rowney Artists' Watercolours here
Daniel Smith new colours 2017 here
Daniel Smith full range here
Da Vinci range here
Dr PH Hydrus Watercolours here
Lukas watercolours here
M.Graham watercolours here
MaimeriBlu full range here
Mission Blue full range here
Old Holland full range here
QoR watercolours here
Rembrandt Watercolours here
Schmincke new colours 2017 here
Schmincke full range here
Sennelier watercolours here
St Petersburg Watercolours here
Wallace Seymour Artists Watercolours here
White Nights watercolours here
Winsor & Newton Full range here

The only professional watercolour range I haven't tackled yet, as far as I am aware, is ShinHan PWC. I haven't tried enough to even start on these.

Happy painting!

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Daler Rowney Artists' Watercolours


Daler Rowney Watercolours - Sketching set of 18 quarter pans. 
Daler Rowney is an English company that began in 1783 selling perfumes and wig powder but moved into artists colours and were the suppliers for Constable and Turner. In 2013 they bought the German companies Lukas and Nerchau. They make a large range of paints, including three watercolour ranges - Aquafine is a student range and Simply Watercolour are affordable basic sets.              As always, I'll concentrate on the Artists' Watercolour range of 80 colours, available in 5ml tubes, 15ml tubes or half pans, and in a number of sets, including the Miniature Pocket Set shown left with 18 quarter pans. I found this at a lovely art store in Bath (Minerva Art Supplies) - it was the last one so was on sale. Very cute. Nice colours generally, though as is often the case, the two yellows are almost the same colour. What's the point of that?
These are not so easy to find outside the UK and Europe (though I do remember finding them in Singapore) so I have only tried just over half of this range. The tube colours were very liquid so shrank a lot as they dried, but they generally re-wet very nicely. I have included the blank swatches for the whole range so the pigment information is also available. I'll update as I try more.

Daler Rowney Watercolours - Naples Yellow (not shown), Nickel Titanate Yellow, Cadmium Yellow Pale,
Bismuth Yellow. (not shown)

Daler Rowney Watercolours - Permanent Yellow, Aureolin (not shown), Cadmium Yellow (not shown), Cadmium Yellow (Hue) (not shown), Cadmium Yellow Deep.
There are a number of colours made using PY153, which is no longer being manufactured. It is a beautiful warm yellow so well worth picking up if you find it.
Daler Rowney Watercolours - Cadmium Yellow Deep Hue, Gamboge Hue, Indian Yellow (not shown), Cadmium Orange (not shown), Cadmium Orange Hue.
Vermilion (Hue) (not shown) is made from PR255, which is my favourite warm red option.
Daler Rowney Watercolours - Warm Orange, Permanent Red, Cadmium Red Pale (not shown), Cadmium Red Pale (Hue), Vermilion (Hue) (not shown).
Cadmium Red (Hue) is now made from PR245+PY74 but this is an old sample.
Daler Rowney Watercolours - Cadmium Red, Cadmium Red (Hue), Quinacridone Red, Cadmium Red Deep (not shown), Cadmium Red Deep (Hue) (not shown).
 This is one of the nicest Perylene Reds made with PR179 - rich and deep crimson without the harshness of some brands.
Daler Rowney Watercolours - Perylene Red, Alizarine Crimson (not shown), Alizarin Crimson (Hue), Carmine (not shown), Permanent Rose.
PV14 used in Cobalt Magenta is never a strong pigment but very granulating.
Daler Rowney Watercolours - Quinacridone Magenta, Permanent Magenta, Cobalt Magenta, Ultramarine Violet (not shown), Permanent Mauve (not shown).
 The Prussian Blue is very grainy. It's the only colour that just didn't paint out nicely.
Daler Rowney Watercolours - Indanthrene Blue (not shown but woudl be PB60), Prussian Blue, Indigo (not shown), Phthalo Blue (Red Shade) (not shown), Phthalo Blue (Green Shade) (not shown).
 Permanent Blue is a traditional ultramarine.
Daler Rowney Watercolours - Manganese Blue Hue, Coeruleum (not shown), Cobalt Blue, Cobalt Blue Deep (not shown), Permanent Blue.

Daler Rowney Watercolours - French Ultramarine, Cobalt Turquoise (Red Shade) (not shown), Cobalt Turquoise (Green Shade) (not shown), Transparent Turquoise, Cobalt Green Deep.
 Viridian is lovely and rich. This can be a very weak pigment - one of the best versions.
Daler Rowney Watercolours - Phthalo turquoise (not shown),Viridian, Phthalo Green (not shown), Hooker's Green Dark, Terre Verte Hue.

Daler Rowney Watercolours - Oxide of Chromium Green (not shown), Hooker's Green Light, Vivid Green (not shown), Sap Green (not shown), Olive Green (not shown).
 There are some lovely earth colours but I always prefer raw sienna and burnt sienna to be made with PBr7.
Daler Rowney Watercolours - Green Gold, Yellow Ochre, Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna, Light Red.
 Transparent Red Brown is also known as Brown Madder and Quinacridone Burnt Scarlet.
Daler Rowney Watercolours - Venetian Red (not shown), Transparent Red Brown, Perylene Maroon (not shown), Indian Red (not shown), Mars Violet.
 Vandyke brown (not shown) is worth looking at as it is make without black - could be interesting.
Daler Rowney Watercolours - Burnt Umber, Raw Umber, Vandyke Brown (Hue) (not shown), Warm Sepia,
Neutral Tint (not shown).

Daler Rowney Watercolours - Payne's Grey, Ivory Black (not shown), Lamp Black, Chinese White (not shown),
Titanium white (not shown).


Art Spectrum watercolours here
Blockx full range of Watercolours here
Daler Rowney Artists' Watercolours here
Daniel Smith new colours 2017 here
Daniel Smith full range here
Da Vinci range here
Dr PH Hydrus Watercolours here
Lukas watercolours here
M.Graham watercolours here
MaimeriBlu full range here
Mission Blue full range here
Old Holland full range here
QoR watercolours here
Rembrandt Watercolours here
Schmincke new colours 2017 here
Schmincke full range here
Sennelier watercolours here
St Petersburg Watercolours here
Wallace Seymour Artists Watercolours here
White Nights watercolours here
Winsor & Newton Full range here

Only Holbein to go...

Sunday, 7 January 2018

QoR Watercolours



I explored some of the QoR colours some years back when they were first released, and wrote about them here. Rather than update that post, I'll show the full range, organised the same as the colour chart, here. Well almost - just three missing. I'd like to express my thanks to Golden for sending me samples to be able to test out and show almost the full range.

QoR are very different from traditional watercolours and feel different to paint with. They need to be used more liquid and will often explode on a damp paper as they must have a lot of oxgall or other dispersing medium. They can be hard to control. On the other hand, they have a very little to no drying shift so remain very bright, and are largely very finely ground pigments so even the cadmiums are less granulating than the same pigments in other ranges. My initial reaction to them was somewhat critical as they didn't work the way I like watercolours to work, but using them again and fresh from the tubes, watching the colours explode onto the wet wash and seeing what they could do if you want to play with them, I think they add another dimension to the watercolour world. I think it is good that all watercolours are not produced the same way. We are then able to pick and choose those that work the way we each wish to.

I really feel that these are best used fresh from the tube. They don't rewet well enough to work as a travel watercolour as far as I have explored, which makes them less portable. But this is true of M.Graham and Sennelier tube colours too and suits the way some watercolour artists work in the studio.


These yellows are similar in hue, apart from Nickel Yellow which is always a very weak pigment. the cadmiums are really finely ground and are very beautiful.
QoR Watercolours - Nickel Yellow, Cadmium Yellow Primrose, Hansa Yellow Light, Bismuth Vandate Yellow, Cadmium Yellow Light.
These are the mid to warm yellows. Indian Yellow has the look of some of the Quinacridone Gold hues and is slightly brighter than QoR Quinacridone Gold.
QoR Watercolours - Benzimidazolone Yellow, Cadmium Yellow Medium, Aureolin Modern, Nickel Azo Yellow, Indian Yellow.
This is an unusual pigment for Quinacridone Burnt Orange - it's usually called Brown Madder or Quin burnt scarlet. Quin burnt orange is usually more orange - once again it is important to know the pigments when reading a paint name to have a better idea what to expect.
QoR Watercolours - Permanent Gamboge, Quinacridone Gold, Quinacridone Gold Deep, Quinacridone Burnt Orange, Cadmium Yellow Deep.

The sample of Cadmium Orange looked lovely dried but I simply couldn't get a decent wash from it so haven't included that one here - you can see what I mean at the bottom of this post. Transparent Pyrrol Orange is gorgeous - though different from the Daniel Smith paint of the same name. Pyrrole Red Light is a lovely pigment for a warm red in a classic split primary palette.
QoR Watercolours - Diarylide Yellow, Cadmium Orange (not shown), Transparent Pyrrole Orange, Cadmium Red Light, Pyrrole Red Light.

QoR Watercolours - Permanent Scarlet, Quinacridone Red, Permanent Alizarin Crimson, Quinacridone Crimson, Quinacridone Magenta.

The violets pigments PV15 and PV49 are always weak, but the Ultramarine Violet PV15 is a nice version of this colour.
QoR Watercolours - Ultramarine Pink, Quinacridone Violet, Cobalt Violet, Ultramarine Violet, Dioxazine Purple.

QoR Watercolours - Indigo, Ultramarine Blue, Ultramarine Blue Violet (not shown), Cobalt Blue, Cerulean Blue Chromium.

These blues all painted out nicely.
QoR Watercolours - Indanthrone Blue, Prussian Blue, PHthalo Blue (Green Shade), French Cerulean Blue, Manganese Blue.

 Viridian is often a weak pigment but is quite strong in the QoR range.
QoR Watercolours - Cobalt Teal, Phthalo Turquoise, Cobalt Turquoise, Phthalo Green (Blue Shade), Viridian Green.
The Cobalt Green (not shown) is made from a lovely PG26 pigment rather than the PG50 - deep and granulating usually. Terre Verte is always a weak pigment but perhaps would be stronger fresh from the tube? These versions of Sap And Hooker's Green are very usable as convenience colours though I'd prefer two-pigment rather than three-pigment mixes if possible.
QoR Watercolours - Permanent Green Light, Cobalt Green (not shown), Hookers Green Sap Green, Terre Verte.
These convenience greens are also interesting, though have many pigments. Buff Titanium is one of my favourite Daniel Smith colours and QoR is the only other source available commercially. However, this version has little granulation though is a lovely creamy ecru colour.
QoR Watercolours - Chromium Gren Oxide, Olive Green, Bohemian Green Earth, Green Gold, Titan Buff.
Many of these were painted from dry samples which look weaker. I really think QoR colours need to be used fresh. Raw Sienna is ideally made from PBr7 rather than PY43, which is yellow ochre.
QoR Watercolours - Naples Yellow, Yellow Ochre (Natural), Transparent Yellow Oxide, Raw Sienna (Natural),
Transparent Red Oxide.
 Lots of single pigment earth colours. Transparent Brown Oxide was tested from a small dry sample so may be stronger fresh from the tube. You can really see the difference.
QoR Watercolours - Mars Orange Deep, Venetian Red, Burnt Sienna (Natural), Transparent Brown Oxide,
Burnt Umber (Natural).
 I like the use of natural earth pigments - they are not mixed with anything else, and the siennas and umbers are nearly all made with the appropriate PBr7 pigment. Raw Umber Natural is especially dark and rich. Van Dyke Brown is far warmer than usual.
QoR Watercolours - Rae Umber (Natural), Sepia, Van Dyke Brown, Carbon Black, Ivory Black.

I am always delighted to see a mixed grey made without the deadening effect of a black pigment. Neutral Tint contains a yellow (yellow oxide), a magenta (quin magenta) and a blue (phthalo blue) pigment. I think this would be an interesting watercolour for some tonal studies. I last tried Ardoise Gray from a very small sample dot but it is a very gentle colour from the tube too.
QoR Watercolours - Payne's Gray, Neutral Tine, Ardoise Gray, Chinese White, Titanium White.

Update - And here are the three Iridescent colours. They are difficult to show but since I have them it gives an idea. They are not particularly strongly tinting.

QoR Watercolours - Iridescent Pearl Fine, Iridescent Silver (fine) and Iridescent Gold (fine)






Hopefully I will be able to add the last two samples one day, and perhaps a better sample of Cadmium Orange than what I have. You can see it here - it was too weak to include above! After all, I always try to get the best I can from each colour - but in the meantime, happy painting.












Art Spectrum watercolours here
Blockx full range of Watercolours here
Daler Rowney Artists' Watercolours here
Daniel Smith new colours 2017 here
Daniel Smith full range here
Da Vinci range here
Dr PH Hydrus Watercolours here
Lukas watercolours here
M.Graham watercolours here
MaimeriBlu full range here
Mission Blue full range here
Old Holland full range here
QoR watercolours here
Rembrandt Watercolours here
Schmincke new colours 2017 here
Schmincke full range here
Sennelier watercolours here
St Petersburg Watercolours here
Wallace Seymour Artists Watercolours here
White Nights watercolours here
Winsor & Newton Full range here

Only Holbein to go...