Earth Watercolours

Pigments in this group owe their name to the fact that most of them are made (or were made historically) of clay and earth minerals. The most common designation for these pigments is “PBrXX“, meaning “Pigment Brown”, but there are some yellow and red pigments in this group too. The Xs in the designation are digits which correspond to a certain chemical substance (or range of similar substances).

Naples Yellow usually ends up in this group, but I refuse to include it here, because it was a synthetic pigment originally (in fact, it’s one of the oldest synthetic pigments, as it dates back to 17th century; the real deal is no longer being made because it is toxic). I also don’t include sepia here, because it was historically made out of ink of some oceanic cephalopods (like squids or cuttlefish). Quinacridones are also absent, obviously.

Below, you will find the swatches of all the various earths that I have or had in my possession, imitations included. Swatches have two areas, the upper one to demonstrate the range of tints (diluted paint), and the lower one to show the mass-tone (the paint taken straight from the tube without diluting or, in case of the pans, the thickest concentration I could get). On each swatch you will notice a black line – I made it to give the idea about the transparency of the paint.

Single Pigment Paints

Mixed Pigment Paints

Daniel Smith Dot Color Charts

My moving to Canada got me exposed to American watercolor brands, and I’ve always been curious about Daniel Smith. They have ginormous color chart with many unique pigments. Besides, this paint happens to be the cheapest here in Vancouver (the company is based just a couple of hours drive from here, in Seattle), which makes it my future brand of choice in case I lose easy access to my beloved White Nights.

DS_dotchart

The other day I decided to amuse myself with Daniel Smith dot color charts. What a marvelous idea, these charts are! Some paints I had craved for turned out to be uninteresting, so here I saved myself some disappointment; I’ve also found several wonderful colors, which hadn’t appealed to me before I actually tried them. I’m dying to do some mixing now!

However, I think these charts are pretty expensive for the amount of paint you get (I would guess rather 12 bucks for these charts, really), because some dots are so freaking small that I barely was able to swatch the colors, let alone to do any mixing. I was particularly upset about Quinacridone Gold, because Daniel Smith is the only manufacturer who got the real thing, PO49. I was so curious about it 😦 Oh well.

Rich color chart and unique pigments aside, I’m not jumping out of my pants over this brand. This is a good quality paint, but I don’t notice any sharp contrast with White Nights, to be honest. So far, that is. I will hold my final judgement until I actually get my hands on a tube or two of Daniel Smith.

So, I have added Daniel Smith swatches to my collection, and you will see them when I post earth colors and blacks/whites. Primateks will get a separate post. I also will update my old posts with greens, blues, yellows and reds (I will leave the links). Hope it will be of interest and of help!

Clock Tower Sketch

got the shape of the top wrong on the large one, so had to try again (the small one).

kharkivsketch5

These golden tops were tricky, because painting them I needed to shadow yellow. Yellow is a difficult color to darken. I did have my valiant Payne’s gray with me, but just for the sake of art I painted the tops with three primaries (in this case, transparent lemon yellow, quinacridone rose and indanthrone blue). Basically, I used violet to neutralize yellow.

One Evening…

One evening I saw a particularly beautiful sunset, which I to no avail tried to capture on my phone camera. After the third photofail I just grabbed my paints, and finally got a satisfying picture. Usually skies and clouds are my nemesis (and you can see how I ruined this one with inappropriately watery glaze). I like this one, however.

Pigments used: indanthrone blue + cerulean PB35 for the sky, quin lilac PV19 with a touch of quin magenta PR122 for the clouds. I could have probably just used PR122 and some warm blue mixed in different proportions, but I wanted to keep the colors as saturated as possible, so opted for four different pigments instead.

kharkivsketch4

After scanning this, I found out the remedy for the watery glazes. You see that thin annoying deposit of pigment that marks the edges of the puddle that had been there? You can just lift these things with an almost dry brush after the painting is completely dry. I tried this method with this very sketch, and it works. Be careful to not overwet your brush!!

Lightfastness Tests: Nevskaya Palitra White Nights

Here is the second report from my lightfastness tests conducted during the summer of 2015 in Ukraine. This time we will look at White Nights, artist’s grade watercolor from Saint-Petersburg manufacturer Nevskaya Palitra.

The tests were run in precisely the same manner as described here in this post. Nevskaya Palitra makes 57 colors, of which I own 46 and a half. 🙂 A “half” is one color which was recently reformulated: in ye olde times, Ivory Black used to be made with a genuine ivory black pigment PBk9, and that is the one that I own and tested here. Now their Ivory Black is a cheaper hue composed of a red earth pigment PR102 mixed with lamp black PBk7 (lamp black is basically burnt wood, while ivory black is burnt bones, so they differ in price, color and texture). I never tried the new version, but theoretically I don’t see why it should present any problems as far as lightfastness goes.

WNpans

The rest of Nevskaya Palitra’s repertoire are either mixtures of the pigments tested here, or are so glaringly fugitive that require no tests or, indeed, purchasing (such as PY1 or PB1).

As a general comment before I start: in 9 cases out of 47, the manufacturer’s ratings turned to be inaccurate. These paints are very worth using, but if you do use them, make sure you run your own tests. (It’s a good practice with any brand, in fact.)

OK, so let’s look how really lightfast is this cheap watercolor! Continue reading “Lightfastness Tests: Nevskaya Palitra White Nights”

Red and Purple Watercolors

Red pigments usually have a “PRXX” designation, where “PR” means “Pigment Red”, and the Xs are digits which correspond to a certain chemical substance (or range of similar substances). Purple colors can have “PR” or “PV” (“Pigment Violet”) designation.

Below, you will find the swatches of all the various reds that I have or had in my possession. Swatches have two areas, the upper one to demonstrate the range of tints (diluted paint), and the lower one to show the mass-tone (the paint taken straight from the tube without diluting or, in case of the pans, the thickest concentration I could get). On each swatch you will notice a black line – I made it to give the idea about the transparency of the paint.

Single Pigment Paints

Mixed Pigment Paints