Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Quiller palette

Here is my paint-out of the 12 colour Steven Quiller palette. The colours are intended to be set out on a round palette so that the mixing opposites are opposite each other. These pairs can be use to mix neutrals including the earth hues. I explored how these colour mixed to see how it worked. I wasn't overly excited, by either the paints or the mixes, though it's a nice version of Ultramarine Violet.
I think there are nicer colour choices for this type of palette, though I still love my earth pigments :-)

To see a number of other opposite mixes, see my 24 colour single pigment colour wheel here.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Just 6 colours - bright, transparent and non-granulating full gamut palette

I previously posted about limited palettes containing just 6 bright colours here. While I don't use such limited palettes myself, I really enjoy the challenge of working through them. It is also very helpful when those on a limited budget are trying to get started in artist quality watercolour - they can start with just a few but still mix an amazing range of colours.

This palette of six colours is transparent and non-granulating. It contains the full gamut of yellow, orange, red, purple, blue and green with no earth colours so you have to mix them yourself. It is made up of three neutralising pairs of single pigment colours. 

Phthalo Blue Red Shade DS + Transparent Pyrrol Orange DS 
Hansa Yellow Medium DS + Carbazole Violet DS
Pyrrol Crimson DS + Phthalo Green BS DS

Pyrrol Crimson won't make the bright purples that a magenta or more rose-red colour would, but as there is a purple in this palette, the powerful crimson can be included to create deep black hues with Phthalo Green. (see 10)

Transparent Pyrrol Orange and Phthalo Blue RS completely neutralise each other creating another deep black, as well as a gorgeous range of earthy burnt sienna and burnt umber hues (11)

Carbazole Violet and Hansa Yellow Medium will create yellow earth hues and, with a touch of orange, raw umber hues (15)

You need a pretty good understanding of colour to work with these palettes if you are going to successfully create all your earth hues as well. You also need a decent mixing space. They are great fun to explore.

Other explorations you might find interesting.
Just 3 colours - exploring primary triads
Just 4 colours - an amazing bright quartet
Just 5 colours - why it's not for me :-)
Just 6 colours - lovely limited palette
Just 6 colours - bright transparent non-granulating
Ultimate Mixing Palette - palette of 14 paints, 15 colours.
Single pigment wheel - 24 colour wheel

Friday, 2 October 2015

Daniel Smith dot card - Jane Blundell

I am home from a fabulous trip to the US, where I met up with Urban Sketchers and SBS sketchers in San Francisco, Seattle and Mount Vernon. I spent six days in the Daniel Smith Seattle store where I had a solo exhibition of my prints, A Splash of Colour, and I had a great time doing demonstrations and workshops, not to mention wandering around exploring the many nooks and crannies of that enormous and very friendly store.

I've brought home a number of my palette Dot Cards - a great way to try new colours. It has 19 of my basic palette colours, the 20th being my custom mixed Jane's Grey.

My personal palette is a bit different from my recommended Ultimate Mixing Palette. It starts with the same 15 colours, with two slight changes, and then includes some more convenience mixtures made from these colours and some lovely deep extra colours to make a total of 20. I have explained each colour as well as the slight changes I make for my own palette in an earlier post about how I designed my palette. You can find that here.

Jane Blundell Dot Card - a nifty way to try new colours

Monday, 7 September 2015

Packing inks and pens

I am about to head off to the US for three weeks and was asked if I'd packed. Well I have filled my little travel watercolour palette, and my sketching palette, and my demonstrating palette to give them time to dry.

I've decided which sketch books to take for my demonstrations and for my own sketching, and printed out some maps for my travel journal.

I've filled my ink bottles and made sure they are all properly labelled.

I use the terrific little Nalgene storage bottles to carry ink - just 15ml. I also have a spare cartridge for the pens in which I use cartridges.

I'll take another set of 8ml bottles with the other Document Ink colours and the thinner for mixing custom colours.

I've filled my fountain pens, made sure they are all named, and double checked which ink is appropriate for each one.

Here are all my pens with their ink. I am using De Atramentis Document Black for the Lamy Joy, Pilot Desk pen and Pilot Falcon EF (top right). The Pilot Falcon F on the left has Document Brown ink. I just love that ink! The Carbon pen has a spare Platinum Carbon Ink cartridge. The copper Lamy Al-star in the middle on the right has a spare brown Monte-verde cartridge - I like this as a water-soluble brown ink. In the middle the Pentel Brush pen has a spare cartridge. At the bottom left the Pilot Falcon F has my custom Document Grey Ink and on the right the Lamy Al-star and the Hero are both filled with the original DA fog Grey ink - the non-document version which is a lovely soft grey but not waterproof. the lines will slightly soften in a wash.

The rest of my sketching kit is also named and pencils sharpened with extra leads. 

So am I packed? Well I have the important stuff sorted :-)

Thursday, 3 September 2015

6 - Mixing with Jane's Grey

This is the 6th and final part of this series about mixing with my Ultimate Mixing Palette. These charts show 12 of the palette colours mixed with my custom mix Jane's Grey, which is made up of Ultramarine and Burnt Sienna. It acts as a neutral tint, darkening the other colours. Alone it is a lovely granulating and liftable dark grey, useful for shadows, skies and so much more.

Many artists use this combination of Ultramarine + Burnt Sienna, or perhaps Ultramarine + Burnt Umber as a basic grey and mix it each time they use it. I find having it as a premixed dark in the palette incredibly useful. Unlike commercial Payne's Grey or most Neutral Tints, it contains no black to deaden your paintings.

Jane's Grey added to Daniel Smith watercolours Hansa Yellow Medium, Quinacridone Gold, Pyrrol Scarlet, Pyrrol Crimson, Quinacridone Rose and Ultramarine, Moleskine watercolour sketchbook A5.
Jane's Grey added to Daniel Smith watercolours Cerulean Chromium, Phthalo Blue GS, Phthalo Green BS, Goethite, Burnt Sienna and Raw Umber, Moleskine watercolour sketchbook.

I make other greys while painting - Cerulean + Burnt Sienna for a dusty grey, Phthalo Blue + Burnt Sienna for a cooler grey, Pyrrol Crimson + Phthalo Green for a darker staining, non-granulating grey or black, but Jane's Grey is my go-to colour for darks as I would probably always include Burnt Sienna and Ultramarine in my paintings, so it always harmonises.

This series of 6 posts shows a fraction of the huge range of colours that can be produced with my Ultimate Mixing Palette. My book, 'The Ultimate Mixing Palette: a World of Colours' contains over 7500 different mixes, all indexed and cross-referenced. It is available as a hard or soft cover, an eBook or a PDF from here, along with my other comprehensive colour mixing book 'Watercolour Mixing Charts'.

Happy painting :-)

Super 5 fountain pen and inks

I was given a Super5 fountain pen to try. It's not intended as a drawing pen but has quite a nice 0.5mm italic nib for writing. It is quite heavy for a plastic pen so not one I'd be grabbing for over some of my other favourites but as I have recently posted about a number of pens thought I'd add this one.

Of more interest perhaps is the Super5 range of waterproof inks, which can be seen on their website here. The colours are unusual. There is a black (called Darmstadt) and a very useful looking grey (Frankfurt), a blue (Atlantic), an olive green (Dublin), a dull yellow (Delhi) and an Indian red (Australia).

They rate from 6 - 8 on the Blue Wool Scale, with the black rating the highest (7-8), which is acceptable, and they claim to be totally waterproof.

The Super5 Inks, from
I haven't tried them - the blue in the pen was from the regular non-waterproof range - but I would be happy to hear from those who have. In the meantime I am perfectly happy to keep using the De Atramentis inks and mixing my own colours.

(If you want to see these mixes please search my blog or click Mixing De Atramentis Inks and you'll see some of the huge range of colours that can be created.)

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

5 - Mixing with Indian Red

This is my 5th in my series on mixing with my Ultimate Mixing Palette colours. Just one more to go - mixing with Jane's Grey.

Indian Red is an interesting paint. It is the most opaque of any Daniel Smith watercolour I've used. It is best to use it without fiddling with it as the heavy pigment can be hard to control. What I love about it though is that it is the perfect colour for lips and the 'pink' of eyes in portraits, provided it is very diluted. It can also be used in mixes to paint the more red-toned skin. It is also lovely as an earth triad with Cerulean Chromium and Goethite for subdued paintings, and can be very useful for painting landscapes and rust.

Of my 15 palette colours, this is the one that is perhaps least used, but it completes the set of earth yellows (Goethite and Raw Umber), earth orange (Burnt Sienna) and earth Red (Indian Red) along with the earth blue Cerulean Chromium. An interesting earth green choice would be chromium green oxide but I would prefer Serpentine Genuine or Green Apatite Genuine.

Indian Red is made from PR101, one of the multi-personality pigments that can be anything from a transparent burnt orange colour, through a range of Venetian red and light red hues to a transparent brown.  Like PBr7 and PV19, the pigment number alone isn't enough to know what the paint will look like.