Sunday, 8 January 2023

Whiskey Palettes

The Napoleon, set up with 12 half pans

I wrote about the Whiskey palette - my favourite half pan metal  palette - along with many of my other palettes in 2016. I also showed a couple of variations on my website here. This is an interesting range to show further, and I'm delighted to have been sent a few new versions to include here.

The first is the smallest -  The Napoleon - the classic 8 or 12-colour version, in a stunning vermilion, set up with the 12 half pans. These 3 x 4" metal palettes are available in matt or gloss black, matt white (snow) or vermillion red. It can be set up as an 8-colour palette with storage if the middle 4 half pans are not inserted.

The two mixing areas are nice and deep and there is a thumb ring on the bottom. They also come with a protective pouch.

The two placement arms lock the half pans in place.




There is also a 'Naked' version available in matt black or white that has nothing inside, making it possible to put in 15 half pans. I had previously done that by removing the insides (not an easy task!) to be able to fit in my Ultimate Mixing Set so this is a useful option. So many artists like to customise their palettes and this allows them to do so. I used 15 Cotman half pans to set up this palette, putting magnets underneath, but the Whiskey half pans will also work. I used this little palette when creating my online course Mastering Watercolours as it didn't take up much room on the video.


There is quite a history to the Whiskey palette, and there are some available with an integrated water container such as the Scottie. I filled a version of those with 18 colours. This is still only 3x4" but with welded metal pans holding about ¼ of a pan of paint. You can see the lid to the integrated water container, with the removable water dish attached. When closed, this water dish locks over the bottle cap.



There are also collapsible water containers harking back to the original secret whiskey painters society, who's members painted miniature watercolours with shot glasses of whiskey since water was scarce. I haven't had a play with these but they look very cute!
This larger palette, a variation on the XII, has room for 12 colours and quite a few brushes and pencils. Shown here is the collapsable synthetic brush that is small enough to fit into the 3x4" whiskey palettes above. This palette is also available a 'naked' version, with no insides, to give full flexibility. That could hold an assortment of half and whole panes with or without brushes or pencils. 


There are many larger palettes available, some holding half pans, others with room for full pans, some that hold tubes. The largest is the Multi Palette that has a flexible layout and comes with 48 stainless steel extra large steel pans. They cost a bit more than plastic palettes and are a little heavier, but they are thoughtfully designed and a great option for those trying to avoid plastics.

Happy painting.

Saturday, 31 December 2022

Dirty Blue hand-made watercolours


Dirty Blue watercolours are 'handmulled with lots of passion and even more pigment' in The Netherlands. They are available via Etsy. These are mostly single pigment colours, with lots of special rare or hard to find colours. I enjoy watching all the explorations on Instagram and YouTube.

The pan labels are hand-painted and the pans themselves have been 3D printed with the pigment number on them - as you can see below. Now that is dedication! There are also tiny pans available with just a dot of some colours. If you look closely you can see that the YInMn Blue and Manganese Blue pans below are specially 3D printed pans. These are just filled in the top half (¼ pans) to make these expensive pigments more affordable. If you want a palette set, there is a great mixing set of 14 half pans available too.

You an even buy pigment jewellery and custom pans in a range of fun shapes, and a swatch stencil. Lots to explore.

I received a mixture of half pans, quarter pans and mini pans of the following colours and have colour-matched them as closely as I can. 

PY153 is a discontinued pigment so it's lovely to see this available. Pyrrol Scarlet is my recommended warm red in a palette. This is a rich and deep version of YInMn Blue. Phthalo Cyan is a gorgeous blue, and a rarely seen pigment. Manganese Blue is hardly available anywhere any more, and this is a terrific and rich example of this cool granulating blue.

Dirty Blue Watercolours: Indian yellow, Pyrrol Scarlet, Ultramarine Pink, YInMn Blue, Phthalo Cyan, Manganese Blue.

These colours are more standard, but nice versions of each.

Dirty Blue Watercolours: Turquoise Cobalt, Green Earth, Oxide Green, Green Gold, Yellow Ochre

Genuine Quinacridone Gold is no longer available from any of the big manufacturers. This version is more orange than the previous genuine PO49 but is a lovely colour. The Burnt Sienna has some wonderful granulation, as does Potter's Pink. The Dirty Blue signature colour is a fascinating greenish bluish grey.

Dirty Blue Watercolours: Quinacridone Gold, Burnt Sienna, Potter's Pink,
Green Umber, Dirty Blue Signature colour.

You may like to watch the demonstration of the process of creating a gorgeous blue pigment from Lapis Lazuli on the YouTube Chanel - just as it was done hundreds of years ago.

These swatches have been added to my website by colour and pigment.

Happy new year for 2023. I hope it is full of colour and creation :-)

Thursday, 15 December 2022

Rosa Watercolours

Rosa Company was founded in 1996. Initially they created hand-primed canvas, then brushes. Acrylics were created from 2015 followed by oils. 

Rosa Watercolours were developed and made in the Ukraine and have been available since 2018. I feel for this company - it must be a very tough year. The 60 colours were created in consultation with Ukrainian artists, with the 10 newest of them added in 2021. They come as full pans - cleverly labelled so that as you remove the label from the paint, you can leave the colour name and pigment information on the sides of each pan. There is no series number so they are all the same price. A set of 14 is also available in 10ml tubes. 

Available in Australia from Adamstown Art who kindly provided the samples to show.

These rewet with ease and painted out nicely in more diluted washes but some were difficult to get smooth in a thicker wash.  G stands for Granulating and N stands for Natural Pigment.

I've scanned and colour-matched each swatch as carefully as I can so the colours are as accurate as I can manage.


Rosa Watercolours: Zinc White, Titanium White, Naples Yellow Light, Naples Rose, Cadmium Lemon.

Golden Yellow was difficult to capture accurately. It is a bright orange-yellow, typical of this pigment.

Rosa Watercolours: Aureoline, Cadmium Yellow Light, Cadmium Yellow Medium, 
Cadmium Yellow Deep, Golden Yellow


Rosa Watercolours: Quinacridone Gold, Cadmium Orange, Flame Red, 
Cadmium Red Light, Cadmium Red Medium.

PR 4 and PR2 are not lightfast so beware of Coral for anything that will be framed. PR170:1 is not a totally lightfast pigment so I wouldn't agree with this *** lightfast rating either.

Rosa Watercolours: Coral, Bright Red, Madder Red, Carmine, Madder Rose.

Rosa Watercolours: Opera Rose, Magenta Rose, Quinacridone Lilac, Quinacridone Violet, Violet

PV3 is not lightfast, so only use Lavender in a sketchbook or for reproduction work.
Rosa Watercolours - Lavender, Blue Indanthrene, Ultramarine, Royal blue, Cobalt Blue.


Rosa Watercolours - Blue, Bright Blue, Cerulean Blue, Indigo, Turquoise.

While I think PG8 is a gorgeous green, it is not a lightfast pigment.

Rosa Watercolours - Cobalt Turquoise, Mint, Emerald Green, Green, Sap Green.

Rosa Watercolours - Chromium Oxide, Bright Green, Olive Green, Aureoline Green, Yellow Ochre


Rosa Watercolours - Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna, Royal Brown, English Red, Madder Brown.


Rosa Watercolours - Caput Mortuum, Burnt Umber, Mars Brown, Umber, Sepia.

 PV3 is not a lightfast pigment so Black Grape would change over time.

Rosa Watercolours - Warm Grey, Payne's Grey, Black Grape, Blick Green, Neutral Black

Happy painting!