Monday, 8 September 2014

Schmincke Watercolours

I have always had a soft spot for Schmincke. My first watercolour set was a Cotman travel set that I had for a very long time until my car was broken into :-(

My first artist quality watercolour set was 24 Schmincke half pans in a metal tin. The tin is rather battered these days after 30 years and many moves, and many of the paints will now have been replaced with more lightfast versions... I was very pleased to have a bit of a play with some more recent Schmincke Horadam colours at an Art Society meeting thanks to Canson Australia, who distribute Arches paper, Schmincke, Princeton brushes, Pebeo and a number of other art products.

The bright primary colours are gorgeous and paint out really nicely. The product information is outstanding.

Note that four stars **** represents 7 on the Blue Wool Scale and 5 stars ***** represents the highest rating of 8. Three stars is a bit of a concern for watercolour as it only represents 5 & 6 on the Blue Wool scale - not perfect for watercolour though considered lightfast.

I have posted about Pure Yellow before as a lovely mid yellow option. Transparent orange features in a few recent posts too.

Schmincke Horadam watercolours. Lemon Yellow, Pure Yellow, Chrome Yellow Deep, Translucent Orange, Cadmium Red Light, Permanent Carmine, Ruby Red and Purple Magenta.
Permanent Carmine was new to me and is very interesting as it is a PV19 crimson that will, I think, be an excellent single pigment red option - cleaner than the Da Vinci PV19 version. More testing to follow. Purple Magenta is also fabulous for this and has featured in many previous Blog posts such as the 6 bright palette here and the gorgeous triad here and 4 colour bright palette here.

Schmincke Horadam watercolours. Ultramarine Finest, Prussian Blue, Phthalo Green, Permanent Olive Green, Yellow Ochre, English Venetian Red, Sepia Brown and Ivory Black.

I prefer earth colours made with the genuine earth pigments so I like Yellow Ochre made with PY43 rather than the synthetic PY42. Nor am I a fan of mixed pigment earth colours, or added black. I'd rather have the real pigment, so I won't be getting the Burnt Sienna (not tried but made with PR101 + PBk9 rather than PBr7) or Sepia Black in this range, but the bright colours are glorious.

I also prefer a deep dark Raw Umber too rather than this light version (left), though this can be good for flesh tones.

I'll do further tests with the English Venetian Red - it is a gorgeous flesh colour in diluted washes but I want to see whether it neutralises with a warm blue or a green-blue... I think if you are working with Schmincke, Burnt Umber PBr7 would be a nice option instead of Burnt Sienna for an earth burnt orange, though I haven't tried it yet....

Anyway I thought I'd post up the selection of Schmincke watercolours I've tried as they are lovely and often easier to find that the American brands, especially in Europe. I will do a post about some of the lovely Schmincke gouache too. I don't have many, but as they are one of only two brands that I know of that can be re-wet (the other being M.Graham) I really like them.

You can find all the watercolours I have tried, arranged where possible by pigment number for easy comparison, on my website here.


  1. Hello there,
    I just found this post! I've just put together a 24 Schmincke palette and its interesting to read your thoughts here. I thought the burnt sienna was a bit strange and will try your suggestion of the burnt umber as I like single pigments. I'm trying to decide between madder brown and english venetian red. Both are very similar the difference that madder brown is semi transparent and venetian red opaque. I do like how the venetian red settles.

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