Sunday, 4 September 2016

Using Daniel Smith watercolour sticks to make palettes.

Daniel Smith watercolour sticks cost less than a 15ml tube of DS watercolour paint but are made with 1.6 times the pigment load so they are a very economical way to buy watercolours - particularly the Primatek sticks which may be series 3 or 4 in tubes! Designed to be drawn with, they can also be cut up to create fast and convenient watercolour palettes, whether they are stuck into pans, half pans or directly into palettes.

Here I have cut one stick of Buff Titanium into 5 pieces. You could cut it into 6 but 1/5th fills the half pan nicely. (For full pans use 1/3 of a stick.) I added a drop or two of distilled water to the pans to soften the watercolour stick and then pressed it in. I used one piece in a Masters palette as well. The very convenient part of setting up pans or palettes like this is that you don't need to wait for them to dry.

You could just cut 1/5th off the stick for a palette and keep the rest to use as a drawing stick. They work best in less humid climates - they do tend to soften in humidity.

If you want to create my Ultimate Mixing Palette using sticks, here are the suggested sticks to buy
1. Buff Titanium 
2. Hansa Yellow medium (or Hansa Yellow Light if you want a cooler yellow)
3. Quinacridone Gold (or Hansa Yellow Deep if you want a brighter warm yellow)
4. Organic Vermilion (since there isn’t a Pyrrol Scarlet)
5. Quinacridone Red (since there isn’t a Quinacridone Rose)
6. Perm Alizarin Crimson (since there isn’t a Pyrrol Crimson)
7. Ultramarine Blue 
8. Phthalo Blue GS
9. Cerulean Blue Chromium
10. Phthalo Green BS
11. Yellow ochre (since there isn’t Goethite) or Raw Sienna
12. Burnt Sienna
13. Piemontite since there isn’t Indian Red
14. burnt umber (Since there isn’t raw umber)
15. Jane's Grey - you need tubes to mix Jane's Grey so could buy ultramarine and burnt sienna in tubes. Or use Sodalite Genuine watercolour stick, as it is a very similar colour.

If you want to create my suggested 12-colour urban sketching palette using sticks, you'd get
Buff Titanium
Hansa Yellow Light
Hansa Yellow Deep
Organic Vermilion
Quinacridone Red
Cerulean Chromium
Sap Green
Yellow Ochre
Burnt Sienna 
Burnt Umber
Sodalite Genuine (or get tubes of ultramarine and burnt sienna to make Jane's Grey)

If you are using tubes or watercolour to make up pans or palettes, make sure you shake the tube well before you open it and always open watercolour tubes cautiously - the paint can flow out very fast at times. Ideally, fill the pan half at a time and stir thoroughly to make sure the pigment and gum arabic are thoroughly mixed. Allow to dry in a warm place and you are set to paint.

Update 11/1/2017 - see more information, including the colours painted out here.