Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Renesans Intense Watercolours - Complete Range

Renesans watercolours come from Poland.  At the time of writing (November 2018), their website was being developed. It now shows a large range of art materials including three watercolour ranges.

The samples I used were from the Intense Watercolour range of tube colours. The Extra Fine Watercolour  range is 54 pan colours, with different names and pigments from the Intense range. The third range is a liquid watercolour called Liquarel, and comes in 32 colours. There are also oils, pastels, acrylics, gouache, brushes and many other items available.

There are 70 colours in the Intense Watercolours range, 50 of them single pigment colours. I have not tried the pans or tubes themselves but just painted out each colour from the dots of paint. They are available in Europe, and in the US from a Maine based Etsy store alittlecreativeme, and I thank April for the dot card. The website mentions changing the formula to add more honey but I don't know if that change pre or post-dates these samples.

I am always very grateful to the generous and thoughtful people who send me paint samples as it has enabled me to get closer to completing my (somewhat crazy) project to swatch out 'every professional watercolour available in the world'. I am also grateful to the companies who put the time and money into creating dot cards of their paints as it is such a perfect way to test out colours and only buy the ones you will actually use.

Renesans Watercolours - full range dot card page 1 

Renesans Watercolours - full range dot card page 2

This dot card has all the information needed printed on it - pigment information, lightfast ratings and how staining each colour is. I've copied the information onto the individual swatches. The filled in triangle is very staining, the empty triangle non-staining and of course the half filled triangle moderately staining. The lightfast ratings were given based on teh blue wool scale where 8 and 7 are excellent. On the new website, however, the lightfast ratings are now given as I, II or III where III is excellent.

They are gentle, well behaved watercolours in a range of 70 colours. They appear not to have any ox gall added as they behave in a predictable manner, but I don't know whether that is true. I have read that they contain honey and a high quality gum Aribac from Kordofan region (Sudan). The dots rewet with ease but the colours are quite gentle - they are not super powerful to paint with like some I've tried that are almost like painting with ink.

Renesans Watercolours - Titanium Opaque White, Permanent Chinese White, Naples Yellow Pale, Naples Yellow Deep, Naples Yellow Reddish.
I appreciate that the labels indicate where a hue is used rather than the genuine pigment.
Renesans Watercolours - Titanium Yellow, Lemon Yellow, Chromium Yellow (Hue), Cadmium Yellow Pale, Aureolin Hue
Transparent Gold Ochre is a mix that can also be used to create quinacridone gold hues. The cadmiums painted out very smoothly. this set is actually a little brighter than it appears on my screen.
Renesans Watercolours - Transparent Yellow, Transparent Gold Ochre, Cadmium Yellow Deep, Cadmium Orange, Indian Yellow.

All the cadmiums seem very finely ground. 
Renesans Watercolours - Chromium Ornage (Hue), Cadmium Red Pale, Scarlet Red, Cadmium Red Medium,
Cadmium Red Deep.

I've not come across PR48:4 before. Looks very like Quinacridone Rose PV19. In this range that colour is called Quinacridone Red.
Renesans Watercolours - Permanent Carmine, Cadmium Bordeaux, Quinacridone Red, Purple Magenta, Manganese Violet.

Renesans Watercolours - Ultramarine Violet (Hue), Mineral Violet, Ultramarine Blue, Prussian Blue, Helio Blue.

Cobalt Blue Deep is the pigment also used in cerulean blues and some turquoises.
Renesans Watercolours - Phthalo Blue, Cobalt Blue Pale, Cobalt Blue Deep, Indanthrone blue, Indigo (Hue).

Renesans Watercolours - Cobalt Turquoise, Prussian Green, Helio Turquoise, Permanent Green, Sap Green.

Renesans Watercolours - Cobalt Green Pale, Phthalo Green, Cobalt Green Deep, Chromium Oxide Green, Olive Green.

Golden Green was a bit of a surprise - made with five pigments! I really loved the Gold and Yellow Ochres.
Renesans Watercolours - Green Earth, Hooker's Green, Golden Green, Gold Ochre, Yellow Ochre.
I also really loved the Orange and Red Ochres and Mars Bordeaux - a great earthy rainbow of warm colours!
Renesans Watercolours - Raw Sienna, Orange Ochre, Burnt Sienna, Red Ochre, Mars Bordeaux.

Polish Brown, is made with an unfamiliar version of PBr25. I wonder if it has been heated? Normally it looks like Brown Madder also seen below.
Renesans Watercolours - Mars Brown, Potter's Pink, Brown Madder, Burnt Umber, Polish Brown.
Most of the colours are really consistent but I found the raw umber and the raw sienna difficult to get any stronger. This may be quite different if working with fresh paint or a larger sample.
Renesans Watercolours - Raw Umber, Sepia, Vandyke Brown, Perylene Violet (Hue), Payne's Grey.
The Neutral Grey is the same mix as Schmincke uses and some of the other names are the same as Schmincke, such as helio blue and purple magenta. I do like to see mixed greys without black pigments.
Renesans Watercolours - Mineral Grey, Neutral Grey, Ivory Black, Mars Black, Lamp Black.

Here is the information about the pan colours. It's a smaller range of colours, numbered and named completely differently. Although some are the same colour name or pigment or both, I'd treat them as a different range. It's good to see Cerulean (Coeruleum) in this set as it is a wonderful pigment for painting the sky, and Geranium Lake might be a good strong crimson.

I have read that if using for plein air, the pans are easier to manage as the tube colours have a lot of honey and take a long time to dry. I hope to test out the pan colours some time soon.

Renesans Watercolour half pan range page 1

Renesans Watercolour half pan range page 2

There is also a gouache range. I'll show some of those in another post.

Happy painting!

Thursday, 8 November 2018

Sketching in the Greek Islands

In October 2019, I am really looking forward to leading a sketching and painting tour of 6 beautiful Greek Islands - Rhodes, Katellorizo, Symi,  Nissiros, Kos and Kalymnos. the tour begins in Rhodes on Sunday the 6th October and finishes in Kalymnos on the 24th October. See the full itinerary here

I was last in the Greek Islands in 2007 and went to 4 gorgeous islands, enjoying exploring each using a different form of transportation. Motorbike for one, bus for another, a fun buggy for another...such variety and beauty to enjoy. The photos are from that trip and I am looking forward to seeing so many new islands.

This trip will have morning sketching and painting classes but participants (and their partners) will be free to explore and enjoy each island in the afternoons.

Painting subjects include colourful fishing boats, dramatic mountains, domed monasteries, white-washed bougainvillea filled lanes, dense olive groves, medieval fortresses, turquoise coves, cafes, lively sketches of locals and so much more. all levels of ability are welcome including non-artist participants.

Come and join me! Fill a sketchbook with wonderful memories in the Greek Islands.

Contact to make a booking, and let me know you are coming - send an email to me at

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

De Atramentis Document Inks Revisited.

In late 2014, the De Atramentis Document Inks - a range of lightfast, pigmented, mixable fountain pen friendly inks - was released. It's been a revolution for many sketchers who previously really limited to a few black waterproof inks. I've worked with a number of my own custom mixes - a raw sienna, a burnt sienna and a mixed Jane's Grey in particular, but I use the Black and the Brown as they are all the time.

Now we have these - and other - wonderful pigmented inks to use. What I have always loved about the De Atramentis range though is that they are mixable so it is fun to create your own colours. I did a series of posts showing two colour mixes, three colour mixes, and more three colour mixesmixing greys and mixing with black.

Since that series, a few more colours have been added - Violet, White and Urban grey. This is the latest and was developed by for the urban sketcher. It is about the colour of a graphite pencil so gives lovely pencil-like lines with no smudging.

Here I thought I'd update and show the range of Document ink colours mixed with Document Black and with Document White. I don't have a scanner at present so please accept my apologies for the photos. You can still see the wonderful range of tints and shades you can create.

De Atramentis Document Ink mixes - Yellow and White
De Atramentis Document Ink mixes  - Red and White
De Atramentis Document Ink mixes - Magenta/Fuchsia and White
De Atramentis Document Ink mixes - Violet and White
De Atramentis Document Ink mixes - Blue and White
De Atramentis Document Ink mixes - Dark Blue and White

De Atramentis Document Ink mixes - Turquoise/Cyan and White

De Atramentis Document Ink mixes - Green and White

De Atramentis Document Ink mixes - Brown and White

De Atramentis Document Ink mixes - Urban Grey and White

De Atramentis Document Ink mixes - Urban Grey and Black

De Atramentis Document Ink mixes - White and Black

De Atramentis Document Ink mixes - Brown and Black
De Atramentis Document Ink mixes - Green and Black

De Atramentis Document Ink mixes - Cyan (Turquoise) and Black
De Atramentis Document Ink mixes - Dark Blue and Black

De Atramentis Document Ink mixes - Blue and Black
De Atramentis Document Ink mixes - Violet and Black

De Atramentis Document Ink mixes - Magenta (Fuchsia) and Black

De Atramentis Document Ink mixes - Red and Black

De Atramentis Document Ink mixes - Yellow and Black

Friday, 19 October 2018


My Gouache Palette. 
There are two styles of gouache that I have worked with. One has chalk added to make it more opaque. This is really lovely to work with fresh from the tube, but doesn't re-wet well.

The other is really just a very concentrated watercolour  - no added chalk. This is the type I am most interested in. As far as I am aware, the brands that created this sort of gouache are M.Graham, Da Vinci and Schmincke. I've ended up using a mixture of these brands in my gouache palette. I am looking for fairly opaque but re-wettable versions since it is a travel and teaching palette. They will all crack a bit if you fill a pan too fast - it needs to be done in many stages - but I find it is also helpful to add a drop or two of glycerine to help them to rewet. They are designed to work with watercolours or alone. I have shown how it looks if no glycerine is 
added when filling (always bit by bit) - you can see some cracking in the colours along the left side.
I have previously posted a couple of swatches of gouache when setting up a sketching palette -
M.Graham here and painted out here, Schmincke here the Zorn palette here and a photo of a swatch of my gouache palette here.

I will update these individual swatches, but I think it is more helpful to have them altogether.

I had some old gouache from the 1990s - some with no numbers or pigment information so I've included those too.

I used a 6 colour plus black and white set in the Art Spectrum range to create a whole range of colour charts and wheels here, but the Black and White, Deep Yellow, Ultramarine and Vermilion I used have long since dried up so I haven't included a sample of those.

Here are the various tube sizes - the Da Vinci 37ml tubes are enormous! The others range from 14ml for the W&N, 15ml for the Schmincke Horadam, the M.Graham and the smaller Da Vinci, and 22.5 ml for the Art Spectrum.

Here are the whites.
White Gouache - Titanium White Da Vinci) Titanium White Schmincke, Opaque White Schmincke, Permanent White Winsor & Newton, titanium White M.Graham.

Cadmium pigments made a whole lot of sense if you want opaque colours without additives, but they are expensive.
Cool and mid yellow Gouache - Hansa Yellow Light Da Vinci, Cadmium Yellow Light Schmincke, Primary Yellow Winsor & Newton, Azo Yellow M.Graham, Primrose Art Spectrum.

Mid to warm yellow Gouache - Cadmium Yellow Schmincke, Cadmium Yellow Hue Schmicnke, Indian Yellow Schmincke, Cadmium Yellow Deep Schmincke, Gamboge M.Graham.

I really love the pigment PR255 as a warm red. It's probably not as opaque as a cadmium red woudl be but it is a gorgeous colour.

Cool red Gouache - Alizarin Crimson (Quin) Da Vinci, Carmine Schmincke, Madder Red Schmincke, Quinacriodone Rose M.Graham, Crimson Art Spectrum.

I really love the pigment PR255 as a warm red. It's probably not as opaque as a cadmium scarlet would be but it's gorgeous.

Warm Red Gouage - Vermillion Tone Schmcinke, Vermillion Red Schmincke, Naphthol Red M.Graham.
Magenta Gouache - Magenta Da Vinci

 I like the depth of the Schmincke Ultramarine Deep, but these are all nice to paint with.

Ultramarine Gouache - Ultramarine Da Vinci, Ultramarine Deep Schmincke, Ultramarine M.Graham.

Phthalo pigments are not opaque. Good for tinting other colours though.
Cool blue Gouache - Phthalo Blue Da Vinci, Helio Blue Schmincke, Intense Blue Winsor & Newton, Myosis Blue, Winsor & Newton, Asure Blue Winsor & Newton.

 I think the Art Spectrum was a genuine cerulean pigment but the M.Graham certainly is.
Cool blue and cerulean Gouache - Paris Blue Schmincke, Peacock Blue Winsore & Newton,
Cerulean Blue M.Graham, Cerulean Blue Art Spectrum

This is a lovely turquoise colour. I don't use it much but it is a little more opaque than the phthalos and can be used to neutralise a warm red, or to mix greens with the yellows.

Turquoise Gouache - Helio Turquoise Schmincke.

Phthalo green is usually a transparent pigment. 
Green Gouache - Helio Green Bluish Schmincke, Phthalocyaninie Green M.Graham.

I really like PBr24 but only have it in my gouache palette.

Gouache - Naples Yellow Winsor & Newton, Titanium Gold Ochre Schmincke.

The Da Vinci Yellow Ochre is just lovely.

Yellow ochre Gouache - Yellow Ochre Da Vinci, Yellow Ochre Winsor & Newton.

Raw Sienna Gouache - Raw Sienna Winsor & Newton, Raw Sienna M.Graham, Raw Sienna Da Vinci, Raw Sienna Schmincke.

Burnt Sienna Gouache - Burnt Sienna Da Vinci, Burnt Sienna Schmincke, Burnt Sienna Winsor & Newton, Burnt Sienna M.Graham.

Apart from the English Red, these are old Winsor and Newton tubes with no pigment information. They probably pre-date the internet ;-)
Red earth Gouache - English Red Schmincke, Chinese Orange Winsor & Newton, Venetian Red Winsor & Newton, Red Ochre Winsor & Newton.

The Da Vinci Raw Umber is a lovely deep cool brown.
Dark brown Gouache - Raw Umber Da Vinci, Raw Umber Winsor & Newton, Raw Umber M.Graham, Sepia Winsor & Newton.

Schmincke Neutral Grey gouache, like their watercolour, is made from coloured pigments not black or white. I really like that :-). The Winsor & Newton tubes predate pigment information.
Grey Gouache - Neutral Grey Schmincke, Grey No 1 (Light) Winsor & Newton, Grey No 2 Winsor & Newton, Grey No 3, Winsor & Newton, Grey No 4 Winsor & Newton, Grey No 5 (Dark) Winsor & Newton.

I liked the Schmincke best in this range, though I tend to use the grey above.
Black Gouache - Black Da Vinci, Ivory Black Schmincke, Jet Black Schmincke, Ivory Black CMYK Winsor & Newton, Lamp Black M.Graham.

I use some sparkly colours for calligraphy, not for painting. The Silver and Bronze are very old tubes.
Metallic Gouache - Red Pearl Schmincke, Gold Pearl Schmincke, Silver Linel, Bronze Winsor & Newton.