Tuesday 6 March 2018

Da Vinci Watercolours and a Sydney workshop.

The 12-colour Da Vinci full pan set.

Da Vinci watercolours are one of my three favourite brands. They come in a range of tubes sizes including (in the US) massive 37ml tubes, and some colours are available in pans. You can see the 12 colour set left - the full pans are larger than 'normal'.

It's a pretty good range, though I would make a few changes if I were to use just 12...

The empty Da Vinci palette.

They are incredibly consistent across the range. They are generally nice and thick from the tube, they don't separate, they dry nicely with minimal shrinkage and they rewet with ease.

They are largely single pigment colours, and are labelled clearly. They also include genuine cadmiums, so these are what I'd use then I want more opaque colours.

This is a palette I've put together of 20 of my favourites from the range. I alternate between the cool Hansa Yellow Light and my preferred mid yellow Arylide Yellow - one I use, the other I tend to teach with. Either work beautifully. (The Da Vinci Yellow in the set above is very similar to Arylide yellow and is another excellent primary yellow option.)

All but two in this palette are single pigment colours - the Sap green is a very nice convenience mix of phthalo green and yellow ochre and the Jane's Grey is my own convenience mix of PBr7 and PB29.

My 20-colour Da Vinci palette
I love the earth colours in this range - like Daniel Smith, they use the PBr7 for the burnt and raw siennas, the raw umber is deep and cool and the permanent alizarin crimson is a gorgeous PV19 version that is as close as I have found to the genuine, but fugitive, alizarin crimson pigment. I also love the Benzimida Orange Deep. It's a gorgeous rich mid orange. I normally mix oranges but this one is so lovely I'd include it, just as I'd include Schmincke's lovely Transparent Orange in a Schmincke palette. In my Daniel Smith palettes, I use Transparent Pyrrol Orange as my warm red, but it is far more red then this orange. As far as I've noticed, they are totally intermixable with Daniel Smith and Schmincke too.

The Da Vinci range includes gouache, acrylics and oils as well. They come from Southern California and are readily available in the US and Canada, but only at Pigment Lab in Sydney. You can see my post showing the (almost) full range here. I'll be doing some watercolour workshops using them and the Wallace Seymour watercolours through Pigment Lab this year, with the first coming up this month! You can see more detail and book a place here. (And of course you could use any brand of watercolour you wish!)

Happy painting!


  1. I have never tried the Da Vinci watercolors. Do they granulate?
    Thank you, Jane.

    1. You can see (almost) the whole range painted out here https://janeblundellart.blogspot.com.au/2017/04/da-vinci-watercolours-almost-complete.html and you'll see that the granulating pigments will granulate - the ultramarine colours, cerulean genuine, the cobalt colours, the cadmiums etc. In the earths Venetian red granulates beautifully as does Violet Iron oxide - have a look and you'll be able to see in the swatches.

  2. I've read wonderful reviews of the DaVinci series. I have been experimenting and pondering an Earth-colors dominated palette for once Spring 2018 painting season finally arrives. No cadmiums, no phthalos or ultramarines. Just medium-chromas RGYBs and the siennas, umbers and grays for the feel of 18th/19th English watercolors. This palette is very close to that with a few deletions.

    1. I love the earth pigments - it's why I am so drawn to Daniel Smith, da Vinci and others who make gorgeous earth colours.

  3. I have just ordered their brand new poured pan set and am very excited! I hope that they can be purchased in australia easier by the time I need some refill tubes as the postage is a bit high just for a few tubes here and there.