Sunday, 15 April 2018

Rivervale Handmade Watercolours

I've received a number of lovely samples of handmade watercolour paint from Arkansas USA, some of which are sold on an Etsy site Rivervale Watercolor, others are not. It is a fabulous collection of natural and synthetic pigments to be able to test, and I am very grateful to Elizabeth, along with the many others who have sent me samples over the last 5 years. They are labelled with pigment supplier and pigment numbers where known.

Available for sale (please note - this list was sent a while ago - before I broke my wrist last year - and may well have changed. I will update in the captions if necessary).
Rivervale Handmade Watercolours - Titanium White, Buff Titanium, Benzimazolone Yellow, Pyrrol Red, Quinacridone Red.

Rivervale Handmade Watercolours - Quinacridone Magenta, Ultramarine Pink, Manganese Violet, Carbazole Violet, Ultramarine Violet.

Rivervale Handmade Watercolours - Ultramarine Blue, Prussian Blue, Phthalo Blue (Green Shade), Mayan Blue, Verdigris Green Hue.

Rivervale Handmade Watercolours - Mayan Green (no longer aviable due to lightfast issues), Phthalo Green (Blue Shade), Nicosia Green Earth, Chromium Green, Verona Green Earth.
Rivervale Handmade Watercolours - Lemon Yellow Ochre, Yellow Ochre (Yellow Oxide), Raw Sienna, Italian Brown Ochre (Goethite), French Pink Clay.

Rivervale Handmade Watercolours - Luberon Burnt Sienna, Luberon Orange Ochre, Armenian Mummy Red Light, Ercolano Red, Venetian Red.

Rivervale Handmade Watercolours - Pink Pipestone (Catlinite), Armenian Crimson Ochre, Red Hematite, Potter's Pink, Augite Porphyry Violet Light Ochre.

Rivervale Handmade Watercolours - Violet Hematite, Luberon Raw Umber, Cyprus Burnt Umber, Van Dyke Brown (no longer available), General's Black Graphite.
Rivervale Handmade Watercolours - Lamp Black, Genera's Charcoal, Bone Black.

Rivervale Handmade Watercolours - Silver Mica, Gold Mica, Copper Mica, Pearl White Mica.
It is difficult to show the effects of interference colours...
Rivervale Handmade Watercolours - Phantom Rose (Interference Red), PHtantom Fire (Interference Copper), Phantom Fae Gold (Interference Gold) and Phantom Sunrise (Interference Orange)

Rivervale Handmade Watercolours - Phantom Magic (Interference Violet), Phantom Moonlight (Interference Blue), Phantom Turquoise (Interference Turquoise) Phantom Jade (Interference Green)

Not for sale
These pigments may have been too expensive, out of stock, difficult to get hold of or not of interest to make more, but they are shown here as it is so helpful to know what pigments from various suppliers actually look like when made into paint. (Any that have since been made available are noted in the captions)

I love the orange made with PO36! 
Rivervale Handmade Watercolour Samples - Nite Glow, Cadmium Yellow Light, Golden Arylide (now available as Kama's Isoindolinone Yellow), Permanent Orange (now available as Benzimida Orange from Kama pigments), Cadmium Red Light.

Rivervale Handmade Watercolour Samples - Perylene Scarlet, Naphthol Vermilion, Cadmium Red Medium, Perylene Maroon, Perylene Crimson (now available as Perylene Carmine).

Rivervale Handmade Watercolour Samples - Cadmium Red, Carmine, Carmine Nacarat, Alizarin Crimson, Quinacridone Violet (now being sold in a slightly warmver version from Kama pigments).

This is a beautiful ultramarine! The Cobalt Blue Light looks more like a phthalo blue pigment, and the Alex Artist Colors pigments tend to fade so are not recommended.
Rivervale Handmade Watercolour Samples - Ultramarine, Cobalt Blue Dark (not recommended), Cobalt Aluminate Blue, Cobalt Blue Light (not recommended), Indigo Genuine (NB1?).

Rivervale Handmade Watercolour Samples - Cobalt Green (home made pigment), Nickol Azo Dark, Vicenza Earth, Quinacridone Gold, Red Bole.

I may be a little biased, but I love the Australian Reef Clay. Like Piemontite from DS it has fabulous granulation.
Rivervale Handmade Watercolour Samples - Terre Pozzouli, Italian Burnt Sienna, Pink Ochre, Rosewood, Australian Reef Clay.
These rich earthy reds are gorgeous. I am guessing the two on the right would be made with PR101.
Rivervale Handmade Watercolour Samples - Quinacridone Russet, Red Hot HFT, Red Oxide, Red Ochre Dark, Wineberry Ochre

These are so rich!
Rivervale Handmade Watercolour Samples - Mars Violet, Caput Mortuum, Red Oxide Blue Shade, Cote d'Azur Violet, Nicosia Burnt Umber CC (now being sold as Burnt Umber Cold).

Rivervale Handmade Watercolour Samples - Green Umber, Natural Silver Graphite, Vine Black.

Here are some more lovely samples of handmade paint from our earth.

Rivervale Handmade Watercolour Samples - Cinnabar Fine, Dragons Blood (disolved from the sap with alcohol), Côte d'Azur Violet, Thulite, Lazurite (from Baikal)
Rivervale Handmade Watercolour Samples - Viviantie Blue Fine, Viviantie, Viviantie, Vivianite.

It was a real treat to paint out a genuine Lapis Lazuli sample!
Rivervale Handmade Watercolour Samples - Lazurite First Class (Lapis Lazuli), Azurite Optima, Azurite, Azurite BIS, Turquoise Sky Blue.

Rivervale Handmade Watercolour Samples  - Dioptase, Malachite Fine, Malachite, Celadonite, Celatonite.

Rivervale Handmade Watercolour Samples - Clauconite, Chrysocolla, Mountain Green (Buckthorn Green - a lovely but fugitive colour), Chrysocolla, Volkonskoite.
Rivervale Handmade Watercolour Samples - Arkansas Olive Green Tuff, Arkansas Yellow Jasper, Jarosite Light, Cyprus Jarosite, Yellow Jasper IWA-OUDO #14,

Rivervale Handmade Watercolour Samples - Tiger Eye, Arkansas Red Jasper, Red Jasper, Caput Mortuum, Indian Red.

Rivervale Handmade Watercolour Samples - Hematite Cold, Hematite, Mummy Violet, Caput Mortuum, Tuff Purple.

Rivervale Handmade Watercolour Samples - Shungite.

Rivervale Handmade Watercolour Samples - Silver Foil, Crucible Gold, Forged Gold, Crucible Red.

Elizabeth has also created beautiful samples of some rather nasty pigments. It is fabulous to see these historic tough dangerous (and/or fugitive) colours in the flesh! Vermilion is a mercury sulfide. Mimium (Red Lead) is created by heating white lead. It would turn yellow then orange. Realgar is a natural mineral of arsenic sulfide, closely related to Orpiment
Rivervale Handmade Watercolour Samples - Vermilion, Minium (Red Lead), Realgar.
Lead Tin Yellow is a highly poisonous lead stannate - and oxide of lead and tin. Gamboge comes from the sap of the Garcinia tree and is a diuretic - it is also fugitive. Orpiment is yellow arsenic sulfide.
Rivervale Handmade Watercolour Samples - Lead Tin Yellow Pale, Gamboge, Orpiment.

We are very lucky that these poisonous pigments have been replaced with safer alternatives!

Happy painting :-)


  1. I’ve bought a few half pans from “JasperStardust” on Etsy and been very pleased. I think she also offers whole pans. I may buy some of the whole pans when I decide what colors I really love.

  2. Thank you so much for painting these out Jane! I hope they are helpful to anyone else looking to make their own paints, I found it difficult to find good comparison swatches of most pigment suppliers' colors before I bought them to try.

    I should add a small correction, Perylene Carmine (still a PR179 pigment)from Guerra (I don't see a swatch here, perhaps I forgot to send some?) Is in my shop under the name "Perylene Maroon". I thought it was too dull to look like Carmine, and it better matched some other Perylene Maroons I have tried so that's what I went with.

    I think the "Cobalt Blue Dark" from Alex Artist Colors is likely just Ultramarine Blue, it didn't fade like their others in my lightfastness tests, but I still wouldn't purchase it again personally, since I hadn't intended to buy a hue.

    To anyone curious about interference mica pigments, they are extremely difficult to photograph as they only show their color from the right angle. The photos here have picked up on the "ghost" color, what appears when the light isn't hitting them. They show up best over a black background.

  3. Fascinating! I live in Arkansas and hadn't heard of this paint maker- certainly makes it seem like a small world when you find out about someone local from someone on the other side of the globe! Thank you for all the time you put into your posts, you've helped me learn so much about color mixing and pigment information.

  4. I also am surprised to find out about someone nearly local to me here! I’m in northwest Arkansas and make paints too! I’m only using local or other collected materials, but just knowing there’s another paint maker in the vicinity is pretty cool �� Thanks!

  5. I'm delighted to find swatches of the Natural Pigments/Rublev paints. Thank you for posting these! I have just ordered one of their sets to try my hand at making my own paints.