Thursday 26 July 2018

Daniel Smith half pan watercolour sets.

I've been asking Daniel Smith paints to create pan colours for many years, as they are a far simpler way for people to get started in artist quality watercolours than buying tubes. It takes time and care to create pan colours, but finally, earlier this month, it was announced that they would introduce 6 half pans sets, which will be available in September (early October more likely). You can see the information on Doodlewashed here.

At this stage, Daniel Smith won't be creating open stock pans.

Rather than individually wrapping each half pan and packaging them up, they have also created a rather nice compact palette that was designed to hold 15 half pans. This will be included at no extra charge - a bonus - with each set, along with spare empty half pans. For the 15 colour set a second empty palette with 15 empty half pans will be provided!

Here's the new palette!

Daniel Smith hand-poured watercolour half pan set of 15 - Ultimate Mixing Set.

The largest set, pictured above, is my 15 colour Ultimate Mixing Set, including the new DS colour Jane's Grey that anyone who's been reading my blog is familiar with. It also contains Buff Titanium, Hansa Yellow Medium, Quinacridone Gold, Pyrrol Scarlet, Permanent Alizarin Crimson, Quinacridone Rose, Ultramarine, Cerulean Chromium, Phthalo Blue Green Shade, Phthalo Green Blue Shade, Goethite, Burnt Sienna, Indian Red and Raw Umber. The recommended retail price of this set will be US$114.60.

The Ultimate Mixing Set painted out - though due to technical difficulties producing the pans,
Permanent Alizarin Crimson will replace Pyrrol Crimson in the pan set.

Book cover using all the Ultimate Mixing Set colours.

I have created a book showing thousands of possible mixes - see a preview of the eBook here. It is also available as a hardcover or softcover with premium matt paper, or a softcover with standard paper.

The Daniel Smith Ultimate Mixing half pan set paint out, showing the new quinacridone hue, permanent alizarin crimson and the new Daniel Smith Jane's Grey.

You can mix any other colour with this set, but it is not intended as a limited set so a bonus empty palette box with an additional 15 empty half pans will also be included so you can add others you use a lot. I work with these colours as my basic palette, but add other convenience colours to speed up the painting process. These colours can be made with those in the set for harmony, or may be colours that can be mixed but add extra characteristics. Examples are Undersea Green (made from Ultramarine and Quinacridone Gold - both colours already in the set) and Sap Green (made from phthalo green and quinacridone gold - both in the set). Or I might add Raw Sienna (which can be created as a hue using Quinacridone Gold and burnt sienna) or Perylene Green (which can also be created as a hue with Phthalo Green and Permanent Alizarin Crimson). Other favourite extras are burnt umber (a mix burnt sienna and ultramarine) and the extraordinary Primatek pigments that add wonderful granulation.

The next set is the 'Sketcher' set, which is Liz Steel's watercolour starter set. It includes Hansa Yellow Medium, Quinacridone Rose and Ultramarine - a fabulous basic triad also included in me Ultimate Mixing Set. You can get an idea of how versatile this mixing triad is from this chart of three-colour mixes.

A basic mixing triad of Hansa Yellow Medium, Ultramarine and Quinacridone Rose can create an extraordinary range of colours. Daniel Smith Watercolour.

Also included are Mont Amiata Natural Sienna, Cerulean Chromium and the absolutely gorgeous Transparent Red Oxide, providing an earth yellow, a non-staining cool blue and a bright and granulating version of a burnt sienna. This set will be packaged in a 15 half pan palette with 9 empty half pans.

The Daniel Smith Sketcher half pan set

All the 6-colour sets will have a Recommended Retail Price of US$55.31.

The four remaining sets will be Colours of Inspiration sets. They will also come in a 15 half pan palette with 9 spare empty pans.

Pink Rose, Jane Blundell. Daniel Smith Watercolours.

'Colors of Inspiration' has a mix of purples including Wisteria, Lavender, Rose of Ultramarine, Moonglow and Shadow Violet along with the lovely Australian Primatek colour Serpentine Genuine - a really unique granulating set.

I really love DS Moonglow - it is a three pigment mix of ultramarine, anthraquinoid red and viridian. It makes a really interesting background colour to florals as the crimson particles float and the viridian granulation is lovely. Shadow Violet is similar but has an orange in the mix rather than the crimson so is even more grey.

Rose of Ultramarine, Moonglow and Shadow Violet were all used to create the background for this rose study.

The Daniel Smith Colours of Inspiration half pan set.

Congregational Church Hunters Hill with
green apatite genuine in the gardens.
Jane Blundell

'Floral - Cottage Gardens to Botanicals' has some great colours for painting florals. Quinacridone Gold, Quinacridone Rose and Phthalo Blue Green Shade make a wonderful primary triad; Cadmium Yellow Medium Hue gives a mid yellow, Cascade Green (created for painting the Cascade mountains) and one of my other favourites, Green Apatite Genuine, make up the rest of this set. I've used that in the foreground of this sketch of a lovely sandstone church. It is an extraordinary pigment as it can be used very diluted for soft grassy effects or strongly for deep olive greens.

The Daniel Smith Floral - Cottage Gardens to Botanicals half pan set.

Untitled abstract watercolour. Jane Blundell.

'Blues  - Serene to Dramatic' set has a mix of dramatic blues and blue-greys including Sodalite Genuine, Sleeping Beauty Turquoise Genuine, Lunar Blue, Payne's Blue Gray, Cerulean Chromium and Indigo. This was developed with thanks to Julie Karlsson from Sweden.

Working with a range of colours that are very close can be very rewarding. Sodalite Genuine, Cerulean Chromium and other granulating beauties were used to create this study.

The Daniel Smith 'Blues - Serene to Dramatic' half pan set.

Untitled abstract watercolour. Jane Blundell

'Earth - Desert to Mountains' set - contains the amazing Buff Titanium, Raw Sienna Light, Bronzite Genuine, Venetian Red, Burnt Sienna Light and the extraordinary Lunar Black. This set was recommended by the lovely artist Brenda Swenson, who's blog provides wonderful insights into art materials she enjoys and who's work in pen and watercolour is well worth looking at.

I love using these very granulating pigments for abstract studies. Here you can see the interplay of buff titanium and lunar black with earth reds.

The Daniel Smith Earth - Desert to Mountains half pan set.

Daniel Smith half pan watercolours: Earth - Desert to Mountains set in the specially designed palette.

So what will you do with the empty pans? They can be removed and mixed around as desired. Or they can be filled with tube colours, or watercolour sticks that you already own or choose to add. (Each DS watercolour stick can be cut up to create 5 half pans of colour.)

I have written before about filling pans and half pans from tubes here (and also partially filling them at a slope here) but will add the basic information again as there are few key points to keep in mind.

1- Shake the tube well. You don't know how long it may have been sitting around or perhaps exposed to different temperatures during transportation and the heavier pigments may drop to the bottom leaving gum Arabic on the top. Shake really well and open with care away from your clothing just in case the paint comes out a little too enthusiastically! I hold the tube at the bottom widest part and am ready so give a gentle squeeze if the paint comes out too fast - a gentle squeeze will suck a little back in again.

2 - Label the half pan with the colour name, pigment information and brand (if you use more than one brand) with a permanent marker.

3 - Fill in parts - ideally 1/3 at a time. If gum Arabic comes out, put the lid on a shake again. Stir with a toothpick, blunt needle or other fine point to get the paint into the corners of the pan and allow to dry. Top up with the next third and stir and dry again. The DS pans are hand-filled in 3 or 4 pours - this allows the paints to dry really evenly without cracking. When making your own it is best to do it gradually as well.

It is best to air dry the pans. I put them on a windowsill with the palette open, not closed.

4 - Once dry, arrange in your palette in a logical order. Make a chart and write out the colours you have included.

When painting, there is not need to spray Daniel Smith paints with water to reactivate them - they will rewet at the touch of a brush.

The paint used in the DS half pans is exactly the same as in the tubes, so when empty, the pans can be re-filled with tube colours.

Do have a look at the Doodlewashed page to see all the original announcement, but note that due to technical difficulties the Blues set will be slightly different to what is shown there and won't include Blue Apatite Genuine due to technical difficulties with creating pans with that pigment.

Happy painting!

Sunday 15 July 2018

Da Vinci Triad - a cool triad for the northern summer

Permanent Rose, Hansa Yellow Light and Phthalo Blue
in 8ml tubes create a cool bright triad.

Da Vinci have been featuring a range of triads as they launch their new smaller 8ml tubes. I was asked to suggest a Summer triad. When I am teaching, I always encourage my students to consider basic primary (or other) triads as a starting point for their paintings. This is the second one I would normally teach in a workshop, and is rather fun for summer - a cool bright triad to paint the warm colours of summer :-)

This triad consists of a cool bright yellow, cool bright red and cool bright blue - Hansa Yellow Light PY3, Permanent Rose PV19 and Phthlao blue PB15. It will mix in a similar way to a printing CYM triad, though I rather like the rose rather than magenta. It will create gorgeous bright greens, purples and oranges, but the three colours can also be mixed to create a fabulous rich black, which can be watered down to many shades of grey. The colours are all powerful and non-granulating.

Wheel painted with Hansa Yellow Light, Permanent Rose and Phthalo Blue, Da Vinci Watercolours

The mixing possibilities are extraordinary with a well-matched triad. 

Below you can see the lovely bright greens that can be mixed using the yellow and blue, the oranges and reds along with warm yellows that can be mixed with the rose and cool yellow and the lovely purples, magentas and warm blues that can be mixed with the blue and rose. This chart was created using random mixes of the two primaries - a little more of one or the other, or a little more water, or stronger pigment, just to see what is possible. The strokes were painted with a 1/4" brush.

Hansa Yellow Light mixed with Phthalo Blue; Permanent Rose mixed with Hansa Yellow Light; Phthalo Blue mixed with Permanent Rose - Da Vinci Watercolours.

It gets even more interesting when you start to explore the three-colour mixes. 

Here we have a blue-purple mixed with the hansa yellow light, creating gorgeous blacks, greys and interesting shadow greens. The blue-purple I use for all the first row can be seen on the left.

Next is a mid purple mixed with the Hansa yellow light, creating raw umber and mute purple hues. Once again the mid-purple I used for all these mixes can be seen on the left.

Then a red-purple mixed with Hansa yellow light. creating yellow ochre, raw sienna and burnt sienna hues. The red-purple mixture I used for this row can be seen on the left. 

Purples mixed with Hansa Yellow Light. top is a blue-purple, middle is a mid-purple and bottom is a rose-purple.

Below are greens mixed with the Rose. First is a yellow-green mixed with Permanent rose creating lovely spring greens and oranges.

Next a mid green is mixed with Permanent Rose creating great foliage greens and dusty pinks.

Then a blue-green is mixed with Permanent Rose creating lovely deep greens and blue-purples.

Greens mixed with Permanent Rose - top is a yellow-green, Middle is a mid green and bottom is a blue-green.
Finally oranges are mixed with the Phthalo Blue

A red-orange creates lovely earth red and grey and deep blue colours.

A mid-orange creates a fabulous range of olive greens, turquoises and burnt orange colours.

A yellow-orange creates more bright greens.

Oranges mixed with Phthalo Blue - top is a red-orange, middle is a mid orange, bottom is a yellow-orange.

This sketch was painted using only the three colours. There is not much you can't create with them if you try! What you also achieve with a well-matched triad is wonderful colour harmony.

Tulip painted with PY3, PV19 and PB15, Da Vinci watercolours.

The new 8ml tubes will be a useful addition to the Da Vinci range. 
I love their massive 37ml tubes too!

Da Vinci tubes - the new 8ml, the 15ml and the jumbo 37ml.

This triad was launched as a Da Vinci set in September - here is the link to the triad series.

Happy painting.

Tuesday 3 July 2018

Princeton Brushes

One of the great companies I recommend for those looking for good quality synthetic brushes is Princeton. Though they also make beautiful looking sable brushes (see the Siberia range), the ones I've tried have been the really good range of synthetic squirrel and sable brushes, in interesting shapes and sizes. These ones are really lovely. My absolute favourite is the 1" Mottler - I carry one of these little cuties with me every day in my little travel kit! It has a precise tip and is great for doing quick washes or wetting the paper in preparation for a wash and the short size it prefect for travel. for studio work the 1" short handle is great. I like the interesting tip to these green handles - it gives another painting tool for scraping paint.

Some of the Princeton Neptune brush range
The Neptune range is synthetic squirrel, so fairly soft hairs. I find this works best for the larger brushes.

For smaller brushes I prefer a bit more stiffness.

Below are some more sizes of the Neptune range, including the 1/4' Dagger and the 1/4" flat. The Mottler is there for size comparison. This brush has done some travelling!

Princeton brushes from the Neptune, Select and Elite ranges.

Sable hair is firmer than squirrel, and is what I tend to use for smaller brushes. The Princeton synthetic Kolinsky sable range is the Elite. You can see two of these at the bottom of the picture above. The number 6 flat shader is great for creating windows or other regular rectangular or square shapes, as well as general painting for those who like flats. It is also terrific for creating colour mixing charts ;-) The Elite rounds are nicely pointed and easy to control. There is also a Heritage synthetic sable range.

Another interesting range is the Select. A number from this range are shown here with the blue handles. There are some special purpose brushes in this range, such as the Filbert Grainer and the very useful Scumbler - perhaps designed for acrylic but really useful fo scrubbing out in watercolour or cleaning up the odd accidental splatter. It seems to be called the 'Fix it scrubber' on the website now.

There are many brush sizes and brands to look at, and it can be difficult to choose what to buy. I'd always suggest getting fewer great brushes rather than lots of cheapies. A good brush becomes an extension of your fingers :-)

2019 update
I was sent this rather nice set of Princeton brushes, so I can show a few more of the range. It includes the size 6 mop and the ½" flat along with a size 8 round and my favourite 1" Mottler.

Happy painting!