Wednesday, 17 October 2018

White Nights Watercolours

I've written about this range before. It is known by a number of different names - White Nights is more common in Europe, St Petersburg in the US, but they are made by Nevskaya Palitra in Russia.

The full range was shown in this post here.

They have now added a number of new colours and changed the names of a couple. They have also added tubes to their range for all 66 colours apart from the silver and gold.

I was given the new colours that have recently been added while at the Urban Sketchers Symposium in July and have finally had a chance to paint out the rest of the swatches. Thank you to Tatiana.

The tube colours paint out very nicely fresh from the tubes and allow more options in setting up custom palettes - whether half pans or into the wells of other palettes. They also make it easier to paint larger washes of course. I normally work from dried paint in a palette but will use tube colours in my studio for larger works.

Here is a link to the Russian colour chart.

These are a very affordable range to use to get started in watercolour as they use real pigments rather than hues for most colours. Just be wary of a few fugitive pigments or only use in a sketchbook where they are protected from light.

White Nights Watercolours - Zinc White, Lemon, Cadmium Lemon, Hansa Yellow, Cadmium Yellow Medium.

Indian yellow and Indian Gold are new - the Indian Gold is an excellent quinacridone gold hue. It would be a good option as a warm yellow in a small palette.
White Nights Watercolours - Indian Yellow (new), Indian Gold (new), Golden, Golden Deep, Cadmium Orange.
I love the PO36 Titan Red colour.
White Nights Watercolours - Orange Lake, Titan's Red, Cadmium Red Light, Vermilion (Hue), Scarlet.

The new Quinacridone Red is a lovely primary red option.
White Nights Watercolours - Ruby, Madder Lake Red Light, Claret, Carmine, Quinacridone Red (new).
As is Quinacridone Violet Rose - also new.
White Nights Watercolours - Quinacridone Violet Rose (new), Quinacridone Rose, Rose, Quinacridone Lilac, Violet-Rose.

Blue Lake is a beautiful blue but I am very wary of PB1.
White Nights Watercolours - Quinacridone Violet (new), Ultramarine Violet (new), Violet, Blue Lake, Indanthrone Blue.

White Nights Watercolours - Ultramarine, Cobalt Blue, Azure, Blue, Bright Blue (Brilliant).

I'd prefer a stronger version of Cerulean blue - this is rather weak - but it is still a great pigment to use for sketching skies as it is not a staining pigment so clouds can be lifted out with ease.
White Nights Watercolours - Ceruleum Blue, Indigo, Prussian Blue, Azure Blue, Turquoise Blue.

White Nights Watercolours - Emerald Green, Light Green,  Green Original, Yellowing Green, Sap Green (old version).

White Nights Watercolours - Sap Green (new version), Green Earth, Olive Green, Chromium Oxide, Green (Russian).

White Nights Watercolours - Yellow Ochre, Naples Yellow, Raw Sienna, Red Ochre, Shakhnazarskaya Red.

White Nights Watercolours - Burnt Sienna, English Red, Venetian Red (not shown), Burnt Umber, Mars Brown.

White Nights Watercolours - Umber, Sepia, Voronezhskaya Black, Payne's Grey, Neutral Black.

White Nights Watercolours - Antique Gold (not shown), Silver Deep (not shown).
Here is the 12-colour Plein Air palette I suggested back in 2015. This is intended as a starter watercolour set for plein air and/or sketchbook work. There are some colours that are not lightfast.

And here is is open. Full pans are great for brush access!

With the new colours that have beed added to the range it is possible to create a set that is more lightfast. I'd now switch the orange-yellow Golden to the new quinacridone gold hue Indian Gold. I'd switch Carmine to the new Quinacridone Red and I'd switch Green to the new Sap Green. I'd also switch the Cerulean to the new Cobalt Azure Blue launched in 2019 - see below.

Update August 2019

At the Amsterdam Urban Sketching Symposium, Tatiana gave me some more new colours, launched in Spring 2019. I've created a new blog post with the full range that can be found here. I scanned the swatches for that blog but will also update the colours here.

It's great to see a PY151 mid or primary yellow. The Naples Yellows are quite accurate but the Orange is a true bright mid orange. The Geranium Red is very aptly named - it is a bright warm red geranium colour with a slightly pink undertone.

White Nights Watercolours - Aureolin, Naples Yellow Light, Naples Orange, Orange, Geranium Red.
 It's also good to see a PB36 Cobalt Azure Blue.
White Nights Watercolours - Venice Purple, Cobalt Azure Blue, Cobalt Turquoise, May Green.
 Here are the 7 metallics.
White Nights Watercolours - Silver Light, Inca Gold, Bronze, Aztec Gold.

White Nights Watercolours - Antique Gold, Silver Deep, Copper.

Happy painting :-)


  1. I absolutely love your blog! I faithfully follow your posts and wanted to say thank you ever so much for always taking the time to do these color swatches, this really helps so much. I would LOVE to see a quick video of you painting a swatch card please? Maybe there is a quick video and I just haven’t seen it yet? I can never get my swatches to look like yours. The color range you produce on each swatch is amazing! Please let me know if you have a quick video or could do clip? I would be ever so grateful! Thanks so much :)

    1. I have posted up some videos on my Instagram account - @Janeblundellart. I have never attempted to add any to my blog - I could give it a go.

    2. Here you go. On my YouTube chanel

  2. Do you have google + enabled for your blog? My name and badge used to show up but now they don't and I can't comment unless I sign in manually. I keep hitting the "sign in" in the top corner but I'm already signed in.

    It's too bad that White Nights has such a wide range of permanent and fugitive colors. That's one of the reasons I've avoided them.

    White Knights Quin Rose is PR122 whereas Daniel Smith Quin Rose is PV19. That's confusing. Their Quin Rose seems more toward violet than their Quin Rose Violet. Seems those two should switch names.

    Who can pronounce Shakhnazarskaya red? Which is quite pretty in almost a Buff Titanium sort of way. But as long as you're going to make up names, maybe Red Ochre Light?

  3. A really nice brand. I have all the new colours and they are a great addition to the range.
    I see Golden in your 12 colour box. Unfortunately it is fugitive and changes from orange to yellow.

    1. Yes I am aware that Golden is not lightfast but it was the best warm yellow option before the new colours were added. I’d now suggest Indian Gold as a warm yellow.
      However assuming the plein air box is used for sketching in a sketchbook it should be somewhat protected.
      Or did you find it changed even if not exposed to light?

  4. Thank you for reviewing the new colors. I use White Nights as my main Brand. They have all colors needed and the price is unbeatable.
    I love how fast the rewet and how fast you can pick up the color. The new colors are all great and closes some gaps in the range.

  5. Hi Jane,
    I noticed little symbols like triangles and others under the color charts, does any of them indicate if the color is staining or not?
    Thumbs up for your blog!

    1. Good question but no - actually those symbols (square, circle and diamond) refer to the sets that they paints are available in the US.
      As a general rule, the granulating colours tend to be less staining, non-granulating colours tend to be more staining. But the most staining are the phthalos and colours mixed from phthalos.

  6. Are the tubes good to fill pans? I see Cotman tubes losing a bit of strenght.

    1. They are designed to be used to refill the pans or use fresh as you prefer. It is always best to fill pans from tubes little by little so they can dry in stages and avoid cracking.

  7. Hi, can I ask for Your help? I am trying to complete my first palette in order to start the adventure with watercolors. Actually, I have no idea about colors / mixing, etc. That's why I searched the internet and found your blog wchich I think is very helpful and the best in this topic! But still I have some troubles. I chose White Nights because of the price. I intend to paint mainly landscapes, nature, buildings.
    I have chosen so far: cadmium yellow medium, cadmium red light, quinacridone red, quinacridone rose, quinacridone violet, ultramarine, bright blue, cerulean blue, emerald green, green(russian), burnt sienna, burnt umber, payney's grey and I can not decide between: lemon/cadmium lemon, olive green/green light/sap green, raw sienna/yellow ochre, umber/sepia, golden deep/indian gold. Which one You think will be more useful? Or maybe some are completly useless and You would replace them with something else?
    Best wishes, Ela

    1. I don't think you need Quinacridone red and quinacridone rose - just one of those will do. I'd go with the red since you have a purple.
      Lemon will be a little more transparent than cadmium lemon but either will be fine.
      Sap green is a good basic convenience green.
      Raw sienna is a single pigment so that's my preference. Or Indian Gold.
      I find English Red a useful sort of colour for the genre you intend to paint too.

  8. Hi! I admire your website and the work you put into every article. Can't thank you enough.
    Could I have your opinion please? If you were to put together a limited set of White Nights colors for travelling made out of cold, neutral and warm blues, reds and yellows plus some very essential earthy tones, what would it be? (Considering that the drawings would range from portraits and florals to landscapes and animalia)Really want to know your opinion.I guess lightfastness narrows the circle a bit. White Nights range is more available to me and it's much cheaper (here a pan costs about 1,5 USD and the tube is about 2USD). Sadly no one here ever writes as detailed reviews about them. But I'm very happy I found yours. It's so helpful

    1. I've included my suggested set of 12 based on the old range and have updated what I'd add with the newer additions but another few colours have also been added that I haven't tested. I'll try to find them and update my basic suggested 12 - use that as a starting guide.

  9. Hi!
    I really appreciate all of your work and I was wondering if you would like to help me if you have time! I want to build a 21 color palette with these White Nights watercolors. I currently have the 36 color one and it feels very uncomfortable because it has soooo many colors and some of them are very wierd. Note that i m open to buying more colors because there are some very pretty ones that are not included in the set. Thank you very much!