Thursday 28 March 2019

A fun collaboration

I met Maria of Expeditionary Art when I visited Seattle in 2015, after a few years of chatting online.

She is an avid sketcher and had created a lovely Pocket Palette - a tiny credit card sized palette - that really looked useful for those of us trying to keep our travel kits small and portable. the little metal pans and mini pans are held in place by a magnet so are interchangeable. She also created some really well made Art Tool Kits to hold the palettes and sketching tools. She's made additions and improvements over the years, including and adding more pan sizes, and we've kept in touch and met up again to sketch in 2017.

I'm delighted that she's launching a limited edition of the Pocket Palette filled with my Ultimate Mixing Palette of Daniel Smith watercolours - all 15 of them, including the new Jane's Grey. This range is designed to be able to mix any colour, usually using only two colours, no matter what subject you wish to paint.

The Pocket Palette filled with The Ultimate Mixing Set of Daniel Smith watercolours - a perfect combination :-)
I created a reference book to go with this set of colours to show how versatile they are, which I self-published through I'll be discounting my print books by 15% from now until the end of April in conjunction with this offer so I hope they are just a little easier to pick up if you've been thinking about it. The book is also available as a PDF or eBook.

Here's the link to Maria's blog and store. Here is the link to the Premium Matt version of my book. It is also available in standard paper here.

Happy sketching :-)

Thursday 7 March 2019

Roman Szmal Aquarius watercolours

Last year I received a number whole-pans of watercolour from Poland. They were samples of some of the colours Roman Szmal was working on for his watercolour range. He has now launched them and it was a real pleasure to paint them all out. They are now available from Jacksons in the UK - here is an affiliate link. They are also available here or here and are very affordably priced. You can read more about them on his Facebook Page.

This range is 140 full pans with mostly single pigments but also a few rather lovely mixes. They were fairly consistent to rewet though I am sure he is still making adjustments with the exact binder to pigment and honey ratios. I don't know if tube paints are being planned but in many ways I hope not - sometimes it's nice to see a company totally specialise. These are very high quality and full pans are great for brush access.

The pans are individually wrapped with hand-painted watercolour paper labels so there is no mistaking what the colour will look like. I loaded a video of unwrapping one on YouTube here. The colour chart also had hand-painted swatches. Wonderful!

It's great to see one of my favourite colours appear in this range - Buff Titanium. Nickel Titanate Yellow is often a very weak pigment that is difficult to rewet but this version was good to use. The cadmiums are finely ground and very clean.
Roman Szmal Aquarius Watercolours - Chinese White, Titanium White, Buff titanium, Nickel titanate Yellow,
Cadmium Yellow.
This range of cool yellow are all very similar.
Roman Szmal Aquarius Watercolours - Bismuth Yellow, Hansa Yellow Light, Lemon Yellow,
Isoindolinone Yellow Light, Aquarius Yellow.
This range of mid yellow are also very similar.
Roman Szmal Aquarius Watercolours - Aureoline (Hue), Cadmium Yellow Pale, Benzimidazole Yellow,
Hansa Yellow Medium, Indian Yellow (Hue).
These are brighter and more orange than they appear here - lovely warm yellows.
Roman Szmal Aquarius Watercolours - Nickel Azon Yellow, Cadmium Yellow Deep, Hansa Yellow Deep,
Permanent Yellow, Isindolinone Yellow Deep
These are also brighter than they appear here - the oranges are clean and clear with Benzimidazole being an almost perfect mid orange and Pyrrole Orange just headed to a warm red.
Roman Szmal Aquarius Watercolours - Permanent Orange, Brilliant Orange, Cadmium Orange,
Benzimidazole Orange, Pyrrol Orange.
This range is also similar with some interesting pigments. My favourite is PR255.
Roman Szmal Aquarius Watercolours - Scarlet Lake, Anthraquinoid Scarlet, Pyrrole Scarlet,
Cadmium Vermilion, Scarlet Red,

These are lovely bright mid reds.
Roman Szmal Aquarius Watercolours - Naphthol Red, Pyrrole Red, Azo Red, Permanent Red, Aquarius Red.

Pyrrole Rubine is my favourite pigment for crimson reds.
Roman Szmal Aquarius Watercolours - Cadmium Red, Cadmium Red Deep, Perylene Maroon, Anthraquinoid Red,
Pyrrole Rubine.

Quinacridone Red is my favourite cool/primary red option.
Roman Szmal Aquarius Watercolours - Cherry Quinacridone Red, Permanent Alizarin Crimson,
Naples Yellow Reddish, Flesh Tint, Quinacridone Red.

Roman Szmal Aquarius Watercolours - Magenta, Quinacridone Pink, Quinacridone Violet, Perylene Violet,
Cobalt Violet Light.

It is good to see very nice versions of these gentle violet pigments. The Dioxazine Violet is not the usual PV23 but PV37.
Roman Szmal Aquarius Watercolours - Ultramarine Pink, Manganese Violet, Ultramarine Violet,
Cobalt Violet Deep, Dioxazine Violet.
Mineral Violet separates in a lovely manner.
Roman Szmal Aquarius Watercolours - Mineral Violet, Lavenda, Shadow Violet, Prussian Blue, Indigo (Hue)
Indanthrone Blue is a bit grainy but deep and rich. The three ultramarines are slightly different.
Roman Szmal Aquarius Watercolours - Indanthrone Blue, Ultramarine (Green Shade), French Ultramarine, Ultramarine Light, Cobalt Blue.

Roman Szmal Aquarius Watercolours - Phthalo Blue (Red Shade), Cobalt Coelin Blue, Cobalt Cerulean Blue,
Royal Blue, Sky Blue.

Roman Szmal Aquarius Watercolours - Phthalo Blue (Green Shade) (PB15:3), Ocean Blue, Phthalo Turquoise,
Cobalt Teal, Viridian.

Roman Szmal Aquarius Watercolours - Cobalt Turquoise, Transparent Turquoise, Green Earth,
Chromium Green Oxide, Phthalo Green (Blue Shade).

Roman Szmal Aquarius Watercolours - Phthalo Green (Yellow Shade), Cobalt Green Light,
Permanent Green Light, Sap Green, Hooker's Green.

I really like these neutralised convenience greens.
Roman Szmal Aquarius Watercolours - Aquarius Green, Olive Green Light, Deep Green Gold,
Green Gold,
Olive Green Deep.
These yellow earth colours are very similar so it would be interesting to explore them more in mixes. I like the Transparent Gold Ochre and the Gold Ochre.
Roman Szmal Aquarius Watercolours - Naples Yellow Light, Transparent Gold Ochre, Venetian Yellow Earth,
Natural Sienna Light, Gold Ochre.

There are a lot of yellow earth colours to choose from. I haven't figured out which I prefer...I like the Yellow Ochre and Naples Yellow deep in this set. PBr24 is great for this colour.
Roman Szmal Aquarius Watercolours - Yellow Ochre, Naples Yellow Deep, Veronese Yellow Earth,
Natural Sienna Mont Amiata, Italian Raw Sienna.
Mummy Transparent Red is a lovely earthy orange.
Roman Szmal Aquarius Watercolours - Ochre Havana, Transparent Yellow Ochre, French Ochre, Red Ochre,
Mummy Transparent Red.
It's a nice version of Quinacridone Gold.
Roman Szmal Aquarius Watercolours - Quinacridone Gold, quinacridone Burnt Sienna, Veronese Red Earth,
Pompeii Red, English Red Light.
Roman had sent a sample of Burnt Sienna that didn't make it into the 140 colour range though I think it is lovely so have shown it here.
Roman Szmal Aquarius Watercolours - Terra Pozzuoli, Italian Burnt Sienna, Burnt Sienna (sample only),
Transparent Oxide Red, Venetian Red, Quinacridone Maroon.
English Red deep is the closest to an Indian Red - not as opaque though.
Roman Szmal Aquarius Watercolours - English Red Deep, Transparent Brown, Mars Red, Caput Mortuum,
Burnt Umber was also a sample that didn't make it into the range. The many versions of raw umber are not hugely different. I think I'd choose Cyprus Raw Umber and Cyprus Burnt Umber for this useful warm and cool dark brown pair.
Roman Szmal Aquarius Watercolours - Cyprus Raw Umber Brownish, German Raw Umber Greenish,
Cyprus Raw Umber,  Cyprus Burnt Umber Light, Cyprus Burnt Umber, Burnt Umber (sample only).

Roman Szmal Aquarius Watercolours - Transparent Oxide Brown, Brown Ochre, Sepia, Cyprus Raw Umber Deep,
Van Dyck Brown.

Roman Szmal Aquarius Watercolours - Cyprus Burnt Umber Deep, Przybysz's Grey, Payne's Grey,
Perylene Green, Roman Black.

I like the Aquarius Black here more than the Roman Black shown above or the Mars Black. PBk11 is wonderful for granulation.
Roman Szmal Aquarius Watercolours - Vine Black, Ivory Black, Neutral Tint, Mars Black, Aquarius Black.

These last swatches are of some other samples Roman sent. He didn't have enough pigment to make the PR88 part of the range, though you could make this colour with Quin Violet or Manganese Violet with a touch of Magenta or Quin Pink. The ECWS is known in Poland as 'Nebula of Stars'. Now that's a name! The Hematite Oxide Red is rather lovely but wasn't included as it is so close to the 'Hematite' above. 
PR88 sample, Special ECWS sample, Natural Sienna from Ardeny Sample, Burnt Umber sample,
Hematite Oxide Red sample.

I've asked Roman where these full pan watercolours are available and here is the list so far.

They are available world wide through Jacksons in the UK - here is an affiliate link to the site. 
They are widely available in Poland.
In the Nordic region, they are available from 
In Italy or if in Milan
In Madrid from three Madrid's art shops.
In Barcelona from
In the rest of the world from
From Roman Szmal's Facebook Site here

2020 update
An additional 25 colours are now available. I'll be rescanning the full range into a new blog post.

Happy painting!

Handmade watercolours from Lost in Colours

Beautifully wrapped Lost in Colours package

I recently received a most beautiful package from Jyotsna of Lost in Colours. It contained a metal tin with 6 beautiful handmade watercolours that are completely non-toxic. Each half pan was wrapped in a hand-painted label and it was lovely to unwrap them.

Sealed with love :-)
The open tin - hand painted labels wrapped around the half pans.

I then painted each colour out. They re-wet with ease. The earthy colours are really beautiful. But then I've always loved earth pigments.

Lost in Colours handmade watercolour - Gold Ochre, Luberon Orange, Ercolano Red, Venetian Red, Genuine Indigo, Graphite.

The colours mixed together beautifully to create this earthy primary triad wheel.
Lost in Colours primary colour wheel with Gold Ochre, Venetian Red and Indigo.

Mixes using the primary triad above.

I don't talk a lot about health hazards much when it comes to watercolour as I see it as one of the more low-impact art supplies since there is so little wastage. However for anyone who wants to be as green and careful as possible, these colours are really eco-friendly and that is something that Jyotsna is passionate about. The website gives a good list of the colours that are safe and those that are toxic to produce or to use. It's well worth being informed.

I haven't done any lightfast tests though I'd only be nervous about the genuine indigo. For working in a sketchbook even natural indigo NB1 would be safe. 

Wednesday 6 March 2019

Daniel Smith new watercolours

New Daniel Smith colours for 2019 
Jane's Grey - Daniel Smith watercolour.


I have just received the 8 new Daniel Smith colours - 7 new greys and a new primatek. It's pretty exciting to have Jane's Grey in a tube like this!

There are some excellent detailed blog posts with lots of information about these colours on the Daniel Smith website so I won't add much here, just my own usual swatches and the links.

There is more information about Jane's Grey on my blog and the Daniel Smith blog. For more about the new Primatek Red Jasper Genuine, see here. For more about the very interesting Grey Titanium see here.

New Daniel Smith colours 2019 - Jane's Grey (Signature Series),
Red Jasper Genuine (Primatek), Gray Titanium.

 More information about Alvaro Castagnet's greys can be found here.
New Daniel Smith colours 2019 - Alvaro's Fresco Grey (Signature Series),
Alvaro's Caliente Grey (Signature Series)

 More information about Joseph Zbukvic's greys can be found here.
New Daniel Smith colours 2019 - Joseph Z's Neutral Grey (Signature Series),
Joseph Z's Cool Grey (Signature Series) and Joseph Z's Warm Grey (Signature Series).

Happy painting!