Monday, 8 March 2021

White Nights 2019 full range, with 2020 and 2021 updates

White Nights, also known as St Petersburg, has been one of the many generous sponsors of the Urban Sketchers Symposium for the last few years now. They have been expanding their range, moving from just full pans to the addition of 10ml tubes for many colours, and expanding their range with 9 extra colours in 2017 and another 9 new colours in 2019. They have also added 7 metallics. I am grateful that they have given me samples to try to keep up, though somehow Venetian Red slipped through the cracks.

The colours that were added increased the range to 75 colours and the new colours are mostly lightfast and largely single pigment additions. I've updated my previous post but decided to create a new post of the full range here, this time with most colours scanned rather than photographed, where possible.

These are very reasonably priced watercolours that perform well. Setting up with full pans is simple and gives easy brush access so they suit beginners, though of course many professional artist use them as well. They are made with genuine pigments though some feel to have some sort of filler? And some of the pigments are not lightfast, such as PY1, PV3, PR2, PR4, PO13, PG8 and others. As far as I know the colours with less lightfast ratings have remained in the range so do check pigment numbers if you are working on paintings for sale or exhibition. In a sketchbook, watercolours are protected from light.

I'll add the full 2019 range below.

March 2021 update - many more colours were added, and some changes so the full range now consists of 108 colours, including 18 pastel shades and 7 metallic. Many of the previous colours have been updated with more lightfast pigments, which is fantastic. With the addition of new colours to close the gaps and better pigments for greater light-fastness, this range has really improved dramatically over the last few years. While I haven't painted the new colours or the new versions, I'll update the information for each colour. Eventually I'll do a new blog post if I get new samples. You can see the colour chart too.

As always, yellows, oranges and reds are difficult to represent accurately. I've scanned all the swatches but I needed to use a couple of photos for better accuracy for the oranges. As I haven't yet found an updated colour chart, I've used my own system to arrange the colour swatches.

The new Aureolin gives an even better primary yellow option. 211 - Yellow (PY154) and has been added to the range, possibly replacing the fugitive 215 Hansa Yellow (PY1) which isn't on the new colour chart, but is not shown here.
White Nights Watercolour - Zinc White, Lemon, Cadmium Lemon,
Aureolin (new 2019), Hansa Yellow.

PY216 used in the new Naples Yellow Light and Naples Orange is also known as Turner's Yellow. I haven't seen the orange version before. Both are more opaque colours. I like the Indian Gold as a warm yellow option as it will mix interesting greens. Indian yellow is a very transparent mid yellow option. 206 - Ochre Light (PY43) has been added but is not shown here.
White Nights Watercolour - Indian Yellow (new 2017), Cadmium Yellow Medium,
Naples Yellow Light (new 2019), 
Indian Gold (new 2017), Naples Orange (new 2019).

It is difficult to capture the true colour of oranges and yellow-oranges.
White Nights Watercolour -Golden, Golden Deep, Cadmium Orange, Orange Lake,
Orange (new 2019)

Geranium Red is interesting as it looks like a warm red but has a rose undertone in a wash so I suspect it might mix purples too - I'll check that out.
White Nights Watercolour - Titan Red, Cadmium Red Light, Vermilion (Hue)
(Old version - now made with PR188 & PY154), Geranium Red (new 2019),
Scarlet (Old version - now called Scarlet Light and made with PR 188). 

368 Neon Pink (PR122, PV10) has been added but is not shown here.
White Nights Watercolour -Ruby, Madder Lake Red Light, Venice Purple (new 2019),
Claret, Carmine (Old version - now made with PV19, though this is referred to as PR19).

368 - Neon Pink (PR122& BV10) has been added but is not shown here. 627 - Perylene Violet (PV29) has also been added but is not shown here.
White Nights Watercolour - Quinacridone Red (new 2017),
Quinacridone Violet Rose (new 2017), Quinacridone Rose, Rose, Quinacridone Lilac. 

There are still some of the lovely but fugitive pigments in the range - PV2, PV3, PB1 seen here. Use with caution.
White Nights Watercolour -Violet-Rose, Quinacridone Violet (new 2017),
Ultramarine Violet (new 2017), 
Violet, Blue Lake.

521 - Ultramarine Deep (PB29) has been added but is not shown.
White Nights Watercolour - Indanthrone Blue, Ultramarine, Cobalt Blue, Azure,
Blue (New 2017).

PB36 used in Cobalt Azure Blue is my favourite choice for a cerulean pigment. A good addition to the range.
White Nights Watercolour - Bright Blue (Brilliant),
Indigo (Old version - now made with PBk7, PB15 & PV23), Prussian Blue,
Ceruleum Blue, 
Cobalt Azure Blue (new 2019). 

Cobalt Turquoise is an incredibly popular watercolour. 533- Cobalt Chrome Turquoise (PB36) has been added - often known as cobalt turquoise or cobalt turquoise deep.
White Nights Watercolour -Azure Blue, Cobalt Turquoise (new 2019),
Turquoise Blue, Green Light, Emerald Green.

White Nights Watercolour - Green Original, Yellowish Green, Sap Green (new 2017),
Green Earth, Olive Green.

I love yellow ochre as a colour but shy away from this mix with PY1. 257 Irgazin Yellow (PY129) has been added but is not shown here, along with 206 Ochre Light (PY43).
White Nights Watercolour - Chromium Oxide, Green (Russian), May Green (new 2019),
Yellow Ochre (old version - now made with PY43 & PY154), Naples Yellow.

White Nights Watercolour - Raw Sienna (Old version - now made with PY43) , Red Ochre,
Burnt Sienna, Shakhnazarskaya Red, English Red.

604 Caput Mortuum (PR101) has been added, but is not shown here. 401 Van Dyck Brown (PR102&PBk8) has also been added.
White Nights Watercolour - Venetian Red (New 2017, not shown), Burnt Umber,
 Mars Red, Umber, Sepia. 

Two new blacks are 801 Lamp Black (PBk7) and Ivory Black (Hue) P(R102 & PBk7)
White Nights Watercolour - Voronezhkaya Black (old version - now made with PBk8),
Payne's Grey (Old version - now made til PBk7, PB15 & PV55) Neutral Black. 

The 7 new metallic colours...
White Nights Watercolour - Silver Light, Inca Gold, Bronze, Aztec Gold. 

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

I haven't tried any of the 18 new pastel colours.

With all these new colours, my suggestions for a White Nights 12-colour plein air sketching palette has changed.

I'd look at Aureolin, Indian yellow, the new Scarlet Light or Geranium Red (I need to test that in mixes), Quinacridone Red, Ultramarine or the new French Ultramarine, Cobalt Azure Blue, Emerald Green (for mixing only), Sap Green, Raw Sienna or perhaps the new Ochre light, Burnt Sienna, English Red (or possibly Venetian Red - I haven't tried that one) and Payne's Grey. That would now be a lightfast set :-)

To match my Ultimate Mixing Set, the closest options are Aureolin, Indian Yellow, the new Scarlet Light, the new Carmine (not a perfect match), Quinacridone Red, Ultramarine, Cobalt Azure Blue, Bright Blue, Emerald Green, Raw Sienna (not a perfect match), Burnt Sienna, English Red (or possibly Venetian Red - not perfect matches), Umber (not very strong) and Paynes Grey (also not a perfect match)

More colours have been added to the White Nights range in 2020 - some pastel shades in particular. I haven't tested them yet. Here is a link to the colour chart.

Happy painting :-)


  1. My swatches seem to look much darker than yours, probably because the scanner lights them up brightly. Especially blues, except for Prussian Blue, what's up with it? I couldn't get that Prussian blue dark at all and it kept trying to slip off the paper back onto the brush and felt kinda glueish and too many big particles

    1. I agree Prussian Blue was very strange. The other that is difficult as it runs all over the place is Cerulean so I'm glad they have added the PB36 version.
      But PB27 is not a pigment I use as I tested one once and it failed my lightfast tests. It's an easy hue to mix from phthalo blue GS and a touch of a warm red such as a PR255.

    2. Maybe they use too much gum arabic for it or even glycerin, since it's poured into pans instead of being chopped from dry like with Sennelier. I've ordered Jackson's version of Prussian Blue to test it and also Raw Umber together with it, because for some reason Raw Umber in White Nights has three pigments... I've noticed that tip you gave about mixing cold phthalo with warm red earlier (Thank you for it), when I was disappointed in Prussian Blue when I bought it a few months ago, I didn't have a cold blue at that moment, I've had their "Blue" which I think is closer to Phthalo RS and after mixing with red I got something like a very dark Indanthrene Blue with a touch of Indigo which I was satisfied with for the time being :) I want to try their new Cobalt Turquise because it looks like a nice blue for the ocean... I feel like I will be switching to Daniel Smith after I finish all the White Night pans, though, You've converted me lol ... I'm not sure about travelling to hot countries with WN due to honey in their contents... And I fell in love with that Teal color in DS...

  2. Some really lovely colors here. Thanks again for you thorough review.

    And guess what? I can comment again and I know exactly why.

    Blogspot no longer works with Safari. I'm using Firefox and it works just fine. Go figure.

    So now I'll have to use two different browsers but not that big a deal. Have to do it for a few other blogs I subscribe to that have stopped allowing my to comment. Just catching up today.

    1. safari is terrible so no wonder things don't work with it! Apple.... BLEH!

  3. Thanks for sharing so much information, it has helped me rethink my color purchases, although at the moment I seem to have almost all of the single pigment lightfast red, blue & yellows. Question about Voronezhkaya Black - you have it as PBk10 but & Jackson's Art have it as PBk8, which one is correct? Handprints information on PBk10 says it's graphite, I wonder if that is the same as the graphite in my water soluble graphite pencils?

    1. The pan I received was a Jack Richardson branded St Petersburg package, with PBk10 on it. It doesn't have the sheen of the Daniel Smith graphite watercolour but is more grey than black. So I don't know if it is correct, if it was correct and has now been changed, or was a typo. My sample doesn't look like the Nevskaya Palitra website version so perhaps it's been changed?

  4. Hi,
    Sorry to bother but can you give me a 21 color palette recommendation? I would really appreciate!

    1. I wouldn't necessarily suggest getting 21 of these colours but if that is what you are after, here is what I'd consider. I am looking for the most lightfast colours and the most useful mixing set.
      Cadmium Lemon
      Indian Yellow
      Indian Gold
      Titan Red
      Venice Purple
      Quinacridone Red
      Quin violet and/or ultramarine violet
      Indanthrone blue
      Cobalt Azure
      Bright Blue Brilliant
      Emerald Green
      Green earth and/or Sap green
      Raw Sienna
      Burnt Sienna
      English Red
      Burnt umber
      Payne's Grey

  5. Very, very helpful post! I'm just a small beginner :) every advice is important to me! Thank you!

  6. Wow, such an amazing and informative post, thanks for sharing it, refer it when I paint next, using water colours and painting is one of my favourite activities

  7. NP just issued a set of their pastel colors. It's not posted on their website because it's being updated, but is posted on their instagram page. the colors are very beautiful and are translucent mixes with white gouache.

    1. Yes I have seen that they have another 8 colours and another two are on the way. I'll add those as soon as I can...

  8. Thanks for all of these most valluable Infos.
    I want to replicate "The Ultimate Mixing Set by You & Daniel Smith, with White Nights colors. Which colors should i use?
    I know it won't be the real thing but only a replica. But very affordable, specially for beginners like me.
    Thank you very much again.

    1. There is not a Buff Titanium option. Get it from Daniel Smith - series 1.
      Otherwise you'd try
      Aureolin (instead of hansa yellow medium) - will be similar
      Indian Gold (instead of Quinacridone Gold) - will be similar
      Cad red light instead of Pyrrol Scarlet - will be quite different but a workable warm red
      Venice Purple instead of Pyrrol Crimson - will be deeper and darkerso add a touch of the quin red so make it crimson
      Quin Red instead of Quin Rose - will be similar
      Cobalt Azure Blue instead of Cerulean Chromium - same pigment
      Bright Blue Brilliant instead of Phthalo Blue GS - same pigment
      Emerald Green instead of Phthalo Green - same pigment
      Raw Sienna instead of Geothite - less granulation but will work as an earth yellow
      Burnt Sienna
      English Red instead of Indian Red - will be less pinkish but will be similar
      Umber instead of Raw Umber - won't be as strong, but a dark cool umber
      Payne's Grey instead of Jane's Grey - not nearly as nice but workable

      Some are the same pigment, some fairly different. All reasonable pigments for lightfastness.

    2. There is a set of new colors having PW6 (titanium white) and Dunes is one of them with a color resembling pretty well Titanium Buff. It's a multipigment paint, having 3 other pigments (PY42, PBr6, PBk7) though looks pretty similar. Another option is to mix any Titanium white with Umber. I tried Titanium Buff from Van Gogh (which is actually PW6 + PBr7) but had to do more Umber than they added as it was too light. So not a problem.
      Another source of genuine PW6:1 other than Daniel Smith is Aquarius paint of Roman Szmal.

    3. Jane, can Geranium be used in place of Cadmium Red light & Indian Yellow in place of Quin Gold if I add a touch of English Red (PR101) to it?
      Thank you .

    4. Yes that will work for both :-)

  9. there are nine pastels in total, & ochre light is also new

    Pigment: PY43/PY1
    Transparency: Semi Transparent
    Series: A
    Lightfastness: ** Medium Lightfastness

    1. I think that's the description of Yellow Ochre. Jackson's has the new one listed as
      - Ochre Light
      Pigment Index: PY43 | Transparency: Semi-Transparent | Colour Lightfast: Excellent

  10. Hello everybody.I have a 36 pan set from White Nights and tis set have a Magenta color whitch I don`t see anymore on the site. Do anybody know what happend? Thank you

  11. hi, I have Sonnet set of 24, the student line, and I see the Sepia is made of same pigments as in White nights line. My sepia looks almost indentical to lamp black and I'm very disapointed, because I tought that sepia should be more brownish, like on your swatch. Otherwise I like the flow of these pigments and so bright colors, the easy way to activate colors. To me Sonnet are much better than Cotman set I have.

    1. It is dark brown in Sonnet (like Burnt Umber or even darker). But it happens that they give you a wrong paint :) I've seen the video where they put a White Zinc (PW4) instead of one of their muted colors (PW6 plus some color). So it's possible that's your case.

      Sonnet are quite good, I barely see difference with the same pigments of White Nights. I've found my old student kit of 16 colors, replaced all non-lightfast paints with Wight Night versions and it works very well (I took yellow, orange and red cadmiums and Dioxazine Violet of Rosa - ukrainian watercolor brand).

    2. thanks, I think I got double black. I shouldn't have ordered White Nights then if they are much like Sonnet, I still have a lot of paint in my Sonnet set

  12. Hi Jane,
    Thank you so much for all your useful information. For a beginner to watercolour, this is invaluable. Ihave a question regarding the symbols on your watercolour charts. Could you explain what the following symbols mean please: ◇, ○, and I (on Cerulean Blue). I've tried looking these up but have had no luck.
    Many thanks,

    1. Good question - I had to go back to the original post to see which you meant. Then check with the St Petersburg labels to see what the symbols were. I guess I'd assumed they were an indication of granulating or staining but no - the circles, diamonds etc refer to which set of colours they are in. the 24 set etc.

  13. Hi Jane, I have more or less devoured your website as I am new to watercolour and trying to make a somewhat wise decision regarding buying my first set. I wonder, have you had the chance yet to experience how Geranium Red does mixing wise? And if so, do you prefer this colour over the Cad Red Light for your updated set of 12 colours?
    Moreover, if I am buying my first set of paints do you advice to get just these 12 WN or add a few more specific colours?
    (When I was on the brink of buying your 12 W.N. the other day, the shop owner almost convinced me to get Sennelier La Petite 36 colours - more or less of similar price overhere - which left me so puzzled that I left empty handed.) Do you or anyone have any wise words for this Queen of Doubts to finally get her papers stained with some decent colours? These 12 or more WN or 36 Sennelier LPA etc..? Gosh, thank you!

    1. 36 student colours can be overwhelming. I think you are far better to work with a smaller number in full pans. go for my updated set of 12, or the set of 15 mentioned on 20th January, and with either you could switch to the Geranium. If you want to add a couple more, consider one of the remade greens (Sap or Olive) and perhaps the burnt umber.
      Happy paining :-)

    2. Hello, I'm new at watercolor, too. I have to suggest that you start with a set of 12. They usually don't include a pink, like permanent rose, so I highly recommend you buy one. I wish I had only worked with my first set of 12 Winsor Newton Cotman, instead of quickly buying their 24 set (although I LOVE the plastic palette in their "PLUS" line, LOVE it). 24 Colors is really overwhelming, and honestly you can mix just about anything with two yellows, instead of four, etc.

      You're going to spend A LOT of time just smooshing your colors around, playing with mixes, and it is so much fun! But if you buy pricier paint to start with, you might be reluctant to "waste" the paint. So I'd say get a very good quality set of "student" paints, such as WN Cotman, and you will feel free! Van Gogh is another brand that gets very good reviews. However, I bought a sample dot card to try them all out, and personally I prefer Cotman. The Van Gogh just looked much, much to bright and cartoonish, to me.

      Just make sure you are using very good paper. That is the #1 thing. I love Cheap Joe's Kilimanjaro. But for just smearing colors around, practicing brush strokes, etc. Cotman XL watercolor paper is good, and cheap. It's $6 for 30 sheets of 9"x12" at walmart. Keep this on hand, because in my opinion, no matter how good you become, or high quality of your paint, you will always need "scrap" paper.

    3. Thank you for your advice! After weeks of waiting I finally received 12 WN colours and I can't wait to mix, mess up and mostly have fun painting. Whohooo! :)

  14. along with the nine pastels & light ochre, these are also missing from the above "full" range:

    257 Irgazin Yellow PY129
    206 Ochre Light PY43
    368 Neon Pink PR122 BV10
    627 Perylene Violet PV29
    533 Cobalt Chrome Tuquoise PB36
    521 Ultramarine Deep PB29
    604 Caput Mortuum PR101
    401 Van Dyke Brown PR102 PBk6

    thanks for doing what you do

  15. Please, suggest colours with split primaries and payne's grey, burnt sienna, raw umber, and yellow ochre options in single pans or a 12 colour palette! I am a beginner on a budget trying to create a custom set of artist grade watercoloyrs. Are white nights artist grade water colours??
    Thank you!

  16. Thank you very much for this blog, it is a very good reference and I visit it often. I was recently reading that Orange with PO64 is not lightfast. I love this color but am a bit worried. Did you do any lightfastness tests to confirm? I also love cobalt turquoise, its amazing for spots of color that give illusion of light. When you mix it with cobalt blue it gives an exact match to cerulean!

  17. I think White Nights did a lot of changes in 2020. Many colors were replaced with new pigments. Plus several new colors. A permanent version of opera. And the pastels.

    A few years ago there were some gaps in the range, but they closed all of them now

    1. Yes I think so - it makes it difficult to keep up when there are changes. I'll add the new formulations when I get a chance.

  18. Hi, Jane!

    I access this specific post all the time, since I'm trying to figure out the best White Nights set for me, considering the pigments/attributes, with the precious help of your samples.

    I'm just a bit confused about a few of them, when it comes to the attributes. I assume the info is based on the paints labels, but I found some discrepancy. For instance, PO62 (Golden Deep) and PO36 (Titan Red) are labeled as semiopaque on Handprint, whilst they are labeled as transparent here. Same for PR170 (Ruby), which is also said to be marginally lightfast to impermanent despite how it's labeled. I'm not experienced in watercolor and I wouldn't want to waste your time. So I apologize if I am missing something. I'm just trying to pick vibrant and transparent and lightfast colors to use alone or in mixing. So far, I feel very frustrated trying to get oranges, reds and purples that always end up dull and opaque. So I decided to go for ready mixed paints (monopigmented when possible) or, depending on the choices, better picks for mixing in order get those colors, instead of wasting more and more time and paints for nothing. I bought three White Nights pans for specific purposes (Sap Green, Indian Yellow and Cobalt Turquoise) and I liked them very much. My paints are Van gogh and most of them I quite enjoy. White Nights is the one of its category that I can afford right now, though, so, any help is more then welcome.

    Thank you so much in advance.

    Kind regards,

  19. Hi Lindsay. There are sometimes more than one distributer for a particular pigment and, wonderful though it is, Handprint isn't always up to date any more. Also, some brands describe their paints as either Transparent, Semi Transparent or Opaque, where others my have an additional Semi-opaque division. It does make it difficult.
    Yellows are often a little bit semi-transparent, with the exception of PY150 - a very transparent yellow that is a good mixer. Reds are also often semi-transparent. PV19 - Quinacridone Rose/Permanent Rose - is a good mixing red. And for blues the Phthalo Blues are very transparent.

  20. I've updated this post with the new colours and pigment numbers, but not with new paintouts. I hope to do that if I get hold of new samples!

  21. Hi, Jane - thank you so much for all of the wonderful information you share. You are always one of my top stops when deciding on new brands and colors!

    I just bought a couple of these White Nights tubes after hearing so much about them. And I noticed that on May Green, next to the white square (indicating transparent), it has a triangle that is half white/half black. Do you happen to know what that indicates? Maybe staining? I don't see one on the other 2 colors I purchased.

    Thanks so much!

    1. The empty triangle indicates that it is non-staining. A full triangle is strong staining and a half triangle in between. I'll add that info to the blog.

    2. I love your blog. I have just bought the White nights in the UK but I have no idea which version I have just bought. However there are 3 colours that I am concerned with that are not colourfast and I need to replace. I wonder if you can help.
      They are Golden py3, po13, Golden deep Po62 and Indigo PBK7/pb15/pv23. Do you have any suggestions what I can replace these with at all ?

  22. I just bought the 36 set in the UK off of amazon. I am not sure but a lot of people are saying the Golden PY3/PO13 & Golden Deep PO62, and Indigo BLue PBK7/PB15/PV23 are not light fast. Do you have any suggestions for replacements for these colours that will be lightfast ?

  23. Hi! Thank you for all your posts.
    I want to use orange lake but i am worried about the lightfastness having only one star. The truth is that I do not really know what it means- will it fade in 6 months or in 10 years? Did anyone ever try it and has a feedback?

  24. What would be your chois of max 6-8 colors to get to know the brand? There are so many beautiful colors I would not know how to chose a "get to know" selection. I am also a hobby artist, not jet so deep into the theory behinde pigments and colors. Just enjoiuing colors and tring to emprive my know-how. I would very much apreciate your help and sugestion.

  25. Hi, thanks for always updating de color palette, I have a question, the Shakhnazarskaya red (pr 102) is like "skin tone" or more like something else? I'm looking for one color similar to "skin tone" for illustration and not have to mix it up every time, thanks! <3