Monday, 15 February 2021

New Colours from Schmincke

Granulation is one of the characteristics of some pigments that is best seen in watercolour. You may not notice it in oils or acrylics, and certainly not in pastels and pencils. However in watercolour, granulation is a fabulous characteristic to explore. It is also very important since watercolour is basically a 2-dimensional or flat medium, so granulation is a way of adding texture to the wash.

Granulating pigments show their true nature best on damp cold pressed or rough paper though they will tend to granulate to some degree on any paper. For those new to watercolour, it may look as though something is wrong!

Some of the most granulating pigments have been used to create the 15 new mixes from Schmincke. 

There are five colours in the Deep Sea set. Deep See Violet is made from French Ultramarine and PBr33, which is used in Mahogany Brown, and the Daniel Smith colour Lunar Earth. It is a fantastic pigment that creates gorgeous texture. Deep Sea Blue is made using Cobalt Green pigment, Manganese Violet and French Ultramarine. The greens and violet don't show up much in my little dot sample. Deep Sea Indigo is made from Viridian and PV62, which I haven't seen as a colour though it makes a lovely granulating violet-blue here. Deep Sea Green uses Viridian and French Ultramarine to create this granulating turquoise. Deep Sea Black uses the incredibly granulating PBk11 (used in Schmincke Mars Black and Daniel Smith Lunar Black amongst others) with cobalt Blue Deep and Cerulean pigments (used in Cobalt Azure), to create this deep blue-grey with spots of black.

Schmincke Watercolours - Deep Sea Violet, Deep Sea Blue, Deep Sea Indigo, Deep Sea Green, Deep Sea Black.

The set of Galaxy colours includes Galaxy Violet, made from Potter's Pink and French Ultramarine, creating a gorgeous granulating purple. Galaxy Pink is made with Manganese Violet and the mahogany brown pigment. Galaxy Blue is more subtle - like Deep Sea Blue without the violet. Galaxy brown has specks of violet in the granulating oxide brown. Galaxy Black is a mix of French Ultramarine and Mars Black.

Schmincke Watercolours - Galaxy Violet, Galaxy Pink, Galaxy Blue, Galaxy Brown, Galaxy Black.

The Glacier set does evoke the cool depths of frozen water. Glacier Blue is made with the same pigments as Galaxy Blue, but the other way around - more blue this time. It isn't obvious that the PG50 is doing anything as it is very like French Ultramarine. Glacier Turquoise has an intriguing mix of cobalt green and Manganese Violet. A green and a violet can make a blue - as you can see. Glacier Green has particles of Potter's Pink floating in a sea of Cobalt Green. Glacer Brown has particles of Cobalt Green Dark mixed into the granulating brown oxide. Glacer Black has cerulean (Cobalt Azure) mixed into the Mars Black this time for a cooler black.

Schmincke Watercolours - Glacier Blue, Glacier Turquoise, Glacier Green, Glacier Brown, Glacier Black.

Often, when making colours, manufacturers are producing 'hues' and blending the pigments into new compounds that effectively behave like a single pigment. Mixtures like these are intended to keep the different pigments in the mix separate, so they can each contribute to the liveliness of the colour. What is interesting is that the mixtures in tubes may behave differently from the mixtures of the same pigments then mixed in your palette in your own studio.


  1. Thank you for this! I love Schmincke.

    1. More to come! We are spoilt for choice with excellent watercolours. Schmincke is certainly one of them :-)