Thursday 28 December 2023

Focus on Blues

I made a video painting out a range of blues to show a range of what is available, rather than just the ones I use or recommend. I have made similar videos showing greens and earth colours, though as there are so many more options I have focused on my favourites for those. 

You can see all these blues and more on my website here, where they are arranged by pigment number.

Here are the ones I chose for the video, which can be found here. I plan to create a number of YouTube videos this year, sharing more about colours but also sketchbooks, techniques, brushes, inks and so on. 

These are not in any particular order, except to have similar colours close enough to each other for easy comparisons. The brands shown are VD (Da Vinci), DS (Daniel Smith), Sch (Schmincke) and Are (Kremer). Cobalt Blue is D.S.


Wishing you and yours all the very best for 2024. Happy painting!

Saturday 23 December 2023

Blue Pine Arts Handmade Watercolours.

I was sent a lovely collection of Blue Pine Arts handmade watercolours from Trupti in India. There are some really playful colours that were fun to paint out. I have more to add to this post but will publish the colours so you can see them this festive season.

Blue Pine Arts Watercolours - Alphonso Yellow, Sunset Ibis, Quin Gulaal, Rosamarine, 
Lady Marasaki, Butterfly Ultramarine.

The effects of the two pigments in Alpine Lake green and Nebulla Green are lovely.

 Blue Pine Arts Watercolours - Trupti's Indigo, Old Jeans, Alpine Lakes Green, Berylmarine, 
Deodar Green, Nebula Green

These are all convenience greens, but very pretty and usable.
Blue Pine Arts Watercolours - Forrest Green, Imperial Jade, Mango Leaf Green, Fern Green, Sap Green, Paddy Green.

Moss Green and Henna Green are also lovely convenience mixes.  The Burnt Orange was a 'wow' to paint out :-)
Blue Pine Arts Watercolours - Moss Green, Henna Green, Light Olive, Gold Ochre, 
Nutmeg Raw Sienna, Burnt Orange.

Poinsettia and Maple also have unusual effects - fun mixes to play with on damp paper. I like the fun spicy names.
Blue Pine Arts Watercolours - Poinsettia, Maple, Indian Red Chilli, Staranaise Caput Mortuum, 
Dark Clove Hematite, Ash Grey

Blue Pine Arts Watercolours - Trupti's Grey, Trupti's Grey II, Storm Blue, Living Shadow, Mars Black Pepper.

More to come - in 2024. Happy New Year!

Thursday 21 December 2023

Arkaar Handmade Watercolour

I received a collection of handmade watercolours from India, created with love by Tripsi. It's taken a little while to paint them all out and scan them to share here. 

I scan the swatches with a Canon LiDE 400 scanner, and crop and eventually individually colour match each swatch as closely as I can. However the colours are still not perfect - especially some of the yellows and yellow oranges. They frequently distort again when loading them onto this blog. I haven't had a chance to individually colour match the full range, but want to at least share the colours this year!

These are reasonably accurate until the Iso Yellow, which doesn't show the rich brightness of this colour. It's the colour of a typical cadmium yellow deep.

Arkaar Watercolours - Buff Titanium, Nickel Yellow, Cadmium Lemon, Benz Yellow, Cadmium Yellow, Iso Yellow.

The following are scanned together - I'll individually colour check them later, though after the yellows and oranges they are pretty good matches already.

The first yellows are actually brighter than they look here.

Arkaar Watercolours - Hansa Yellow Deep, Cadmium Golden, Cadmium Orange, Benz Orange, 
Cadmium Red Light, Cadmium Red Deep

The rest are fairly accurate as they are.
Arkaar Watercolours - Lake Red Deep, Quin Rose, Coral, Quin Magenta, Orchid of Amazon, Ultramarine Pink

Arkaar Watercolours - Manganese Violet, Ultramarine Violet, True Lavender, 
Ultramarine Blue, Oriental Blue, Cobalt Blue Deep

Natural Indigo is used here, so won't be lightfast. Best used just in a sketchbook.
Arkaar Watercolours - Warm Indigo, Cool Indigo, Blue Lavenda, Arkaar Blue, Cobalt Cerulean, Cerulean Blue

Arkaar Watercolours - Ercolano Blue, Cobalt Turquoise, Cobalt Blue Green, Arctic Lake, Viridian, Nicosia Green

Arkaar Watercolours - Chrome Green, Brilliant Green, Vintage Green, Pear Green, Moss, Dark Green.

Arkaar Watercolours - Verdant, Golden Green, Green Gold, Yellow Ochre, 
Oxide Yellow, Mont Amiata Natural Sienna

Arkaar Watercolours - Raw Cyprus Ochre, Verona Yellow, Limonite, Italian Raw Sienna, 
Orange Ochre, Italian Brown Ochre

Arkaar Watercolours - Pozzuoli Red, Elcolano Red, Red Earth, Burnt Sienna, 
Burnt Sienna Mont Amiata, Mars Orange.

Arkaar Watercolours - Arkaar Watercolours - Sanguine, Venetian Red, Terracotta, Potter's Pink Light, 
Potter's Pink Dark, Mars Crimson.

Arkaar Watercolours - Mars Violet, Violet Hematite, Malbec, Indian Red, Caput Mortuum, Sepia

Arkaar Watercolours - Cyprus Burnt Umber, Fossil, Cassel Earth, Cyprus Raw Umber, Saaya, Vintage

There is quite collection of greys!

Arkaar Watercolours - Midnight, Metamorphosis, Storm, Shadow, Das Schlon, Mist

Arkaar Watercolours - Frost, Warm Grey, Rome Black, Indeevar, Charcoal, Hematite.

Arkaar Watercolours - Mars Black, Lamp Black

There is more to add, but here are the colours to enjoy in time for the holidays :-)

Wednesday 20 December 2023

Kakimori Inks

I really enjoy the Kakimori nib that was released in 2022, so have been intending to try out the pigmented inks. 

I settled on buying two sampler sets so I could try the range without having to make a choice about which of these gorgeous bottles to buy!

The first set has a yellow, two reds, a blue and a green. The second has another blue, turquoises, a brown and a black.

The inks are pigmented, but are water-resistant, not completely waterproof. 

They are designed to work in the Kakimori fountain pens, and with the Kakimori nibs, but will not necessarily work with other brands of fountain pens. Pigmented inks need to be used constantly so they don't dry up in a fountain pen.

The names are charming; "each whimsical name tells an imaginative story". 

Kakimori Pigmented Inks - Po, Torori, Tototo, Karari, Kuran.

01 - Po means "A colour tucked away in our hearts. Po is the way we blush when falling in love; the warmth of a face admired from afar."
02 - Torori means "A perfect omelette reveals its deliciously soft centre. Torori is the colour of anticipation, describing a rich consistency overflowing with flavour."
03 - Tototo: "Tototo is the gentle melody of a special rosé poured in quiet company. A colour to elevate everyday life or celebrate a special occasion."
04 - Karari: "Fresh like an endlessly clear sky. Karari describes a bright, cloudless day. With this blue in hand, a break in the clouds is never far away."
05 - Kurun: "Kurun depicts the dance of a vine’s curling tendrils. A green that captures both vitality and a sense of calm."

The second sampler set has these colours.
Kakimori Pigmented Inks - Toppuri, Solo, Zabun, Mukuri, Koton.

06 - Topperi: "Look closely and you might see the stars in the night sky. Toppuridescribes the comforting darkness that arrives after nightfall. A gentle colour that inspires reflection."
07 - Soyo: "Soyo is like a breath of fresh air. A colour that evokes the feeling of a pleasant breeze."
08 - Zabun: "Zabun is the sound of the deep, blue ocean. Listen for the lapping waves as the ink flows across the paper, awakening precious memories."
09 - Mukuri: "Mukuri describes the state of awakening, like a bear emerging from hibernation to the warm red earth. The colour signals the arrival of a new season."
10 - Koton: "The silence of the night is punctuated by koton, the sound of an ink bottle being placed on the desk. A colour for quiet contemplation."

Inks can be ordered with wood caps or an aluminium cap, and in Japan, you can refill the ink bottles and create your own custom inks.

I haven't yet tried these in a fountain pen, but will explore the Torori in as an under drawing for a floral watercolour. Drawing in a golden-yellow ink can be gorgeous.

Have a look at the website here. See my YouTube exploration here.

Happy drawing, writing or inking!

Thursday 12 October 2023

Daniel Smith Gouache

Daniel Smith Gouache has been in the pipeline for some years, with the first 22 colour selections available in late 2023. Made with concentrated pigment and gum Arabic, these paints can be used straight from the tube and dry with a matt finish.

Titanium White and Buff Titanium lend themselves to gouache as they are more opaque pigments. The yellows give a cool, medium and warm option which is very useful for mixing. I've opted for the Hansa Yellow Medium as a single mixing yellow in my 16-colour gouache palette, but the classic 'cool and warm' pair of Hansa Yellow Light and Hasnsa Yellow Deep are also available.

Daniel Smith Goauche - Titanium White, Buff Titanium, Hansa Yellow Light, 
Hansa Yellow Medium, Hansa Yellow Deep.

The scan doesn't capture the vibrancy of Pyrrol Orange. Pyrrol Scarlet is just on the orange side of red and Pyrrol Red is a rich tomato red. Quinacridone Magenta is a classic mixing red. Wisteria, like the watercolours in the same name, has added white.

Daniel Smith Goauche - Pyrrol Orange, Pyrrol Scarlet, Pyrrol Red, Quinacridone Magenta, Wisteria.

Lavender also has added white. Ultramarine is a classic blue in any palette. Cobalt Blue is less often found in watercolour. Cascade Green is an exclusive Daniel Smith colour created for the Cascade Mountains. 

Daniel Smith Goauche - Lavender, Ultramarine Blue, Cobalt Blue, Cascade Green, Permanent Green Light.

You can see that Indian Red is the most opaque of the colours, as this is also an opaque colour in watercolour. Yellow Ochre, Raw Sienna and Burnt Sienna are really useful earth colours. The Burnt Sienna is a particularly beautiful rich orange earth colour.

Daniel Smith Goauche - Spring Green, Yellow Ochre, Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna, Indian Red.

Burnt Umber and Lamp Black complete the original set or 22 colours. Raw Umber and a large range of other blacks, greys and darks have since been added.
Daniel Smith Goauche - Burnt Umber, Lamp Black

May 2024 update

Here are five more of the gouache colours that I have bought for my own palette. Very few companies make Cerulean as a gouache at all using PB35 or PB36, but this is a beauty. Phthalo Green is so useful for mixing. I like to have Raw Umber in a palette as great shade and earth colour. Jane's Grey and Jane's Black are also a great addition as I now don't need to use a black pigment in gouache either.
Daniel Smith Gouache - Cerulean Blue Chromium, Phthalo Green BS, Raw Umber, Jane's Grey, Jane's Black (Red 

And one more. The Chromium version of Cerulean is clearly cooler and richer, but the PB35 is a very pretty sky colour.

Daniel Smith Gouache - Cerulean Blue

52 new colours are now available - bringing the total to 74. I am delighted to see some cool-leaning colours in this extra range, including a number of my favourites - Phthalo Blue GS, Cerulean Chromium and Permanent Alizarin Crimson - that will aid in mixing, along with Raw Umber, Piemontite Genuine Sap Green and of course Jane's Grey and the two Jane's Blacks. You can click on any of these to see how they look on the Daniel Smith website, painted out in full strength, diluted and over black paper. I'll add more as I can. Or as always, please contact me if you'd like to send a sample to add here 🙂

Alizarin Crimson
Alvaro’s Caliente Grey
Alvaro’s Fresco Grey
Bloodstone Genuine
Cadmium Orange Hue
Cadmium Red Medium Hue
Cadmium Yellow Light Hue
Cadmium Yellow Medium Hue
Carbazole Violet
Cerulean Blue see above
Cerulean Blue, Chromium see above
Chrome Titanate Yellow
Cobalt Teal Blue
Duochrome Mauve
Enviro-Friendly Brown Iron Oxide
Enviro-Friendly Red Iron Oxide
Enviro-Friendly Yellow Iron Oxide
Hematite Genuine
Indanthrone Blue
Indian Yellow
Iridescent Aztec Gold
Iridescent Copper
Iridescent Electric Blue
Iridescent Gold
Iridescent Moonstone
Iridescent Sunstone
Ivory Black
Jane’s Black (Blue/Orange)
Jane’s Black (Red/Green) see above
Jane’s Grey see above
King’s Royal Blue
Lemon Yellow
Neutral Tint
Olive Green
Opera Pink
Payne’s Gray
Pearlescent White
Permanent Alizarin Crimson
Phthalo Blue (Green Shade)
Phthalo Blue Turquoise
Phthalo Green (Blue Shade) see above
Piemontite Genuine
Prussian Blue
Quinacridone Purple
Raw Umber see above
Sap Green
Van Dyck Brown
Venetian Red