Sunday, December 30, 2012

New Watercolor Palette

As I'm considering doing a watercolor painting for my novel cover, I've taken stock and realized that my watercolor skills are a bit stiff and rusty. Horrors! I have several books on my shelf with watercolor painting practice exercises in them  and I've decided to get on with it and start practicing. As I began, I realized right away that I didn’t have a palette made up with many of the “standard” colors being suggested for the exercises. The palette I'd been using has some lovely colors in it, but many are non-standard mixed colors that weren’t reacting as the exercises had led me to expect.

Last night at about 10 pm, I cleaned out an old palette and prepared a new one, a hybrid of tube paints and some partial DS watercolor sticks. I had to do it this way as I only have some of the colors I needed, like Alizarin Crimson, in stick form.

For those who might be interested, here’s a picture of my new palette, with the names of the colors listed beneath. (NB: all are Daniel Smith watercolors except for the Davy’s Gray which is Winsor Newton.)

Lemon Yellow, New Gamboge, Nickel Azo, Cadmium Yellow Deep Hue,
Yellow Ochre, Cadmium Orange Hue, Cadmium Red Medium Hue,
Cobalt Blue Violet, Permanent Alizarin Crimson, Venetian Red,
Fired Gold Ochre, Burnt Umber, Sepia, Payne’s Gray, Davy’s Gray,
French Ultramarine, Indanthrone Blue, Mayan Blue Genuine,
Cerulean Blue, Cascade Green, Sap Green,
Rich Green Gold,
and White Gouache.
I also added a few “extra” colors to play with: Lapis Lazuli Genuine (24), Rose Madder Genuine (25), and Natural Sleeping Beauty Turquoise (26).

As a note of these three last colors, they are all kind of problematic and I’ve really put them in here just for fun. Rose Madder Genuine is one of my favorite mixing colors, producing some of the best neutrals I have ever seen when mixed with a clean yellow and a clean blue. However, the downside is that it's a highly fugitive color with almost no lightfastness. So, unfortunately, it’ll fade in light quite quickly. I've tried before to replace it in my palette with Potter's Pink, which is much more lightfast, but I just don't like it nearly as much as a mixing color.

Lapis Lazuli Genuine is new color to me, a very delicate cool blue, perhaps too delicate to be of any real use, we’ll see. It may work well as a tint for cool white objects or snow, so that's probably where I'll try it at first.

New palette and color key
I’ve tried several times to use Natural Sleeping Beauty Turquoise in palettes and never end up using it. I’m not sure why. When looking for a Turquoise I tend to reach for either Ultramarine or Phthalo Turquoise before this one. But as the Sleeping Beauty is a very clean, transparent Turquoise it will likely create some harmonious neutrals when mixed with Alizarin Crimson…so I’m hopeful I can put it to some good use in this palette.

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