I painted less than usual February, due largely to a surgery recovery which sapped my energy for a few weeks. However I bounced back enough to do some paintings that I really enjoy.
Zoltan Szabo (1928-2003) was an evocative landscape watercolorist, prolific workshop instructor, and author of dozens of books. Today, I’ll be looking at his 1998 book Zoltan Szabo’s Color-by-Color Guide to Watercolor.
When I was recently trying to mix a Perylene Violet hue, Bordeaux (PV32) was one of the colors I used. Then I realized I had it backward: Bordeaux is LF2 and not as lightfast. Anyone trying to replace less-lightfast colors with more-lightfast colors would be trying to go the other way round. So I thought I’d try and make a Bordeaux hue with more lightfast colors.
Molly Hashimoto is the author of Colors of the West: An Artist’s Guide to Nature’s Palette, an art book based on National Parks in the American west, and Birds of the West, which showcases her watercolor and block print bird art. I love her bright, clear, intense colors and joy in nature.
Occasionally I come across color mixes that look like “perylene violet” to me. I’m also not the biggest fan of the paint, so I’m motivated to find a way to replace it. Here are some color mixes I’ve tired to emulate a Perylene Violet hue. In the upper left is Daniel Smith’s Perylene Violet. From … Read more
Skies are my favorite subject, and recently I’ve been painting a lot of them. It’s the perfect time to create a sky palette!
Paul George is a landscape artist from Massachusetts who shares oil and watercolor painting tutorials on Youtube. After reading about it on Laura’s Watercolors in early February, I tried his Essex Saltmarsh tutorial. It was fun, and I found I didn’t have to make that many color substitutions! I then looked up his video on his palette. I’ve done my best to recreate it from my collection below.
I’m going way back in time for this one – back to the 1400s! We’re looking at the palette of Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528). This has got to be the earliest palette I’ll be able to identify.
InThe History of Watercolour, Marie-Pierre Salé considers Dürer the “first watercolorist,” not because he invented watercolor (people have been painting with pigment suspended in water since cave painting days), but because he’s one of the first Western artists known to have used the medium to its fullest for works of art (rather than incidental illustration of illuminated manuscripts and so forth). Dürer created landscapes and incredibly detailed natural history paintings.
So what was in his palette? What pigments even existed then??
Chromium Oxide Green (PG17) is an extremely opaque, lightly granulating single-pigment dull green. It’s a nice color for desert plants, but not the only nice color, and I haven’t found another use for it. So, I’ve been wondering if I want to remove it from my extended palette. I sometimes feel when I’m making color spotlights that I accidentally mix a hue. So let’s try mixing a hue on purpose.
I have a new gouache theory.
When I first posted my gouache observations and palette, I noted that some of my favorite watercolor pigments – the transparent, high-tinting ones in the phthalo and quinacridone families – don’t always make good gouache, because gouache is meant to be opaque. Phthalo Green gouache, for example, while thicker and less transparent than the corresponding watercolor, still isn’t opaque, and when you paint it out it can appear patchy. My favorite gouache colors were opaque pigments with more robust coverage: colors like Titanium White (PW6) and Hansa Yellow Light (PY3).
I’ve come to realize, though, that there is still important value to those less-opaque colors, especially the ones with high tinting strength, because they can be great mixing colors. You just need to combine them with another color that has the desired opaque properties. You mix practically everything in gouache with at least a little white, anyway, so it’s not such a big deal that not every color has perfect coverage alone.
I now mentally divide my gouache palette into two categories: base colors and mixing colors.