Color Spotlight: Transparent Pyrrol Orange (PO71)

Daniel Smith – Transparent Pyrrol Orange

PO71 oranges are highly transparent and very vibrant oranges! The Daniel Smith version pictured here is more reddish than some of the others. That said, it should be noted that I bought the DS TPO in 2022, so it’s one of the newer iterations. I am told that the older version was even more red and a bit more muted and earthy.

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How to Build a Watercolor Palette from the Ground Up

I spend a lot of time researching paints before I buy one, planning how it will fit into one of my existing palettes: what niche it will fill; how it will play with my other paints; what I’ll be able to paint and mix with it that I can’t do now, or can’t do as easily. I’ve had some triumphs (THIS COLOR IS AMAZING) as well as some missteps (Huh, I just… never use this one.) So I have A Lot Of Thoughts on how to build a palette from the ground up that works for you, full of lovely paints you’ll enjoy and that will be versatile enough for everything you want to do! 

tl;dr All this is subjective. There are no rules. Get the colors you want.

Six well-loved tubes of paint from the Daniel Smith Essentials collection.

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Color Spotlight: Quinacridone Gold

Daniel Smith Quinacridone Gold: graded wash, opacity/glazing/bloom tests, and color mixes.

One thing you’ll always read about Quinacridone Gold is that it used to be a single pigment, PO49, until 2017, when the supply of that pigment ran out altogether. Artists bemoan the loss of this pigment which, in retrospect, they imbue with almost magical properties. I’m too young in watercolor years to have tried it, but personally, I love the mixed Quin Gold hues that you can find now, so I’m happy!

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Everything I Loved & Learned From Kolbie Blume’s 10 Day Watercolor Challenge

My painting from Kolbie Blume’s Painting the Wilderness Challenge Day 2 – Layered Mountains. A yellow sky with sunbeams and layered blue-green mountains, with a soaring bird.

From November 20 to 29, 2021, I took on the 10-Day Painting the Wilderness Watercolor Challenge by Kolbie Blume. This turned out be an absolutely fantastic experience for a lot of reasons!

Below, the reasons. And then, the paintings!

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Adventures in Daniel Smith Dot Cards II: Earth Tones

Swatches of earth tones overlaid over Daniel Smith dot cards on a messy desk.

Previously: After swatching out all the colors from my 238-color Dot Card, I gave my thoughts on all the exciting color categories: yellow, red, purple, and so on. Now, I give my thoughts on the earth tones and grays. I know these can be important colors, especially in realistic landscape and portrait paintings (neither of which I have admittedly really done), but gosh, it’s hard to get excited about them.

Since I started painting I have actively resisted getting into earth tones and browns; the closest I get is having Quinacridone Gold which many people would consider more of a warm yellow. I just always want bright colors instead! Which is honestly not a bad impulse in watercolor, because you can always make muted tones from brights (by mixing complementary colors), but you cannot go the other way around. Anyway, life’s too short to buy paints that don’t spark joy.

But maybe I am missing something? Maybe earth tones CAN spark joy? Will this dot card change my mind??!

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Color Spotlight: Quinacridone Rose (PV19 Pink)

After exploring lots of colors shallowly through Adventures in Daniel Smith Dot Cards, I thought I’d take some time to do deep-dives on selected colors: whether it’s because they’re my favorite, reliable, palette staples, or because they’re colors I want to investigate further and learn more about.

Today, we start with a palette staple and one of my first artist grade paints: Quinacridone Rose! This is the cool red/magenta shade from the Daniel Smith Essentials set (which I totally love and recommend as a starter kit if you’re looking to get started in artist grade paints).

Daniel Smith – Quinacridone Rose

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Adventures in Daniel Smith Dot Cards

Daniel Smith dot cards

This Christmas, my Secret Santa gave me the Daniel Smith 238-color dot cards, a sampler that lets me paint just a li’l with (almost) all of Daniel Smith’s colors! This has been amazing, because I was previous learning about colors one-at-a-time, and I always felt like there were more Daniel Smith colors that I didn’t know about appearing from the ether all the time.

With these dot cards, I have been obsessing about color, trying to figure out the optimal palette for me. I’ve almost lost sight of why I’m doing it (to paint pictures). It’s all about the color baybee! Color for its own sake. Who cares about paintings. 

To make my hyperfocus episode not totally feel like a waste of time, I thought I’d share with you some of my experiments in color. I spend hours (days) swatching out colors so you don’t have to! 

Settle in with the beverage of your choice (not to be confused with your dirty paint water) while I summarize my takeaways, one color family at a time.

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Why I love watercolor.

I’ve tried various types of art, but there’s something special about watercolor: it feels like all the skills I’ve honed in various other art forms – photography, pen and ink, colored pencil – are coming together into one perfect mega-medium. Why does it appeal to me so much?  The real answer is that it’s totally … Read more

I am not a watercolor teacher.

I’m a learner, like you. I got my first watercolor paints last Christmas 2020, didn’t open them for three months due to laziness/fear/what if I’m not good at it, and then finally picked up a brush and… wow. Got hooked. Over the last 9 months, I’ve learned how to achieve certain effects pretty reliably, and … Read more