The Neon Palette

Travelers Paper Co x Art Toolkit green pocket palette, loaded with neon colors.

I’ve decided to dedicate my new, vibrant green Travelers Paper Co x Art Toolkit Pocket Palette to a Neon Theme!

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DIY Watercolor Lightfastness Tests

Lightfastness tests for Mission Gold - Opera Pink

Just like colored newspaper hung in a window, some watercolor pigments fade when exposed to light. Sometimes, that fading is on such a long timescale that it’s virtually fadeproof from the point of view of anyone living now (a paint that can withstand direct sunlight for 100+ years would be considered “lightfast”). Other times, the fading may occur in a matter of months (a “fugitive” paint), especially if the painting is exposed to direct sunlight, like being hung in a sunny room. By contrast, even fugitive paint colors will retain their vibrancy if closed in a sketchbook.

So how do you know which paints are lightfast and which are fugitive, and which are somewhere in between?

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What’s in my palette? (Summer 2022)

Top row: Winsor Yellow; Transparent Pyrrol Orange; Quin Coral; Quin Magenta; Indanthrone Blue; Marine Blue; Phthalo Green; Rich Green Gold.

Second row: MANS; Deep Scarlet; mixing well; Cobalt Blue; Serpentine.

Third row: Transparent Red Oxide; Perylene Violet; mixing well; Ultramarine Blue; Cobalt Turquoise.

The time has come! I’ve avoided making a “what’s in your palette?” post since I started this blog because it has changed so rapidly that it would always be out of date between when I wrote it up and when I posted it. But since doing Liz Steel’s course, I’ve settled on a pretty great set of colors that has had more sticking power than my previous sets, so I thought: it’s time!

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Dark Magenta Part II: Carbazole Violet, Perylene Violet, and Bordeaux

After swapping out options for a dark magenta last week, I found that I had stuck too close to home and chosen colors too similar to my primary magenta. So, today, I’m comparing my favorite of those options – Bordeaux (PV32) – with two strikingly dark purple colors: Perylene Violet (PV29) and Carbazole Violet (PV23).

From left: DS Bordeaux (PV32), DS Perylene Violet (PV29), DS Carbazole Violet (PV23) on Canson XL

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Finding a Dark Magenta: Comparing Quin Fuchsia, Quin Violet, and Bordeaux

I have two great options for a primary magenta, Quin Magenta (PR122) or Quin Rose (PV19), both of which are extremely bright but don’t get that dark. I like to have a way of making a dark version of each of my colors, but none of my usual ways of darkening magenta quite work for me.

  • Adding blue makes it purple
  • Adding green (the complement) makes a weird gray
  • Adding earth orange makes crimson red
  • I’m not a fan of the muddy mixes with black

Could a new pigment help?

Comparison of Magents
Holbein Quin Magenta (PR122) vs. DV Quin Fuchsia (PR202), DS Bordeaux (PV32), DV Quin Violet (PV19)

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Palette Updates After Taking Liz Steel’s Watercolor Class

I recently went through Liz Steel’s Watercolor course, which was a great way to geek out about color. The course is appropriate for beginners but probably ideal for people with, say, about a year of experience (like me!), and focues on color choice and pigment characteristics, brush technique, and trying different styles. One of the … Read more

What’s the difference between Goethite Brown Oxide (PY43) and Monte Amiata Natural Sienna (PBr7)?

Jane Blundell’s Ultimate Mixing Palette includes the highly granulating ochre Goethite Brown Oxide (PY43), with Monte Amiata Natural Sienna (PBr7) listed as an alternative. But what’s the difference between these two colors?

DS Goethite (PY43) vs. DS Monte Amiata Natural Sienna (PBr7) on Stilman & Birn Beta

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All of Handprint’s Top 40 Pigments

Written in the late 90s/early 00s, Bruce MacEvoy’s handprint.com is still an invaluable resource for information about watercolor pigments. In his watercolor guide, MacEvoy has listed every color available from major brands at the time – and since watercolor catalogues don’t change that frequently, they’re still pretty much accurate, with the occasional missing pigment, review … Read more