Color Spotlight: Viridian (PG18)

The traditional Viridian pigment, PG18, is one of those classic older chemical pigments invented in the 19th century, around the same time as the cadmiums and chromiums. The name is based on the Latin name veridis, meaning green. This is a granulating cool (blue-toned) green shade. It tends to be low-tinting strength and very liftable. … Read more

The Brightest Neon Watercolors I Could Find

Neon color mixes
Neon color mixes. The top row is Opera Pink; each column adds more and more of another color: Lemon Yellow, Ultramarine, and Cobalt Turquoise. Bottom right shows the mix of Lemon Yellow and Cobalt Turquoise making an electric mint.

I have a fondness for extreme bright neons, Lisa Frank style – the brighter the better! (This post is an antidote to my last post about grays.) One of my watercolor goals was to find a primary triad that was as bright and neon as possible.

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Mixing Gray in Watercolor

Modern Primary Mix

Theoretically, if you mix a color with its complement (opposite on the color wheel), you should get a neutral gray/black. For example:

  • Red + Green
  • Orange + Blue
  • Yellow + Purple

If the color is biased one way or the other, you’d expect the complement to be biased the other way. For example:

  • Orangey-Red + Bluish-Green, or Purpley-Red + Yellowish-Green
  • Reddish-Orange + Greenish-Blue, or Yellowish-Orange + Purpley-Blue
  • Orangey-Yellow + Bluish-Purple, or Greenish-Yellow + Reddish-Purple

I say “theoretically” because it’s never that simple, is it? Sometimes a single-pigment complement does not exist (these are natural pigments after all), and sometimes the mixing complement is not quite the same as the visual complement. Still, it’s a starting place. 

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Loved & Learned: Koblie Blume’s Wilderness Watercolor Landscapes Chapter 3: Trees

I’m working my way through Kolbie Blume’s tutorial book, Wilderness Watercolor Landscapes. Previously, I did the chapters on skies and mountains. Here’s all my work on the chapter on trees. Autumn Misty Pines Paper: Hahnemuhle “Burgund” 250gsm cold press Colors:  Background & pines: Quin Gold, Pyrrol Scarlet, Transparent Red Oxide Foreground leaves: Mixed a scarlet … Read more

Color Spotlight: Green Apatite Genuine

This granulating Primatek color made from real Green Apatite is a similar hue to Sap Green, with interesting green and brown granulation. Like Jadeite, it has a tendency to separate with some strokes being a pale yellowy mint green and some strokes being a gray-brown olive. Experiment Results Gradient: Very wide ranges of values from … Read more

I Refuse to Buy Schmincke’s Supergranulating Paints

Cobalt Turquoise + Ultramarine VIolet
Schmincke Horadam Cobalt Turquoise (PG50) + Winsor & Newton Ultramarine Violet (PV15) in an Etchr Perfect Sketchbook

Although I like granulation now, I’m not tempted by the sets everyone in my watercolor friends-list seems to be going gaga for: the Schmincke Supergranulating colors. If you take a look at them, they are generally* not new colors, they’re mixes of other granulating colors that Schmincke (and other brands) offer. You can mix your own!

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American Journey Dot Cards!

American Journey paints are an inexpensive artist-grade line exclusive to Cheap Joe’s Art Supplies. My research indicates this line is made by Da Vinci, and there do so seem to be a lot of similarities, though the lines do have some different colors. As I’ve mentioned, I love Da Vinci paints, so this was good news!

I tried American Journey’s 24-dot sampler:

American Journey – 24 dot sampler

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What’s the deal with earth tones?

Photo by Fernando Puente on Unsplash

Shortly after gathering my first six paints, I began to wonder about earth tones. What’s the deal with them? Do I need them? What are they good for? What are my options? How come other people seem to intuitively know the difference between “raw umber” and “burnt sienna”? What are the common, typical earth tones that teachers and tutorial designers may expect me to have in my palette, and if I don’t have them, what substitutions can I make? Which earth tones are equivalent? I’m here to answer my past self’s questions – and, maybe, yours!

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