Color Spotlight: Scarlet Lake (PR188)

Often called Vermilion (although it is not the traditional/historical Vermilion pigment), PR188 is a smooth, transparent, brilliant red-orange shade. Experiment Results Hue: Bright orange-red to pale coral/light red. A happy “strawberry soda” color. Gradient: Slight cauliflowering. Opacity: 100% transparent. Glazing: Bold orange-red glaze that looks similar to Pyrrol Scarlet. Color Mixes: Bold, vibrant oranges and … Read more

Color Spotlight: Cobalt Turquoise (PG50)

Cobalt Turquoise is a super bright, true turquoise made from the pigment PG50, derived from the heavy metal cobalt. Experiment Results Gradient: A nice even gradient. This color doesn’t get very dark, but it does get incredibly bright, making it a wonderful pop color. Opacity: I can see some dusting on the black line. I … Read more

Color Spotlight: Ultramarine Blue (PB29)

Da Vinci Ultramarine Blue – gradient, opacity and glazing tests, color mixes

Ultramarine Blue is a bright, bold, almost electric violet-blue that is almost always granulating. It typically comes in two flavors: regular and French. French Ultramarine (or sometimes “Ultramarine Deep”) is the more granulating and violet-toned, while the regular Ultramarine is moderately granulating and a bit more medium blue. Some brands also offer a Light Ultramarine or Ultramarine (Green Shade) on the other side of the spectrum.

Let’s start by looking at Da Vinci Ultramarine Blue, a balanced medium color, and then we’ll explore the French and Green shade options as well as other brands.

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Color Spotlight: Quinacridone Magenta (PR122)

Holbein – Quinacridone Magenta (PR122)

PR122 magenta is a bold, transparent, non-granulating primary magenta option, purple mixer, and just an all-around lovely pink-purple-fuchsia-magenta shade.

Take care: some brands use the term “Quinacridone Magenta” to mean another color (e.g. Daniel Smith uses the term Quin Magenta to me PR202, and uses Quin Lilac for PR122.)

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Color Spotlight: Phthalo Blue Green Shade (PB15:3)

Daniel Smith – Phthalo Blue (Green Shade)

Phthalo Blue (Green Shade) uses PB15:3, a green-toned variant of phthalocyanine blue PB15. (There is also a more middle blue variant, Phthalo Blue (Red Shade), which uses pigment PB15:1 or PB15:6. See my post, What’s the difference between Phthalo Blue (Green Shade) and Phthalo Blue (Red Shade)?)

Every major manufacturer offers some variant of this pigment, and mostly they share some characteristics, like being bright, bold, and highly staining. Daniel Smith’s version is even more bold than usual/than the rest of its line, so expect LOTS of color from this paint! It’s super-vibrant and actually kind of hard to mix because it has a tendency to overwhelm whatever mix it’s in.

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Schmincke Horadam Dot Cards!

I just can’t get enough dot cards! Last time, I explored Daniel Smith’s, and now I’m onto the German company Schmincke, named for its 1881 founder Hermann Schmincke. Horadam is the name of their artist grade watercolor line, named for another of their founders, the chemist Josef Horadam.

The Dot Card in question, complete. They got it all done in 2 pages!

General Brand Impressions: Schmincke has a smaller catalogue than Daniel Smith (140 colors vs 238), but still quite extensive, and nothing feels like it’s missing. (I think DS just has 100 useless colors, tbh.) All of the hits are here, as well as some interesting mixes. I found the line overall quite internally consistent, with most colors being highly pigmented and non-granulating. There were very few duds. On the other hand, as a beginner, I found them comparatively difficult to swatch out because they are easily to over-dilute, creating harsh paint lines. Basically they’re huge drama queens about too much water. I think if I were better at water control, this might be my favorite line, but Daniel Smith is friendlier for a person of, ah, inconsistent quality.

Allergy note: All Schmincke’s paints contain isothiazolinones (presumably in the binder), which some people are allergic to.

Pull up a chair while I swatch out every color!

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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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