Well hello there art-elves
! This week I have very exciting news - I rebooted my watercolour palette to maximus awesome level!!! Basically, I feel that I've reached a stage where I don't want to be held back by my tools so I've invested in new paints. I've put a lot of thought into which pigments to get, partly for the sake of cost but mostly because I really like the limited palette effect. I did my last painting, for instance, with just four paints - Cad Yellow Hue, Cad Red Hue, Ultramarine and Permanent Rose and I really loved how everything in the painting seemed to gel so well together. Of course, this was partly through the elimination of certain colour groups and I don't intend to use the whole of my palette each painting. However, neither do I want to get stuck because I don't have the right paint to cover the colour group I want in a sufficiently high chroma. Therefore, I came up with a basic, six-paint palette with a few extras and, this week, I thought that I would discuss my choices with you. Here's the palette.
My main paints are the wheel to the right. As you can see, I have broadly created an evenly spaced colour wheel based on a yellow, magenta, blue subtractive colour wheel. I had initially planned to use a split primary colour wheel, with two reds, two blues and two yellow, one cool and one warm of each. However, upon researching the subject I realised that the notion of primaries is a little bogus. It was better to space my paints evenly across the area of the wheel. The reason for this is thus. Imagine the colour wheel, a circle of six colours gradating into one another. Imagine that the outer rim is bright and highly saturated, image the centre is a very dark hue, pitch black. Now image that each pigment you buy sits somewhere upon this wheel, it's place determined not only by hue, it's "colour" but also where it sits between the brightest colours on the rim and the black of the centre. For instance, Burnt Umber is an orangey hue, sat very close to the centre - it has a very dark value. Now imagine mixing two colours. Although it doesn't work out quite as simply as this in reality, if you place two colours on the wheel and draw a line between them, this shows the scale of colours that can be achieved through mixing varying proportions of them. Now, if you mix a greeny yellow and a greeny blue, of course you will get a brighter (the line between the two points will sit closer to the rim of the wheel) green than if you mix a redy yellow and a purlplish blue. HOWEVER, the effect is still not a bright as if you had just taken a top-whack, high chroma green in the first place and gently altered it with either yellow or blue. So, that is why I built this fairly even colour wheel. Of course, pigments being pigments, and not ideal wonder-colours, each has varying properties which bend the ideal, theoretical six-colour palette out of shape. Some pigments are fugitive, others are either transparent or opaque, some tint better, some are toxic and, often, no perfect colour exists. Even today, printers don't have perfect primaries in their yellow, cyan, magenta cartridges. So, let's have a look at my choices (I add the colour code to each paint as names can vary between manufacturers - always check before buying is possible!):
Permanent Rose (PV19). Just a stunning colour, mixing wonderful purples and is an amazingly pure pink on its own!
French Ultramarine (PB29). Wouldn't be without this, a classic pigments well deserving of its place on the palette.
Phthalo Blue (Green Shade) (PB15:3). Lovelly, greeny, high staining blue. Also known as Monastral Blue or Winsor Blue.
Phthalo Green (PG7). Much the same as Pthalo Blue, a great, high chroma colour with a blue bent. Also known as Winsor Green.
Pyrrole Red (PR254). A jolly good, strong, permantent red I chose instead of Cadmium Red as the latter is slightly toxic, expensive, opaque (which did not suit my style) and likely to become illegal in the EU quite soon due to the environmental impact of Cadmium). Also known as Winsor Red.
Benzimidazolone Yellow (PY154) This just won out over Hansa Yellow for me due to the high praise it received on the Handprint website. A good yellow I chose over Cadmium Yellow for the same reasons as I chose Pyrrole Red over Cadmium Red. Also known as Winsor Yellow.
Now, you may noticed I have some other paints on my palette so let me briefly explain. The Paynes Gray is a bit of an accident but, as I had previously bought it, I thought it might prove useful in the future for achieving EXTREMELY dark values. I also have White Gouche, which is better than Chinese White watercolour for adding highlights if the leave the paper black method hasn't worked out so great. And I have some earth colours. The Raw Sienne, Burnt Sienna, Raw Umber and Yellow Ochre are student grade hangovers from my old palette. As I have not replaced the earth colours with artist grade I thought it foolish to get rid of them - although I'm keen on my six-colour palette at the moment, who knows where the muse will lead me? Also, if you can cheap out anywhere, it is with the earth colours as the coursers texture and lower chroma of the pigments means that artist grade is not quite so crucial for best results. However, there was one earth I did upgrade to artist quality - Burnt Umber. Put simply, I love it. Not only do I adore the juxtaposition of Burnt Umber and Phthalo Blue but mix the two together, or mix Burnt Umber with Ultramarine, and you have a great chromatic black - delicious! I got pure PBr7 but some brands offer mixes. However, I wanted to keep my pigments as pure as possible so I went for this beautiful tube from Daler-Rowney!
Well, that's my palette. I hope you found these ramblings useful
DEVIATION OF THE WEEK #38!
Which this week comes from