Tag: Holbein

New Palette, New Colors

Quiller Palette – 28 Colors!

My all time favorite palette is the Quiller palette, available in porcelain or plastic. Plastic does stain, especially with phthalo colors it seems, so after a few years – 3 or 4? – it was time to buy a new one, and to fill it with colors. I like the plastic – or acrylic – palettes over porcelain because, if they are dropped, they don’t break into a bazillion pieces. It’s always a job to fill up a palette unless you are replenishing old favorites and standbys, but I decided to change a lot of my colors as I’ve bought colors over the past several months and want to put them to use. So, here we go – my new palette and the watercolors therein.

The outer corners of the Quiller palette are put to good use – 8 large wells. Beginning in the upper left corner and moving clockwise, I labeled them, for my purposes, A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H. Color name and manufacturer are listed. Abbreviations: S = Schmincke Horadam, DS = Daniel Smith, H = Holbein, WN = Winsor Newton, MG = M. Graham, S = Sennelier.

  • A. Cadmium Yellow Lemon – SH
  • B. Lemon Yellow – DS
  • C. Permanent Yellow Deep – DS
  • D. Pyrrol Orange – DS
  • E. Italian Burnt Sienna – DS
  • F. Burnt Sienna – DS
  • G. Cobalt Teal – mixture of MG and DS to use up MG
  • H. French Ultramarine – DS

Next, if you look up into the upper left corner, you will see a spot marked on the palette with a rather long, pointy thingy. It is a yellow next to a rather periwinkle color on its left. That yellow is #1 in the following list, and clockwise around, ending in #24.

  • 1. Hansa Yellow – MG
  • 2. Hansa Yellow Deep – DS
  • 3. Gamboge – MG
  • 4. Naples Yellow – MG
  • 5. Quinacridone Gold – MG
  • 6. Translucent Orange – SH
  • 7. Cadmium Red Light – H
  • 8. Cadmium Red – WN
  • 9. Permanent Alizarin Crimson – DS
  • 10. Pyrrol Red – DS
  • 11. Quinacridone Coral – DS
  • 12. Raw Sienna – DS
  • 13. Raw Umber – DS
  • 14. Burnt Umber – DS
  • 15. Cerulean Blue – MG
  • 16. Cobalt Blue – DS
  • 17. Prussian Blue – S
  • 18. Manganese Blue Hue – DS
  • 19. Phthalo Green, Yellow Shade – DS
  • 20. May Green – SH
  • 21. Hooker’s Green – WN – the only one for me!
  • 22. Cobalt Violet – MG
  • 23. Carbazole Violet – DS
  • 24. Lavender – H

Sometime over the next few days I am going to paint out a sample of the palette and colors, copy it, and paste it to the lid of the palette. This way I have a copy on hand, and if the one on the palette gets messed up, I can print out another. I also like to read up and do a bit of research about the colors, and often refer to the Dick Blick site to get pigment information and Jane Blundell’s site to read up on her comments.

It’s nice to know a bit about colors, and with so many new formulations on the market this becomes a good thing to do. What I think a color is may be very different than what a color is – such as granulating or not, fugitive or not (I try not to buy those, but I do have some normal alizarin crimson and rose madder genuine), warm or cool. Besides this, it is good to know in which direction a color “leans” – that is, does the red I am looking at lean to the blue or yellow side of the palette. Such things affect color mixing. As there are lot of new-to-me colors, it is good to become acquainted with my new friends.

And there we are.

An Afternoon’s Painting Practice

I am an unabashed Charles Reid fan when it comes to instruction books and videos and style in watercolor.  I love his loose style and the way his colors flow in and out of each other without getting muddy.  Honestly, I am really a novice when it comes to watercolor painting – and mud is my usual result.  Somewhere in the past 6 months a part of me just quit worrying about what I produce, and this gave me the freedom from self-criticism (and condemnation) about what results I get.  I don’t care anymore, and this freedom is opening up doors which have been slammed shut by my unrealistic and unrelenting worrying.  It’s a great feeling!

Having a bunch of watercolors and supplies on hand, I dug out some water brushes and my traveling palette.  Out on the patio, with earphones on to listen to a spy novel, a bunch of paper towels and some water, I pulled out Reid’s book.  My watercolor pads came along with me, as did my coffee, water bottle, drawing pencils and who knows what else.  The verbal distractions of the audiobook keep me from getting too emotional about my practice pages.  I propped up Flower Painting in Watercolor and got to work, reading captions and color suggestions, drew some rough sketches from Reid’s exercises, and got to work.

I think one of the hardest things to do is to leave white paper.  I just want to paint it all up.  And I also want to just keep going on – and this creates mud – without pause for paper to dry and paint to settle.  Rush, rush!

Well, I did succeed somewhat.  The crocuses above are one of Reid’s studies, and I was pretty pleased with it.  In reality, it doesn’t look half as good as the photo, but then it is on a piece of messy paper with scribbles on it and test swatches of color.

This was a quick study, more white space being left open.  I went back after I finished this study to use my pencil to add some shape to the white flowers.  I like lines – and it is a problem I find with my own sense of a “successful” painting – I need lines to define things.  Sometimes lines work – sometimes they don’t – but I do love the Renaissance ink studies I’ve seen, and lines have always held my eye.  Lines are expressive – but so are shapes of color.

Here, simply color shapes to imply a flower or a leaf.  My experience in sumi-e brush painting makes my understanding of controlling a brush – even an inexpensive water brush with nylon bristles – much easier.

One thing Reid pulls out is shapes without definition – just implication of form.  This is great practice for my line addiction!

Another issue I find is contrast and value.  It’s hard for me to really get these right in a painting.  Reid mentions he makes his dark not super dark – not black – but installs a medium dark early on to establish value.  I struggle with this but with more practice I think I will get better at this.

And here is the last one . . . not the best, but one which does have some good areas of contrast, and black lines from an India-ink pigmented pen.  Sketchy, painterly, and totally fun to do!

Quality paper is a must-have.  I have some tablets that I bought which I absolutely hate because of the texture and sizing in the paper.  However, I used them up and ordered more of the Canson’s Montval paper, in a spiral booklet form, 9×12 with 20 pages.  It’s a good working size – and it’s good paper, with a nice texture and sizing which doesn’t blotch up and look horrible.  It’s also very reasonably priced.  The Schmincke paint box may have Schmincke paints in them – or not.  My paint supplies include Schmincke, Winsor & Newton, Daniel Smith, Holbein, and M. Graham professional-grade watercolors.

I’m glad I sat down to paint – it’s such a wonderful feeling and one which gives me satisfaction.  Did I produce anything worthy of framing?  Not at all.  But working with my hands, seeing some success, is something which cannot be described – only experienced.  You know what I mean!  It’s like love!