Some More Watercolor Tests

April 19, 2009

090418RustSwatches Left: Swatches made testing some M. Graham and Daniel Smith watercolors.

Last week I was talking to my friend Diane about various watercolor paints I had been testing. Having good "oranges" on my palette is essential because my perfered blue is PB60 and when mixed with the right orange you get lovely neutrals and dark, rich, colorful blacks. In particular I was talking to Diane about my favorite Schmincke orange which is Translucent Orange. (You can see an example of how I might use this in my post today on the Official International Fake Journal Month Blog.)

Diane has posted her own swatch experiments with transparent orange on her blog. I encourage you to go there and have a peek. But you should also go back next week when she posts her landscapes. I've seen them and they are really fun.

But last night we were talking and she mentioned how she didn't get the same pinkish tone I had from Daniel Smith's Red Iron Oxide. I suppose the difference has something to do with the fact I was working from a small paint chip sample. Who knows. All I know is the discussion with Diane made me curious, especially since she mentioned using Cobalt Blue with the colors I had tested earlier.

I decided to get some full tubes of the Daniel Smith iron oxides and do some more tests. Alas, I was thwarted, Wet Paint was out of stock on those colors. But I still wondered about what would happen with Cobalt Blue so I went searching through my tubes of paint and the only Cobalt blue watercolor I could find was Daler Rowney (I don't even know what pigment they use, i.e., if it is a true cobalt or two-piment mix as nothing is listed on the tube).

The great news is I found some tubes of M. Graham that I had used briefly but not really fully tried out. They were among a long list of NEW colors released some time ago. Since some of these colors were like my favorites in the Daniel Smith line and I couldn't get DS locally at the time, I tried them out.

Well one of these M. Graham colors was Quinacridone Rust (Quin Orange PO 48), the other was Terra Rosa, and you guessed it Terra Rosa is red iron oxide (Synthetic Iron Oxide PR 101).

If you look at the chart that opens this post you'll see a swatch of the Quin Rust (MG) and Terra Rosa (MG at the top of the page). People looking for a very pinky wash out will be very pleased with Terra Rosa from MG. Be aware that it is a heavily opaque paint (see the two bottom of the page swatches where the heaviness is clearly seen). The granulation is pretty fun though.

On the same chart you will see that I got out the M.Graham Anthraquinone Blue which is their concoction of PB 60. I also, on the right, made a swatch of Daniel Smith's Indanthrone Blue (their PB 60). To my eye the MG A. Blue looks a tad green, but the difference is so slight it might be imagined or not matter to others (I checked again this a.m. and I still have the same impression).

I then mixed each of these blues with the Rust and Terra Rosa. You can see the resultant range of colors on the sheet, all labeled. For my own general use I prefer Daniel Smith's Indanthrone Blue, but I could live with the other.

What i enjoyed most was seeing the lovely browns and neutrals I got from the Quin Rust and each blue, and the lovely smokey lavenders that resulted from mixing each of those blues with Terra Rosa.

I might have to add these to a larger palette for painting days.

090418Cobaltswatches Right: The swatches I made mixing Quin Rust and Terra Rosa (both M. Graham paints) with Daler Rowney's Cobalt Blue. (These paints are on a scrap of Velin Arches, which has a lovely slight texture that helps the granulation along.)

But I still had Diane's comments in my mind about how wonderful the Daniel Smith red iron oxide was when mixed with Cobalt Blue so I did the additional swatches you see in the second "chart." I could see why Diane was excited by the possibilities. Beyond landscape painting these mixes will have utility in animal and bird paintings. I may have to start looking at some Cobalt Blue options. I have a Schmincke pan watercolor Cobalt Blue which is lovely, but it is in my larger travel palette that I don't normally carry. I think I'm going to have to add this to the smaller palette.

I'll keep you posted.

In the meantime, if you are looking for a pinkier Red Iron Oxide you might want to check out M. Graham's offering.

    • Katy
    • April 20, 2009

    LOVE the Terra Rosa! Thanks for sharing all of this info.

    • Donna
    • April 20, 2009

    Have I told you how much I love your site? Especially, when you review materials and thank you for listing the pigment numbers when referring to watercolor paint. I have been trying to figure out my travel palette and since I am using Daniel Smith, Schmincke and Holbein, the only way I can work through my palette is by the pigment numbers–forget names!

    • Diane Wesman
    • April 20, 2009

    The name “Terra Rosa” even sounds like it will be a good pinky-brownish red. Since I’ll be close, I am going to Wet Paint this morning for a tube. I like cobalt blue at lot. It’s a nice gentle blue for getting those luscious grays. A little less aggressive than PB 60. And I’m going to dig out my Quin Rust and try it with the blues.

    • Roz
    • April 20, 2009

    Katy, I’m posting more about Terra Rosa in a couple minutes (Monday, April 20) so check it out.

    • Roz
    • April 20, 2009

    Donna, I’m with you, I need those numbers. Even then, as I’m sure you’ve found, different manufacturers eek out different characteristics with the same pigment, see the two treatments of PB60 above. At least with the numbers we can begin to compare apples and apples!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Close Cookmode

Pin It on Pinterest