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Painting Art Ezine: Selecting Watercolors
January 20, 2023

, welcome to the Ezine!

Selecting Watercolors

Here’s an example of what works for a selecting watercolors.

Last month we talked about selecting colors for an individual painting. This month let’s talk about selecting the paint colors to keep in stock?

The more time passes, the more I want to simplify things. Time was when my watercolor paintings on paper had to be mounted behind a mat and under a glass.

I kept a supply of watercolor mat material in about a dozen different colors. What a hassle, keeping all the different colors in stock.

It was a relief when I finally decided on one neutral color for all of my watercolor paintings. Now I don’t even have to keep mats or glass in stock because all my watercolors are painted on Aquaboard.

Aquaboard is my favorite watercolor support.

What's going on now?

Now I am working on my selection of watercolor paints.

My current project is doing paintings for some children’s books. The colors need to be bright and cheery and print well.

We know all colors are based the three primary colors; red, yellow and blue. We can mix the primary colors for many additional colors.

Paint colors made with only one color pigment are clean and vivid. They mix well to make additional colors.

Paint made with two or more pigments, may look good. But they generally make muddy colors when they are mixed with other colors.

A modern watercolor selection

Look for paint manufactured with single pigments.

What are the watercolor, single pigment primary colors?

My favorite paint brand is Winsor and Newton. They have been manufacturing quality artist’s paints since the 1800s. They make the following paints, with one exception.

These are all beautiful colors that mix well and produce good clean mixtures.

Do they have only one pigment?

Yes, these are all single pigment colors.

Primary red is Permanent Rose made with the pigment PV 19.

Primary yellow is Winsor Lemon Yellow made with PY 175.

Primary blue is Winsor Blue RS (is a Thalo Blue, short for Phthalocyanine Blue) made with PB 15.

Now we mix the secondary colors?

How about a little shortcut, so we don’t have to mix all the secondary colors?

Thalo Green YS made from PG 36 is a warm single pigment green.

Coral Orange, is a wonderful single pigment orange made by Old Holland, PO 67.

Permanent Rose leans toward violet. Thalo Blue RS leans toward violet. Mixing them together gives us a good range of violets.

Violet is not a frequent color in my paintings. So I won't be keeping a violet in stock.

People that use a lot of violet could add Dioxazine Violet PV 23 to their supply list.

More about mixing paint colors

This is a consise, managable watercolor palette.

This makes only 5 watercolor paints to keep in stock.

They mix well and produce bright, cheery color for modern watercolor paintings.

This makes a simple palette for any watercolor artist. There are only 5-6 different colors to keep in stock.

How easy is that? It gives us more time for painting, instead of shopping!

Next month “Minimizing our supply of oil colors"

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