Whew, I haven’t blogged in a really long time. I’m eager to get back to it.
I’ve made a number of changes to my palettes since my last colourholics post last year. Recently, I set up a “complete” studio palette in a tin of half-pans of all of the watercolour paints I regularly use (it claims to hold 48 – I haven’t filled up the 52 I crammed in there yet and I think I could find a way to fit a few more in the brush well) , and repurposed one of my old 24-half pan tins to hold my 14 most commonly used pigments in full pans.
Soon after creating my 14-colour “greatest hits” set, I received some freebie dot cards from Schmincke. One of the samples was a 12-colour dot card. These are the colours they include in their filled version of the same tin. I couldn’t resist painting out the comparison. The results are a reminder of how far I’ve drifted in only a couple of years, when I used to use sets much like this one.
The top row in the dot card below are the colours in the Schmincke 12 colour set. The ones in the bottom row and middle are the 14 colours I’ve recently put in the same tin.
The colours in the Schmincke 12-colour basic set are:
Lemon Yellow 215 (PY3)
Cadmium Yellow Light 224 (PY35)
Cadmium Red Light 349 (PR108)
Permanent Carmine 353 (PV19)
Ultramarine Finest 494 (PB29)
Prussian Blue 492 (PB27)
Phthalo Green 519 (PG7)
Permanent Green Olive 534 (PO62, PG7)
Yellow Ochre 655 (PY42)
English Venetian Red 649 (PR101)
Sepia Brown 663 (PBr7, PBk9, PB15:1)
Ivory Black 780 (PBk9)
My set contains the following (the starred items are the most permanent fixtures)
Nickel Azo Yellow (Py150, M. Graham)*
Quinacridone Gold (PO49, Daniel Smith)
Translucent Orange (P071, Schmincke)
Quinacridone Rust (P048, M. Graham)*
Quinacridone Rose (PV19, M. Graham)*
Purple Magenta (PV122, Schmincke)*
Neutral Tint (PV19, PG7 M. Graham)
Indanthrone Blue (PB60, Daniel Smith)*
Prussian Blue (PB27, M. Graham)*
Phthalo Turquoise (PB16, Winsor and Newton)*
Amazonite Genuine (n/a, Daniel Smith Primatek)*
Serpentine Genuine (n/a, Daniel Smith Primatek)*
Burnt Sienna (PBr7, M. Graham)
Raw Umber (PBr7, Daniel Smith)*
I find this comparison a rather hilarious reminder of how far I’ve come. I much prefer my colours (of course). They are overall much more transparent, more saturated and darkly valued, and are far more chromatic in the magenta and turquoise ranges. I love turquoise. Over the course of the past 2 years, I have very effectively gamut shifted from a beginner set like this one to something I find more attractive and fun to work with.
The colours in the Schmincke 12-paint set (and most 12-colour sets like it) remind me quite a bit of the basic box of crayola crayons or pencils. This is not a criticism of Schmincke paints, as this is the impression I get from most basic colour sets across manufacturers. The highest chroma “primary colours” included are the yellow, blue and red we are familiar with from kindergarden – a highlighter yellow (Py3), an opaqueish orangey red (PR108), and a very violet blue (PB29).
The magenta tone in the Schmincke set (PV19) is still quite a warm rose, and relatively muted – there is no way to use this set to mix nice violets and magentas. It’s a shame, as Schmincke manufactures an amazing pure magenta (PR122 Purple Magenta) which would really round this set out. Even a less muted, cooler variant of PV19 (Schmincke has a few) could be used. Similarly, the greenish blue spot is occupied by PB27 Prussian Blue. I actually quite like Prussian blue (and have included M. Graham PB27 in my own set), but the Schmincke version is particularly muted, and I would like to see a high chroma turquoise-slanted blue, such as a PB15:3 Phthalo Blue or PB16 Phthalo Turquoise (my personal favourite) in that spot.
As with most beginner sets, the Schmincke set has a black watercolour as well as a mixed dark containing black. As most artists, the first thing I do when I buy a set is chuck the black/white and replace it with a personal favourite. The earth tones – a yellow ochre and “English Venetian red” a brownish brick red made from PR101, are a somewhat surprising choice. I actually quite like the venetian red but I think I would prefer a PBr7 in this set, to mix neutrals with the Ultramarine Finest. I don’t like the yellow ochre, and would prefer something livelier and more transparent.
I also got some larger dot cards from Schmincke with my order, which I will review in a later post. I’ve had a lot of fun experimenting with different watercolours, and it’s renewed my confidence and love for the pigments I’ve chosen for my own palettes. I look forward to sharing my full palette tour and colour swatches with you soon.