Blog 28 : Colour Matters

Colours by the same name….part 2!

I’m back at last! I have decided to continue on from Blog 25 which discussed Quinacridone Gold across three brands and how very different they all were. It is very easy to make the mistake of thinking different brand pigments will be the same if they have the same name or a very similar name. Some even have the same pigment index number!

In this blog I will be looking at a number of pigment colours across the Daniel Smith and the Winsor & Newton range. All but one have identical names but as you will see many of them are quite different. One colour even shows a difference in temperature, one is warmer and the other cooler. Some are more intense than others, five are completely different!

I am a big fan of W&N as the colour selection, where primaries are concerned, suits me well. Don’t get me wrong I like DS pigments too. DS pigments are beautifully intense and I especially like their iridescent range. These are great for adding shine to butterfly wings. I just feel there is too much choice in the DS range as it is possible to mix every colour you need with 3 blues, 3 reds and 3 yellows. When you mix with primaries, I really don’t think you need 25 reds to choose from, do you? There are also 13 violets in the DS range and I only use 2 from the W&N range, Winsor Violet and Perylene Violet. Some pigment colours across both brands make you think, do you really need them? W&N Ultramarine Violet for instance, why not add a little Winsor Violet to French Ultramarine? Cobalt Violet….a little Quinacridone Magenta mixed with Cobalt Blue will do the trick! Anyway, it’s food for thought.

I have selected 25 W&N pigments for my palette and one DS, Lemon Yellow. The only reason this yellow is there is because it is very like cool Winsor Lemon but DS Lemon Yellow is transparent, not semi-transparent. I generally use 6-9 of my pigments at the most when painting, depending on the subject.

The colours with the same names (except one) that I have selected to compare across these two ranges are listed below:

New Gamboge
Indian Yellow
Quinacridone Gold
Quinacridone Red
Permanent Alizarin Crimson
Perylene Maroon
Burnt Sienna
Cobalt Blue
French Ultramarine
Indanthrene Blue (Indanthrone Blue)
Perylene Green
Perylene Violet

I have written an outline for each pigment below to show you the differences and qualities. As you will notice there are three DS pigments which are semi-transparent. I prefer to use transparent or semi-transparent pigments. Some of the differences here are huge but some are actually quite favourable!

(Note: Some photographs are not always a true representation. The DS transparency symbols are different to W&N. Their semi-transparent symbol is a circle which is half black and half white. W&N uses a square which is half white and black but in this brand it means semi-opaque).

New Gamboge
DS – Transparent PY97, PY110
W&N – Transparent PR209, PY150
DS – very close to the primary yellow with a slight orange bias. A lovely pure pigment similar to W&N Indian Yellow but nearer to the yellow spectrum.
W&N – a muted yellow, similar to Transparent Yellow with a very slight brown bias when at full colour. A little warmer than Transparent Yellow. Makes a beautiful pale cream/yellow when watered down.

Indian Yellow
DS – Transparent PY97, PY110
W&N – Transparent PO62, PY139
DS – a cool yellow with translucency. Not what I would consider an Indian Yellow, more like W&N Transparent Yellow. This pigment could be used as a transparent yellow.
W&N – a rich orange yellow, flows smoothly and makes beautiful cream/apricot tones when watered down. Great for mixing bright oranges.

Quinacridone Gold
DS – Transparent PO48, PY150
W&N – Transparent PR206, PV19, PY150
DS – a warmer, less muted version with a lovely golden glow. It has an orange bias.
W&N – a muted, duller QG with a strong yellow bias. Rich brown/gold when at full strength.

Quinacridone Red
DS – Transparent PV19
W&N – Transparent PR209
DS – a cool magenta/red resembling Permanent Rose (PV19). Quinadridone Red in the DS range is closest to Permanent Rose.
W&N – a warm primary red. The match for this red is Quinadridone Coral (PR209) in the DS range. It is quite a weak pigment in both ranges but a beautiful pink/red.

Permanent Alizarin Crimson
DS – Transparent PR177, PV19, PR149
W&N – Transparent PR206
DS – a rich intense version of this colour but made with three index colours. It has a slightly warm red bias compared the W&N version which is cooler.
W&N – a cool not as intense version which can look a little flat when watered down on some watercolour papers.

Perylene Maroon
DS – Semi-Transparent PR179
W&N – Transparent PR179
DS – a rich intense version of this colour. It has a slightly warm red bias compared the W&N version which appears a little cooler.
W&N – Nicely intense too. Very slightly cooler than the DS version.

Burnt Sienna
DS – Semi-Transparent PBr7
W&N – Transparent PR101
DS – a very different Burnt Sienna to W&N and it appears to granulate. It is also semi-transparent.
W&N – one of my favourite reds. A much warmer version than DS. It is more like Pompeii Red (PBr7) in the DS range. I would add a tiny bit of Transparent Yellow (DS Indian Yellow) to Pompeii Red to make it a perfect match!

Cobalt Blue
DSSemi-Transparent PB28
W&N – Semi-transparent PB28
DS – this appears to granulate a little more than the W&N version and is very, very slightly cooler despite having the same index number.
W&N – a lovely middle blue, granulating. There seems to be a very slight difference but it is minimal.

French Ultramarine
DS – Transparent PB29
W&N – Transparent PB29
DS – a pure primary blue slightly more intense than the W&N version. Granulates.
W&N – a vibrant primary blue with no bias. Granulates. The only difference here is intensity of pigment.

Indanthrene Blue & Indanthrone Blue
DS Indanthrone – Transparent PB60
W&N Indanthrene – Semi-transparent PB60
DS – Indanthrone Blue is more like royal blue compared to Indanthrene Blue. It has a very slight red bias.
W&N – this version is very different to the DS version. It is a deeper blue with a very slight green bias. They both have the same index number though!
These are a nice option for a choice of warm or cool dark blue!

Perylene Green
DS – Semi-Transparent PBk31
W&N – Transparent PBk31
DS – very slightly warmer than W&N. It is semi-transparent. Mix it with a rich red like Pyrrol Crimson for a true black.
W&N – this version is very similar but it has a very slight blue bias. It is totally transparent as opposed to semi-transparent. Add a rich red like Permanent Carmine for a true black mix.

Perylene Violet
DS – Transparent PV29
W&N – Transparent PB29
DS – a rich pigment but it is more muted than the W&N version, that is, it has duller appearance.
W&N – slightly brighter and more intense. It veers more towards the violet spectrum and less towards the brown. A favourite pigment of mine, seen so much in plants! Mix with different yellows for some wonderful muted ochre and brown tones.

As you have seen there are various differences for a number of pigments listed above. There are even slight differences with pigments that have the same index numbers. This variation will most likely be due to different production processes and binders. On one occasion above we saw that a comparison offered up warm and cool versions, W&N Indanthrene Blue and DS Indanthrone Blue. When mixing with these two pigments, the tones would be more muted with Indanthrene Blue and brighter with the DS version. A few DS and W&N pigments have the same name but another colour in the DS range matches more closely.

So, I hope you enjoyed this blog and that it proves useful to you. Thank you for reading and I’ll be back soon with more interesting colour matters.

Great news received today!

My book has arrived in the UK! I will be receiving one of the first copies in the post soon. So exciting! More details below.

Watercolour Mixing Techniques for Botanical Artists

A practical guide to accurate watercolour mixing with primaries for botanical artists
Colour mixing is a key skill for the botanical artist. In this practical guide, Jackie Isard explains how to observe and use colour accurately. She shows artists how to make informed choices when selecting pigments, as well as how to learn about colour mixing and its application.
• Gives detailed instruction and advice on understanding colour and pigments
• Explains how to ‘see’ colour and tricky mixes, from greens and reds to the difficult botanical greys
• Includes advanced colour application techniques – colour enhancement, shadow colours and colour temperature transition
• Step-by-step guides illustrate how to paint with layers, how to use underlaying colours to enhance, and colour and fine detailing

Order online via major book shops or Amazon. Published by The Crowood Press Ltd

More information on how to buy is on my website www.jibotanicals.co.uk. Please note, preorders for the USA and Canada are online. Launch in the states is October 2021. E-books are available worldwide.

USA and Canada distributor: www.ipgbook.com

Otherwise, Europe or UK can order through www.crowood.com or as below:

Amazon link UK : https://www.amazon.co.uk/Watercolour-Mixing-Techniques-Botanical-Artists/dp/1785008285
Waterstones link UK :https://www.waterstones.com/book/watercolour-mixing-techniques-for-botanical-artists/jackie-isard//9781785008283
WHSmith link UK: https://www.whsmith.co.uk/products/watercolour-mixing-techniques-for-botanical-artists/jackie-isard/paperback/9781785008283.html

Also available as an e-book worldwide.






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Blog 24 : Colour matters

An exercise in pink

I painted this Greater Knapweed flower head a couple of years ago and it truly was an exercise in pink even though the flower is purple. I cut it in half because I wanted to show the inner parts as well as the flower head. It also gave me the opportunity to use a technique called ‘painting in the negative’ in the area where the seeds are produced. I found this so intricate and interesting. The flower colour, in real life, is a bright purple/pink. Lighter areas are more pink in tone and darker areas more violet/purple. The whole inflorescence is exquisitely designed and beautiful to study up close. I just loved ensuring the colour mix was just right and painting in all those lovely fine details!

I have written the colour mixes next to the painting image below and highlighted where they were used. There is no sign of Opera Rose! Quinacridone Magenta was used to make the really bright pink and some Winsor Blue Red Shade added to make the purple tones. You’ll achieve a brighter effect by making sure the highlights are very light and by using good quality white hot pressed watercolour paper. So no need to go for Opera Rose which we know fades over time. Here’s the pigment list:

Transparent Yellow – TY
Quinacridone Gold – QG
Winsor Blue (Red Shade) – WBRS
Indanthrene Blue – IB
Cobalt Blue – COB
Quinacridone Magenta – QM
Permanent Rose – PR
Burnt Sienna – BS
Perylene Violet  – PV
Winsor Violet – WV

I added a thin glaze of Winsor Violet to some areas as a warm overlay towards the end of painting to enhance the violet/purple tones within the subject and occasionally a little thin cool pale blue glaze was added too. Generally, I would use French Ultramarine as a cool overlay. In areas where the pink tones appeared very slightly warmer a pale glaze of Permanent Rose was added. The creamy yellow mix for the bottom of each floret was made with Transparent Yellow and a tiny little bit of Permanent Rose. Some of this mix was also added to the central dissected area which also had many beautiful beige and golden tones.

Comparing pink pigments

Permanent Rose (PV19) is a slightly warmer pink with a violet bias whereas Quinacridone Magenta (PR122) is cooler and has a very strong violet bias. Sennelier Rose Madder Lake (PV19) has the same index number as Permanent Rose and they are indeed very similar. Although I definitely consider Sennelier Rose Madder Lake to be a tad warmer than Permanent Rose. Pinks come in many forms but all these pigments are definitely lightfast.

Many beautiful apricots and warm pink/orange tones can be made with these pigments. Quinacridone Magenta will make the mix more vibrant than Permanent Rose. Just add a warm or cool yellow like Transparent Yellow (cooler), New Gamboge (slightly warmer) or Indian Yellow (very warm). The warmer the yellow, the warmer the mix!

Opera Rose – a much loved colour

Opera Rose is loved by many but as we learned last month it is rated as fugitive. Fading would be much more obvious with certain brands. Winsor and Newton Opera Rose and Daniel Smith Opera Pink are the most reliable for this colour across brands. They will not fade as much as other brands but they will definitely both lose the added fluorescence. Both use colour index PR122. This is the same pigment colour index as Quinacridone Magenta. I personally favour Quinacridone Magenta as my brightest pink pigment purely because it doesn’t pretend to be more vibrant than it is! 

Opera Rose and Quinacridone Magenta test for lightfastness

I did a lightfast test for Winsor and Newton Opera Rose and Quinacridone Magenta over a two year period on my studio windowsill. This is quite a shaded room except for late afternoon sunshine. Testing will show more extreme results in direct sunlight. This is an example of what would happen in less intense sunlight conditions. The test was left on the windowsill from 2017 – 2019. It was hard to get an exact photo so you will just need to take my word for it! The Winsor and Newton Opera Rose (PR122) is still bright but all the fluorescent additive has disappeared making it look less vivid in colour. It now looks more like watered down Quinacridone Magenta. The Quinacridone Magenta (PR122) has not altered.

Making a swatch for testing

The swatch test in the previous image was made in a slightly different way to the example below. I painted fresh pigment onto another piece of paper in 2019 and compared it to the 2017 version. Here is another way to do it. Paint two swatches of the pigment in full colour and a weaker tint underneath on a piece of quality white watercolour paper. Cover one side with black paper. Tape this securely top and bottom so that light cannot get underneath it. Write the date onto the swatch. Leave on a very sunny winsdowsill for at least 3-6 months or longer. This is a good exercise for any colour pigments you are unsure of or that are classed as n.r (not rated).

Watch the Winsor and Newton video ‘Masterclass on Colour Permanence’ to see how a simulated 100 year lightfast test changes these fugitive colours; Rose Madder Genuine, Alizarin Crimson and Opera Rose. Here is the link: www.winsornewton.com/uk/masterclass/permanence-in-colour/

Until next month, happy painting!






Email address:jackieisard@googlemail.com
Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/jackieisardbotanicalnaturepainting/
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Blog 23: Colour matters

Fugitives

We have all heard that dreaded word at some point in our painting career. But what does it mean? How do I know if I’m using a fugitive colour?  It always seems to be the unanswered question!

What is a fugitive and why do they exist?

In history the standards set for pigments was not as important as it is to us now. As time went on pigment manufacturers experimented with different chemicals and natural substances to make even better and more reliable pigments.

During the impressionist period the demand was for bright and vivid colours. However, many of these bright pigments were still fugitive, unreliable and faded badly. The most unreliable were red lakes, madders, carmines, purples, red leads and chrome yellows. A great deal of historic paintings look very different today than when they were first painted because of this. The few more reliable pigments that were made were much more expensive and some famous artists just couldn’t afford them. It was the same for oil colours.

Vincent van Gogh favoured a vivid palette of colours and most of his paintings have faded. His ‘Sunflowers’ painting is a prime example of a fugitive yellow pigment, chrome yellow, which fades to brown in sunlight. Today the flowers look brown. You can see his paintings on this link: www.vangoghmuseum.nl/en/vincent-van-gogh-sunflowers-best-photos-sunflower-close-up-vincent-van-gogh-paintings-wallpaper-image-sunflowers-1323376383
In Victorian times new chemistry developed synthetic prismatic and brighter colours but a lot of these were still fugitive. 

It wasn’t until 1984 that the standards became stricter with the introduction of testing. Nowadays, permanency and lightfast ratings are available for all pigments but there are still some to be aware of. Ratings for artists’ use are A, AA, I and II (companies who use asterisks or stars differ and are detailed in the company pigment lists further on). Anything less than this will not be as reliable for lightfastness. All this information can be found on watercolour company charts or online via their websites. See list of standards below:

I – Very lightfast
II – Good lightfast
III – Average lightfast

AA – Extremely permanent
A – Permanent
B – Moderately durable
C – Fugitive
V – well don’t go there!
n.r. – Not rated by ASTM

I, II ratings are given by the ASTM (American Society for Testing Materials). The society started testing pigments in 1984 to set standards for the performance of art materials, including lightfastness. Winsor & Newton use both ASTM and permanence ratings. In the ASTM system ‘I’ is the highest lightfastness available and ‘V’ is the lowest. Pigments that are not rated by ASTM or the companies who make them bear the symbol n.r.

A, AA – The Winsor & Newton permanence classifications measure not only lightfastness but also general stability of the pigment.

I have made a small A6 chart with all these rating symbols plus transparency symbols for you to download here. Watercolour-rating-symbols  Keep it handy!

Which pigments should I be wary of?

W& N professional 
Alizarin Crimson (B) – as we learned last month Permanent Alizarin Crimson is good, this is lightfast A 
Rose Madder Genuine (B)
Opera Rose (B, really a C!)
Aureolin (II – PY40 this fades to brown despite being rated II)

Daniel Smith
Opera Pink (IV)
Alizarin Crimson (IV)
Aureolin (II – PY40 this fades to brown despite being rated II)

Sennelier
Helios Purple (III)
Dioxazine purple (III)
Quite a few Sennelier pigments are not rated. It’s best to test them yourself to be sure. 

Schmincke
Symbols vary for Schmincke colours, they are as follows:
***** extremely lightfast, **** good lightfastness, *** lightfast, ** limited lightfastness, * less lightfast, – not lightfast
Alizarin crimson (*)
Madder lake deep (**)
Rose Madder (**)
Schmincke violet (**)
Indigo (**)
Olive green (**)
These Brilliant pigments are not rated, would avoid:
Brilliant red violet
Brilliant opera rose
Brilliant purple
Brilliant red violet
Brilliant blue violet

Daler Rowney 
Symbols vary for Daler Rowney, they are as follows:
**** Permanent, *** Normally permanent, ** Moderately permanent,
* Fugitive
Aureolin (** PY40)
21 colours offer **** 
56 colours are rated ***

White Nights
Symbols vary for White Nights colours, they are as follows:
*** high lightfast, ** medium lightfastness, * low lightfast
Hanza yellow (*)
Orange lake (*)
Scarlet (*)
Claret (*)
Rose (*)
Vermillion (*)
Violet rose (*)
Violet (*)
Blue lake (*)

M. Graham
Alizarin crimson (III)

Below is a lightfastness test I did for Opera Rose and Quinacridone Magenta over a two year period (2017 left side and 2019 right side). The Opera Rose is still bright but all the florescent additive has disappeared making it look less intense in colour. The Quinacridone Magenta (PR122) has not altered. The Winsor and Newton (Opera Rose) and Daniel Smith (Opera Pink) versions of this vivid pink are the most reliable across brands using PR122. Both have added fluorescence.
test swatch
If painting for an exhibition where your work will be for sale, always use lightfast pigments. If you have to use a pigment which is less permanent then ensure you put a label on the back of your framed painting stating not to hang it in direct sunlight.

I recommend watching the Winsor and Newton video ‘Masterclass on Colour Permanence’ to see how a simulated 100 year lightfast test changes these fugitive colours; Rose Madder Genuine, Alizarin Crimson and Opera Rose. Here is the link: www.winsornewton.com/uk/masterclass/permanence-in-colour/

So, the secret is to always check the watercolour company rating charts before you buy or look for the ratings on tubes or pans as you shop! If in doubt colour test the pigment by painting it onto watercolour paper and leaving it on a really sunny windowsill for at least 3-6 months.

I hope this blog has answered a few questions for you. Please share it to help others too! Thank you.

Happy painting and see you next month!


Email address:jackieisard@googlemail.com
Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/jackieisardbotanicalnaturepainting/
Instagram: @jackieisard
Blog: https://jibotanicals.com/
Web: https://www.jibotanicals.co.uk/
Etsy shop: https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/jibotanicalsGifts