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Color Mixing Watercolor Paint Characteristics

Permanent Rose Watercolor – Paint Characteristics & Color Mixing

Permanent Rose watercolor is a pure transparent non-staining watercolor that has a reddish-pink color.

It is one of the “reds” in the transparent non-staining watercolor palette used primarily for the glazing technique.

permanent rose watercolor video thumbnail
Click image to watch video on YouTube

Measured against a gray scale value finder, transparent non-staining watercolors are generally light in value ranging from 10% to a maximum of 70% value.

So, the colors in the transparent non-staining category are adequate for a complete palette, except for where darker passages require colors with values higher on the gray scale.

PAINT CHARACTERISTICS

Permanent Rose is redder and slightly darker than Rose Madder Genuine which has more blue in it.

Like other transparent non-staining watercolors, Permanent Rose can be lifted from a dampened watercolor paper without leaving a strong stain behind.

COLOR MIXING WITH PERMANENT ROSE WATERCOLOR

Mix Permanent Rose with Cobalt Blue to create delicate transparent violet colors.

Mix it with Hooker’s Green to create a beautiful transparent mid-value gray color.

Add Aureolin or New Gamboge to Permanent Rose to mix a variety of orange colors instead of using Cadmium Orange.

Permanent Rose can also be successfully mixed with watercolors in the semi-transparent non-staining category.

Mixed with semi-opaque or opaque colors, it will create a combination that is cleaner and more transparent than using only opaque colors.

Purchase watercolor paints using my affiliate links below:

… and the recommended transparent non-staining watercolors for glazing or color mixing with Permanent Rose

… also the recommended semi-transparent non-staining yellow watercolor

To learn more about transparent watercolors, click the link to my blog post “Which watercolor paints are transparent.”

See my YouTube playlist “Watercolor Paint Characteristics & Color Mixing” for more videos. And, subscribe to my YouTube channel.

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Color Mixing Watercolor Paint Characteristics

Rose Madder Genuine Watercolor – Paint Characteristics & Color Mixing

Rose Madder Genuine watercolor is a pure transparent non-staining watercolor with a crimson violet color resembling rose pink.

It is one of the “reds” in the transparent non-staining watercolor palette used primarily for the glazing technique.

Click image to watch video on YouTube

Measured against a gray scale value finder, transparent non-staining watercolors are generally light in value ranging from 10% to a maximum of 70% value.

So, the colors in the transparent non-staining category are adequate for a complete palette, except for where darker passages require colors with values higher on the gray scale.

PAINT CHARACTERISTICS

Rose Madder Genuine, like other transparent non-staining watercolors, can be lifted from a dampened watercolor paper without leaving a strong stain behind.

Rose Madder Genuine is often used as a substitute for Alizarin Crimson because it is less intense, non-staining, and more permanent than Alizarin Crimson.

COLOR MIXING WITH ROSE MADDER GENUINE WATERCOLOR

Rose Madder Genuine mixed with Aureolin creates a glowing color substitute for Raw Sienna and Burnt Sienna watercolor.

It also makes beautiful, luminous washes when glazed or mixed with the other watercolors in the transparent non-staining category.

Rose Madder Genuine can also be successfully mixed with watercolors in the semi-transparent non-staining category.

Mixed with semi-opaque or opaque colors, it will create a combination that is cleaner and more transparent than using only opaque colors.

Purchase watercolor paints using my affiliate links below:

… and the recommended transparent non-staining watercolors for glazing or color mixing with Rose Madder Genuine

To learn more about transparent watercolors, click the link to my blog post “Which watercolor paints are transparent.”

See my YouTube playlist “Watercolor Paint Characteristics & Color Mixing” for more videos. And, subscribe to my YouTube channel.

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Color Mixing Watercolor Paint Characteristics

Winsor Yellow Watercolor Characteristics & Color Mixing

Winsor Yellow watercolor is a very strong staining semi-transparent yellow that is described as a warm yellow.

But, in Jim Kosvanec’s book Transparent Watercolor Wheel, he includes Winsor Yellow in his group of transparent staining watercolors and describes it as having a cool temperature.

Click image to watch video on YouTube

Actually, a color’s temperature can be shifted from cool to warm and vice versa depending upon what color is placed next to it in a painting composition.

A warm color placed next to Winsor Yellow will make it appear cooler, and a cool color next to it makes appear warmer.

PAINT CHARACTERISTICS

Winsor Yellow is an intense, saturated color that will stain the fibers of the paper it’s applied to, as well as overpower other watercolors it’s mixed with.

It is often used as the first layer of a glaze before other color glazes are applied on watercolor paper.

COLOR MIXING WITH WINSOR YELLOW WATERCOLOR

When color mixing with Winsor Yellow, add it sparingly and gradually to another watercolor until the desired color mixture is reached.

As a transparent staining watercolor, it mixes well with other transparent staining watercolors.

But, it will slightly dull non-staining transparent and semi-transparent watercolors.

All transparent staining watercolors produce a less successive color mixture when mixed with semi-opaque and opaque watercolors which have coarser pigments that will stain and discolor.

Purchase watercolor paints using my affiliate links below:

… and the recommended transparent staining watercolors for color mixing with Winsor Yellow

Book – Jim Kosvanec’s Transparent Watercolor Wheel

To learn more about transparent watercolors, click the link to my blog post “Which watercolor paints are transparent.”

See my YouTube playlist “Watercolor Paint Characteristics & Color Mixing” for more videos. And, subscribe to my YouTube channel.

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Color Mixing Watercolor Paint Characteristics

Aureolin Watercolor Characteristics & Color Mixing

Aureolin watercolor is a pure primary yellow that is moderately transparent with a cool color temperature.

Aureolin watercolor is often used as the first layer of a glaze before other color glazes are applied on watercolor paper.

aureolin watercolor
Click image to watch video on YouTube

PAINT CHARACTERISTICS

Aureolin appears grayed straight from the tube, but when water is added and the thinned paint is applied, the grayish effect disappears.

Aureolin does not overpaint with the same clarity it seems to have as a first wash.

COLOR MIXING WITH AUREOLIN WATERCOLOR

Aureolin mixes well with other transparent and semi-transparent watercolors.

Aureolin mixed with Rose Madder Genuine creates a glowing color substitute for Raw Sienna and Burnt Sienna watercolor.

Aureolin mixed with Winsor Blue creates a vibrant green.

For more interesting greens, mix Aureolin with Viridian or Winsor Green with a touch of Rose Madder Genuine added.

For a lighter, transparent green, mix Aureolin with Cobalt Blue.

Instead of using dull brown colors from the tube, create luminous browns by mixing Aureolin with Rose Madder Genuine and a touch of Viridian or Winsor Green added.

Purchase watercolor paints using my affiliate links below:

… and the recommended watercolors for color mixing with Aureolin

Want to know what colors work well with yellow? See my Aureolin blog post.

To learn more about transparent watercolors, click the link to my blog post “Which watercolor paints are transparent.”

See my YouTube playlist “Watercolor Paint Characteristics & Color Mixing” for more videos. And, subscribe to my YouTube channel.

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Transparent Watercolor

Transparent Purple Watercolor

Transparent purple watercolor paints are either staining or non-staining. In addition, there are semi-transparent purple watercolors.

Click image to watch video on YouTube

Transparent Non-Staining Purple Watercolor Paints

QUINACRIDONE MAGENTA

Quinacridone Magenta contains PR122-Quinacridone Magenta pigment. It is a powerful bluish red with an impressive mixing range excellent for glazing color.

QUINACRIDONE VIOLET

Quinacridone Violet contains PV55-Quinacridone Purple pigment.

Transparent Staining Purple Watercolor Paints

PERMANENT MAGENTA

Permanent Magenta contains PV19-Quinacridone Violet and Quinacridone Red (PR192) pigments. It is the most lightfast organic pigment in this shade range.

WINSOR VIOLET

Winsor Violet contains PV23-Dioxazine Violet pigment. When it is used at full strength, it is very dark valued appearing almost black.

In addition to transparent non-staining purple, there are semi-transparent purple watercolors.

Semi-Transparent Non-Staining Purple Watercolor Paints

PERMANENT MAUVE

Permanent Mauve contains PV16-Manganese Violet pigment. Bluish-violet in color, it is one of the most lightfast, balanced violets in watercolor form.

ULTRAMARINE VIOLET

Ultramarine Violet contains PV15-Ultramarine Violet pigment. It is the bluest of the violets ranging from dull purple to pale violet.

Purchase watercolor paints using my affiliate links below:

Want to know what colors work well with purple? See my color scheme blog posts below:

To learn more about transparent watercolors, click the link to my blog post “Which watercolor paints are transparent.”

See my YouTube playlist “Transparent Watercolor Paints List” for more videos about transparent colors. And, subscribe to my YouTube channel.

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Transparent Watercolor

Transparent Orange Watercolor

Transparent orange watercolor paints are either staining or non-staining. In addition, there are semi-opaque and opaque orange watercolors that can be diluted with water to near transparency.

Click image to watch video on YouTube

Transparent Non-Staining Orange Watercolor Paints

TRANSPARENT ORANGE

Transparent Orange contains PO107-Pigment Orange 107 pigment. This pigment developed by Winsor Newton is a bright, warm orange.

TRANSPARENT PYRROL ORANGE

Transparent Pyrrol Orange contains PO71-Pyrrole Orange pigment. It’s a dark reddish-orange color that produces cleaner mixtures than cadmium-based colors.

Semi-Opaque Staining Orange Watercolor Paints

WINSOR ORANGE

Winsor Orange contains PO62-Benzimidazolone Orange pigment. It is a staining, yellowish-orange color that loses its intensity as it dries.

WINSOR ORANGE (RED SHADE)

Winsor Orange (Red Shade) contains PO73-Transparent Pyrrole Orange pigment. It is a deeper, more intense orange color than Winsor Orange or Transparent Pyrrol Orange.

Opaque Orange Watercolor Paints

CADMIUM ORANGE

Cadmium Orange contains PY35-Cadmium Yellow and PR108-Cadmium Red pigments. All cadmium paints are extremely toxic if inhaled and slightly toxic if ingested.

CADMIUM-FREE ORANGE

Cadmium-Free Orange is a non-toxic alternative to Cadmium Orange which is highly toxic. It can be thinned with water to be almost transparent.

Purchase watercolor paints using my affiliate links below:

Orange Color Scheme

Want to know what colors work well with orange? See my Cadmium Orange blog post.

To learn more about transparent watercolors, click the link to my blog post “Which watercolor paints are transparent.”

See my YouTube playlist “Transparent Watercolor Paints List” for more videos about transparent colors. And, subscribe to my YouTube channel.

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Transparent Watercolor

Transparent Red Watercolor

Transparent red watercolor paints are either staining or non-staining. In addition, there are semi-transparent red watercolors.

Click image to watch video on YouTube

Transparent Non-Staining Red Watercolor Paints

PERMANENT ROSE

Permanent Rose contains Quinacridone Violet (PV19) and Quinacridone Red (PR192) pigments, producing a red color with a hint of red.

ROSE MADDER GENUINE

Rose Madder Genuine contains NR9-Rose Madder pigment, a crimson violet color resembling rose pink.

Transparent Staining Red Watercolor Paints

ALIZARIN CRIMSON

Alizarin Crimson contains PR83-Alizarin Crimson pigment, a clear ruby-red with a maroon masstone and a bluish undertone.

WINSOR RED

Winsor Red contains PR254-Pyrrole Red pigment, a highly staining, saturated mid-shade red color.

In addition to transparent non-staining red, there are semi-transparent red watercolors.

Semi-Transparent Non-Staining Red Watercolor Paints

QUINACRIDONE BURNT SCARLET

Quinacridone Burnt Scarlet contains PR206-Quinacridone Pyrrolidine Red pigment, a deep maroon or bordeaux red color.

VERMILION

Vermilion contains PR108-Cadmium Red pigment, a bright, warm red color.

Purchase watercolor paints using my affiliate links below:

In addition, Daniel Smith has a transparent synthetic version of red iron oxide called Transparent Red Oxide. It has mostly replaced natural red iron oxides and is brighter and more permanent.

Red Color Scheme

Want to know what colors work well with red? See my Alizarin Crimson blog post.

To learn more about transparent watercolors, click the link to my blog post “Which watercolor paints are transparent.”

See my YouTube playlist “Transparent Watercolor Paints List” for more videos about transparent colors. And, subscribe to my YouTube channel.

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Transparent Watercolor

Transparent Blue Watercolor

Transparent blue watercolor paints are either staining or non-staining. In addition, there are semi-transparent blue watercolors.

Click image to watch video on YouTube

Transparent Non-Staining Blue Watercolor Paints

COBALT BLUE

Cobalt Blue contains PB28-Cobalt Blue pigment. Jim Kosvanec Transparent Color Wheel lists Cobalt Blue as transparent non-staining. But, paint manufacturers label it as semi-transparent. It is commonly used as a pure color for glazing and for painting sky in landscapes. The pigment particles are large and grainy so it leaves a granulated effect on watercolor paper.

Transparent Staining Blue Watercolor Paints

WINSOR BLUE

Winsor Blue comes in two shades: Red Shade and Green Shade. Both paints contain PB15-Phthalo Blue pigments and are very strong staining transparent colors.

INDANTHRENE BLUE

Indanthrene Blue contains PB60-Indanthrene Blue pigment. It is a deep transparent blue with a tinting strength that is less overpowering than Winsor Blue. Its best mixing complements are Hansa Yellow Deep and Raw Umber.

In addition to transparent non-staining blue, there are semi-transparent blue watercolors.

Semi-Transparent Non-Staining Blue Watercolor Paints

ANTWERP BLUE

Antwerp Blue contains PB27-Antwerp Blue pigment. It is a slightly warm blue that is lighter than Prussian Blue. Lightfastness and permanence are good, but it has a tendency to fade when exposed to light. So, it is not considered ideal for permanent painting.

PRUSSIAN BLUE

Prussian Blue contains PB27-Prussian Blue pigment. It is a semi-transparent watercolor with a deep cyan-blue hue and greenish undertone. It is similar to Phthalo Blue.

CYANINE BLUE

Cyanine Blue contains two pigments: PB15:1-Phthalo Blue & PB28-Cobalt Blue. The PB15:1 pigment produces more reddish tones making Cyanine Blue a warmer blue color.

Purchase watercolor paints using my affiliate links below:

Blue Color Scheme

Want to know what colors work well with blue? See my Winsor Blue blog post.

To learn more about transparent watercolors, click the link to my blog post “Which watercolor paints are transparent.”

See my YouTube playlist “Transparent Watercolor Paints List” for more videos about transparent colors. And, subscribe to my YouTube channel.

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Transparent Watercolor

Transparent Green Watercolor

Transparent green watercolor paint types are either non-staining or staining. In addition, there are semi-transparent green watercolors.

Click image to watch video on YouTube

Transparent Non-Staining Green Watercolor Paints

HOOKER’S GREEN

Hooker’s Green contains two pigments: PG36-Phthalo Green & PO49-Quinacridone Gold. Both pigments are transparent. Hooker’s Green is considered a very good alternative to Viridian because the Phthalo Green pigment in it is intense and mixes well. And, the Quinacridone Gold, a transparent yellow-orange pigment, in Hooker’s Green makes it is a warmer green watercolor paint.

VIRIDIAN

Viridian contains PG18-Viridian pigment. It is transparent with an emerald green undertone perfect for glazing. Viridian is a cool, primary green commonly used in landscape painters’ palettes.

Transparent Staining Green Watercolor Paints

WINSOR GREEN

Winsor Green comes in two shades: Yellow Shade and Blue Shade. Both paints are very strong staining transparent colors. The Phthalo Green pigment in Winsor Green is a transparent, cool, bright, high-intensity color with a very high tinting strength that can overpower other colors.

PERMANENT GREEN NO. 1

Permanent Green No. 1 contains three pigments: PG7-Phthalo Green, PY53-Nickel Titanium Yellow & PY3-Hansa Yellow 10G. The Phthalo Green pigment in Permanent Green No. 1 is a transparent, cool, bright, high-intensity color. The addition of Nickel Titanium Yellow and Hansa Yellow pigments add brightness and transparency to Permanent Green No. 1 watercolor paint.

In addition to transparent non-staining green, there are semi-transparent green watercolors.

Semi-Transparent Non-Staining Green Watercolor Paints

GREEN GOLD

Green Gold contains PY129-Green Gold pigment, a greenish yellow pigment with low tinting strength. It’s a hue reminiscent of the glow of sunlight through leaves.

SAP GREEN

Sap Green contains three pigments: PR122-Quinacridone Magenta, PG7-Phthalo Green & PY150-Nickel Azo Yellow. Quinacridone Magenta pigment is a semi-transparent and powerful bluish red which gives Sap Green a darker green hue. And, the Nickel Azo Yellow pigment adds warmth, making Sap Green a good color match for botanical and landscape painting.

Purchase watercolor paints using my affiliate links below:

Green Color Scheme

Want to know what colors work well with green? See my Viridian blog post.

To learn more about transparent watercolors, click the link to my blog post “Which watercolor paints are transparent.”

See my YouTube playlist “Transparent Watercolor Paints List” for more videos about transparent colors. And, subscribe to my YouTube channel.

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Transparent Watercolor

Transparent Yellow Watercolor

Transparent yellow watercolor paint types are either non-staining or staining. In addition, there is a semi-transparent yellow watercolor.

Click image to watch video on YouTube

Transparent Non-Staining Yellow Watercolor Paint

AUREOLIN

Auerolin contains PY40-Cobalt Yellow pigment. It is a very pure, transparent yellow watercolor.

Transparent Staining Yellow Watercolor Paint

WINSOR YELLOW

Winsor Yellow contains PY154-Benzimidazolone Yellow pigment. It is a very strong staining transparent yellow watercolor.

In addition to transparent non-staining yellow, there is a semi-transparent yellow watercolor.

Semi-Transparent Non-Staining Yellow Watercolor Paint

NEW GAMBOGE

New Gamboge contains two pigments: PR209-Quinacridone Red & PY150-Nickel Azo Yellow. It has low tinting strength.

Purchase these yellow watercolor paints using my affiliate links below:

Yellow Color Scheme

Want to know what colors work well with yellow? See my Aureolin blog post.

To learn more about transparent watercolors, click the link to my blog post “Which watercolor paints are transparent.”

See my YouTube playlist “Transparent Watercolor Paints List” for more videos about transparent colors. And, subscribe to my YouTube channel.

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Color Schemes Watercolor Paint

Cadmium Orange

In the past, I used Cadmium Orange as the tertiary yellow-orange on the color wheel. It is a pure color that is perfect for its complementary color listed below. But, there are newer paint color alternatives that I prefer now. They are Transparent Orange and Cadmium-Free Orange. Why? Because Cadmium paints are toxic. So, I avoid using them.

The following color schemes are based on Stephen Quiller’s “Quiller Color Wheel (affiliate link)” and his book “Color Choices: Making Color Sense Out of Color Theory (affiliate link).”

Complementary

The complementary color sits on the opposite side of the color wheel. For Cadmium-Free Orange, the complementary color is:

Ultramarine Violet
Ultramarine Violet

Split-Complementary

The split-complementary colors are the two colors located on either side of the complementary color on the color wheel. The following are the split-complementary colors for Cadmium-Free Orange:

Winsor Blue
Winsor Blue (Green Shade)

Permanent Mauve
Permanent Mauve

Analogous

Going clockwise on the color wheel from YELLOW-ORANGE to YELLOW-GREEN the analogous colors for Cadmium-Free Orange are:

Aureolin
Aureolin

Permanent Green Light
Winsor Green (Yellow Shade)

Triadic

This Triadic consists of three INTERMEDIATE colors. In addition to Cadmium-Free Orange, the other colors that make up this Triadic color scheme are:

Manganese Blue Hue
Manganese Blue Hue

Winsor Violet
Winsor Violet

Shop online for watercolor supplies at discount prices using my affiliate link.

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Watercolor Supplies

Recommended Watercolor Supplies

Following is a list of watercolor supplies and equipment I use and recommend to my students for the “Painting In Watercolor” courses I teach online. You help support my website when you purchase your watercolor supplies at discounted prices using my affiliate links below.

Watercolor Paints

I buy and recommend Winsor & Newton Professional Watercolor – 14 ml Tube paints.

Watercolor Brushes

I use Blick Masterstroke Finest Red Sable Brush – Short Handle, Round Size 8 and Size 12

I store my watercolor brushes in a Canvas Brush Organizer

Watercolor Palette

I prefer palettes made of material that does not stain. I use old dinner plates or cereal bowls bought at thrift shops, and I also use Butcher Tray Palettes

Watercolor Paper

For my painting surface, I only use Arches Watercolor Paper in sheet size 22 x 30 inches that I then divide into half-sheets or quarter-sheets.

To mount my watercolor while painting, I use Gatorfoam Board size 23 x 31 inches, 1/2 inch thick

And, to preserve white highlights and details on the watercolor paper, I use Masquepen Art Masking Fluid

Thanks for shopping via my affiliates links!

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Watercolor Techniques

Watercolor Technique Painting Light & Shadows

Watercolor technique – Painting light and shadows with color to accurately depict objects affected by light requires careful observation. It is important to notice the temperature of the light and how it changes the colors of objects illuminated by it. The temperature of natural light is warm at sunrise and sunset, and cool during midday. Also, artificial light is warm under incandescent lighting, and cool under fluorescent (or white) lighting.

Natural Light – Time of Day

Nita Leland, author of “Exploring Color” (affiliate link) describes the effect of light at the time of day as follows:

“Every time of day has its own special light. Early morning light is luminous and clear with high-key color and gentle contrasts. Tints of scarlet, blue-green and violet express the awakening day. At midday a harsher light reveals intense contrasts of color and value, bleaching out highlights. Late afternoon light has a softer golden glow, with distant objects veiled with mist moving toward chromatic neutral tones. Twilight and early evening light are luminous, tending toward blue and violet, with the sunset a deep rich crimson. Atmospheric buildup throughout the day causes red rays to scatter widely and fill the sky and landscape with color.”

~ Nita Leland

Suggested Watercolors:

Use the glazing technique with transparent and semi-transparent watercolors. For a warm, luminous glow, paint a very light yellow as the first layer. Use analogous colors in multiple layers for a bright, clear glaze. Use Primary colors to create Secondary colors. To tone down the intensity of a color, use its complementary color layered over or under it.

The purest transparent Primary colors to use are: Aureolin, Cobalt Blue and Permanent Rose.

Natural Light – Color In Shadows

In nature, shadows are not a flat gray or dark neutral color. Instead, the local color of objects are visible through the shadowed areas. Look closely and observe that there are more than one color within the shadows. For warm shadows use analogous colors that are darker than the object’s local color. Use the wet-on-wet technique and drop in colors in the shadow area and let them mingle naturally to create more interesting shadows. For cool shadows use transparent blues, violets, and greens.

Recommended

To learn my process and improve your painting skills follow me on Instagram @vanissajames and visit my website: Vanissa James Fine Art.

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Watercolor Techniques

Watercolor Technique Textural Effects

Watercolor Technique – Textural effects are elements that are added to a watercolor composition to give it detail and depth simulating textures found in nature and man-made objects.

Drybrush

Drybrush is painting with an almost dry or slightly damp brush loaded with a small amount of paint. The side of the brush is applied lightly over the surface of the paper in quick strokes. Paint only touches the raised “bumps” of the paper texture leaving a grained effect with white spaces between.

The drybrush textural effect is useful for depicting rough stones, wood grain of an old wooden building, the sparkle of sunlight on water, etc.

Granulation

Granulation is painting with watercolor paints that have grainy pigment particles. Some watercolor pigments are naturally coarse. Their granular particles settle into the depressions of textured watercolor paper leaving a mottled effect. Mixing a granulated watercolor with non-granulated watercolor will produce interesting two-color textures.

Following are Winsor Newton watercolor paints that are classified as granulated colors:

Lifting

Lifting is applying absorbent material to a damp painted area to lift off the color and show the white of the paper beneath. The shapes of soft clouds in the sky can be achieved using the lifting textural effect. This technique is also used to create highlights on a painted object. Tissue paper, paper towels, or Q-tips can be used for lifting.

Salt

The “Salt” technique is applying salt to a damp painted area that is then left to dry before removing the salt. Each salt crystal absorbs the water from the wet watercolor paint on the paper surface it touches leaving light star shapes. The paper should be left to dry completely before brushing off the salt.

Sgraffito

Sgraffito is applying a knife’s edge to a wet painted area to scratch out the watercolor leaving light marks on the paper. This technique is used to create highlights in a painting. The shapes of the highlights need to be simple and it works best with transparent non-staining watercolors.

Spattering or Dropping

Spattering is applying watercolor by flicking paint off of a brush to create random spatters of watercolor on the paper surface. Dropping is applying watercolor by allowing droplets of paint to fall from the tip of the brush onto the paper surface.

Sponging

Sponging is applying watercolor with a sponge instead of a brush. The texture of the sponge imprints patterns onto the surface of the paper. A variety of textural patterns can be achieved using one or more colors layered with a sponge. This textural effect can be used for depicting foliage, masonry on a building, rocky crags, etc.

Streaking

Streaking is pressing aluminum foil or plastic wrap, that has been crushed to form creases and wrinkles, on top of the paper surface that is still damp with watercolor paint. The aluminum foil or plastic wrap is left on the paper surface until the watercolor paint has dried. When the foil or wrap is lifted off the paper, the creases and wrinkles will be imprinted on the dried watercolor paint leaving a streaking textural effect with sharp lines and dark-and-light patches.

Recommended

To learn my process and improve your painting skills follow me on Instagram @vanissajames and visit my website: Vanissa James Fine Art

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Color Schemes

Watercolor Schemes Triadic

Watercolor schemes – Triadic is a color scheme using three colors on the color wheel. To locate a Triadic scheme on the color wheel, an equilateral triangle could be drawn with each of its points pointing to three equidistant colors forming a triad chord.

There are four triad color groups on a color wheel, as follows:

  • Primary Triad – Yellow > Blue > Red
  • Secondary Triad – Green > Purple > Orange
  • Tertiary Triad #1 – Yellow-Green > Blue-Purple > Red-Orange
  • Tertiary Triad #2 – Blue-Green > Red-Purple > Yellow-Orange

For corresponding watercolor paint names for the above see What Watercolors To Buy.

The Primary Triad color scheme allows for mixing all of the Secondary and Tertiary colors using the Primary colors Yellow, Blue and Red.

All of the Triad groups allow for an almost endless array of colors, neutrals, and grays by varying the proportion of each color mixed.

In a composition, make one of the triad colors the main color. Add interest by mixing small amounts of one of the other triad colors into the main color to create neutrals and grays. Add accents using the remaining triad color. Place two of the triad colors side-by-side or near each other at the focal point of the composition to draw the viewer’s eye to the center of interest.

Compatible Triadic Watercolor Palettes

Recommended

To learn my process and improve your painting skills follow me on Instagram @vanissajames and visit my website: Vanissa James Fine Art.

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Watercolor Techniques

How To Use Color For Shadowing And Contrast

This blog post addresses the question “How to Use Color for Shadowing and Contrast” asked by a student in my Watercolor Mini-Course.

Every object placed in daylight or artificial light will cast shadows and have shadows. The shadows vary according to the time of day or the direction of the light, and if the light is diffused by clouds in the sky or nearby objects. Contrasts between the object and its shadows are the differences between the tonal values dark and light, color temperatures warm and cool, and complementary colors.

Color In Shadows

There are three distinct shadows visible when objects are lit by direct light, they are:

  • Core Shadow – the dark band visible where light and shadow meet at the point where light no longer reaches the object;
  • Reflected Light – the light that bounces off the surface of nearby objects and reflects back onto the object; and
  • Cast Shadow – the shadow created by the object itself blocking the light on the surface the object rests on.

The above image illustrates the core shadow, reflected light and shadow, and the cast shadow of the banana. The bright light source creates a strong contrast of light and dark tonal values, in color contrast of warm and cool colors, and in the contrast of two complementary colors – Yellow < > Purple < or > the split-complement Blue-Purple.

Contrasting Colors

Think opposites:

The color Yellow in the banana has a warm temperature, a light tonal value, and is the complementary color opposite the Purple visible in the shadow.

The color Purple in the cast shadow of the Yellow banana has a cool temperature, a dark tonal value, and is the complementary color opposite of Yellow.

How to Create Shadows

Observation and understanding of color is key.

Use this Color Schemes page as a resource to find my blog posts about the 12 colors on the color wheel and their color schemes.

Look closely at the object to be painted, and determine its dominant local color.

Look closely at the object’s cast shadow, and determine what complementary color it is.

  • Yellow < > Purple
  • Yellow-Green < > Red-Purple
  • Green < > Red
  • Blue-Green < > Red-Orange
  • Blue < > Orange
  • Yellow-Orange < > Blue-Purple

For corresponding watercolor paint names for the above see What Watercolors To Buy.

Use transparent watercolors and/or semi-transparent watercolors, never opaque or semi-opaque watercolors. Why? Because shadows are transparent. You can see the color of the surface beneath the shadow. For the best results when painting shadows use the glazing and layering techniques.

Recommended

To learn my process and improve your painting skills follow me on Instagram @vanissajames and visit my website: Vanissa James Fine Art.

Categories
Color Schemes

Watercolor Schemes Split-Complementary

Watercolor schemes – Split-complementary is a color scheme using three colors on the color wheel as follows:

  • One Primary plus two Tertiary colors that sit on either side of the Primary color’s true complement, or
  • One Secondary plus two Tertiary colors that sit on either side of the Secondary color’s true complement.

To locate a split-complementary scheme on the color wheel, an isosceles triangle could be drawn with the narrowest angle pointing to a Primary color (or Secondary color). The other two points at the opposite end of the isosceles triangle would point to the two Tertiary colors forming a split-complementary harmony.

Because each of the “split” colors has some of the other primaries in them, a broader color capacity with a more pleasing harmony is achieved. This color scheme also allows for mixing a larger range of neutrals and grays by varying the proportion of each color.

In a composition, make one of the split-complementary colors the main color. Add interest by mixing small amounts of one of the other “split” colors into the main color to create neutrals and grays. Add accents using the remaining “split” color. Place two of the “split” colors side-by-side or near each other at the focal point of the composition to draw the viewer’s eye to the center of interest.

Color Wheel Split-complements

  • Yellow > Red-Purple < > Blue-Purple
  • Blue > Red-Orange < > Yellow-Orange
  • Red > Yellow-Green < > Blue-Green
  • Green > Red-Orange < > Red-Purple
  • Purple > Yellow-Orange < > Yellow-Green
  • Orange > Blue-Green < > Blue-Purple

For corresponding watercolor paint names for the above see What Watercolors To Buy.

Recommended

To learn my process and improve your painting skills follow me on Instagram @vanissajames and visit my website: Vanissa James Fine Art.

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Color Schemes

Watercolor Schemes Complementary

Watercolor schemes – Complementary is a color scheme using two colors that lie directly across from each other on the color wheel, such as Yellow and Purple. A straight line could be drawn connecting the two colors on the opposite sides of the wheel. They are considered complements or opposites.

Complementary pairs consist of one Primary and one Secondary color, or two Tertiary colors. One color in the pair is warm and the other is cool.

When the two complementary colors are placed side-by-side in a composition the colors intensify each other. Mixing two complementary colors together results in a neutralized color to a grayed color. A variety of neutrals and grays can be mixed by varying the proportion of one color to the other.

In a composition, make one of the complementary colors the main color. Add interest by mixing small amounts of its complement into the main color to create neutrals and grays. Add accents using the opposite color. Place the two colors side-by-side or near each other at the focal point of the composition to draw the viewer’s eye to the center of interest.

Color Wheel Complements

  • Yellow < > Purple
  • Yellow-Green < > Red-Purple
  • Green < > Red
  • Blue-Green < > Red-Orange
  • Blue < > Orange
  • Yellow-Orange < > Blue-Purple

For corresponding watercolor paint names for the above see What Watercolors To Buy.

Recommended

To learn my process and improve your painting skills follow me on Instagram @vanissajames and visit my website: Vanissa James Fine Art.

Categories
Color Schemes

Watercolor Schemes Analogous

Watercolor schemes – Analogous is a color scheme using three or four adjacent colors on the color wheel that share the same PRIMARY color. An analogous color scheme is harmonious because of the subtle gradation from one color to the next. Using this scheme creates a strong suggestion of illumination with its changes in value and intensity.

The analogous color scheme can become monotonous. It is best to choose one dominant color and use the remaining analogous colors to accent it. A small amount of a complementary color can also be added for variety and contrast.

Analogous Colors

  • Yellow-Orange, YELLOW, Yellow-Green, Green
  • Blue-Green, BLUE, Blue-Purple, Purple
  • Red-Purple, RED, Red-Orange, Orange

NOTE: Yellow, blue and red are PRIMARY colors.

Complementary Colors for Contrast

  • For the Yellow analogous colors use one of these complements: Blue-Purple, Purple, Red-Purple
  • For the Blue analogous colors use one of these complements: Yellow-Orange, Orange, Red-Orange
  • For the Red analogous colors use one of these complements: Yellow-Green, Green, Blue-Green

For corresponding watercolor paint names for the above see What Watercolors To Buy.

Recommended

To learn my process and improve your painting skills follow me on Instagram @vanissajames and visit my website: Vanissa James Fine Art.

Categories
Color Schemes

Watercolor Schemes Monochromatic

Watercolor schemes – Monochromatic is a color scheme using only one color in a range of tonal values that are light, medium and dark in a painting composition. Black, Neutral Tint or Payne’s Gray may also be added to darken the color and range of values. And, white space may also be planned for the composition by leaving areas of the watercolor paper unpainted.

A range of tonal values are achieved by adding more water to the watercolor paint to lighten it in stages.

Monochromatic Composition

To be effective, a monochromatic color scheme requires a lot of planning to add variety while working with only one color.

  • Plan a source of light
  • Plan a focal point
  • Plan white areas
  • Plan dark value areas
  • Plan middle value areas
  • Plan light value areas, and
  • Plan highlights

Value Scale

A gray scale or value finder is a helpful tool to use for showing the transitions between white to black in measuring the values of the subject and for planning the visual direction of a composition.

In watercolor painting, work from light to dark by painting the lightest values first. Middle values are added next. The final, darker tones are added last.

Painting a light value adjacent to a dark value at the focal point of the composition draws the viewers eye to that area of the painting.

Recommended

To learn my process and improve your painting skills follow me on Instagram @vanissajames and visit my website: Vanissa James Fine Art.

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