Watercolor Paint

Well the second most important material after the paper has to be the paint to use. There are basically two types of watercolor paint Student quality and Artists quality. Buy what you can best afford, it always seems to me that the difference in price isn’t that great. I would rather buy one decent tube of artist quality paint and then save up for the next color on my list rather than buy two student quality paints. You will soon pick up watercolor skills and will wish you hadn’t bothered with student quality paints. In any case the whole thing about watercolor paints is that you can mix your own colors from just a couple of base ones, so don't need a vast range. Windsor and Newton’s student range is called Cotman, while Daler Rowney call theirs Georgian. Whatever you decide don’t let it bother you too much just grab a load and start painting. For a fast track starting kit you can't beat the Russian St Petersburg/White Knight sets early on that you can buy for £50 or so. They tend to be quite high in pigment colors and some say a bit grainy. Just take a bit of getting used to, beauty is as you use up a particular colour all you do is go to the art shop buy an artist quality small tube and squeeze it to top up the empty pan... brilliant Well what colors do you start off with? From my experience and through following the advice given in various books by artists I admire. The main consensus is reflected in the range below:


The table above I created by simply laying a wash of strong color onto a clean sheet of watercolour paper. I would suggest you do the same, label each color and stick them on a piece of card and hang them up close to where you're working. Also as time goes on and you create your own blends mixing various colors, hang a sheet of these swatches up. A color wheel is very pretty and can point you in the rough direction but a color swatch you created staring right at you, with a label saying what you used is of far greater use. I bought a color wheel many years ago. I use it when decorating the house now, to find complementary colors to the ones my lovely wife says I need. My methodology has been to stick to the above range, gradually adding to them as I have tried techniques suggested by various authors. I also like to try out techniques demonstrated by other artists at clubs, exhibitions and the like so may need to get an specific color. As you can see from the colors above particularly the deeper warmer colors, the hue (strength) of each can be fairly close. The main difference though is discovered when you start mixing them. Other colors that I use a lot include Naples Yellow (mixed with blue doesn't make green) and Brown Madder. I also use Paynes Grey when I run out of Neutral Tint. Tubes or Pans – My preference these day's is for pans so start off with a set then simply . when a pan is empty just buy a tube of artist color and fill it back up, especially if it's a St Petersburg set