Testing bluesPosted: June 10, 2013
Thinking about colour mixes is one of my favourite aspects of working with watercolour but I am not very scientific about my pigments. If what comes out of the tube looks good then I’m usually happy. But I wasn’t very satisfied last week when my French Ultramarine from Daniel Smith did not perform as promised. I’ve discovered that the proper term for what happened is flocculation — clumping together of pigment particles. In my case the paint did not mix well with alizarin crimson and I ended up with blue flecks sitting on top of a red wash. Today I did a little testing, comparing the colour to a Winsor Newton French Ultramarine and the paint was fine which leads me to conclude that a bit of the binding agent wasn’t properly mixed in. This is a colour that I am using in my workshop in Barcelona and I want no surprises when I am there.
I also tried out a few new colours today: a cinereous blue from Sennelier which came to me as a sample when I purchased a brush, and a brown madder and a rose of ultramarine donated by students. I love the cinereous blue. It’s a bit more electric than cerulean but as you can see I didn’t do a good job of turning it into a grass-green. It looked fine on the palette but on the page it’s scarily artificial. I probably should have save the test for a bit of sky instead.