Workhorses of the garden

What would I do without Echinacea and Black-eyed Susans in my garden? They start blooming in July and keep going until September with no signs of fading. They posed for me while I experimented with some new QoR watercolours that I received in Chicago. I will write more about the paint after a bit more experimentation, but the first impression is this: the colours are bright when used full strength but I had lots of trouble getting good darks. When I write about them next I’ll show my colour chart and some painted mixes too. And if you’ve tried them, I’d love to hear your impressions. For now, off to school…BlackEyedSusans

11 Comments on “Workhorses of the garden”

  1. Yes to the workhorses…. Two of my favorites.
    I wanted to love QoR, because hands down Golden is the only acrylic paint I will buy, and I have a relationship with Golden as a conservator of museum objects. I bought two tins when they first came out. I’ve been disappointed. For the price, I don’t see the value — at 11ml rather than 15ml they are priced high. I said this to them but they said the colors went further. I have not found that to be true. Some of the colors (pigments) I’ve been disappointed in as well. There are two shades I will buy from them tho, and so I’ll probably always have a couple of tubes in my collection.
    And the dang tin is unbalanced! I mean, come on Qor! It ooks like it’d be a good mixing tin for a home-made palette but the tin does nto lay flar and so, be careful if you press down on one side and the puddles of wash fly!


    • Great info. Thanks so much for writing. I am confused about the tin comments though. Did they come in a set? I just have the tubes and no tin. On their website I see a bigger set with a mixing area. Is that what you are referring to?
      So I am curious, what are the shades that you like from them?
      I am still trying the paints out but I find them to be strangely slimy. It must be the Aquazol that they use as a binder. It creates a very odd sensation on the brush and I feel that I have to really work the colour into the brush, or really dilute it before I paint with it. Waiting to hear what those shades are.


  2. Hi Shari I am a watercolour painter and teacher from Vancouver ( I love seeing your sketches everyday and I really enjoyed your Craftsy Landscape Sketching course. Thank you for all that inspiration! I love my Qor colours, mostly for the Quin Magenta because I love it in my primary triad with Phthalo Blue and Hansa Yellow Light, however, I totally agree with you on the darks. If I was sketching outside I would mix in some Payne’s Grey to darken whatever green I had going but I would never do that in a painting due to the dullness of large washes that include pigments with black in them. For my dark green I always turn to my reliable workhorse combo of Da Vinci Phthalo Green, Prussian Blue and Burnt Sienna, for charcoal it’s always Phthalo green and Alizarin and grey? Burnt Sienna and Ultra Marine Blue. Solid. I do love the Qor colours for their brightness and blending. Is there anything better than watching watercolour pigments mix with water? I don’t think so!

    Love the blog! Cheers, Elizabeth

    Sent from my iPhone



    • HI Elizabeth, Thanks so much for writing! I really enjoyed reading about your enthusiasm for watercolour and your favourite colour mixes, some of which I use as well. Phthalo Green and Burnt Sienna is also a frequent mix for me. And of course Burnt Sienna with Ultramarine for a neutral grey. So you like the QoR colours? Hmmm. Interesting to read. I guess I rely a lot on dark tones to support a painting but it may be worth keeping a few of the pigments for their brightness. I did enjoy using the deep yellow but I found the Ultramarine (a colour I use a lot) to be quite weak. And as I wrote to another blog commenter, I found that the paints have a slimy texture because of the Aquazol binder that they use. The texture is disconcerting to me. Does that bother you?


  3. judith hardenbrook says:

    Looks as though I may have to wait until 2019, though perhaps those are full too! I am taking your Craftsy great! Workshops. And working off these Sketchbook posts. Copying is a good way for me to learn. But I would like a workshop in person too. Thanks. J

    Sent from my iPad


  4. Lovely painting of your workhorses! I am always intrigued with how you do masses of flowers so well. I haven’t tried the QoR paints and probably won’t since you are the second person who hasn’t given them a glowing review.


  5. HI Shari. Love the flower sketches although as a long time gardener, I still can’t get the Echinacea nor the Black Eyed Susan to be my friends. Thinking the lack of humidity? (Santa Fe) Anyway, I love Golden’s quality but wondered why they wanted to enter a market that is already crowded with excellence. I do not like Qor. As a watercolorist for 40+ years, I have learned the nuances of the medium, and to me, Qor has more of an Acrylic feel than any watercolor I have tried (and that would be ALL of them). Something “feels funny”. Only another watercolorist would understand what I mean by that, but watercolor is a sensitive medium and if you use it long enough, you understand its behavior on a really subtle level. Qor does not make the grade for me. It does not “behave” as a watercolor would.


    • Hi Jessica, Thanks so much for writing. After I read your comments I realized that there was something funny about the paint. You’re so right about the feel of the paint. I can only describe it as slimy. When you are used to good quality watercolour pigment, it has a beautiful right feel as you dip the brush into it. Creamy, almost. But the QoR paint feels shiny and thin to me. It remains as a slimy blob on the brush until you mix it with water, but that doesn’t happen instantly. I have only painted a bit with acrylics but I can see what you mean about them being closer to acrylics in feel. So glad you wrote. Thanks again.


  6. Judy Sopher says:

    Got interested in this paint until I read “slimy”. Yes, the feel of paint is important. For instance, I cannot tolerate the feel of oil paint scraping across a canvas tho I used to use it a lot. The feel has to be pleasant.


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