new watercolors

I just realized that I haven’t written anything about the new Daniel Smith watercolors that I got. I was anticipating them so much, and then they arrived, and I had a busy weekend, and the moment of excitement passed. But that’s not to say that I haven’t been fully enjoying all my new colors! So far they have been great.

I had plans to do very scientific color charts with mixes and tints and shades, and when I first got the paint I took the time to paint a circle of each color on a big piece of bristol, but that’s as far as I got.

Last night I worked on a little drawing and used a lot of the new colors. I experimented a bit by layering certain colors over others to see what they’d look like.


Click on the image above to go to the flickr page where I added notes to indicate which colors I paired together.

Although I was really happy with the color, I was a little disappointed by the lines I added. They are growing on me, and at this point I even kinda like them. I think it’s one of those cases where it didn’t turn out how I expected, so in my mind that equaled bad–at least until I had a chance to not look at it for a while and reexamine it later. After considering some options, I added more spiraling lines with a pencil, and then painted those in with a light wash of the top color.

bigger swirls

I like both versions, but I really enjoy the overlap and transparency of the now larger circles. So far the Daniel Smith watercolors have really impressed me. The colors are rich and bright, and they seem to interact with each other very well.

Now to rewind a little bit; before I got my Daniel Smith shipment, I’d been experimenting with some other watercolors that I rediscovered. My nephew was over one day while I was finishing up some painting, and he was curious about what I was doing. I had a kids set of watercolors for him to use, but he wanted me to show him how to paint with them first.

I drew a few shapes and showed him some of the basics of what I know–how to do a simple wash, build intensity with layers of color, first paint with water and then drop in different colors and let them mix, get interesting textures with salt or alcohol, dry brush, and lift up wet paint with a dry brush or towel.

petri dish

He was pretty fascinated, and the alcohol technique was quickly declared his favorite, I think because the results were so dramatic.

Once I’d shown him everything, we got out his supplies, and he and his sisters sat for at least an hour, happily watercoloring away.

I forgot about the little sampler I’d made until I was flipping through my sketchbook last night. Since it was just a spur of the moment exercise it hadn’t sunk in as, “ok, i’m painting. this is important. this is art!” but instead it was just a part of that day. It’s pretty neat how making art can seep into daily life.

2 Replies to “new watercolors”

  1. Painting with kids is so great, seeing their excitement when they discover something new I think is the best part……I would love to be in your nephew’s shoes and have an intense watercolors lesson from you 🙂
    I also find the idea of making color charts very interesting!

    1. I love making art with kids. They enjoy it so much, and are totally unconcerned with the outcome/with making it a “good” piece of art.

      I’m considering making a few videos about my art; show some examples of how I work, etc. Maybe the next best thing to a lesson?

      Color charts are very satisfying to make, and can be really helpful in finding just the right color to use, but they do take some time to create. These days I’ve mostly just been winging it!

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