Natural flow from drawing to painting?

The couple of days since my Term Paper was due have been spent…basically, cleaning things up. There is now much more usable space on my craft table; a bunch of my storage has been cleaned and consolidated; and I’ve realized the disadvantage of having a watercolor palette with fixed wells.

Aside from this…

I’ve realized that when I went into the Art program at first, I took Color Dynamics before I took Painting. Consequently, I learned about color relationships before I learned about composition or image-making within painting (as versus drawing). It’s kind of evident, now. Do I want to take another Painting class?…Kind of. Will I have the time to? Not sure.

Could I learn it another way? Not sure. I’m pretty sure that by trial-and-error, I could learn, but that might be the scenic route. Of course, after college, the scenic route is the only route; it just helps to be on the right path, in the first place.

For me, painting is a natural outgrowth of drawing: monochrome bridges into color; markmaking bridges into broad swaths and washes; use of single colors and glazes, shift into color mixing. It largely came for me when I realized the limitations of using a single (narrow) point of contact (pencils, pens, markers: the extreme of which is Technical Pen, Mechanical Pencil, or Micron), a single color at a time, and not being able to shade the colors of my tools in the way in which I wanted.

The bridge here may be charcoal, which merges into pastel. By using the broad side of a stick of pigment, it’s possible to get closer to the feel of painting, as versus drawing. Pastel pencils can also provide that markmaking experience common to drawing, while providing some of the malleability of pastel.

The major reason to avoid pastel work is dust, which is something I haven’t quite reconciled, yet. I have not had a Drawing teacher who did not caution against breathing pastel dust. I do have an area where I can draw and not depend on a vacuum to pick up this dust; it is fairly necessary to avoid the vacuum. You want to wipe up pastel dust with a wet rag (what’s called “wet-mopping”), not blow it into the air or brush it away. This is for health reasons.

The brand of soft pastels I find myself most attracted to are Rembrandts. I’ve mentioned these before; the largest hazards in these seem to be white pigment (Titanium Dioxide), and black pigment (Lamp Black). Titanium White makes tints of colors, while Lamp Black makes shades.

Titanium Dioxide is a mechanical (not toxic) cancer risk. However, this is according to Proposition 65, a law passed here in California which relates whether tiny amounts of anything carcinogenic is in art supplies or foodstuffs (though I don’t think it applies to cosmetics). Prop 65 is kind of being overused, but I know enough art teachers who have battled cancer to take basic precautions against inhalation.

Lamp Black (a.k.a. Carbon Black) poses a slight toxic cancer risk and also may stain, meaning some kind of barrier, like gloves or barrier cream, may be useful here. However, when you work with art supplies…you kind of get used to slight cancer risks. Gloves or barrier cream, a mask, and basic caution not to get this stuff airborne, is the caution that I would ideally (but possibly not actually — in the case of skin protection) use.

I still have never used my jar of barrier cream, so I’m not certain if it rubs off on the image or stains the paper. I should try it and see what happens.

The biggest drawback besides this, is that it’s hard to mix colors when one wants to make intense marks of a certain shade that isn’t provided pre-blended. This is a drawback common to drawing supplies (markers, pens, colored pencils, chalks), more than painting supplies. However, it does pose a potentially useful limitation: more colors are not always better, if one gets so paralyzed by color choices that nothing gets drawn.

Right now I have a bunch of ContĂ© crayons, a basic set of NuPastels, and a basic set of Sargent Art pastels, in addition to some monochrome soft Rembrandts I got about two years ago (before I went back to Library School). The thing about Rembrandts is that they do have a shelf life. At first, they’re creamy, soft, and smooth, to the point that they draw on your hands when touched; later on (after a number of years) they turn into what feels like dried-up Air Dry Clay, and can shatter if dropped. (They even tinkle like dried clay when they are dropped; which I suppose they basically are; kaolin [the material porcelain is made from] is a common base for these pastels.)

I did have a set of half-stick pastels around here from 2015 or something, but I can’t locate them at this moment. I did do a mass purge of pastels, though, after I got scared by the Prop 65 warnings so many years ago. At this point, though, there are Prop 65 warnings for seaweed, coffee, potato chips, ginger, etc…it’s really getting out of hand. (Though I do wish that people would stop putting lead chromate into turmeric…I mean, seriously.)

The problem is that the consumer warnings are based on law rather than science, and that we are warned about the contamination of products, but it seems that nothing is done about it. The system relies on pressure from consumers not buying the goods to encourage the manufacturers not to sell toxic products, rather than actually regulating the toxic products, or not bothering us if the risk is minimal or the exposure is unavoidable (I probably still have more soot in my lungs from having grown up next to a freeway, than I would be likely to inhale from using pastels). At a certain point, a person gets desensitized and just accepts that their world is carcinogenic and the only way not to be exposed is to live in a bubble…

But, I suppose, the upshot of this is that someone is paying attention to toxins in food, drugs, and art supplies. If Prop 65 didn’t exist, I most likely wouldn’t know about this.

So…I guess this post turned into a Pastel post. Hmm. I do know that I want to play with my charcoals, again, even though it’s dirty (maybe because it’s dirty?). Well, not only that, but charcoal is fairly noncommittal…

I have also wanted to do something with ink, and have a new bottle of “waterproof” ink. I’m not sure how it’s going to perform, but I know I can use it with brush and dip pen…(I wonder if I still have my reed pens?). I have used it once before, and at full strength, it’s very black, which is nice. The issue is whether it’s truly waterproof, and how well it dilutes.

It’s possible that I may need to edge myself back into painting through using ink and wash, and pastels, plus maybe graphite sticks and the woodless colored pencils. That place where drawing organically grows into painting…I don’t think I’m there, right now. And I don’t think that’s a reason to give up entirely. It’s not like I’m back at the beginning where I’m using mechanical and colored pencil…but I am not all the way to seriously using watercolor, or acrylic, right now.

That’s gotta be okay, that I’m not at my apex after not practicing for most of two years. It also means there is someplace to grow to…

What I began this post thinking about was the fact that I think I’ve devalued my own style (with pen and watercolor, which has been relatively illustrative) because of the fact that it comes easily to me. It wouldn’t necessarily be easy for others, though…

Maybe I should take the chance on getting outside and doing some sketches…


Advertisements

Pushing back: embracing mortality

I’m wanting to do art so badly these days that the thought has arisen: “I don’t even care if it will kill me.” That’s not something that has come up, before. It did come up last night, and I neglected to write it down…but I don’t think the sentiment is an unfamiliar one, to many. (At least, to many in the art world.)

Of course, examples of early death from exposure to artists’ materials abound. I am reminded of Jay DeFeo, who died of lung cancer a couple of decades after working on her piece, sometimes called Rose, or Deathrose, for eight years. (This piece had been repeatedly built up and carved down, which would have created particulates. I suspect but do not know that she may have used Titanium White pigment in this; the photos I’ve seen are black-and-white.)

I have had a number of art teachers who have fought cancer. I knew someone who died in their 20’s from breast cancer, potentially from grinding down car parts (and refusing treatment). My nearest artsy contact has a rattling chronic cough (though I think they have been exposed to a lot of things besides art supplies).

I suppose the thing to do is to know what you’re getting into, before you get into it. One of my previous drawing teachers did make sure to emphasize the dangers of blowing pastel dust up into the air and then inhaling it. Of course, people still did it, which then exposed the entire class…except for those who brought dust masks and respirators. (Tip: turn the drawing board vertically and then tap it on a hard surface to clear the paper of dust, without raising excess dust.)

I was one of the people who did (eventually) wear a respirator…and the difference of the smell from within the respirator, versus the smell outside the respirator, was not at all subtle. I wore it because I was getting personally disturbed at sneezing, then blowing my nose and seeing blue stuff come out of my sinuses.

And this was working with the relatively safe stuff — we were only using NuPastels. Though now, anything with loose Titanium White in it is likely to get a Prop 65 Warning in California (that is, a label saying it carries a recognized carcinogen) even though the danger of Titanium White is mechanical, particularly where it comes to free nanoparticles: not a toxic one.

As long-time readers of this blog know, I have been careful to avoid certain pigments because of their toxicity. By that, I particularly mean cadmium-based pigments. I learned of itai-itai disease while in the Art program, which is a disease caused by cadmium pollution in water sources. The incidence of itai-itai in this example was caused by mine drainage into the water supply people drank, cooked with, watered their crops with, fished in, and bathed in.

This lead to cadmium buildup in their bodies. Itai-itai literally translates to, “it hurts, it hurts.” I read this a long time ago, and the page I read it on has since changed, but one of the main symptoms is bone softening and fractures, even just under the body’s own weight. (There’s also some stuff about kidney [“renal”] failure in there, but I don’t claim to understand that…I just barely took Biology classes.)

It’s not that important to me to get brilliant opaque colors out of cadmium-based pigments (which are, generally speaking, water-soluble; meaning they can be absorbed through the skin). It’s one thing to take the risk of working, and die; it’s another to die slowly and painfully for an avoidable reason that you can foresee and take precautions about.

If you know ways to keep yourself safer, it’s likely in your own best interest to do it. Although I do know about taking on passive risk. I do understand that self-destructive quality that Freud referred to as thanatos. But there’s a reason to protect yourself as much as you can: and that is, to extend your life on this planet. If making art brings you joy, I would expect that you would want to spend as much time making art as you can, yes?

So don’t sell yourself (or the world) short.

My particular weakness on this point are cobalt-based pigments (particularly, in watercolors). Cobalt is another toxic heavy metal, like cadmium, but has a different range of symptomatology on exposure. The thing is that I haven’t found anything with the same colors, or the same working properties.

Probably the worst I ever got from this was contact dermatitis (itching) when I was trying to reduce my exposure to cobalt by wearing nitrile gloves, and in the process got Aureolin paint (PY40, Cobalt Yellow) all over the tube — and my hand, because the gloves smeared the paint everywhere, and I didn’t see it. Or feel it. When I finally took the gloves off to actually take the lid off the tube (instead of just stretch the gloves), I got the paint all over my hand — and had nowhere but my pot of rinse water to wash it off.

I think that was a lesson in not being overly careful, if doing so creates risks and problems that don’t otherwise exist.

At this point, the only major thing I have about the cobalt colors is that 1) I can absorb them transdermally, and 2) I don’t know how to wash out my brushes while never contacting the paint. Everyone says not to touch the brushes. They don’t give any advice on how to avoid doing so.

Though now that I think of it, that would be a good use of those nitrile gloves — provided, of course, that no water gets into them. Which would negate the reasoning for using them, in the first place.

I’m not sure what’s up with me, tonight. I am feeling better than I was last night, and basically, I’m feeling better than I have for the last week. I think I’ve turned a corner where it comes to my health. It is now, though, almost 1 AM where I’m at! (No wonder I’m having trouble thinking!)

I need to get stuff cleaned up. Particularly: books. And changing these sheets, doing laundry, and getting the dust out of here. I also need to re-read Chapter 2 of my textbook so I know what I’m looking for, when I work on my late assignment. I should be able to complete that, tomorrow, if I’m feeling anything like the way I felt tonight.

Once I get that assignment out of the way, maybe I should realistically look at doing something constructive with my watercolors…I see them every day, and they just get dusty because of my hesitation. (I deal with OCD; they tempt me, but I remember that I need to use caution in handling them…which leads to their not getting used.)

Something like recovering from an illness seems like it will make a person embrace life more strongly. Kind of like contemplating immortality, just to get smacked back into reality by a high fever…

I suppose I have the cold to thank for that…

Staying up too late. :)

Earlier tonight, drawn by the persistent question of making beautiful things, I started looking again at what Web Programming skills Web Design would require of me. The two things that I can really see needing that I don’t have, are solid knowledge of Javascript and PHP. On top of this, I could add jQuery, Git, and possibly Ruby.

This is alongside knowledge and skill in HTML5 and CSS3, plus Photoshop and Illustrator. I can’t really get on the Adobe bus without noting some drawbacks (like non-cloud versions breaking, which looks like an attempt to gain subscribers to Creative Cloud. I don’t want an everlasting subscription, though).

Didn’t I…post about Web Design, recently? Like how building in Search Engine Optimization from the start was a practical necessity? And how Marketing is likely inextricable from the process of designing?

Yeah, that…looks like it may be the case. Even so, if I like 80% of the work and dislike 20% of it, as I’ve heard others advise, it still might be a good fit.

And I can’t help but want to design things that are both functional and beautiful. As I found today, if I’m helping sell something that is useful or wanted or needed…it’s not as big a deal for me. Like I had to get some new shoes that I could walk in all day today, and the people helping me were obviously trying to help me. Getting paid wasn’t topmost in their minds.

It’s possible I have a kind of wonky relationship to the market (and to unscrupulous big corporations) that’s kind of my own problem. The thing is, the market isn’t totally made of unscrupulous big corporations.

I actually ran across a couple of posts on the Reader tonight that had images in watercolor…not really too straight-laced, but still pretty cool! It kind of made me want to experiment with colors, again. In particular, one post had some paintings of cacti which I appreciated. The forms were modeled beautifully, and it kind of gave a hint of what can be accomplished with shape and color (and possibly liquid frisket).

I also put the freaking watercolor lightfastness swatch test back in the window, after it fell out two or three weeks ago. Irritating. The amount of time it took me to pay attention to it again, was irritating. But I think I’m now ready to get back to using my office as a study space.

In other arenas, I did succeed in going back to Japanese language study, tonight. I needed to — I was beginning to lose vocabulary (again). I also realized that I had forgotten the stroke order for both hiragana and katakana “se”, which is really irritating.

In my exercise book, I also found a study paper which went over which kana I did not have a total grasp of (most of this dealt with memory); “se” was at the top of the list. Both versions of them. Maybe I should just start writing “sekihan” and “sensei” and “zettai” and “omakase” and stuff in kana (not kanji) just to remember how to write the freakin’ things.

Seishuu sensei, kono omakase no sekihan wa zettai oishii desu ne.

Yup.

I don’t even know if I did that right. I’m sorry. 🙂

De-stashing and refocusing. Organizing colors and establishing priorities.

I successfully got rid of a bunch of art stuff at work, yesterday. The biggest thing was a set of Neocolor II water-soluble crayons, but I’m hoping others will get more pleasure out of them, than I did.

I had consistent issues with disliking the texture that came out of using them dry, not to mention that they dissolved with water into something I can only call a “creamy” texture, which I also disliked. Not to mention that the tint with what remained of the dry texture didn’t appeal to me…nor did scrubbing the marks to liquefy the whole thing. I get much more vibrant and clear color out of watercolors (even midprice ones, like the Reeves tube set we still have).

The upshot of the Neocolors is that they’re relatively opaque, with more covering power than I’ve seen in pretty much anything comparable, except for soft or hard pastel, or the General’s White Charcoal. The problem with all of the latter is that they sit on top of the paper and need a fixative, as they don’t adhere well in themselves. Neocolors have some kind of oil or wax binder, so they stick.

It was recommended that I keep the Neocolor Is, which are basically artist-grade waterproof crayons (the IIs are the water-soluble ones). The biggest pain I have with the Neocolor Is is that the color range I’ve got, isn’t awesome (yellow to red).

I have also realized that I can start a little mini-watercolor kit with what I already have. I know that two colors to include are Phthalo Green and Permanent Rose, but those are my first two anchors. I might pick a lemon yellow (Hansa Yellow) to go along with them…but it will take some experimentation, and to what end, other than making a cute travel kit, I’m not sure.

With a clear and limited kit, though, I might be inspired to go outside and paint. All I have to do is dump out the little cubes of paint from my Cotman set, and fill the half-pans.

I’ve recently been more into the colors themselves, than into ostensible subjects of the paintings…though plants and flowers are things I like. I would say that the subject comes secondary to color, though, or that color is the subject. Thing is, I’m not entirely sure how to express that…though what I associate with those colors, or where around me I’ve seen them, could be a starting point.

To include a Pyrrol Orange in the kit would be nice…which makes four. Daniel Smith’s Pyrrol Scarlet should be good for a warm-leaning red…or I could use Winsor & Newton’s Winsor Red, for a cooler red that’s still warmer than Permanent Rose (and different enough from Pyrrol Orange to be useful).

So that makes:

  1. Winsor Red
  2. Permanent Rose
  3. Pyrrol Orange
  4. Arylide Yellow (PY3)
  5. Phthalo Green

Hmm. That leaves seven slots.

  1. Sap Green?
  2. Phthalo Blue
  3. Ultramarine Blue?
  4. Raw Umber?
  5. Permanent Magenta
  6. Green Gold
  7. Prussian Blue?
  8. Permanent Yellow Deep?

??? My problem is that I don’t yet know how many of these intermix, well. And now I’m feeling like I have to look back at the lightfastness chart. (What looks like what? What harmonizes, with what?)

I finally got around to putting the lightfastness test sheets back in the window. I just gave up on the drive to photograph them. It’s been three months, almost to the day, since I looked at them for the first round. I still haven’t taken any pictures, though I did separate out any that had noticeable fading. Prussian Blue is one of the colors which did fade slightly over 4 months in full sun — it’s just so beautiful when new, that it’s hard to think of realistically putting it to the side. (I might want to see if I can mix the same shade, out of more lightfast pigments.)

Then there are those relatively odd and specialized colors, like Cerulean Blue Chromium or Cobalt Turquoise Light, and earth pigments like Raw Umber and Burnt Sienna. Now that I think of it, Raw Umber + Ultramarine is probably essential as a neutral tint. Magenta + Phthalo Blue will also give me something close to Indanthrone Blue (as I learned at handprint.com).

  • Raw Umber + Ultramarine
  • Permanent Rose + Phthalo Green
  • Magenta + Phthalo Blue

That makes six.

  • Lemon Yellow + Pyrrol Orange

Eight. Four to go.


So today…this day has only barely started, for me. Everything preceding this was begun last night. Then I took medication and got knocked out at about 11 PM…and didn’t get back up until 2 PM today. (The place at which I stopped, marked the time at which my mind stopped being coherent, though I’ve since added content. I’m still not sure if my functioning is entirely back, and I’m saying this at what is now verging on 7 PM. Both today and yesterday, words weren’t my strong suit. It’s likely because I’ve been staying up too late, and it’s getting chronic.)

After work, yesterday, was largely taken up with cleaning off the craft table. I’m slowly getting all of my beads together — I have more than I thought I did, particularly in sizes 8° and 6° — meaning that I can do a lot with beaded micromacramĂ©, as these sizes are large enough to take passes of heavy cord with which I can make decorative knots.

The day before that, I was logging work for my Summer class, so that should be done.

I had also been beginning work on my Portfolio…I think it will be easiest to begin with Competencies for which I only have one or two classes. They’re easy to start from. I’ve begun re-saving things from six years ago into current format, hoping that not too much has been corrupted.

Can’t say it’s not stressful, though.

In any case, I should be working on this when I have the urge and energy, to. For a couple of days, it’s been like this: where “self-care” does constitute doing work, as versus playing or de-stressing. Sometimes de-stressing includes doing work to abate my stress, rather than doing anything but work.

Given that, I’m feeling pretty good.

I’m also thinking, based on what I’ve written above, that getting to bed at a reasonable hour should be a priority for me. If that happens, I’ll probably be up to working on my Portfolio for at least a few hours, a few days out of the week. Exercise is another one of those things I should do.

Beading is obviously something I’m getting back to, and I want to use the watercolors, as well. Aside from paperwork and some other housekeeping stuff, I should be okay like this until the semester starts. Extra hours at work, I can think about after everything else is okay.

Color mixing.

Right now I’m wondering about the practicality of doing a blog post after every time I do something creative…though it is motivational, I guess.

Pyrrol oranges and reds.
Pyrrol colors.

From what you can see on the left, I did some more experimenting with Pyrrol colors, today.

I did take a trip out to an art store, and picked up a tube of Daniel Smith’s Pyrrol Scarlet (PR255), upper left. This is different from M. Graham & Co.’s Scarlet Pyrrol (PO73), lower left. They don’t even use the same pigments (the pigment codes are in parenthesis above; “PR” stands for “Pigment Red,” while “PO” stands for “Pigment Orange”).

What I already had which it is closest to, is Winsor Red (PR254), upper right. I suppose I can take some comfort in it not being an exact match…

On the bottom of the above image, you can see that I re-tested Winsor Orange Red Shade (bottom right) against M. Graham’s Scarlet Pyrrol (bottom left). They both carry the same pigment code, PO73. But last night I was talking about backruns and weird textures with M. Graham and not with Winsor & Newton; today I had the opposite happen. I’m now thinking it has to do with the pigment properties themselves.

This became clearer when I tested out DS’s Pyrrol Scarlet (PR255) on the upper left, against Winsor Red (PR 254) on the upper right. Winsor Red is a kind of weird red in that it doesn’t lean either to the violet or the orange side very much; it’s kind of a lipstick-looking red. However, Pyrrol Scarlet is a little, tiny bit more orange. But all of these colors are Pyrrol colors, and from what I’ve seen, they all can do the weird backflow rivulet thing wet-in-wet which makes the paint look grainy. It’s just that sometimes, they don’t.

I’m thinking it has to do with the amount of water that has soaked into the paper (as versus the amount of water still on the surface of the paper), and the amount of time the paint has to spread from the brush onto the paper, as well as the amount of paint in the brush. I originally re-did this test to see if I could get the Winsor Orange Red Shade (lower right) to match the intensity I got out of M. Graham’s Scarlet Pyrrol (lower left), last night. The good thing is, I can; these just seem to be a finicky family of pigments!

Or, maybe I should say that the Pyrrol pigments require some extra skill in handling?

I did do some mixing tests with these colors, but I didn’t get to use the DS Permanent Yellow Deep, which I want to try soon. I think I was using the M. Graham Isoindolinone Yellow Deep, just because it was already on my palette, and it was brighter. The range of colors I got out of that didn’t surprise me, so I didn’t prep a special photo of it for here. But I do want to do some more mixing tests, soon.

Below is a photo of a section of my paper where I was basically messing around with DS Prussian Blue (I kind of love this color, even though it does grey out slightly in four months of direct sunlight), and Winsor Blue Green Shade, that is, Phthalocyanine Blue Green Shade, plus Winsor (Phthalo) Green Yellow Shade. I found that Winsor Green Yellow Shade is more stable under direct sunlight than Winsor Green Blue Shade, for at least the first four months. I’m not entirely certain, why.

Test paper: experimental painting
Playing around on my testing paper.

But I tried adding blue (in the top left, this is Prussian Blue) to Winsor Green Yellow Shade to see if I could shift it bluer — and I can. I can also add Aureolin (the yellow rectangle near the center) to make it greener; Aureolin (PY40) naturally has a green shift to it which causes it to appear “dirty” on the palette. It’s good for incremental hue shifts, though, as it shades greens yellower very delicately.

The major drawback to Aureolin is that you don’t want to get it on your skin for any length of time, as it’s a Cobalt color (this did happen to me at one time, painting in the field; it’s not good, as cobalt is a known carcinogen and can cause skin irritation on exposure. The irony is that I wouldn’t have gotten Aureolin all over my bare hand if it weren’t for a nitrile (or latex?) glove screwing up my grip, causing paint to get all over the tube and all over my hand. As I was outside, my closest options to stop the damage were to wash my hand off in the lake [thus polluting the lake and getting possibly nastier stuff on my hand] or to wash it off in my paintbrush rinse water…or, find a bathroom).

I didn’t get to try Green Gold in addition to any of these colors, but I should make a note that I do want to try it, later. This is another color that there just wasn’t a well for, on my palette.

Reminding me: I may eventually want to get a serious metal palette with half-pans that I can easily rearrange and swap out (if that exists)…

Toward the end of my painting session, you can see I kind of got warmed up. I started toying around with Permanent Rose + Permanent Magenta, and mixing that wet-into-wet with Payne’s Grey, in the center bottom of the above photo.

enlargement of section of second image
Can’t remember exactly how I made those squiggles…

Then I started mixing Phthalo Blue Green Shade with Prussian Blue, and blending that wet-into-wet with Perm. Rose + Perm. Magenta, which made these really nice squiggles you can see to the right, here.

I think the noodle below the blue-violet one, going into the lower right corner is Permanent Magenta + Dioxazine Violet, though I can’t be sure anymore at this point. I wasn’t taking notes; this entry is serving as my reminder to myself of what I’ve done!

On that note, I should also mention that I have gotten to the point with these paints where I don’t even know all the time which paint is which. I think I did set up a key, somewhere, which would be nice to find sometime soon.

The major culprits in my not being able to tell which paint is which, happen to be two yellow paints sitting next to each other…I know one is Winsor Yellow. I just don’t recall, anymore, what the other one is. It’s fairly nondescript. I can remember Isoindolinone Yellow Deep, Hansa Yellow Light, and Aureolin. I’ll have to go through my tubes to look up that last one, especially as I have no idea where I saved my spreadsheet of colors…

Some photos to go with the last post:

Earlier tonight I took some pictures referencing what I spoke about in my last (relatively cryptic) post. To recap, I tested out some differing brands of paints which have similar pigments, if not the same pigment. (They did have the same pigment code.) What I found, was kind of interesting.

My “new” paints were Winsor Orange (Red Shade): PO73, second from the left, compared with M. Graham’s Scarlet Pyrrol (also PO73); and Daniel Smith Permanent Yellow Deep: PY110, third from the left, compared with Holbein’s Isoindolinone Yellow Deep (also PY110).

I also tested out M. Graham’s Ultramarine Violet Deep, though that one…I’m going to have to think on. It’s naturally a very delicate color, especially when compared to Dioxazine Violet (which I didn’t include in these photos). It actually reminds me of amethyst.

I am thinking that Ultramarine Violet Deep may pair well with Payne’s Grey. Possibly the other blue-violets, too (Indanthrene?), and maybe Prussian Blue, but my (Winsor & Newton) French Ultramarine does overpower it, used full strength. Of course, though, French Ultramarine is more powerful than regular Ultramarine.

Below, see an image of the relevant test swatches:

IMG_4054w
Comparison between different brands with similar pigments. The one on the right is just for fun.

It’s kind of faint here, but the Scarlet Pyrrol had a backrun which caused the paint to appear grainy. Winsor Orange Red Shade, however, although it seems a little less powerful in this treatment, is relatively very controlled in its dispersal. I have a close-up of the left two paints:

Two red-orange test swatches of watercolor paint.
M. Graham Scarlet Pyrrol (left) vs. Winsor Orange Red Shade (both PO73)

Hopefully, that’s a bit clearer. The top row is of each paint, wet-on-dry, whereas the bottom row is of each paint, wet-into-wet (I did accidentally touch the two squares). I mentioned quite a while ago that the Scarlet Pyrrol appeared “corroded” in my lightfastness testing, both above and below the strip to block out sunlight. In this test, the water on my brush ran back into the paint and pushed the pigment into what look like little rivulets of more intense red-orange color.

I didn’t obtain the Winsor Orange Red Shade until after the swatches I had made had been exposed to sunlight for four months, so I don’t know how it will fare in lightfastness testing. It does seem a little less intense than the M. Graham, though that could have been because I was using the M. Graham from a dried/rehydrated state and the Winsor & Newton color from a moist state. I also might just not have used enough of the W&N paint.

As for the Daniel Smith Permanent Yellow Deep, I’m very happy with it. It has better dispersal than the Holbein formulation (which just made a line at my last brush stroke), but then Holbein is specifically designed without dispersants. The Holbein is actually noticeably brighter, as well. At this point, I’m not entirely certain how to feel about that…a lot of serious watercolorists do use the more muted colors. (I’d…consider myself a hobbyist, at this point, with the potential for growth.)

mixed orange watercolors
various oranges.

I’ve just prepped an image of what PO73 + PY110 look like together, and it’s relatively pleasant! It’s just a little duller than Cotman Cadmium Orange Hue, but I found that the latter actually fades relatively quickly and significantly…which is something to keep in mind when painting florals.

Both orange squares to the right are mixes of PO73 + PY110, while the vertical and horizontal lines are Cotman Cadmium Orange Hue. I’ve altered the Exposure setting on this image to try and undo some of the low light conditions, but it feels pretty close.

I forgot to take “After” pictures of the lightfastness swatches I worked, I just realized; something I should likely record. (They were sitting in the window fading for four months, which showed me which paints not to use. Since then, I haven’t put them back up, pending photographs.)

I’m also seriously and sort of stupidly wondering if I do want to get a tube of Quinacridone Coral, now: I am going to try and get rid of my Grumbacher Deep Vermilion, which leaves a gap in the orange-leaning reds. (The majority of my reds lean violet, which is a pain when I want to paint something red-orange or any kind of warm orange color! [Violet-leaning reds typically don’t yield intense oranges.])

There is a hidden assumption here, for those of you who are new: I’m avoiding cadmium-based pigments (particularly, red, orange, and yellow). Hence, the hunt for safer alternatives. Pyrrol Orange is definitely one of those, as far as I can see, but it has a peach bias.

I’ve found that at this point, there are a number of colors I want to avoid using for serious work. The Grumbacher Deep Vermilion is one of those. I might use it out of its well just to avoid wasting it, but it’s terrible for wet-in-wet work, and it greys out a bit when exposed to direct sunlight.

And for regular blog followers and botany enthusiasts; I have more recent pictures of my succulents, but I’ll put them in another post. 🙂

Toying with new paints

I only have a few minutes to write. I wanted to mention, though, that I was able to get back to watercolor painting, yesterday. A blog I follow had mentioned the Daniel Smith color, “Quinacridone Coral”; this is a Quin Red which looks like it leans orange. It reminded me of the colors I recently bought but had not yet tested; I have been looking to find something with which I can mix a decent, fade-resistant orange.

So last night, I tested them. I also played around with a bunch of other stuff because my paints were dusty and I was taking the time to wipe off the fuzz (so I said to myself).

I found that Winsor Orange Red Shade is noticeably smoother than (I think) M. Graham Pyrrol Scarlet, even though they use the same pigment. Also, I tested Daniel Smith Permanent Yellow Deep, against Holbein Isoindolinone Yellow (unless my memory is mistaken), with the Daniel Smith dispersing better but being a little duller. I’m pretty sure both the latter paints also use similar pigments.

Also, Perm Yellow Deep mixed with Pyrrol Scarlet makes a nice orange!

It was relatively refreshing to break my pattern of not dealing with the paints, to get back to them. I didn’t even mind the cobalt colors, this time. 🙂 I might want to wash out all of my brushes, though (they’re dusty)…

And I might want to get back to working in my art journal so that I can generate ideas. I found myself wondering what to paint, and I think if I were regularly journalling, I’d have an idea…