“I discovered DANIEL SMITH watercolours while living the New Jersey in 1995, soon after they were first released, and have been using and recommending them ever since. I love the vibrancy of colour, the range of single pigment colours, the granulation of many of the pigments and the ease that these paints rewet in a palette. I like the clear labels and that the paints are named according to their pigment, rather than with a less helpful title, and that if the paint is a mixture it says so on the tube. I particularly love the DANIEL SMITH exclusive colours such as Buff Titanium, Goethite-Brown Ochre and Quinacridone Gold along with many of the incredible Primatek paints.”
I use 19 of the colours in my studio palette, each chosen for colour and characteristics, so I have a mix of granulating and non granulating, opaque and transparent, staining and liftable pigments.
Buff Titanium – a wonderfully subtle granulating creamy colour that is perfect mixed with granulating earth yellow Goethite for creating the sand of a beach, sandstone, corals and so much more.
Hansa Yellow Medium is a beautiful mid primary yellow that can be easily warmed up or cooled down and mixes oranges or greens perfectly.
Quinacridone Gold is a lovely warm transparent yellow that mixes amazing greens with any blues as well as with single pigment greens.
Transparent Pyrrol Orange is my choice as a warm red – it gives a beautiful underglow to red subjects and neutralizes perfectly with Phthalo Blue (RS) to make a deep black, great for birds in particular.
Pyrrol Crimson is a rich deep crimson that I use for many floral subjects. It neutralises with Phthalo Green (BS) to make another wonderful rich black and a range of aubergine and plum colours that you couldn’t otherwise mix. Phthalo Green (BS) itself is another wonderful mixing colour to make useful dull greens with a range of yellows and earth pigments.
Quinacridone Rose is a lovely rosy pink colour that is excellent for floral and portrait work, but it will also mix with any blue to make wonderful purples.
Ultramarine Blue is my basic blue for skies, either alone or mixed with the opaque and granulating Cerulean Blue Chromium. It is also the base for most of my greys and greens.
Indanthrone Blue is a gorgeous deep warm blue that I just love. It doesn’t get as much of a workout as the other blues in my palette but is wonderful for deep night skies and stunning storm cloud studies. It mixes wonderful greens with either of the yellows.
As well as Phthalo Green (BS) for mixing, I love the premixed convenience colours Sap Green and Undersea Green as these are perfect straight from the tube for many plant and tree subjects so they save me a lot of time in plein air paintings or botanicals. Perylene Green is provides the perfect deep green shadow colour for a lot of foliage, though it also mixes beautifully with Sap Green and Undersea Green and with my yellows.
Burnt Sienna mixed with Ultramarine Blue makes my Jane’s Grey – the 20th colour in my palette – but Burnt Sienna is also perfect washed down for skin tones and mixed with other colours for greens and more greys
Indian Red is a wild and crazy colour being very opaque and granulating and I love the effect this pigment has in landscapes. It is also perfect for lips in portraits and creates a gorgeous earth triad with Cerulean Blue Chromium and Goethite.
Burnt Umber and Raw Umber give me a convenient warm and cool dark brown, terrific for landscapes, urban sketching and figures, though also useful for botanicals. Burnt Umber is easy to mix but I like to have a larger palette of colours to save time painting.
In addition to these 19 watercolours, I use a number of the DANIEL SMITH Primatek pigments for special effects so I have an extras palette with the granulating Green Apatite Genuine for sparkling foliage effects, Jadeite Genuine for a more granulating blue-green option, Serpentine Genuine for a grassy meadow in one wash, Pieomontite Genuine for the rusty look of metal, especially with Transparent Red Oxide, a gorgeous and rather wild alternative to Burnt Sienna. I also have Yellow Ochre and Raw Sienna for a greater range of yellow earth pigments, along with Cobalt Blue and Cobalt Turquoise, Hansa Yellow Light and New Gamboge, Pyrrol Scarlet, Phthalo Blue (GS), Imperial Purple and Moonglow for convenient purples, Quinacridone Sienna, Rich Green Gold for the glow of foliage in the sun, and the amazing granulating Lunar Black.
That’s 37 DANIEL SMITH colours that I have readily available to be able to create not only the colour I want, but the granulation and textural effects as well. I’ve tried all the others and there are plenty more that I keep at hand for demonstrations and teaching.
About Artist Jane Blundell
Australian artist Jane Blundell was always fascinated by the natural world of rocks, plants and animals. Her early watercolour and pen and ink works show meticulous detail and a passion for colour. Majoring in etching at the City Art Institute, she spent a year working in an etching studio before completing her Graduate Diploma in Art Education. She taught in schools in Melbourne and Sydney for a number of years before moving to the USA and then Singapore. Now back in Sydney, Australia, Jane is an award winning artist, and has had four solo exhibitions. She illustrated a children’s book Kayla & the Magical Tree, 2003 and has written two books on colour mixing, Watercolour Mixing Charts 2012 and The Ultimate Mixing Palette: a World of Colours, 2015, and has three more in progress.
She is a member of the Australian Watercolour Institute, an exhibiting botanical and watercolour artist and an active Urban Sketcher. She teaches colour mixing, watercolour, sketching and drawing to adults in classes and workshops throughout Australia and internationally.