Watercolour by William Turner,the great English painter
I have mislaid the author’s name but click on the link “Back to contents”and you will be taken to his excellent site
To take up watercolour painting you will need Paints, Brushes, a water container, Mixing palette, a board, a pencil, watercolour paper and a putty eraser. The general rule is to buy the best you can afford as you will get better results with higher quality equipment and materials. Back to contents
Watercolour paints are manufactured in Student Quality and Artists Quality. They are available in either pans (cakes of colour) or in tubes, both in various sizes. They are manufactured specifically for ‘watercolour’ painting and are fundamentally transparent. There are other water based paints which are designed to be opaque i.e. Gouache (sometimes called Designers’ colours) and Chinese watercolours which are generally unsuitable for traditional English watercolours.
Tubes are more convenient when painting large areas, they cause less wear on brushes and save time. They allow fresh, uncontaminated colour to be used at the start of each painting.
Pans are more compact and easily transportable.
My preference: TUBES
Student quality paints are OK for beginners and improvers (some professional artists use them). They are relatively inexpensive and can produce good glowing watercolour paintings. The cost is standard throughout the range. Student quality paints usually use substitute pigments for the more expensive pigments used in Artist Quality paints (The description ‘Hue’ after the colour normally indicates this). Student quality paints may not be as transparent and/or light fast as artist quality. Winsor and Newton call their student quality ‘ Cotman’, and Daler Rowney’s are called ‘Georgian’
Artist quality paints are normally grouped into categories which designates a cost band as the pigments used to produce different colours vary considerably in price. e.g. Series 1 to series 5 for Winsor and Newton. There are many other brands available such as St. Petersburg, Michael Wilcox, etc.
Paints are packaged in boxed sets of pans or tubes or sold as separate colours.
Start with at least Student Quality – don’t use lower quality than this i.e. watercolour boxes intended for children’ as it will be difficult, if not impossible, to produce glowing pictures.
It’s better to start with a few colours and mix others rather than have a large number of ready made colours.
Buy separate colours, this way you will be able to select the colours that you want. (Colour is part of an artists style)
A good starting palette of student quality paints is:
Essentials: Ultramarine, Cerulean Blue Hue, Cadmium Red Hue, Alizarin Crimson, Cadmium Yellow Pale Hue, Lemon yellow.
These six colours, Warm Blue / Cold Blue, Warm Red / Cold Red & Warm Yellow / Cold Yellow, enable the mixing of a wide range of colours.
Useful additional colours are:
Light Red, Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna, Burnt Umber, Payne’s Gray, Cobalt blue, Winsor blue, New Gamboge Hue.
Ready made greens are not essential for landscape and flower paintings as a wide range of greens can be mixed from the colours