A night of colour mixing

May 10, 2013 | 3 Comments

On Tuesday night I went to the monthly meeting of the Ku-ring-gai art society. I didn’t actually know who was speaking …. so you can imagine my surprise and delight to find out that it was all about colour mixing!

Jane Blundell is a wonderful artist and one who REALLY knows her pigments! Her colour books (and she has many) are beautiful and extensive explorations of pigments and how they mix. They are like an illustrated guide to the handprint.com site – I would love to sit down in a comfy chair and just read them cover to cover!

As you know I love colour and exploring various watercolour pigments and learning how they react. I am also starting to get to know all the various important pigments – while I can’t rattle them off (I am hopeless at remembering numbers) I certainly knew most of what Jane was talking about – and to my shame, had actually tried nearly all the pigments/ convenience mixes that she mentioned during the talk!(two that she mentioned that I haven’t tried were DS Raw Umber Violet, which Anita Daves recommended to me last week!, and Imperial Purple – you know I was looking for a good purple) Also I totally agreed with her approach to a lot of things and it was exciting to see my favourite colour Daniel Smith Quin Burnt Orange on the list of 16 ultimate mixing colours! (I knew I was in for a good night when I saw that!) Not that many Australians know about Daniel Smith paints – so great to have an evening of it and to meet someone that has tested nearly every one! Wow!

My mind is in a buzz wanting to try a few things out as a result of the evening:

  • BRILLIANT idea of mixing up your favourite mixes as a colour on your palette – of course the Burnt Sienna/ Ultramarine mix is the classic to try doing this – but also what about a mixed purple
  • I have been using raw sienna over yellow ochre. Jane suggested that yellow ochre is better as it makes good greens. I have started to think about this – I have raw sienna in my palette because it mixes a good soft grey, and quin gold for my greens. Want to test this further
  • Raw Umber “very useful’ – not a colour that I have ever had in my palette
  • I use Burnt Quin Orange (or transparent red oxide) instead of Burnt Sienna. W&N BS is PR101 and rather transparent. I really struggled to use DS Burnt Sienna when I got it as it is the more opaque PBr7. I want to revisit using PBr7 and I just might be missing out on something special by trying to use as transparent as possible.
  • Want to try DS Cerulean again….

Ok! I think I have raved on enough …
thanks Jane for a great presentation!


  • Amanda says:

    Daniel Smith paints just arrived in Perth. Faced with the rack and the delicious dilemma of choosing just one tube I bought German Green Raw Umber. (I love raw umber in oil paint but had never tried it in watercolour.) Lovely.

  • Tracey says:

    This is great, I love learning all I can about color mixing. Her color charts are in a Blurb book that I must have!!

  • It was lovely to meet you Liz. Happy to talk colours and pigments any time!

    By the way, you may like to check out some wonderful travel brushes available from the UK – Rosemary & Co. (http://www.rosemaryandco.com/watercolour-brushes/pocket-reversible) She makes a range of sizes and some interesting shapes. I particularly love the R8 Pocket Pure Kolinsky mop – gorgeous! And for lots of water holding capacity the R9 Pocket Pure Squirrel mop. The R7 is fun too – a pocket pure kolinsky comber for vegetation effects.

    I have asked her to make a travel dagger in 1/4 inch size in both synthetic and red sable mix – that would be a great addition to her collection.

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