Thursday, 14 November 2013

Watercolour Comparisons 4 - Burnt Sienna

Burnt Sienna is one of the most useful colours in the palette. Whether you are using a limited palette with one of each of the primaries or a split palette with a warm and a cool of each of the primaries, Burnt Sienna is fabulous addition. You can see all these swatches, along with other earth colours, on my website here.

It is possible to mix a burnt sienna hue using a yellow and a red to make an orange, then adding ultramarine to create a neutralised warm brown. But it is much quicker to use a single pigment paint.

There are a number of options. Burnt Sienna should be made from PBr7 - a natural earth pigment that is also used to make Burnt Umber, Raw Umber and Raw Sienna. Heating the Raw Sienna pigment creates the burnt Sienna. Some companies use PR101, (which is also used to make Indian and Venetian reds) to make a Burnt Sienna Hue.

My preference is for the earthy look of PBr7. Mixed with Ultramarine it creates a warm Indigo, burnt umber hues, lovely greys, stormy sky colours, shadow colours and so on. With a yellow it creates raw sienna hues. With a phthalo blue it creates cool greys and browns. With a crimson it creates earthy indian reds and burnt reds...and so on. Alone, just mixed with water, it creates a perfect skin tone.

So which is the best? That depends what you like to paint, whether you like granulation or not, whether you want a more orange colour or a more neutral burnt orange colour.
 Burnt Sienna Options - Top line: Burnt Sienna M.Graham PBr7, Burnt Sienna Old Holland PBr7, Burnt Sienna Rembrandt PBr7, Burnt Sienna Hue Art Spectrum PR101, Transparent Mars Brown Mameri Blu PR101, Burnt Sienna Winsor & Newton PR101, Quinacridone Burnt Orange Daniel Smith PO48
Bottom line: Hemetite Burnt Scarlet Daniel Smith Genuine Hematite, Transparent Red Oxide Daniel Smith PR101, Enviro-Friendly Red Iron Oxide Daniel Smith PBr6, Burnt Sienna Daniel Smith PBr7, Burnt Sienna DaVinci PBr7, Italian Burnt Sienna Daniel Smith PBr7.

It is clear the options range from an orange through to more red-based browns with more or less granulation. Transparent Red Oxide provides a wonderfully granulating version with a definite orange hue, Hematite Burnt Scarlet is also highly granulating with wonderful colour range. Quinacridone Burnt Orange goes all the way to the orange side so will not neutralise so well, but is quite a popular option for those who don't like granulation, as is the W&N Burnt Sienna (hue).

One of the best tests though is how the colour works with Ultramarine and other blues. Here is a range of colours possible with Burnt Sienna mixed with Ultramarine, Phthalo Blue and Cerulean - classic blues in the palette. It is the deep greys and browns and blues that I am looking for with Burnt Sienna. Notice how lovely and granulating the Art Spectrum Burnt Sienna Genuine is. I loved this colour but it didn't re-wet as well in the palette as the Daniel Smith and Da Vinci so was superseded. Also notice that Burnt Umber (hue) is readily mixed by adding Ultramarine to Burnt Sienna so is not necessary in a limited palette.
Burnt Sienna mixed with blues - Ultramarine, Phthalo Blue, Cerulean.

 Here is Burnt Sienna with Cerulean. Note that Burnt Sienna creates wonderful greys with Cerulean but with that with Quinacridone Burnt Orange it makes greens rather than greys.
Burnt Sienna and Quinacridone Burnt Orange + Cerulean. 

You can see Burnt Sienna and Phthalo blue on the second line below. Since Phthalo blue is cooler than Ultramarine it will create cooler blues and greys, including creating a raw umber hue.
Phthalo Blue mixed with a range of brown pigments - Burnt Umber, Raw Umber, Burnt Sienna, Indian Red, Raw Sienna and Burnt Umber.

My favourite is Daniel Smith for a rich earthy version, or Da Vinci for an equally rich earthy but slightly more orange version. Both of these are PBr7. I also love Transparent Red Oxide for special effects so have that as an extra when painting, as well as the DS Burnt Sienna that is always in my palette.

Happy painting!

Watercolour Comparisons 1 - Ultramarine Blue here
Watercolour Comparisons 2 - mid yellows here
Watercolour Comparisons 3 - Primary Red here
Watercolour Comparisons 4 - Burnt Sienna here
Watercolour Comparisons 5 - Greens (Single Pigment, convenience mixes and special effect) here
Watercolour Comparisons 6 - Reds (Cool, mid and warm) here
Watercolour Comparisons 7 - Yellows (cool mid and warm) here
Watercolour Comparisons 8 - Blues here





Saturday, 9 November 2013

Watercolour Palettes 1 - The Herring Palette

There are so many different palettes available that I thought I'd write a few posts exploring some of them. Have a look at thewatercolourfanatic for even more!

This plastic palette, based perhaps on the brass paint box, is a great design. It is from jacksons in the UK. It is not a beautifully made as a brass box, and could actually do with a little more 'finishing detail'. Nor is it as cheap as some of the folding palettes, but it is so versatile that I have made up a few different versions for my students. I rather like having all the colours in one section so they don't spill into each other when the palette is shut. This also has very deep mixing areas. It is light and seems pretty strong and is big enough to use in the studio but light enough to take into the great outdoors. The catch is very secure and there is a video showing how to open it!

Here is the half pan option. You can use half pans and change your colours around, or put the watercolour directly into the wells. Standard half pans fit in snugly without rattling about.
Frank Herring : Compact Palette Half Pan : 26x13cm Open 13x8cm Closed
Here is the full pan version, designed to take 12 full pans. Each pan section will actually fit two half pans if you sand them down a little so it is also very versatile.
Frank Herring : Compact Palette Whole Pan : 26x13cm Open 13x8cm Closed

Here are some options - the first is the full pan version with half pans added into some of the the spaces. The second is the half pan option with 8 additional half pans added into the brush section - great if you want to hold it for plein air. The third is the half pan option with the hole filled in and extra half pans added to the space. This is my current plein-air palette. Note that a compact water brush fits in well.


The pans can be glued in but I prefer to use blu-tac so they can come out again!

This is another configuration - designed to have just 8 colours around the outside, with the space to mix other colours in the added half pans. Just a little sanding with fine sandpaper allows two half pans to fit in the whole pan wells, though the Schmincke half pans fit without sanding. The paint was squeezed directly into the full pan well holes though whole pans could be used for ease of changing them.

So an interesting palette option!


Thursday, 7 November 2013

My pigments sorted!

I don't like plastic pans or half pans rattling about in a drawer, so I had a 16 pan brass tray made and have put all my other favourite studio colours in that.

I also have a lot of paints that I only use occasionally, and have been trying to work out a way to store them that is neat and functional for occassional use at home, but that also allows me to take them to my classes or workshop when I am teaching. These didn't need to be in a palette, but some sort of good storage system. I am very grateful that Malcolm Carver, a fellow member of the AWI and president of the Ku-ring-gai Art Society, presented me with the answer with the flower shaped Aquarelle palette he designed.

This palette is intended to encourage his students to work with a limited palette of 12 colours and to mix them on the paper rather than in the palette, so there is no 'mixing' space. They hold up to approximately 2 full pans of paint, can keep paint moist, keep paints covered when not in use and are neat and portable. Perfect!

I have set up three of them with my extra pigments - colours that are perfect for a particular painting...but otherwise gather dust. It may be possible to mix the colour, but the properties make them useful and can't be created by mixing others. Or they are just convenient. :-)

Palette 1 - this is the one I sometimes take with me when plain air painting as an 'extra', especially if going away on a painting trip. It contains two cadmium yellows and yellow ochre in case I need a more opaque yellow for foliage or flower stamens; beautiful granulating primates greens for foliage, raw sienna for a glow in the sky without making greens, cobalt for sky (or Greek Island roofs!) or in case I just need a really bright cobalt blue, Blue apatite genuine for stormy skies or water effects, Lunar black and Piemontite for granulating effects and Graphite for a 'painted pencil' look, Purple magenta to make gorgeous purples or magnolia colours.

Colours are (clockwise from top) Cadmium Yellow Deep and Cadmium Yellow Light, Yellow Ochre,  Jadeite Genuine, Green Apatite Genuine, Raw Sienna, Cobalt Blue, Blue Apatite Genuine, Lunar Black, Graphite, Piemontite Genuine, and Purple Magenta (Schmincke).

Palette 2 has some interesting granulating and neutral colours. I tend to take this one to my classes and demonstrations.
Colours are (from top centre) Monte Amiata Natural Sienna, Quinacridone Burnt Orange, Deep Scarlet, Perylene Maroon, Rose of Ultramarine, Purpurite Genuine (added later), Shadow Violet, Smalt Genuine (W&N), Sodalite Genuine, Serpentine Genuine, Green Gold (added later), Transparent Brown Oxide, 

Palette 3 contains a dozen extra 'bright' colours - useful for botanical paintings in particular. The cadmium reds work really well with cadmium yellows for tulips, Manganese Blue is lovely for real granulation and snow in Europe! Viridian gives a granulating and liftable alternative to Phthalo green, Imperial Purple is convenient etc. This one also goes to demonstrations and my classes.
Colours are (clockwise from top) Hansa Yellow Light, New Gamboge, Bensimida Orange Deep (DV), Pyrrol Scarlet, Cadmium Red Scarlet, Cadmium Red Medium, Pyrrol Red, Quinacridone Purple, Imperial Purple, Phthalo Blue GS, Manganese Blue genuine (OH), Viridian (DV),





My palette set-up now. My brass studio palette, my 'extras' studio brass tray, my plein-air Herring palette, my tiny brass travel palette and three Aquarelle palettes.




Sketching in a Glass exhibition

I have been busy working on a number of paintings for upcoming exhibitions, but in between I have continued to enjoy sketching with the Sydney Sketch Club. These were painted at an exhibition of Art Glass at Angel Place in the centre of Sydney.