Join us for a fun and interesting conversation with Kim Del Valle, Sales Representative for DANIEL SMITH Manufacturing. Have questions about our Primatek colors? Wonder where the color Serpentine comes from? How does the color Moonglow get its name or how does DANIEL SMITH tests pigments for lightfastness? What’s granulation? This is a great opportunity to learn more in a conversational and relaxed atmosphere.
The presentation will start off with the history of DANIEL SMITH
Manufacturing and the many aspects of developing DANIEL SMITH products.
You will see firsthand lab paint outs, minerals used to manufacture
colors in the PrimaTek line and more. The finale…the exciting
opportunity to sample a selection of our colors and put paint to
History of Daniel Smith
How we make our paint.
See actual lab paint outs and touch actual minerals used in our Prima-tek line.
Discuss the color chart and the great information it contains.
Put paint to paper..Allow artists the fun experience to sample many of our colors on a sheet watercolor paper
We are delighted to introduce Watercolor Artist Sophie Rodionov, who in this demonstration, will show us step by step a painting of a cat in watercolor using Daniel Smith Extra Fine Watercolors.
Why a cat? – I love painting animals in general. Basically all that we call “nature” inspires me a lot. But cats…. I feel something really special about them. Moreover, I think that in some way watercolour – the media I love so much – is the “cat” among other art materials. Cats are never “predictable”, a cat always does whatever he wants….
The same about watercolour: even when we think – that’s it! I know everything about it! – it still surprises! And to tell you the truth – I love it! I do wish to get surprises on my paper, I do wish to be friends with watercolor, but I appreciate its nature and want to do everything I can to show this on my watercolor paper. So, cats…I live in an area with a lot of homeless cats and one of them now lives in my house. I have an opportunity to see them, to look at them, to take pictures in all kinds of situations. I often use those pictures for my paintings.
I think, when we paint any subject, we have to feel a “closeness’ to this subject. When I paint cats from those “captured moments”, I don’t paint just a cat, I paint the “moment” I saw in the situation, I paint the feelings and the strong connection between me and that “moment”.
I start with the picture I have and print it for comfortable usage. This is not really a quality printed photo, but I don’t care – everything about colors and light I have in my mind. The photo is just a memento to remember the feeling and to catch the pose in right proportions. I use my sketchbook and make a small value and composition study with pencil. Then, I make the rudimentary pencil drawing on a watercolour paper cold press 140lb.
First wash to define warm and cool spaces, as well as the main drop shadow which is part of my composition. Here I use a “warm mix” from the palette (usually these are mixes of Quinacridone Burnt Orange, Nickel Azo Yellow, Monte Amiata Natural Sienna) and in some places adding Lunar Earth to get the granulation. My light “cool mix” is usually Cerulean Blue, Phthalo Turquoise, French Ultramarine and Sepiain different proportions. Here I add granulating Lunar Blue to the background. For the cat’s shadow I use Moonglow, Verditer Blue and Quinacridone Burnt Orange.
Continuing with the washes, I start to add values to the cat’s figure to define the pose and to build the form. I use the same colors as in the background, just adding a bit of Quinacridone Coral to the ears. I wet the paper with clear water using a hake brush before applying the colors and spraying the water if I see any hard edges that I don’t want. If I need to put a more defined mark with the brush, I blot water from the brush and take up more pigment with it. This way even when the surface is wet, we have more control of making marks. For the tail, I use watercolour’s wonderful nature, when working wet onto wet paper, to get this spreading mark.
Here I continue to add value to the shadows on the cat and the shadow beneath it as well as adding more details to the cat. I don’t wait for the paper to dry completely, I just continue with the process: some places dry, some are still wet and I get various brush marks naturally with little effort. This is important, to have soft edges and strong edges one near another among the whole painting. Also, I always think about cool and warm colors and keep them in mind while painting. Cool colors near the warm colors make the painting more natural and connected to reality, even when you are not “ a real realist artist”. For the darkest places, I love to use the mix of Sepia, Phthalo Turquoiseand Verditer Blue with Deep Scarlet which is one of my favourite dark mixes.
The most fun step – creating the textures in a background. Here I use all the same colors I already have on a palette, especially Lunar Blueand Lunar Earth, because I need their granulating ability for textural effects. Here there are no rules: I use a dry flat brush, splatter colors, spray water, lifting marks with paper towel – everything I could think of. But trying to stop in time before making the painting overworked or too dark in value.
Here I check the value of the background and make a decision to add a bit more darker value in the lower right corner. Usually I take a break for a cup of coffee and then come back to the painting to look at the painting with more fresh eyes. This time I saw that some more value was needed and used a mix of Deep Scarlet and Verditer Blue, I love this kind of “silver gray” I get in this mix.
The final details – I add some graphic lines with liner brush using the same dark mix I already have, and a most important character the painting – the beetle! Sometimes those graphic lines add a lot to the painting, but we should be careful not to make too much of them. And don’t forget to sign the painting!
I love the DANIEL SMITH colors and have used these paints for years. For me DANIEL SMITH is the natural choice because they have a really wide range of colors and not only the basic, traditional colors which could be found in any brand. I often talk about PrimaTek Watercolors made from real minerals, the different interesting colors, many with granulating effects and how some, like Moonglow, separate into several colors when applied in wet washes.
My basic palette has only DANIEL SMITH colors:
Nickel Azo Yellow
Quinacridone Burnt Orange
Aussie Red Gold
Phthalo Blue (RS)
Cobalt Teal Blue
I’m an artist who loves different textures, I fell in love with the Lunar colors –Lunar Earth, Lunar Blue, Lunar Black and Lunar Violet. In the demonstration of the cat painting I used two of them: Lunar Earth and Lunar Blue. I think they are like a gem in this painting, without them, it wouldn’t have the “magic” it has now. The effects of granulation can be used not only as background texture, but for the animals as well. I paint a lot of pet portraits and the Lunar Black turned to be one of the “must have” on my palette, and all my collectors have loved that effect in their animal paintings. So, I could definitely say that particular part of my painting style wouldn’t be possible without DANIEL SMITH Watercolour paints. And I would like to thank DANIEL SMITH for this.
Sophie Rodionov is an Estonian-born artist now living in Israel. Since 2013 she has been working as a full-time, self-employed artist, designer and illustrator with a range of art collectors, fashion and textile designers, brands and interior designers. Member of International Watercolor Society from 2017. Her current work is a balance between abstract shapes and realistic forms, which shift between and create a layered world of captured moments. Sophie finds inspiration in every moment of life and trying to show that each moment deserves to be shown and has its’ own unrepeatable beauty. Her works are held in private collections of over the world, including United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, Italy, Japan, Taiwan, Germany, Netherlands and others. Sophie works with numerous top-brands and creates illustration designs for products for companies such as Papyrus, Metal Frame Works, Wendover Art Group and others. Sophie enjoys helping social, un-commercial projects with her art. Among these projects are a BBC interior design show for people with disabilities, an auction for an animal rescue farm in California, an auction for a ballet school, wall art for the cat clinic at Wisconsin University and so on. Sophie has a background as a glass artist and holds a degree in Bachelor of Fine Arts from Haifa University. Currently she is based in Israel and finds inspiration all around, she is available for art travel opportunities teaching art classes and workshops.
Undoubtedly blue is the essential color in my palette and I have up to six spaces reserved in my usual work zone for them. My works are characterized by cold and grayish ranges, so the blues are completely irreplaceable. The blues that I use the most are: Indigo, Indanthrone Blue, Ultramarine Blue, Cerulean Blue Chromium, Lavender, and Cobalt Teal Blue.
When mixed with different earth tones (Burnt Sienna, Burnt Umber, Sepia, etc.) I get infinite ranges of grays for all types of planes (background, middle ground and foreground). Mixed with a single yellow, I get a great variety of greens, as I do not usually have greens on my palette.
In the reference work “Fuente de Castellar” (Castellar Fountain) the blue is the essential protagonist of the work since the source is the main element of the work. To achieve the main gradient, three blues interlaced and fused with the proper density are necessary to produce the depth effect.
Pablo Rubén has been painting since he was a child, and the last 18 years working as a professional artist. President of the International Watercolor Society of Spain, he has joined in many of the most important watercolor Biennials all around the World: China, Korea, Thailand, India, Mexico, Canada, Belgium, Italy and has been awarded in International competitions such as American Watercolor Society, San Diego Watercolor Society, Slovenia International Watercolor Society. He is a passionate artist of “Plein Air” work and has more than 400 awards in this kind of contests in Spain and France. As a watercolor instructor he has given workshops in Spain, Portugal, France, Italy, Russia, Canada, USA, Brazil, and Mexico; being very appreciated as an art teacher. An avid traveler, urban scapes and all sorts of water reflections are the main subjects in his work, playing with aerial points of view to make original compositions.
When you are mixing colors for your chart, you are learning what colors can be made with each color mixed with every other color on your chart, and get an idea of the color range that can be mixed. Without the opportunity to explore (play!) and see what your colors can do with one another, you may never discover some gorgeous color mixes! You can make glazing color charts, mix colors on your chart (wet into wet) or as we’re doing for this article, mixing them on a plate or palette then painting them onto our Mixing Chart.
While this might seem like a chore to do, it is actually really interesting to see what your colors can do, it is color swatching with a purpose! We generally try to vary the how the watercolors are painted for each box. For example, a little heavier application on the lower right, lighter at the upper left to show more variation for each color and mixed color in the boxes. Painting them that way allows you to see some of the colors’ properties like transparency and granulation. Every color mixing chart you paint becomes a helpful reference tool, so be sure to keep them and make new ones when you add more watercolors!
Wisteria, Lavender, Rose of Ultramarine, Moonglow, Shadow Violet and Serpentine Genuine.
Photo 1. After transferring the lines from the downloadable pdf. (link further below) label your colors as in photo 1., and paint out in the order shown in Photos 1 & 2.
Paint the first vertical column with your colors, we used less water for deeper colors.
Paint in the first horizontal row with the six colors, here we did a mid-tone wash.
The main diagonal, we painted with a light wash.
Using different ratios of water allows you to see a range of each main color, deep, mid and light.
Photo 3. Now the color mixing begins!
Working by columns painting both down the column and across a row at a time, you can begin mixing your first color in column 1, Wisteria.
Mixing Wisteria with Lavender, in a slightly larger portion of Wisteria to Lavender, paint that mix in the box below the light Wisteriawash (that is the Wisteria column) next to the Lavender box on the left.
Take that same mix of Wisteria/Lavender and add more Lavender and paint that mix in the second column just below the Lavenderbox (that is the Lavender column) in the Wisteria row.
Repeat these steps for the remaining 4 colors as shown in the following photos.
Photo 4. Lavender column and row.
Photo 5. Rose of Ultramarine column and row.
Photo 6. Moonglow column and row.
Photo 7. Shadow Violet and Serpentine Genuine columns and rows.
As you paint your way down each column and across each row, it becomes faster and faster until your fifth color, Shadow Violet, only has 2 boxes, and the sixth color, in this case, Serpentine Genuine is finished when you finish the fifth color!
Adding extra colors
When you add new colors, it’s a good idea to mix them with your existing palette of colors like the example above, mixing our new Gray Titanium with our 6 color Essentials Watercolor Set. For this, we used our 6 color mixing chart template, and added a 7th row and 7th column to accommodate Gray Titanium as the 7th color.
We also wanted to see how colors mixed with the Essentials Set colors look, for example, New Gamboge mixed with Quinacridone Rose, an orange, looks when mixed with Gray Titanium:
New Gamboge mixed with Quinacridone Rose – 4th box down in the Quinacridone Rose column.
New Gamboge mixed with Quinacridone Rose then mixed with Gray Titanium – 5th box down in the New Gamboge column.
Note, all the colors below the diagonal wash colors are mixed with Gray Titanium.
Those boxes with the 3rd color, Gray Titanium, mixed into the 2-color mix are noted with (plus GT) in the boxes in the 7 color diagram below on the right.
You can download the 6 color mixing chart templateHERE
The 6 color template was designed to be printed on 8.5 x 11 inch standard copy paper, you can trace or transfer the lines onto 140 lb. watercolor paper, we cut the watercolor paper down to 8 x 12 inches so we would have a wider border.
Adding more columns and rows is easy, just print out more 6 color templates, cut them up and tape the extra columns and rows you need, then transfer to your watercolor paper.
Once completed, your color mixing chart becomes a wonderful color guide to reference when needed. Painting charts like these are also great exercises when inspiration is low and can help stir your creative juices when you discover beautiful new colors.
We are delighted to introduce DANIEL SMITH Watercolor Artist, Lorraine Watry! Lorraine will take us step-by-step through her process for making a watercolor painting.
“Spa Day” is from a photo I took of a Red Crested Cardinal after he’d bathed in a fountain. The photo intrigued me because of all the neutral colors around the bright pop of red-orange on the bird’s head. I decided to experiment with this painting and not only did I try the new DANIEL SMITH Greys, but I also tried a different brand of paper and a technique I don’t usually use – blooms. I began the painting by using my photo software to adjust the composition by moving the bird to the right and added some more water dripping in the fountain.
Step 1: I start all of my paintings by doing a detailed drawing from my photo. I then enlarge the drawing and transfer it to my watercolor paper using my light table. I stretched my watercolor paper onto foam board and while it was drying overnight, I played with the greys and did a small color study to get an idea of my techniques for the background.
Step 2: Next, I masked out the bird and dripping water with masking tape. I used masking fluid to mask some of the small drops of water on the bird’s feathers and in the background, as well as the highlights on the bird’s eye. I began the fountain by wetting the area and used a variety of the greys from Alvaro’s Fresco Grey and a little Gray Titanium on the left, to Joseph Z’s Cool and Warm Greys as I moved to the right. While these areas were wet, I flicked on water for blooms and charged in Bronzite Genuine and Mummy Bauxite for color variety and texture. As the area started to dry, I flicked on more of the BronziteGenuine, Mummy Bauxite, and Alvaro’s Caliente Grey to make the fountain feel like rough stone.
Step 3: I used Alvaro’s Fresco Grey in the background on the left and under the bird on the ledge. I really like this cool/purple grey and I’m already using it on another painting. I glazed some of the Bronzite Genuine over parts of this area to give the gray fountain some patina. BronziteGenuine is naturally shiny so this pigment is fun to see up close because it sparkles. I used Joseph Z’s Warm Grey and a touch of Alvaro’s Caliente Grey to create the dark shadow on the fountain behind the bird. Then I removed the masking on one of the lines of dripping water to see if my values were working. This helps me decide if I need to add more glazes before removing all the masking.
Step 4: I continued working around all the greys of the background and used some of Joseph Z’s Warm Grey for the shadow on the back left. I repeated the greys from the walls of the fountain in the water along with some Green Apatite Genuine and Quinacridone Gold. I debated whether to include the green in the water, but I liked the contrast with the red of the birds head. The green also appears along the front edge of the ledge the bird rests on. I finished up the majority of the background and shadows and then removed the masking fluid on the bird and dripping water.
Step 5: I was excited to start the birds head and I began with Quinacridone Sienna for the lighter, muted orange feathers. After this dried, I added a mix of Pyrrol Scarlet and Carmine for the red feathers. Then to give the bird life, I painted his eye with a mix of Burnt Umber and Sodalite Genuine. I left the highlight at the bottom of the eye and later painted some Quinacridone Sienna on that area. After removing the mask for the brightest highlight, I added a touch of Cerulean Blue, Chromium to reflect the sky in the bird’s eye. The beak was painted with glazes on dry paper using Burnt Umber, Quinacridone Rose, and Cerulean Blue, Chromium.
Step 6: I decided to use Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Umber, a gray mix that I know well for the birds feathers. This mix allows me to vary the gray from cool to warm and keep a unified look to the feathers. I started adding glazes to the bird’s head for shadows and depth and mixed Cerulean Blue, Chromium and Quinacridone Rose for the shadow on the white body feathers. I softened the edges of some of the feathers by applying water while an area was wet or softened the edge after it had dried.
Occasionally I took a break from the feathers and worked on the dripping water in the background. I wet each drip and then painted it using Alvaro’s Caliente and Fresco Greys. I left some of the edges and circles within the drips white to make them sparkle.
Step 7: After adding many layers to the bird’s feathers, I removed the masking fluid from the water drops all around the background. I softened their edges using a small flat brush and water. Then I added some color to some in the shadows. For those that were floating on the water, I added a line to the middle and shaded the reflection in the water.
Step 8: (Detail) At this point, I took some time to look at the almost finished painting. I decided that I wanted to lift some of the color in the water to create some larger white splashes. I used masking tape and a sharp blade to cut out some shapes. I was pleased with how well the Signature Series Greys lifted. After removing the tape, I cleaned up the shapes I created to integrate them into the surrounding water.
In Conclusion: Normally, I would not recommend using so many different grays in the same painting. In this case, the variety of grays seemed to work together for the colors and textures of the fountain. I feel like this experimental painting was a personal success on multiple fronts. The different cold press paper that I tried worked well and gives me an option from my usual CP paper. I enjoyed experimenting with the textures of the fountain and the Primatek Watercolors, and the New Signature Series Greys really added to that effect with their granulation (Alvaro’s Caliente Grey is the only non-granulating gray in the bunch). Finally, it was a pleasure trying out most of the new DANIEL SMITH Greys in “Spa Day”. My favorites are Alvaro’s Caliente and Fresco Greys. Joseph Z’s Warm and Cool Greys are close runners up. These will be added to my arsenal of convenience colors for future paintings.
Lorraine is a watercolor artist painting waterscapes, birds, and reflective objects in a realistic style. Lorraine’s watercolors are characterized by bright colors, dramatic light, and realistic reflections. She likes the challenge of painting water, glass, and metal and recently has become captivated with birds. Lorraine has a Bachelor of Fine Art from the University of Colorado in Boulder and after college designed clip-art for a graphics company for a few years. Lorraine began working with watercolor 25 years ago and taught the medium at Pikes Peak Community College. She currently teaches watercolor and drawing in her studio and at other venues. Lorraine enjoys the challenge of watercolor and starts her paintings with a detailed drawing. She likes to use intense color and many layers to build up the depth in her images. The DANIEL SMITH pigments are her favorite watercolors for their intensity of color, range of pigments, and beautiful granulations. Lorraine prefers to use the white of the paper and does not add opaque whites to her paintings. She is intrigued by reflections and how they interact to create abstract patterns in a realistic scene.
We are delighted to introduce DANIEL SMITH Watercolor Artist, Sarah Graham! Sarah will take us step-by-step through her process for making a watercolor landscape on Watercolor Ground and Wood Panel. All Daniel Smith Watercolors, Sets, and Grounds are on sale for
Step 1: As always, the first step is the idea – in this case, a simple concept drawing in my sketchbook.
Step 2: Prime a wood panel with DANIEL SMITH Watercolor Ground in Titanium White I like to have a number of panels pre-primed in my favorite sizes so that I can get started right away. This piece is on an 8×8 cradled panel. Drying time for one layer is about 24 hours. I usually do 2 layers and then sand it smooth for more of a hot press paper feel.
Step 3: When I put down the first pass of paint, I usually cover as much of the piece as possible in order to get rid of the intimidating white areas and to get a good feel for my colors and values as a whole. As with watercolor on paper, the colors are much more intense going down wet, so be brave and go bolder than you think!
Step 4: When the first layer is dry, the colors have faded considerably, and I have a good foundation. Here I begin to build my layers, mostly very wet on dry, adding variation to the greens in the tree and foreground. Also adding plenty of colors to the sky and clouds – yes, there are purples, reds and yellows in both!
This is where I establish my core colors, which I complement as I layer with accent colors. (see next step for more on the accent colors)
In the sky: Ultramarine Blue and Phthalo Blue GS with hints of Cadmium Red Medium Hue and Cadmium Yellow Medium Hue.
The greens: Payne’s Gray with Quinacridone Gold in varying ratios.
The gray blue distant hill: Payne’s Gray and Ultramarine Blue.
Step 5: Now I begin to tackle the darker values and mature my colors with accent colors. I punch in some crisp darks to define the cows against the blue background mountain early on so I can keep track of where my darkest darks are headed. From this point on, every layer will be values and colors that answer to each other and keep the eye bouncing around the piece, eventually settling under the tree to rest with the cows.
Accent colors: Quinacridone Burnt Orange to warm up the greens. I also add it to the purples below to make my browns for the tree twigs and cows.
The purples: Ultramarine Blue or Payne’s Gray with Cadmium RedMedium Hue make a muted purple. More red for warmth. More blue for cool tones.
Cool blue grays: Payne’s Gray and Ultramarine Blue.
Step 6 (closeup): The bare twigs on the tree come last, however tempting it is to jump the gun – and yes, they are definitely the most fun part. I use a no. 2 round brush with plenty of bounce or a rigger brush.
Finished Painting: “Hillside Refuge”. Finally, all the darks and middle values are in, and the warm and cool colors are well balanced. Each part of the painting is treated with the same numerous delicate layers, regardless of its “importance” to the piece, because every part needs to belong to the others. Deep shadows in the foreground provide a natural border that hems in the serene nature of the scene.
Step 7: Apply a protective coating and display with or without a frame. I have tried various varnishes and coatings, and I am still feeling out what I like best, so take the following with a grain of salt and add your own flair to it. Basically, it comes down to a matter of preference. I like for my varnish to give my paintings a strong finished presence. For this look, I have found either a) several generous layers of cold wax or b) a brush on satin varnish over a glossy spray isolation coat work best. Both of these methods are represented in the gallery pictures above and below. This is a relatively new and evolving field, so experimenting is probably the best way to find what works for you. Just keep in mind that competitive shows have varying rules regarding acceptable varnishes for watercolor pieces, so do your homework if you plan to compete with your varnished pieces.
Sarah Graham currently lives with her husband and young sun in Duncanville, TX and is known for her sensitive touch with watercolors, especially her portraits. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts from Houghton College and also studied art and portraiture in Italy. In addition to receiving national and regional recognition for her work in competitive art shows such as Texas and Neighbors Regional Exhibition and Society of Watercolor Artist’s International Exhibition, Sarah has traveled extensively, translating what she sees into wet color or pen-and-ink sketches. Sarah is frequently sought out as a demo-artist and juror for art associations and exhibitions in the DFW area. Her particular love is to find something to treasure in whatever she looks at, both in her art and in her life.
We are delighted to introduce DANIEL SMITH Watercolor Artist, Natalia Ushakova! Natalia will take us step-by-step through her process for making a watercolor portrait. All Daniel Smith Watercolors, Sets, and Grounds are on sale for 40% off during Plein Airpril – so now is a great time to test out some colors, treat yourself to that set you’ve been eyeing, and/or experiment with new techniques!
All my studio works are based on sketches, which I do while travelling the world. For example, in 2017 I participated in the IWS Portugal. At the gala dinner, we listened to a woman singing traditional Portuguese Fado chants. Despite not knowing a single word of Portuguese, I quite accurately understood, Cristina was singing about an unanswered love. Her performance was very artistic and emotional. She poured her soul out, and one could understand the song without translation. I could not take my eyes off her, and kept drawing sketches. Later on, I came up with an idea to make a watercolour series on Portugal – and of course the music and musicians had to be the first topic. It is a series in progress, and I have many new ideas.
Step 1. Here are some sketches made while listening to the Portuguese musicians and singers that I used for my watercolours.
Step 2. A preliminary sketch in pencil on 140lb. watercolor paper.
Step 3. First, I used a large brush to add light and transparent tones while painting the faces and light in the window. For this, I used Naples Yellow, Hansa Yellow Light, Cadmium Red Scarlet Hue, Burnt Sienna Light and a bit of Wisteria.
Step 4. Using the same brush, I filled the entire sheet of paper with the middle tones, leaving a blank area for the details of the magnificent scarf. Tip, mix Neutral Tint with some colours with you already used in your painting like I did with Cerulean Blue, Chromium to add some coolness, and Burnt Sienna Light to add some warmth to the background.
Step 5. Add more mid-tones to the face and the scarf. I added Cerulean Blue, Chromium for the eye shadow and for the scarf, I mostly painted with Naples Yellow and Hansa Yellow Light.
Step 6. Setting the darkest, dominant tone of the entire piece – the velvet dress. Tip. I prefer mixing Perylene Violet and Perylene Green to make rich, deep, dark colors instead of using black paint straight from the tube.
Step 7. Enhancing the faces and hands of the singer and guitar player with a thinner brush, for those details, I usedBurnt Sienna Light andCadmium Red Scarlet Hue.
Step 8. Adding some red on her lips and manicure with a fine brush using Cadmium Red Scarlet Hue.
Step 9. To finish the work, when my paper is nearly dry, I enhance the details: faces and hands, and special features, such as the huge turquoise stone ring which I painted with Cobalt Teal Blue. Deciding that I did not like the red nails, I washed off the color so that it would not divert attention away from the ring.
The entire work was done with DANIEL SMITH Watercolours:
List of DANIEL SMITH paints on my palette.
Naples Yellow – The Portuguese Fado Singer
Hansa Yellow Light – The Portuguese Fado Singer
Cadmium Red Scarlet Hue – The Portuguese Fado Singer
Perylene Violet – The Portuguese Fado Singer
Cobalt Blue Violet
Cobalt Teal Blue – The Portuguese Fado Singer
Cerulean Blue, Chromium – The Portuguese Fado Singer
Perylene Green – The Portuguese Fado Singer
Burnt Sienna Light – The Portuguese Fado Singer
Payne’s Blue Grey
Neutral Tint – The Portuguese Fado Singer
I first discoveredDANIEL SMITH watercoloursaccidentally by surfing on the internet. When I found the web site, I couldn’t take my eyes off the pages displaying the magnificent range of colours, I wished to buy them all! With great difficulty, I chose my main colors. Thanks to my brother-in-law who lives in America, I got my first paint tubes and fell in love with them for their quality, brightness, purity and sophisticated hues.
I especially like the range of Perylene colours from Maroon to Green because of their qualities, they blend well and complement each other, creating rich, deep black tones. DANIEL SMITH constantly expands its range of paints encouraging artists to make new discoveries and experiments in creativity.
I love watercolour sketching and I’m so glad to know that DANIEL SMITH has released a new product line as if specially for me! The new Hand Poured Watercolor Half Pan Sets, which include some empty half pans that can be filled with your favourite colours, and taken with you on a trip. I can’t wait for a new journey to try them out!
My main media is watercolour, I like it for the freedom of expression and unpredictability. Also, I work in other graphic media like drawing, sketching and various hand printing techniques. I like to travel and a large number of my paintings and sketches are done in plein air. Those sketches are later used to create large-scale works, which I often expand with my imagination. I take part in many international art festivals and exhibitions, and combine my creative work with teaching art to kids.
Natalia Ushakova received a master of art at the Moscow State Pedagogical University Fine Art.
Member of the International Watercolour Federation since 1998, and Member of the International Federation of Artists & National Artist’s Union of Russia Department graphic section since 2001. Natalia has been exhibiting her work since 1999 and in 2006, began taking part in International Art Fairs, Exhibitions, Competitions and Biennales world wide. In 2016, she was awarded the DANIEL SMITH Prize at the International Watercolour Exhibition at Fabriano (Italy), the watercolor was displayed at the International Watercolor Museum. At Fabriano in 2018, she demonstrated a double kids portrait in Museum of town Genga.
Since 2002, she has been the owner and art director of Art Trophy Gallery, and lives in Moscow, Russia.
We are delighted to introduce DANIEL SMITH Watercolor Artist, Jansen Chow! Jansen will take us step-by-step through his process for making a watercolor portrait. All Daniel Smith Watercolors, Sets, and Grounds are on sale for 40% off during the month of March – so now is the perfect time to test out some colors, treat yourself to that set you’ve been eyeing, and/or experiment with new techniques!
To demonstrate the DANIEL SMITH watercolor paints and my appreciation and understanding of their characteristics, I have used my favourite 18 colors from the DANIEL SMITH Watercolour collection [see Jansen’s Dot Card colors and list further below] to complete this painting. The title of this artwork is “Tinkus dancer at the Oruro Carnival”. This painting was completed to participate in an International Exhibition organized by the Bolivia Watercolor Society. I chose a colour theme that can represent the National colors of Bolivia.
Today, I will share my creative process of how I created this painting in 6 simple steps:
Step 1 : Drawing / Sketching
I have a lot of ways to start my paintings. Sometimes I like to use a pencil to sketch out the details, other times I start with just a general pencil sketch, and occasionally I paint directly with a brush. I wanted this painting to appear more realistic, so I drew the face very carefully with pencil, but only a few strokes for the background as I wanted it to have a more carefree simple background.
Step 2: Mixing the colors directly on the paper
I personally do not like to mix the colors too much on the color palette but prefer to mix the colors directly on the paper. I first freely applied the DANIEL SMITH paint from my palette directly on the paper to add color to the face of the character and the hat with the colorful feathers, with a combination of thick and thin colour application.
Step 3: Completing the main subject
My usual technique is to leave the highlights of the main subject white, to capture the reflecting light rays. I then slowly painted the important portions of the main subject and applied more details to about 80% of completion of my artwork. Often artists will focus on completing the main subject to about 100%, but for me, I usually focus on completing it up to 70-80% of the whole artwork, so that there is room to add in more colors and strokes as the overall work is nearing 100% completion.
Step 4: Application of the background
I used a single color, Payne’s Gray, to color the background in an easy and free way with the brush and water spray technique. The grey background contrasts sharply with the main subjects’ vibrant and fresh colors! During this process, I pay attention to the space treatment and try to complete the background in an interesting manner during the application of colors by keeping some white spaces.
Step 5: Gradients of the background
I gradually added my favorite 18 colors both carefully and freely through lighter brush strokes. The usage of brushes at this stage is very important! You must use a softer brushstroke with the right pressure and direction to show greater space contrast between the background and the main subject.
Step 6: The Finish
In addition to the strong light illuminating the part of the main body through the white space left earlier, I used watercolor brushes of different sizes and design to apply all the colors on my palette with different strokes, from treating the light to dark areas, to applying bright to dark colors for the details and background of the main subject. Upon completion, you will see that this piece has a strong sense of music surrounding the main subject, because of the colors chosen and the brush strokes applied. The overall feeling of this painting is warm and happy! This really achieves the emotion that I want to express through this painting – that the world is beautiful!
I am very honored and happy to be able to share with you the creative process of my work. I hope you liked it. Thank you!
I have always liked painting this beautiful and colorful world with rich texture and colors, and DANIEL SMITH paints make it very easy for me to achieve that effect in my artwork. For me, DANIEL SMITH Watercolors are beautifully made, colorful and offer lots of choices. Most importantly, unlike other brands of paint, the richness and vibrancy of the colours assist me in capturing the beauty I see in this world and express that in my paintings.
My 18 Favourite DANIEL SMITH Watercolors on my Dot Card and used in this step by step article
Cadmium Yellow Deep Hue
Permanent Red Deep
Cobalt Teal Blue
Cobalt Violet Deep
Jansen Chow is a signature member of the American Watercolor Society (AWS) and National Watercolor Society (NWS). He won an art scholarship and studied in The Art Students League of New York, New York from 1994-1996, and he was a student of Mario Cooper, a great American Watercolor Master. Jansen has held 18 solo art exhibitions and took part in more than 350 National and International watercolor exhibitions since 1992. He has won more than 60 National and International awards in watercolor, oil, etching and photography since 1988, including receiving 1st place 9 times in watercolor competitions in USA, Canada, Turkey and Malaysia. Recently he was the IWS Malaysia Country Head, FabrianoInAcqurello Malaysia Country Leader, and the curator of “1st Malaysia International Watercolor Biennale 2018”.
We are delighted to introduce DANIEL SMITH Watercolor Artist, Joanna Barnum! Joanna will take us step-by-step through her process for making a watercolor portrait.
For this portrait painting, “Fae”, I started with a photo of my friend Amy, a dancer and professional fairy, who did an impromptu photo shoot with me at a festival. I liked her wistful expression and fanciful costuming as the main inspiration for the painting. This piece is an example of my typical portrait painting process in watercolor.
I like to work with photo reference as the jumping off point for my portraits because of how a photo can capture fleeting expressions and movements, as well as the memories of a particular time and place. Although I also enjoy painting the model from life, and this practice informs all of my other drawing and painting, a live model is more limited in what can be sustained for several hours. Sometimes I hire specific models I want to shoot photos of (or press friends and family members into service), other times I’ll bring my camera to events to capture more organic moments. I particularly love working with dancers, actors, and all kinds of performers, since they’re very at ease in front of a camera. I might have a particular concept in mind when I start shooting reference, or I might just file the photos away and see what they inspire for me later on.
I look for expressions, gestures, and light that inspire me in photos, but I don’t worry about keeping the original composition of the photo, or painting everything exactly as shown in the photograph.
In this case, I first crop from a larger full body photograph, and then move the portrait 2/3 to the right of a horizontal composition so that we can follow the subject’s gaze through the composition. I plan to eliminate the extraneous background information, and handle the environment in an expressive way. I also plan to paint the overall colors a bit warmer than what my camera captured, since the photo has a slight cool caste to it.
I like to work on 300lb cold press or rough paper. I don’t stretch my paper, but I might clip it to a board to make manipulating the piece easier as I work. I’ll start with a fairly well defined preliminary drawing, which allows me to be looser and more relaxed with the painting process- I know that I already have my likeness nailed down. To avoid overworking the paper before I begin painting, I will transfer the basic lines for the image from either a separate preliminary drawing or a draft copy of my photograph, and then I will refine and develop the drawing using an HB (#2) mechanical pencil. I try to avoid excessive erasing.
Since I want a loose, expressive background for this piece, I begin there. I work mostly wet on wet, painting a soft interpretation of the natural environment in the photo, leaving out extraneous elements. I also add a big swath of pink radiating out from the flower, to create sort of a magical feeling. I allow some of the background to merge into the shadow side of the figure. I also sprinkle some salt in areas of the background while it’s semi-wet to create small salt blooms as an additional atmospheric element. When I’m working a large area like a background, I try to use the largest brush I can, only switching to smaller brushes for more control when I need to.
My basic process for painting a portrait in watercolor starts with a cool colored underpainting. This is a personal quirk I developed through trial and error when I painted lots and lots of (too cheap) portrait commissions right out of art school. Painting believable flesh requires using not just warm colors, but including some cools- and I found that painting some of the cools first helped to set them “under” the surface of the skin, and helped me get a good sense of the overall value structure of the painting right from the get-go.
It’s vital to note that this is NOT a full-value underpainting like one might do an umber “grisaille” in oil painting. Since everything put down on the page in a watercolor will remain visible through subsequent transparent layers, going overboard with this initial cool layer would be completely overwhelming. I just focus on the cool shadows I see. Large sections of the portrait remain unpainted at this stage.
Cerulean Blue, Chromium is the color I used most often for this stage. It has a slight warmth to it, and even at full strength, is not too deep in value. However, I will sometimes integrate greens, other blues, and purples at this stage, depending on the complexion of the subject or the lighting of the scene. On a subject with dark skin, the cool underpainting might shift to using more ultramarine blue and purples.
During this stage, I also make sure to put the white of the eyes and any visible teeth mostly in subtle cool shadow. Aside from any bright highlights on these areas, they are never fully the white of the paper. I also usually carry the cool shadows into other areas, like clothing, for consistency.
Overall, I tend to think in shapes of value and color, leaving fairly hard edges to my shapes. I might soften the edge of a transition within a face with just a little bit of clear water or with a dry brush texture, but “smoothness” is not something I concern myself with- I don’t think of it as a fundamental characteristic of watercolor. The major relationships are more fundamental in creating the illusion of realism. And any blooms or organic textures that arise in the course of painting are embraced and appreciated.
Once the previous layer is fully dry (I use a hair dryer if I’m impatient), I look at my photograph and identify both the pure white highlights on the flesh, and the lightest light warm flesh tones. I put down a large wash on all of the flesh areas, except for the white highlights, in this light flesh color. It goes right over the cool underpainting. Indian Yellow, Pyrrol Scarlet, Permanent Alizarin Crimson, and Quinacridone Rose are the colors I usually choose from when mixing this color. There is no one exact formula- it depends on what I observe. In this case, the lightest light areas in the subjects face seem to shift more yellowish, so I used mostly Indian Yellow and Pyrrol Scarlet, well diluted. While this wash was wet, I drop in a little bit of Pyrrol Scarlet under the subject’s chin where there is a particularly warm sunny glow.
Once again, I allow the previous layer to dry fully. Now I am layering my mid-tone warm flesh color on top of the lightest lights, leaving some of those previous light areas unpainted. Indian Yellow, Pyrrol Scarlet, Permanent Alizarin crimson, and Quinacridone Rose are again usually the colors I choose from for the mid-tones, although for a dark skinned subject, I may also introduce Burnt Sienna at this stage. The mid-tones on the subject look more pinkish to me, so I use cooler reds in the mix. There will also be variety from one area to the next in this layer. It’s important not to be too hesitant when painting the warm mid-tones. At this stage of the painting they will be the darkest thing on the face, which can lead to a tendency to want to paint them too light. Better to be a little more aggressive now, rather than realizing at the end of the painting that all of the mid-tones are too washed out.
Before I move on to adding more detail to the face, I make sure that all other areas of the painting are blocked in with an appropriate light color. I try to work a painting as a whole so that I can understand the overall relationships, rather than totally finishing one area while another is still totally unpainted.
At this stage I may switch to using mostly smaller brushes, as the areas I’m handling are getting smaller. I build up details and darker areas as needed to complete the painting. Colors here could be anything. As I darken some shadows on the flesh, I may return to using some cool colors. Small shadows that define the features can be warm darks or cool darks. I mix neutrals and darks using a variety of complementary color pairs.
It’s important that the lights and darks in the finished painting feel well balanced and create a pleasing movement around the page. Sometimes there is a tendency for beginners to make the nostrils and the pupils of the eyes the only dark areas on a face, which looks odd. And when it comes to details like the texture of hair, eyebrows, and eyelashes, it’s important to observe carefully and not default to a cartoon idea of what these things look like. Think about bigger shapes first, with individual hairs being just an enhancement in certain places.
Tips for painting portraits in watercolor:
–Use the largest brush comfortable for an area, and switch to a small one for more control or detail only when you really need to. Don’t get caught up in trying to cover a lot of area with a tiny brush.
–Think of breaking down the major value changes in the face like creating a stencil. Big shapes and accurate values are more important than smoothly blending one value into the next. A preoccupation with blending and smoothness can lead to an overworked painting, or a face that lacks structure.
–Embrace the fundamental character of watercolor. Allow it to be alive and do what it wants to do, to some degree. Accept blooms, tide lines, and other organic textures that arise naturally during the painting process as a beautiful, natural part of the process rather than fighting them or trying to “correct” them. An organic “accident” is more beautiful than overworking an area trying to force it to behave in certain way.
–Don’t isolate features – don’t think of a “nose” or “lips” as separate objects that need to be worked separately from the rest of the face. Work in big connected shapes.
–If realistic full-color flesh tones are the goal (as opposed to an intentionally limited palette- which can also be great) it’s important to have both a warm and a cool red.
–All flesh contains cool tones as well as warm tones.
DANIEL SMITH Watercolors – I love how pigment rich DANIEL SMITH Watercolors are, enabling me to achieve intense color saturation easily; and and how readily they re-wet back to full strength even when left to dry on a palette – just like new with no scrubbing or rubbing! The wide selection of colors offered, including those with unique properties not available elsewhere, means each artist can choose precisely the palette that works best for them, and find exactly what is called for in any circumstance.
Permanent Alizarin Crimson
Phthalo Green (Blue Shade)
Cerulean Blue Chromium
#1 round – Synthetic white sable
#4 round – Synthetic white sable
#10 flat – Synthetic white sable
3/4” flat – Synthetic white sable
2” flat – Synthetic white sable
#16 round – Faux squirrel
Palette – For small pieces and travel, I use a plastic one with individual wells for color and large divisions for mixing. For large paintings, I use a variety of enamel butcher trays and individual ceramic dishes.
About the Artist:
Joanna Barnum uses watercolor to express universal emotional states and the unique spirits of her portrait subjects, balancing experimental, abstract use of the media with sensitive realism and symbolism.
She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2006, and has since made her living as an artist across the realms of fine art, illustration, and teaching.
She is a Signature Member of the National Watercolor Society and serves on the boards of the Baltimore Watercolor Society and the Mid-Atlantic Plein Air Painters’ Association. Joanna’s work has been recognized by American Illustration, Illustration West, the “Splash: The Best in Watercolor” series from North Light Books, Infected by Art, and at juried watercolor society exhibitions and plein air painting competitions around the country.
She has worked with clients and collaborators including Renegade Game Studios for the game Overlight, NASA, AARP, Cricket, Faerie Magazine, Eating Well, and the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Her work has recently appeared on Every Day Original online, at Abend Gallery in Denver, CO, and at Rehs Contemporary Galleries in New York, NY. Joanna also teaches her approach to watercolor as a guest workshop instructor for watercolor societies and institutions.
Joanna currently lives in Harford County, Maryland with her husband and their greyhound (and studio manager) Zephyr.