Sophie Rodionov: Watercolor Step by Step

Watercolor Step by Step with DANIEL SMITH Watercolor Artist Sophie Rodionov

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”.

Step 1. Reference photo, value sketch and pencil sketch on watercolor paper.

Step 1  

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. 

Step 2. First watercolor washes.

Step 2

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. 

Colors. Nickel Azo Yellow, Monte Amiata Natural Sienna, Quinacridone Burnt Orange, and Lunar Earth for mixing warm wash colors. Lunar Blue for the background and Moonglow for the cat’s shadow.
Step 3. Adding values to the cat’s figure to build the form.

Step 3

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. 

Step 4. Adding darker values to the shadows on the cat and the shadow beneath it.

Step 4

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.

Colors. Mixes of Sepia, Phthalo Turquoise and Verditer Blue with Deep Scarlet is one of my favourite dark mixes.
Step 5. The most fun step, creating the textures in a background.

Step 5

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. 

Step 6. Checking the background values.

Step 6

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. 

Step 7. Adding the final details.

Step 7

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!

“Other Way” by Sophie Rodionov
Finished painting, “Other Way”, 15″ x 20″, by Sophie Rodionov
Sophie Rodionov’s palette of DANIEL SMITH Watercolors.

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
  • Perinone Orange
  • Quinacridone Coral
  • Opera Pink
  • Deep Scarlet
  • Sepia
  • Phthalo Turquoise
  • Phthalo Blue (RS)
  • French Ultramarine
  • Cerulean Blue
  • Cobalt Teal Blue
  • Verditer Blue 
  • Lavender
  • Olive Green
  • Perylene Green
  • Lunar Black

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.

“Kora” by Sophie Rodionov
“Buddies” by Sophie Rodionov
Sophie Rodionov signing her finished watercolor painting.

Realistic Watercolor Painting w/Kelly Eddington

What do you love to paint the most? You’ll never know until you explore a wide variety of subject matter. This online workshop presents a sampler of popular watercolor subjects: landscapes, still life, and portraits. Kelly Eddington will show you how watercolor’s unique properties can do the heavy lifting in each painting. Watch watercolor create a serene blue sky, a soft shadow defining a cheekbone, and reflected light on a shiny surface—all in seconds. Watercolor is challenging and can take decades to master, but this medium’s special quirks are so seductive you might find yourself under its spell for the rest of your life.

The Mind of Watercolor w/Steve Mitchell

Watercolor can be one of the simplest mediums to use, but it does seem to have a mind of its own at times, giving it the reputation of being fussy and unforgiving to work with. In this four part workshop Steve Mitchell gets into the mind of watercolor and see what makes it tick. Success with watercolor depends greatly on discovering and anticipating how it reacts in real painting situations.

Celebrate World Watercolor Month: Sketching & Journaling w/Gay Kraeger

Capturing your world through art in a journal is a low-tech, highly rewarding experience, but you don’t need us to tell you that. In her friendly and conversational video workshop, Gay Kraeger guides you through learning watercolor one step at a time: the basics, quick sketches, page design, lettering, and watercolor techniques needed to create illustrations of your life in the form of an art journal.

The Importance of Blue: Artist Pablo Ruben

Daniel Smith presents watercolor artist Pablo Ruben and “The Importance of Blue”

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.

Diagram of the colors used for “Fuente de Castellar”

When mixed with different earth tones (Burnt SiennaBurnt UmberSepia, 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.

Pablo Ruben’s DANIEL SMITH Watercolor mixes for making grays

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.

“Fuente de Castellar” by Pablo Rubén

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. 

Pablo Rubén paintings demonstrating the Importance of Blue

“Pilar de la Horadada” by Pablo Rubén
“Alovera” by Pablo Rubén
“Membrilla” by Pablo Rubén
“Blue Bridge” by Pablo Rubén

Introducing Jansen Chow, Watercolor Artist

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.

Jansen Chow’s DANIEL SMITH Artist Dot Card with Watercolor tubes with “Tinkus Dancer at the Oruro Canival” painting

Today, I will share my creative process of how I created this painting in 6 simple steps:

Step 1. Drawing or sketch for Tinkus Dancer at the Oruro Carnival

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 for Tinkus Dancer at the Oruro Carnival

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 for Tinkus Dancer at the Oruro Carnival

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 for Tinkus Dancer at the Oruro Carnival

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 for Tinkus Dancer at the Oruro Carnival

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. “Tinkus Dancer at the Oruro Carnival” by Jansen Chow.

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!

–Jansen Chow
Jansen Chow in front of his watercolor painting of Machu Picchu

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

Lemon Yellow

Indian Yellow

Cadmium Yellow Deep Hue

Permanent Red Deep

Alizarin Crimson

Permanent Orange

Cerulean Blue

Ultramarine Blue

Viridian

Permanent Green

Cobalt Teal Blue

Cobalt Violet Deep

Cobalt Violet

Payne’s Gray

Indian Red

Yellow Ochre

Opera Pink

Indigo

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”. 

Jansen Chow lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Introducing Joanna Barnum, Watercolor Artist

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.

Reference Photo

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.

Preliminary Drawing

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.

Step 1 – Expressive background.

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.

Step 2 – Cool underpainting.

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.

Watercolor bloom detail.
Step 3 – Lightest warm fleshtones.

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.

Step 4 – Mid-tone warm fleshtones.

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.

Step 5 – Blocking in all the other areas.

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.

Eye detail.

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.

“Fae” by Joanna Barnum, 12″ x 16″, 2019

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.

Materials:

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.

  • Quinacridone Rose
  • Permanent Alizarin Crimson
  • Pyrrol Scarlet
  • Indian Yellow
  • Sap Green
  • Phthalo Green (Blue Shade)
  • Ultramarine Blue
  • Cerulean Blue Chromium
  • Ultramarine Violet
  • Burnt Sienna
  • Payne’s Gray

Brushes

  • #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:

Photo of artist Joanna Barnum

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.