November 14: Exploring Daniel Smith Watercolors

Daniel Smith Watercolors

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 paper!!!

  • 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

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

Watercolor Mixing Charts: How to Make Them and Why

Daniel Smith Color Mixing Charts How to Make Them and Why

Why take the time to make watercolor mixing charts? 

Color Mixing Charts (or grids) are terrific tools for learning, for color referencing, an excellent way to understand your DANIEL SMITH Extra-Fine Watercolors, and see some of the range of colors that can be mixed.  For our example, we’re making a color mixing chart or grid with the 6 colors from the DANIEL SMITH Colors of Inspiration Watercolor Half Pan Set.  

DANIEL SMITH Colors of Inspiration Watercolor Half Pan Set with color mixing chart

As a Learning Tool

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!

DANIEL SMITH Colors of Inspiration Watercolor Half Pan Set mixing chart

How the Mixing Chart is organized

The colors are laid out chromatically in both the horizontal rows and vertical columns as shown in the example below for the DANIEL SMITH Colors of Inspiration Watercolor Half Pan Set.

WisteriaLavenderRose of UltramarineMoonglowShadow Violet and Serpentine Genuine

Photo 1. Colors of Inspiration painted out on labeled mixing chart.

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.

Photo 2. Painting each of the six colors, deeper colors on vertical columns, mid tone on the horizontal rows and light wash on the diagonal.

Photo 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. Color mixing begins with the Wisteria vertical column and horizontal row.

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 4. Lavender column and row.

Photo 5. Rose of Ultramarine column and row.

Photo 5. Rose of Ultramarine column and row.

Photo 6. Moonglow column and row.

Photo 6. Moonglow column and row.

Photo 7. Shadow Violet and Serpentine Genuine columns and rows

Photo 7Shadow 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 

Gray Titanium Mixing Grid with Essentials Watercolor Set.

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. 
6 color template and 7 color diagram, adding in Gray Titanium

You can download the 6 color mixing chart template HERE  

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.

Color Mixing Chart for the 15 color Ultimate Mixing Watercolor Half Pan Set.

We used the 6 color template as a guide when we did our 15 color DANIEL SMITH Ultimate Mixing Half Pan Watercolor Set Mixing Chart, so you can modify the basic template to accommodate larger collections of colors as well. 

As a Color Reference  

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. 

Have fun painting your DANIEL SMITH Extra-Fine Watercolors Mixing Charts!

Painting out the Colors of Inspiration Color Mixing Chart.

Strathmore 2019 Online Workshop Series 2: Urban Sketching Basics


Strathmore’s next FREE Online Workshop will be starting up again next month and we are so excited for this virtual classroom! Next up, Urban Sketching Essentials with artist/instructor Alphonso Dunn, starting May 6, 2019!

We’re big fans of Urban Sketching, it’s one of the most fun, fulfilling, and adventurous artistic endeavors you can experience. There is no doubt drawing on location can be a bit intimidating. In this compact and beginner-friendly workshop you will learn the essentials you need to get going in this incredibly liberating art form. Topics include, starting supplies, drawing mechanics, watercolor basics, compositional elements, simplifying scenes, and tips and techniques for handling pen and ink. These and more will be covered. Join in to learn invaluable tips, tricks, and techniques that will inspire you to explore your world with confidence!

Here is basic information about Strathmore Online Workshops:

  • Workshops are self-paced. You participate when you want.
  • If you registered for the Online Workshops, you will receive an email at the start of each Workshop. Note that you will not be receiving an email each week a workshop lesson is published (only at the start of the workshop).
  • Each Workshop has 4 weekly lessons. Once a workshop begins, a lesson is published on the Workshop page each week for four weeks. Once the lessons are published, they will stay active on the site until December 31.
  • In addition to the lessons, students can participate in conversations on our discussion boards or share work in the classroom photo gallery.
  • Each weekly lesson includes a video lesson and downloadable instruction sheet. You will complete assignments on your own, at your own pace. Due to the size of the classes, there is no formal instructor review of your assignments.
  • Instructors will actively participate at the start of each workshop through the first 4 weeks. Instructors will post tips and comments during this time. However, due to the size of the classes, they may not be able to respond to all of students’ questions or comments. Strathmore will be helping out our instructors during this time. After the 4 weeks, Strathmore will continue to monitor classroom discussions and answer questions, with the help of the instructor as needed.

QoR MINI Watercolor Set: Compact Color for artists on the move

MINI Watercolor Set by QoR fits 12 half pan watercolors in a tin smaller than an index card. It fits perfectly in pocket or purse for urban sketching and plein air painting and is on sale for 40% off!!!

The deep, rich, beautiful color of QoR Modern Watercolors with its exclusive Aquazol binder provides more pigment in every brushstroke, while retaining the best qualities of traditional watercolors. Strength, versatility, and now convenience and mobility are part of the Qor Story – and at 40% off list price! Get this set for $69.99 (list price $99.99) while supplies last!  

Features include:

  • Stamped wells on tin lid offer convenient mixing space
  • Innovative non-staining silicone insert with embossed letters next to each pan
  • Standard size removable/refillable half pans; and
  • Watercolor paper insert to paint out a color reference key

Vibrant, clean mixing primary colors along with convenient secondary and earth colors includes: Cadmium Yellow Primrose, Nickel Azo Yellow, Transparent Pyrrole Orange, Pyrrole Red Medium, Quinacridone Magenta, Dioxazine Purple, Ultramarine Blue, Phthalo Blue (Green Shade), Sap Green, Payne’s Gray, Transparent Brown Oxide, and Burnt Umber

Introducing: QoR Light Dimensional Ground

A white, lightweight paste that spreads like frosting, Light Dimensional Ground by QoR can be applied smooth and thinly, or built up to create ridges, peaks and other interesting textures. The extremely absorbent surface of Light Dimensional Ground allows washes to spread quickly, while accommodating fine lines and detail as well. Try dropping color into lightly wet areas to create beautiful blooms. And during the month of March, QoR Modern Watercolors, Mediums, and Grounds are on sale at 40% off!!! If you haven’t experienced it yet, now is a good time to try QoR Light Dimensional Ground!

How To: QoR Masking Fluid

QoR offers a latex-based Masking Fluid to complement their range of modern watercolors and mediums. Masking Fluid is ideal for hard-edges and highlights with watercolor compositions. Have you tried using masking fluid when working with watercolors? If you haven’t yet, now is the time to try! QoR Masking Fluid and all QoR Mediums and Grounds are on sale for 40% off through March 31st!