Experimenting with New Colors

New Travel Palette

O.K. I admit it–I love to experiment with new pigments colors.

Last June I was watching a watercolor video by Steve Mitchell on his “Mind of Watercolor” YouTube channel which I highly recommend.

The video was: “My Favorite 8 Colors for Watercolors.”

After seeing all of the wonderful colors he was able to create with eight pigments, I wanted to give them a try. However I was a little hesitant to purchase them because they are made with honey and I was afraid they may not dry enough and run to other wells in my travel palette. I asked Steve if he had any problems with this and he assured me he did not. I decided to bite the bullet and purchase the following M. Graham watercolor pigments.

Azo Green
Prussian Blue
Ultramarine Blue
Quinacridone Red
Transparent Red Iron Oxide
Indian Yellow
Paynes Gray

Because M. Graham paints are made with honey they reconstitute very easily with just a drop of water. It is so easy to get nice really rich color even after not using them for a while…and Steve was correct…I haven’t had any problem with them running in my travel palette which by the way is a Mijello Airtight Watercolor Palette.

Next, I painted a color chart to see what colors I could create by mixing each one of these with the others. Is it just me or do you love to make color charts too? I just love watching the colors flow off of the brush and onto the paper.

After seeing the green mixes I achieved,  I wanted to take this a step further to see the full range of greens I could create. I decided to use Azo Green, Indian Yellow, Ultramarine Blue, Prussian Blue, and Payne’s Gray to mix the greens.

For each row, I started on the left with the pure pigment. In the box next to that I added just a tad of the pure pigment painted indicated in the last box. Each time I moved to the next square in the row, I added a tiny bit more of the pigment indicated in the last box.

This is a helpful chart to carry with you in the field when you are wanting a variety of greens in your landscapes.

Here is the first journal page I created solely using pigments from this new palette of colors.

Little Hills Winery © Annie Glacken

By the way, this is another page in my historic St. Charles Journal that I am working on. You can see more pages from this travel journal here on a recent post, “Creating a Memory Journal.”  Also, if you are interested in learning more about Sketchbookm Journalling or Color Mixing, please check out these classes by clicking on the workshop tab above.

Happy color experimenting!

As always, the compositions in these exercises are copyrighted. Thanks!

6 Replies to “Experimenting with New Colors”

  1. I don’t think I’ve seen this journal page–very pretty! All the line work looks very meditative. I loved Steve’s demonstration on mixing these eight colors as well. I bought the Azo Green and Prussian Blue based on it. I already had the other colors (in Daniel Smith), except for the Sepia, but haven’t bought that yet. I’m not sure how I feel about multi-pigment colors; I sometimes end up with muddy mixes when too many pigments are involved. But it’s a gorgeous color.

    • Susan, thanks for the compliment. Prussian Blue is one of my favorite colors. You are correct that it is easier to get onto the “mud” with multi-pigment hues. For vibrant color it is best to only use them with one other pure pigment. I do like adding a touch of them when I want to “neutralize or gray” a color mix.

  2. I’m right there with you following Steve! He has some wonderful videos! I also love doing these charts. I get lost in the process and lose all track of time when I do this! There is so much to be learned by doing this!

    • Yes, these are great exercises. I seem to lose track of time no matter what I am doing when I have a paintbrush in my hand–doesn’t matter if it is a sketch, studio painting, color charts, etc. 😉.
      Thanks for commenting!