My Favorite Watercolor Brands and Colors

So excited to share my first blog post with you! I hope you’ll be able to gain inspiration here for your own creative endeavors or just enjoy peeking into my studio. 

I started using watercolors in 2013 and love their versatility, ability to stain, layer and saturate. One of the first brands I came across was Mission watercolors. They remain my favorite brand of watercolors for their earthy tones and super saturated colors. Shadow green is my JAM. 

I also love Hookers Green, Greenish Yellow and my secret weapon, Sap Green. In my paintings, I always mix at least 4-6 colors to get what I'm looking for but that’s going to be another blog post all together... "How to mix the greens of nature." 

I recently purchased my first Daniel Smith watercolors a few weeks ago and I am really enjoying them.

I received a lot of suggestions from Instagram friends to check them out so I bought about 10 tubes. So far, I love the way they blend - very soft and buttery. Some of their watercolors are made with real ground rock/ gemstone pigments. The Amazonite Genuine has been great to work with. I did a few color field paintings with Carribean colors and they gave me the perfect shade of turquoise!

Here's a list of my favorite colors by brand.

Mission Watercolors:

Juane Brilliant No. 2, Brilliant Pink, Vermilion, Raw Sienna, Burnt Umber, Raw Umber, Sepia, Red Violet, Ultramarine Violet, Prussian Blue, Indigo, Horizon Blue, Compose Blue, Shadow Green, Yellow Grey, Greenish Yellow, Olive Green, Sap Green, Green Grey, Hooker's Green, Permanent Green No. 2, Viridian

Daniel Smith Watercolors:

Lunar Earth, Sedona Genuine, Potter's Pink, Quinacridone Violet, Quinacridone Magenta, Terre Verte, Payne's Gray, Amazonite Genuine

There are a few watercolor mediums I have tried but I don’t use them on a day-to-day basis. I find that I get more saturation and more control without them but I do want to tell you about two of them. Qor makes a "Watercolor Medium" gloss additive that produces a “final coat” effect. Just add a drop or two into the watercolors or, as I have found, adding it to my water jar works well. This is helpful to avoid chemical reactions between different brands and pigments. I have also added too much to my watercolor pan and ruined the art not knowing how strong it was, so be careful and use sparingly ;)

Windsor and Newton makes a "Granulation Medium" for (as I call it) watermarking the color. I find it to be not very controllable and is more for abstracts that embrace chance. If you like chemical reactions, you will like it. If you want a natural method of making watermarks, drop water or sea salt on top of the wet painting.

Leave me a comment about your own experiences with watercolors or let me know what you'd like to see next.

Thanks for reading!

- Jenny   



Comment on this work (10 comments)

  • Eb says...

    Hi Jenny-
    I have been such a gréât admirer of your botanical paintings. Are you not doing them anymore ?

    June 07, 2018

  • Jenny - Living Pattern says...

    Hi Chloe! Thank you for reading the post:) I wish I had some discount codes for you, I am not sponsored by these brands:/ I would try utrechtart.com they carry the DS & Mission watercolors. Maybe a quick google search for retailers in AU? I hope you find them!

    April 30, 2018

  • Jenny - Living Pattern says...

    Hi Jan! Feel free to message me, I am happy to help you! xo!

    April 30, 2018

  • Jenny - Living Pattern says...

    Hi Camila! Yes! I cut the little swatch papers down, they are actually leftover scraps from my big sheets. I try to reuse as much as I can in my studio:)

    April 30, 2018

  • Jenny - Living Pattern says...

    Hi Libby! I am definitely buying that color! Thank you for the recommendation:)

    April 30, 2018

  • Chloe says...

    Would love and appreciate some links to buy (and discount codes if you have any! 😜). I’m in Australia and we don’t have many watercolour brands at all here. I always feel really stuck on what I’m supposed to use.

    April 30, 2018

  • Jan - la botánica says...

    Jenny! This is just on time for me and I can’t wait for more blog posts and maybe even a class offering 😉 You are such an inspiration and I will be getting my hands on some new paints soon.

    April 30, 2018

  • Camila says...

    Hi Jenny ! As always, so in love with your work 💕 I was wondering what kind of paper do you work with, do you cut those tiny sizes yourself? Thank you !!

    April 30, 2018

  • Libby says...

    DS Cascade Green is a wonderful pigment too. It has some gorgeous turquoise granulation.

    April 30, 2018

  • KimD says...

    Thank you for the info. I love DS watercolors but have never tried Mission. I’ll check them out.

    April 30, 2018

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