Tuesday, 7 April 2009

A carrot and a question.

I'm back on weightwatchers again, having put on a bit of weight over the past year. Eventually I would love to be able to go running again. Even if I was never able to do another marathon (I ran the Edinburgh marathon in May 2007 and loved it even though I got horribly injured) it would be nice just to run five miles maybe three or four times a week. But since I really just can't run at the moment, and even walking more than a couple of miles can be painful due to my stupid arthritic ankle, I am going to have to eat a lot more of these and a lot less cake.


Here's a question for the watercolour experts. I am currently using Winsor & Newton Cotman paints. The plan is to replace them with artist quality paints very soon. But in the meantime I'm noticing a few things that mildly annoy me, and one of them is this:

See how in the palette the colours have separated? I had a mix of cadmium yellow pale, cadmium red and ultramarine, it was a slightly purplish grey, but you can see where I've left it alone for a minute and it's separated back out into its three components. Is this a common characteristic of watercolours? Or is it just because student quality paint contains more filler and less pigment? It bugs me a bit having to constantly keep swirling the brush around in washes to keep them mixed! If anyone can shed any light on this I would be very happy to hear your comments.


Alex said...

Nice carrot! Easter bunnies would be swarming over to get a bite.
As for your watercolor expert-question, I am unable to contribute since I usually use the cheapest kind, and just work with what I have :) But you're right, it'd be nice to have those colors stay blended.

David R. Vallejo said...

I think the remedy is just what you are suggesting, professional quality paints. There are very few things that are actually better with the more money you spend. Watercolors and chocolate are among the few. Nice carrot!

Jenny said...

Aveen, I answered your question at the EDM Group, but here it is again:

Different colors have different characteristics, and sometimes a combination will give unexpected results. Ultramarine Blue is a granulating color, and I suspect it is the gremlin in your mix. As you become more familiar with watercolors, you will learn how to work with the differences. There is nothing wrong with the brand you are using.

The following web page will lead you to a lot of info on watercolor pigments. Click on the colors along the top of the page.


It's too much to understand at once, so bookmark the page and use it for reference.

This page on attributes of paints will really scramble your brain.


Skim the page, bookmark it, and return in a few months, or years.

You do need to be aware of which colors stain, lift easily, or granulate. You also need to be aware of which are transparent, opaque, or in-between. The opaque ones can be trouble because you wind up with mud if you handle them incorrectly.

Relax. You will eventually learn more than you ever planned, but you don't have to know it all immediately.

About your carrot:
Good colors. Good shadows and shaping. Excellent! *lol*

Chrissie said...

Carrot - beautifully painted and even if you don't lose weight, you'll be able to see in the dark!

Kate (Cathy Johnson) said...

As Jenny says, it's probably colors that tend to granulate, separating out.

Actually, a non-homogenous mix makes for an interesting painting, even to the point of mixing on your paper rather than on the palette, so maybe look for the silver lining till you can afford artist-grade paints, said Pollyanna?

Capt Elaine Magliacane said...

Miss Kate is the expert... I was going to also suggest that it might be the 'new' plastic palette that's the villain... try the mix on a white ceramic plate and see if it separates. Using Ajax or an abrasive green sponge to rough up the plastic may help... personally I don't use plastic anymore... it is too annoying.
Final bit of advise..The cadmium colors are all opaque.. use sparingly.

Dot said...

This is really pretty! And I love Jenny's link above to the watercolor pigment page... fascinating!

Aarti Harish said...

Hey lovely carrot...send some to India...waiting..!!

Gulnaz said...

Hi, I am not an expert--but I remember I read somewhere, that in watercolor it is best to mix the colors on a paper while painting, not on a palette, you could try to experiment how the colors look--that way it was suggested that pigments are better mixed and colors are not muddy. it is not a an answer to your question, but maybe they will not separate on paper?

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