The blue colours in my palette

I receive a ton of questions about the paints that I use, so today I wanted to start a series of posts about the watercolours that I use. 
Today I want to talk about my blues. Being a floral and wildlife artist I would mostly use blue tones for flowers, leaves and birds. I’ve found the watercolour paints that I’ll talk about in this post to be the the most bright, expressive and deep on the one hand and soft, silken, refined, pastel on the other. And what is most important for me - they are ideal for MY style and technique.
I want to start with a disclaimer - this post it not sponsored and I am not affiliated with any of the brands mentioned here. These are purely my thoughts and experience.
My favourite watercolour brands are Van Gogh, Winsor & Newton and Daniel Smith. And not so long ago I’ve discovered for myself Schmincke watercolours, and I think now they are one of my favourites.
If you follow me on Instagram, you might have noticed that most of my watercolour paints come in tubes. I really prefer tubes over pans, because in my experience they are softer, oilier and easier to work with when using big amounts of water. In my latest works I’ve been dealing with large coloured areas, for example my Power over You collection, that’s why tubes worked really good for me. I can squeeze as much paint as I want on my palette and comfortably mix it with a lot of water as well as other colours.
I love every blue colour I have in my collection and I think each of them is very close to the colours you can see in the nature.

The list of all Blue tones in my watercolour palette

my blues

  1. Turquoise Series 1 by Winsor & Newton
  2. Mayan Blue Genuine Series 3 by Daniel Smith 
  3. Intense blue (Phthalo blue) Series 1 by Winsor & Newton
  4. 506 Ultramarine Deep by Van Gogh
  5. 477 Phthalo Sapphire blue by Horadam Schmincke
  6. Phthalo turquoise Series 2 by Winsor & Newton
  7. 496 Ultramarine blue by Horadam Schmincke
  8. Cobalt turquoise light Series 4 by Winsor & Newton
  9. Manganese blue hue Series 2 by Winsor & Newton
Not all of these are in my everyday palette.
I use numbers 2, 4, 6 and 8 more often. Numbers 5 and 7 are brand new colours in my palette, and so far I’ve been enjoying them the most. What I love about them is their really strong, granulated and deep pigment. I usually start my work with a very light transparent layer. Then layer after layer I finish my work with the most saturated and deep one, so I find these two colours the best for that purpose.
Below I will give some more details on colours and will show you what painting I’ve used them in.

Winsor & Newton colours in my works

    Turquoise (n.1) and 506 Intense blue (n.3) Series 1 by Winsor & Newton

    I find these colours to be very intense and bright. They both have blue pigment, the only difference is that turquoise color has also a green pigment (PG7). When I look at them, first thing that I’m thinking of is a Kingfisher with its very saturated blue back) I really like how they look on their own, so I mostly use them as they are without mixing with other colours. 
    One of the works I've used these colors in is from my old Nursery Collection. I’ve found a photo of this cute little tiger on Pinterest and completely fell in love with his eyes. To highlight them I decided to use the deep tones of Intense blue (n.3). And it was the best fit for it I think. For the bow tie I’ve used a mix of turquoise (n.1) and ultramarine deep (n.4)
    tiger baby boy

    Cobalt turquoise light (n.8) Series 4 and Manganese blue hue (n.9) Series 2 by Winsor & Newton

    Each of these colours include a different pigment. Cobalt turquoise light (n.8) has a green pigment (PG50) and Manganese blue hue (n.9) has a blue pigment (PB15). For me, they both are very light, soft and pastel. And of course, they are the colours of my favourite Turquoise mineral or turquoise stone:
    turquoise stone
    The next work is from my Animals collection. That’s a Gold Zebra. It has a very rare body colour and also very beautiful light blue eyes. I’ve used light tones of Manganese blue hue (n.1) here. For the feathers I’ve chosen a mix of Cobalt turquoise light (n.8) and Manganese blue hue with some grey tones for shading. 

    Van Gogh blues in my works

    506 Ultramarine deep (n.4) by Van Gogh

    I don’t know what I’d do without this colour in my palette, especially when painting this Octopus:
    octopus in anemones
    It’s clear, bright, transparent pigment (PB29) is gorgeous in application. Also, it's an excellent tool for mixing if you are looking for a beautiful tones of purples, lilacs and more. You can see how beautifully soft and silken it appears on the Octopus body.
    Another example of a work where I have used this color:

    Horadam Schmincke blues in my works

    477 Phthalo Sapphire blue (n.5) and 496 Ultramarine blue (n.7) by Horadam Schmincke

    lately these two have become my favourite blues. Their pigments are really smooth, strong and show themselves excellent in layering work.
    I have used them in one of my latest works:
    paradise flycatcher
    I have used a mix of Phthalo Sapphire blue (n.5) and Neutral tint Series 1 (W&N) to draw the bird’s head. I wanted to give a dramatic accent to the painting and these pigments played their role. For flowers I’ve used Mayan Blue Genuine Series 3 (n.2) with some grey tones. Also, that was the first time I have used Canson Heritage watercolor paper 300 gsm. These colours and this paper worked together to create the painting in temperate classical colours.
    That's it :) Feel free to share, comment and like.

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    8 comments
    • Truly very informative ,,

      sariga on
    • These are so beautiful. You are an inspiration. I can sketch, but I really never ventured into water coloring. But I really want to learn now.

      Devadrita on
    • This was very helpful and I am happy youre sharing this series with everyone! I have been considering trying a new brand of watercolor, but the process of finding what Im after can sometimes be exhausting (and expensive). These swatches and colors in use are fantastic and really help me get an idea of the color/brand I want to add to my palette. I currently use Mijello Mission Gold watercolors, which are gorgous and generallt work well for my style. I noticed I use alot of blues and purples but I want to expand the range I have. I look forward to future posts (especially purples and pinks/reds!)

      Mara Medium on

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