Tips for Using Quinacridone Colors

Q. I love the look of Daniel Smith watercolor paints, and I made a color chart of those I have (as you suggested on page 36 of your excellent book). But I just can’t figure out where they fit in with my old standby colors. Why am I having such a problem?

A. I’m not sure which colors you’re referring to. The “normal” colors in Daniel Smith’s lineup—ultramarine blue, yellow ochre, raw sienna, alizarin crimson, to name a few—are pretty much the same as your old standbys, so I don’t think these are the ones you’re having trouble with. If, however, you’re working with Daniel Smith’s quinacridone colors, then they are definitely a whole new ball game. These dazzling colors can perk up a painting in no time. Here’s some advice on how to use them:

Say you’re going to use burnt sienna in an area of your painting, but you want to make part of that area a little brighter/lighter. Leave white the area that’s going to be lighter, and fill in the rest of the area with burnt sienna. Next, paint over the entire area with quinadcridone burnt orange. See how it brightens up the burnt sienna? Applying it over the entire area ties the burnt orange and the burnt sienna together. For an example of the effect, see the terra-cotta pot above.

Now, try a little quinacridone gold over raw sienna, yellow ochre, or just plain old yellow. Wow!

From “Water Rescue” in the Spring 2000 issue of Watercolor Magic.

Drawing Board creator Bill Tilton, of Raleigh, North Carolina, is a longtime contributor to The Artist’s Magazine.



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