Mar 13, 2011

Professional Grade

It's a large investment.

I just spent $80 on 9 tubes of watercolor paint. Nine. Seems like a small number for that price, but I believe it's worth the investment.

I have been using student grade Winsor & Newton watercolors for years, and have a few professional/artist grade tubes. The idea of spending $10 on one 5ml tube of paint just didn't compute. Until I got the Daniel Smith Try It Dot pages. These are AWESOME!

Over 200 colors, all there to try out and use. The real deal in trial size. Genius. It is because of these sheets did I finally come to realize, as a professional, how much I needed professional grade watercolors.

They're smooth like silk, mix without a hitch, and the colors are so gorgeous! I then decided to purchase. But the price tag was still making my stomach turn. So expensive!

This led me to an entire week of studying and figuring out which colors to purchase. The DS dot sheets were key to this. They're the only professional grade paints I have right now. To help I found a great website that makes watercolor paints into science called HandPrint.

I don't understand much in science, but he had a large section on palette color choices. All of the research was done for me, and they listed which colors were the best to have in every palette....colors that make all of the "convenience" colors (sap green, turquoise, violets, etc.).

That's what I needed, the foundation colors. From there I could at least start, then purchase as needed the extra colors.

I also came upon an exercise to help decide which colors to have in your palette. A color chart. As one of my students yesterday best said "A multiplication chart but with color." Exactly!

Here's the blog link: Ask Susie -

Tho the woman who suggested the chart used only 7 colors, I ended up having 13. I wanted to see and be exactly sure what I was going to spend my money on.

This was grueling but totally surprising and fun seeing what two colors made what. I was pretty amazed at the little knowledge I had about color mixing.

Here are the colors I ended up purchasing:

Phthalo Blue GS - DS
Phthalo Green BS - WN
Cobalt Blue - WN
Quinacridone Rose - DS
Perylene Maroon - DS
Burnt Sienna - WN
Cadmium Scarlet - WN
Yellow Ochre - WN
Benzimida Yellow (Winsor Yellow) - WN

* DS = Daniel Smith; WN = Winsor & Newton


Amanda Makepeace said...

I just upgraded my watercolors to Artist Grade, so I can completely relate!!

The Art of Kim Kincaid said...

Thank you so much for this information. I'm just now trying out watercolor. It use to frighten me but I'm now really enjoying it's possibilities. This is so helpful.

Sara Burrier said...

Awesome to hear about the upgrade Amanda!

Kim, I'm so happy to hear that this helped. Those two pages are FILLED to the brim with information. I find I'm more excited about watercolor the more I learn. :) Heh, and I was terrified and totally rebel against watercolors until I began to truly play with them on my own. Careful, they can become an obsession. ;)

Carmen Medlin said...

Oh, congrats Sara!! I think you are really going to love painting with professional grade. They are just so much richer and lay on the paper so nice. Can't wait to see what you'll paint with them!!

Faebyl said...

oh congrats! I can't wait to see what you will create with them! I love that colour chart, I never thought of doing that, now I have something new and fun to try out! anything to get to use and understand paints more:)thanks!

theartofpuro said...

Great info,thanks:)