Transparent Pigments in Watercolour

What a title? You may ask, I have been painting in oils for much of the time recently then a conversation with a visitor to my studio got me thinking. Lets play with watercolour again for a while.

So I’ve been playing using only transparent pigments, yes watercolours are a transparent medium but each pigment has its own opacity rating, some sit on the fence and will take on the properties of those you add them to.

My normal palette has always had a mix of transparent and  a few opaque pigments, knowing that using the opaque in the foreground and transparent in the background creates depth. If I am honest with myself I have been using the opaque pigments – Cadmium Red & Yellow and Umber – less and less.

So it was time to break completely free, and wow what a change!!

My enthusiasm  for watercolour has returned, my palette has changed a little.

Still Life - Transparent Pigments 53x30cm
Still Life – Transparent Pigments 53x30cm Watercolour

This still life was a demonstration for my Thursday morning  group, so I was experimenting and teaching at the same time; learning together with my students.

I love the fresher look using the transparent pigments

Between a busy gallery and other commitments, I decided to play further, being stuck indoors  I worked from a photograph taken in Mèze France last October. Having painted an oil en plein air on the same day the view and its nuances were stored in my brain.

Mèze France - watercolour 35x55cm
Mèze France – watercolour 35x55cm

I have always used quite a lot of Cerulean Blue in my  previous mediterranean watercolours, but thank you to fellow artist Claudia Araceli  for introducing me to Phthalo Turquoise I love it and it is transparent, so no rule breaking.

There will always be arguments as to are there any rules in art, but even those who paint good abstracts are abstracting their inspiration from something based in reality, I believe you have to know how to before you know how to allow yourself not to.

My next foray is again from a photograph taken in one of my favourite French towns Pézenas – the old jail, which actually always makes me think of Romeo & Juliet’s balcony

Pézenas France
Pézenas – the old jail – watercolour 51x22cm

So what is this transparent palette I am using?

Cobalt blue

Prussian Blue

Phthalo Turquoise

Permanent Rose

Alizarin Crimson

Scarlet Lake

New Gamboge

Raw Sienna

Burnt Sienna

It makes sense when I think about it, transparent pigments are bound to be fresher and give a cleaner look, so my experiments will continue and that learning curve is on the move again.

Now I’ve got to update all my notes to include my new learning –

it nevers stops and that’s why I love what I do.

I have also changed my oil palette and the paints I am using but I will save that for another day.

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