I have learned throughout life to ‘never say never’ HOWEVER, I can. honestly say that I never use black when watercolour painting.
The strong darks you see in this spontaneous demonstration of Cala Lilies…and all the other images in this blog are made up from a mix of Prussian Blue and Burnt Sienna. All the whites are dry white paper…and the greenish hue is one of the many values I can get from these two pigments simply by adding water.
Some Prussian Blue/Burnt Sienna swatches. 1) pure Prussian Blue. 2) pure Burnt Sienna. 3.4 &5 are all Burnt Sienna/Prussian blue mixes. If you make your own swatches you will find that there are countless values that can be achieved depending on the amounts of pigment and water used. Give it a go and of course PLAY.
This quick sketch of my dear friend Patricia is made up from Prussian Blue, Burnt Sienna and dry white paper.
I made this sketch of Amish children when visiting my son and his partner’s farm in Pennsylvania two years ago.. Prussian Blue and Burnt Sienna. mix.
I love to sketch the birds at the River Thames close to where I live….All I need to take with me on for a days sketching is Prussian Blue/Burnt Sienna, brush, paper and water.
Another bird sketch from the River Thames
I cheated a little on this one – note that there is some violet in the negative space but the main attraction, Jenny the dog is all Prussian Blue and Burnt Sienna.
In this quick watercolour sketch of a young woman in David’s Bar in Olhao Portugal – I worked from an orange ground….but only used Prussian Blue and Burnt Sienna for the portrait.
As I look through my many sketchbooks I find countless images painted this way….
Although I am talking about watercolour in this post, here is an example of how I use the same mix in an oil painting. This large alla prima (Direct painting) self portrait, oil on canvas is made up from the same mix.
Strong darks can be made by using other blues and browns….the key is, like everything else, to explore and PLAY.
An interesting note. I first came across this mix when I was living in Chester County, Pa. in Andrew Wyeth territory. I never really fit into the Brandywine Tradition, but I learned from it like everything else in life, and took what works for me.
I hope everyone enjoys a lovely weekend and that the brushes are flying:) Janet.
Thank you for this inspiration.
You are most welcome:)
Given what’s in my palette, I’ve been using ultramarine blue and burnt umber for blacks. I’ll have to play with this combination to see what I can do.
For some reason I can’t see the swatches that you mention in “Some Prussian Blue/Burnt Sienna swatches. 1) pure Prussian Blue. 2) pure Burnt Sienna. 3.4 &5 are all Burnt Sienna/Prussian blue mixes.”
Hi George…always good to see you here. Ultramarine and Burnt Umber are another very good combo for darks. Not sure why the swatches didn’t show up…(I need an in house technician:). I will try to fix that by tomorrow….
Beautiful sketches Janet. And thanks for the reminders to explore and play. 😊
Beautifully done, as always, Janet. I love the combination of colors. Hummingbird hugs.
Thank you dear Teagan….XX
Every one a gem. (K)
Thank you :)XX
Clever as usual.
Thank you PeterXX
I am often struck by how colours are very different in different mediums – In acrylics Burnt Sienna is a marvel but Prussian Blue a little heavy. It is impressive you can get such a range of colours with watercolours, though
It is very interesting. i.e. I find that using the same pigments in acrylic doesn’t work for me. Also different brands of watercolour produce different effects. The key is to play with our paints to find out what they can do….and the same of course applies to brushes. Thanks for commenting Emma:)
That os true – there is variation between brands too.
Great colour combination 👍 👍
Thanks for sharing
The Fab Four of Cley
🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂
My favourite pigments! 🍃