Transparent watercolor has been my choice of water media for many years. The sheerness that veils white paper with soft tints of colors to bold rich dark’s is exciting whatever subject is before me. Several pigments have graced my palette with unsuccessful results..Peach black, Payne’s gray, Indigo, and WHITE to name a few. Well…that’ never rule’ has interrupted the playing field…there are two colors plus white that I can’t seem to paint without. The two hues are Neutral Tint and Raw Umber Violet with white thrown in occasionally. The value of any hue is usually moved to a darker value or neutralized with its compliment….hold up your hand if you’ve experienced that once vibrant color turn an unidentifiable grey. Thought so!
Raw Umber Violet was accidentally added to my art supply order several years ago. A phone call to return the tube of what looked to be dried grape jelly was answered by customer service who insisted I keep it…no charge. Looking at the color in my hand I certainly understood why. Shuffling that tube of color around in my paint bin for almost a year wondering why I pain, come on you’ve had those days…..I picked it up squeezed it out and started mixing with different hues. It was amazing what dried grape jelly could do to Ultra Marine Blue….or red, or green…it now has a permanent place on my palette.
Neutral Tint was the other color I ordered for something not sure what and again because waste is not on my menu….started mixing pure color with a touch of the ugly no color tint…wallah! Again sophisticated changes begin to occur and colors where more exciting and didn’t have the look of a dirty hat like compliments. It too made a permanent home on the palette.
As for white….nothing can replace the glow of white paper or canvas lurking around and enhancing pure color. The use of Chinese White for small highlights on canvas paintings sometime on paper can add just that special touch. Also nice to have when a small amount of opaque is needed…white+whatever and opaque is at hand.
Below is a chart with a few of color mixes using Raw Umber Violet and Neutral Tint:
Raw Umber Violet + Ultramarine Blue makes a beautiful gray…
Neutral Tint + Napthol Red makes a maroon…deepens the value of pure colors….