New Toys – Daniel Smith paints

Daniel Smith watercolour paints. New tubes arrived this week
New paints to play with

I’ve been reading reviews of Daniel Smith paints for about a year now and the temptation to try some has been increasing. A couple of weeks ago I needed to get a few replacement tubes of paint for colours that were running low so I chose the Daniel Smith version to give them a try and threw in a couple of new colours I fancy just for fun. And true to what I’ve read, they are vibrant and juicy. I couldn’t resist grabbing a few more this week and there they were waiting for me when I got into the studio today, along with a new hake from Rosemary and Co. When I put a photo on Facebook and tweeted about the new colours I got some questions back from fellow artists so quickly painted up a few swatches to share here.

Cobalt Violet watercolour paints from Daniel Smith and Winsor & Newton
Cobalt Violet

I’ve recently discovered the joys of Cobalt Violet. It’s a colour favoured by Roger Jones. We were splashing it around liberally with blues and yellows to make interesting greens in our workshop with him. I have still got some of the Winsor and Newton paint so painted a swatch of each for comparison. Cobalt Violet is a granulating colour with excellent light fastness ratings in both ranges.  The difference in the two is that Winsor and Newton rate this colour as semi-transparent, while Daniel Smith’s version is transparent.  I did find the Daniel Smith to be the more transparent of the two and I can see why this is an excellent colour for glazing. Daniel Smith’s website has a good amount of information the paints and video clips to show some of their colours in action. Here’s the video clip on their Cobalt Violet.

Daniel Smith Watercolours - Green Gold
Daniel Smith Watercolours – Green Gold

Green Gold is a colour I didn’t have before but having seen it used to beautiful effect by Ann Blockley, it’s been on my ‘I really want one’ list for some time.  Both swatches in this photograph are the Daniel Smith paint just painted with different pigment to water ratios.  These days I pay close attention to the light fastness of the paints I use as I want my paintings to stand the test of time. Green Gold also has a high light fastness rating,  (and it is transparent, and it doesn’t granulate).

Daniel Smith Watercolours - Perylene Green
Daniel Smith Watercolours – Perylene Green

Another new colour for my palette (I could be a colour junkie, you know. Just can’t resist them).  Perylene Green is a wonderful dark grey green. It’s so dark is almost looks black until you add the extra water and then the glorious semi-transparent green floats across the page.  I have generally tended to mix my greens on the paper rather then using greens from the tube – but I think these two have to be exceptions.  Once again, good light fastness and no granulation. in this colour. Here is the Ken Bromley video clip of Perylene Green in action.

Quinacridone Gold
Quinacridone Gold

One of my all time favourite colours is Quinacridone Gold. Transparent and granulating, this paint has a fantastic tonal range from deep gold with a slightly orange tint, to delicate yellow when the water ratio is increased. My colour swatches are of the Winsor & Newton and the Daniel Smith versions. Both are beautiful and I’d be very happy to use either. The Daniel Smith seems to have a more orange tint, but, as it came out of a fresh tube, unlike the Winsor & Newton paint which has been on my palette for a while, I can’t guarantee that the freshness of the paint is not a contributing factor to the different. The Daniel Smith video clip is here

And finally, my little indulgence. Texture in watercolour is so seductive. It draws you into the paintings and grabs your attention. I just love it when the paint creates runs and rivulets down the page. I just had to try Lunar Blue (Semi-transparent, wonderful granulation).

What wonderful shadowy textures. This paint has lunar black granules in a Pthalo Blue base so you get the sublime combination of radiant blue and rich black speckle. The Daniel Smith Lunar Blue video clip shows much darker tones of the paint. I suspect I was just a bit light on pigment in my little test swatches

Daniel Smith Watercolours - Lunar Blue
Daniel Smith Watercolours – Lunar Blue

And when you use it to overpaint a light wash of indigo for the background colour like I did on this little postcard – just look what happens:

Vincent's Gang - Watercolour postcard
Vincent’s Gang – Watercolour (postcard size)

Very juicy colours.

12 thoughts on “New Toys – Daniel Smith paints

    1. I’m very pleased you found it useful. Sometimes it feels as if posts like this are a bit pedestrian so it’s great to know.

  1. Interesting Vandy. At the moment I only have UB in the Daniel Smith range… think it was a damaged tube and going cheap at KB’s!! I do prefer the W@N UB as DS seems harder to activate…. I have one of those DS swatches so like you have compared a few and I marginally prefer the W@N quin gold… it is a different pigment if you check on the tube, hence the slightly different shade. I think I will be getting some DS moonglow as I saw that in the demo I went to the other night…..it looked lovely and she also used Perylene green but that was W@N… so much choice so many decisions!!!

    1. I know what you mean about having so many choices. My paint tin is getting fuller every month. I really must stop, but it’s so tempting to try new colours. Someone mentioned Moonglow yesterday. I haven’t seen it so I’ll have to look it up and then it might have to go on my list of next colours to buy. Oh help! 😀

  2. I’ve recently bought the DS paints and am loving them. They are so vibrant and exciting to use. Another tool to help me in my beginning again painting, a renewed interest where one wishes to have never stopped painting! I love your blog and your painting. Thankyou for blogging and sharing your work, Mrs A

    1. I know exactly what you mean about the urge to never stop painting. That happens to me every time I’m in the studio and the paints are flowing.

  3. Really interesting Vandy to read your findings. I once used to buy shoes and handbags, moved on to cookbooks and now I just collect paint. I bought a little set of Itallian wcs on special from the USA and they arrived a few days ago. Couldnt stop playing and was amazed at how they moved on the paper.- So much fun to be had

  4. A super pretty postcard and I love the top posted landscape. Each of the colors you’ve shared is beautiful. I’m not sure what I think of the granulation in the gorgeous blue though…

  5. I haven’t tried the DS but the colours look wonderful, especially the greens.
    I enjoy reading about colours when I’m not using them so I guess that makes me a colour junkie too!

  6. I love textures in watercolor and have been experimenting recently with their granulating colors. I was so impressed that I am going to a Daniel Smith workshop on April 18 at a local art store where someone from their company is going to talk about and demonstrate their colors. Can’t wait. will post share the results on my blog. I love the effect you achieved with the lunar blue over indigo – another of my favorite colors.

    1. How wonderful to be able to go to a demonstration done by someone from the company. I look forward to reading your blog post on it.

  7. Vandy – thank you for sharing your new color toys. I have used Daniel Smith paints and found them to be one of the finest around. They certainly work hard to deliver great paint. I must try that lunar black – love the texture you had with your post card – it is beautiful. Have a great week and thanks ever so much for letting us see your results and notes.

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