We stumbled upon watercolourist Neelima Perni‘s amazing watercolour charts when searching for an image for the front cover of our latest Materials Guide. Beautifully and accurately painted, the colour charts are artworks in their own right! We thought it would be a great idea for Neelima to try out a few of Jackson’s Artist Watercolours and a few of our Jackson’s Speciality Watercolour Brushes to see how she got on with them…
A review of Jackson’s Artist Watercolours by Neelima Perni
“This is a colour chart that I have created using some 13 of the Jackson’s Artist Watercolours which looked interesting and useful to me. In general, I find them to be of a high quality artists grade of watercolours in an affordable price range. The paints are mostly of a buttery consistency and dissolve well in and activate quickly with water. The names of the pigments of which they consist of, transparency and lightfast ratings are clearly shown on the back of the tubes.
The chart shows the paints going from high chroma (the saturation or brilliance of a colour) on the outside of the circle to lower chroma towards the inside. Warmer pigments typically have higher chroma than the cooler ones, so the yellows and reds appear to be bursting out of the wheel. I’ve also tried to show the value or lightness as going slightly lighter towards the inside though strictly speaking, all 3 dimensions hue, chroma and value can only be viewed in a 3-d format like the Munsell model. The remaining intermediate hues result from the mixtures of these main paints.
At the top of the wheel I’ve placed Jackson’s Yellow Light, which is a good primary medium yellow, neither too green nor too orange. It is a lovely, sunny, transparent and lightfast yellow made with the pigment PY 154. It mixes well with the reds as well as with the cooler paints yielding highly chromatic oranges or yellow greens. Moving in the clockwise direction, the hue in the orange section is French Vermilion, a highly chromatic orange red which packs quite a punch and has a good tinting strength. It’s hue is quite close to Quinacridone Red Orange, the colour next to it though they do not share the same properties. Quinacridone Red is a beautiful, warm red with an interesting flocculating texture. It mixes well with the transparent Permanent Magenta (a violet version of PV 19 which is also available in the rose shade) to make a nice magenta.
Yellow Ochre, Raw Sienna and Raw Umber (the last two made with pigment PBr7) are lower chroma and darker yellows in the same hue space as the Permanent Yellow Light. Yellow Ochre and Raw Sienna are quite close to each other in hue, value and chroma though the Raw Sienna seems to lean slightly towards the orange side. Yellow Ochre (PY 43) is opaque, gooey and hard to rinse off the brush, it would work well in foundation washes. Raw Sienna is a lovely, transparent hue and works well in mixtures and glazes. Raw Umber is even more achromatic and dark-valued and I feel this hue is especially useful because yellows and orange yellows shift very quickly and are difficult to tone down with complementary colours or with blacks while still keeping them in the yellow region of the spectrum. Red Ochre is another earth colour in the orange space and useful for toning down hues in this region or to warm up and neutralise the blues across the spectrum. These colours suggest the colours of the earth, soil, dead vegetation, tree barks, bricks and tilework.
French Ultramarine Light (PB 29) is a blue leaning towards the violet side of the spectrum with a very fine textural quality to it. Mixed with Permanent Magenta it gives a range of lovely, subtly textured, lower chroma violets and red violets. Cobalt Blue (PB 28) is a medium blue leaning neither towards violet nor green, the colour of blue skies. It shows a grainier finish in washes. Cerulean Blue, a cobalt tin oxide, is a greener, slightly opaque blue with an alluring granulation which accentuates the texture of the paper on which it is painted on. Cobalt Blue and Cerulean Blues are very useful for creating light valued and medium chroma mixtures without having to resort to using a lot of water for dilution. Also very useful for toning down the warms across the wheel and work very well when used as foundation washes as with any other semi-opaque paints. They mix with the transparent Viridian (PG18 + PG7) to form lovely, poetic, powdery washes of blue greens evocative of blue seas and oceans, the dusty wings of butterflies, ‘the Bläuling’ (Common Blue Butterfly) in particular comes to mind. I love the way they can be used with very little modification, very unlike their warm counterparts which can be quite screaming and have to be tempered down a lot while painting various kinds of subjects.
Permanent Sap Green is a convenience mixture easily made by mixing PB 29 and PY 154 but it is great to have handy for the landscape or botanical artist as it is just at the right hue and chroma for a variety of foliage and vegetation. It can easily be modified to make a cooler and darker green for darker leaved trees like pine trees, or to a warmer and brighter green for fresher looking spring greens. Viridian can also be added to brighten and cool the Sap Green which I like better than a phthalo green(PG 7) by itself as this hue is very strident and has to be used carefully.
Jackson’s Watercolour Brushes
The Jackson’s Squirrel Mop Brush and Icon Quill Brush I have fallen in love with, they have a bigger belly than the round brushes and therefore can carry more paint mixture so that makes for fewer trips to the paint puddle. Also, unlike the round brush it keeps a nice point even with very watery mixtures, this is something I really like.
The Dagger Brush is useful for pulling out long, sweeping lines for veins or thin branches and strokes of varying thickness. The Comb Foliage Brush and the Fan Brush, I imagine I will be using a lot of, they can create a spattering effect, a dry brush finish for soil and dirt, a lacy gossamer foliage appearance and merge uneven areas of washes together.
The Comb Foliage Brush has both short and long slightly stiff hairs combined together so this results in these kinds of effects. The Fan Brush is used so that a part of the brush touches the paper at a time to make foliage clumps, laying down the whole of the brush creates the typical, fan-shaped stamp like effect. The half inch flat brush sable is beautifully made with fine sable hairs, useful for covering large areas quickly and making flat strokes for man made objects, such as buildings and the like.”
You can see more of Neelima’s watercolours on her Watercolor Journal blog
Click on the underlined link to go to Jackson’s Artist Watercolours. Postage on orders shipped standard to mainland UK addresses is free for orders of £39.