Before we added Daniel Smith to the range of watercolours available at Jackson’s Art Supplies, they were requested by many of our professional customers. Why?
The Story Behind Daniel Smith Primatek Watercolours
Fans of Daniel Smith Watercolours love the array of pigments used to make their exquisite colours. They are best known for reviving the use of some pigments that are mined from the Earth. Daniel Smith began with the Primatek collection in 1998. Their penchant for creating fascinating colour mixes began with the production of Lapis Lazuli — the gold speckled blue gemstone found in King Tutankhamun’s mask! Painters who tried the colour adored it, and the positive response compelled the company to hire a mineralogist to find more natural pigments from which to create a range of paints.
Finding the right pigments is no mean feat. Journeys have been made across the world via plane, jeep and even mule to get to the, often remote, sources of the pigments. High quality veins of ore are identified and then mined with large quantities of minerals, or “massive”, being processed to unearth the colour within.
Making paints is as much a chemical process as it is an artistic one. Chemists and paintmakers come together to grind and re-grind the pigments until they are at the optimum particle size to bring out maximum colour vibrancy. These pigments are then milled with the medium, at a ratio that guarantees the necessary attributes of the finest watercolour: vibrancy, consistency and stability.
Insight into a Few Colours
Today there are 35 colours in the Primatek range. Here’s an insight into four of the colours.
Piemontite Genuine is ground from a scarlet-streaked mineral sourced in the hills of Italy. When squeezed from the tube its appearance is of a deep ruddy violet. Add water to create a granulating violet-brown that has a carmine tone.
Amethyst Genuine looks almost black when squeezed from its tube, but it’s actually a rich purple. It is capable of a wide range of tone when more and more water is mixed with it. Although it does granulate, it also makes beautiful clear washes with the faintest hint of sparkle due to the crushed gemstone that the pigment is extracted from.
Serpentine Genuine is a green that comes from a stone found in Australia. This soft stone is used cross-culturally for carving amulets used to ward off harm. Daniel Smith Serpentine Genuine is the newest colour in the Prima Tek range, and has no comparison in any other known paint palette. Serpentine Genuine is semi-transparent and develops granulation with specks of burnt scarlet. It makes a great addition to landscape and floral palettes.
Bloodstone Genuine is from a stone that is seen as mystical, magical and medicinal. Its red specks are thought by some to represent the blood of Christ. Bloodstone when ground into pigment makes an intense and velvety aubergine colour. When washed out it then turns to a warm grey wash that has great lifting properties, and granulates beautifully. It mixes especially well with transparent Rhodonite Genuine and Quinacridone Burnt Orange.
Did you know?
Daniel Smith was the first manufacturer to use Quinacridone pigments to create artist paints. Quinacridone pigments were originally developed for the automotive industry which requires extremely lightfast and durable paints. Quinacridone is known for its brilliant colour and luminous transparency which also makes it the perfect source of pigments for watercolour.