Friday, January 24, 2020

What Colors to Take on Vacation?

Tad asks: "I noticed your recommended basic sets of colors are different, depending on the medium. Did your habits change between videos or does the transparency differences between gouache and watercolor require a different set to get the most flexibility?

Hi, Tad, I take a different set of colors each time I travel. I'm always trying new pigments in new combinations. I usually start out with a commercial watercolor pan set, which I customize by replacing some of the colors. I bring along a few tubes of gouache or watercolors, because the paint from tubes is juicier than the paint dried in pans. I carry the tubes in a little plastic snack box or in a plastic bag.

Those extra tubes of gouache are from sets offered by HolbeinM. Graham, or Winsor and Newton. It costs a lot less per tube to buy them in sets rather than individually. I also sometimes pull unusual colors from the big set of Shinhan Pass, which is a watercolor/gouache hybrid. I also have a big jar of Richeson (casein), which I use when I want to work in a broader, more painterly style.

Although the set of colors that I actually bring in my kit evolves or changes on a given outing changes, I typically bring one or two reds, a couple yellows, and a couple blues, plus white. I like to have a high-chroma and a low-chroma version of each one. For example I might have cadmium yellow and yellow ochre, but next time I may want to change out the cadmium for a lemon yellow.

When I start a painting, I select even further from the 6-12 tubes of colors that I have in my kit, because I don't want to squeeze out any more colors than I actually need. If midway through a painting I find I need an additional color that I haven't squeezed out yet, I add that midway through.


Amazing Dad said...

When you say " I also have a big jar of Richeson (casein), which I use when I want to work in a broader, more painterly style.", what do you mean by "painterly" here? What is it about casein that lets you work in a more painterly style?

James Gurney said...

When I use casein, I tend to squeeze out more paint and use bigger brushes and thicker paint with less preliminary drawing. That's what I mean by more painterly. But I guess it's all painting.

Amazing Dad said...

Thanks James!

Chris Reisenbichler said...

What role do the Shinhan Pass paints play for you? Ive seen a few artists mention it had found its way into their palettes but since I have pretty full sets of both gouache and watercolor, i'm not sure what the benefit of having a tube of something somewhere inbetween would be.

Is it a subtle difference in how it rewets and handles?

James Gurney said...

Chris, I often throw a few Shinhan colors in with my other paints. I use both gouache and watercolor tubes together on the same painting.

Unknown said...

Hi James, do you carry any greens with you and if so, what’s a decent green for landscape? I’ve been trying out sap green and Hooker green which I believe is a mixture of Prussian blue and gamboge. Or would you recommend mixing greens on the spot as a better general practice and to learn the extents of a limited palette?