Posts Tagged ‘Winsor & Newton Winsor Red’


Warming Up To Red


After years of resistance, I am finally warming up to the color red. Call me biased, but red is not in my color wardrobe. However, last night I painted a birch tree and felt compelled to add a few red dots to the branches, leaves and a blush of it to the sky. Am I a convert? Not exactly, but I am open to possibilities beyond apples and stop signs.

It started about six years ago when I was introduced to Diamine Monaco Red, a dark, brooding color, that has good properties for drawing. Then Ann Finley sent a small bottle of Diamine Vermilion, a lovely orange-red. Eventually I purchased a bottle of Rohrer & Klingner Morinda, a more saturated slightly pink-red. With those three my red range was serviceable. Noodler’s Cayenne, a spicy, orange-red, sent for review by Jet Pens fit in nicely. Last year Dick Egolf of Luxury Brands sent Noodler’s Tiananmen, a saturated dark red, and my red rotation was set. Even so, red rarely got used.

Red Ink

Once a doodle journal became part of my routine, it was evident that I could go through a large quantity of ink in a very short period of time. Using paint was the logical next step. I could lay down a lot of color with a brush, but reserve ink for my pens. With the addition of watercolor to my casual sketches, closely matching some of my inks was the next step and promised to add more dimension to my doodles. I started with red.

Red Watercolors

These are similar enough to work together in a monochromatic drawing.

  • Diamine Vermilion – Winsor & Newton Scarlet Lake
  • Rohrer & Klingner Fernambuk – Daniel Smith Quinacridone Coral
  • Noodler’s Cayenne – Daniel Smith Transparent Pyrrol Orange
  • Rohrer & Klingner Morinda – American Journey Alizarin Crimson
  • Noodler’s Tiananmen – Daniel Smith Anthraquinold Red
  • Diamine Oxblood – Daniel Smith Perylene Maroon

So far I haven’t found a companion for Diamine Monaco Red. Neither have I found an ink that is comparable to Winsor & Newton Winsor Red, my favorite red watercolor. If you are a Cadmium Red fan, I tried to match the paint from Schmincke, M. Graham, and American Journey. They look like entirely different colors in my paint swatches book though they have the same name. Diamine Vermilion comes close to AJ Cadmium Red Medium. Nothing on hand matches the other two.

No one needs as many red inks and watercolors as I have. But if you have a favorite red ink, try a watercolor substitute in your journal. Anything from pink puppies to red skies goes. Make it reflect your imagination. After all, it’s your journal.

Watercolor and Fountain Pen Ink DuosTake these as relative – not accurate colors.


Watercolors – 30 Years Old And Counting


Recently, an old watercolor palette and paintings from thirty years ago emerged from storage. This provided a good opportunity to evaluate the durability of the student grade paint I used in those days.

Watercolor box and swatches

A simple test of dabs and swatches proved the Winsor & Newton Cotman watercolors still vibrant. The swatches show the original tube colors over-painted with full strength squiggles as a reminder of what each can produce with minimal dilution. The remaining swatches are mixes, each from two colors in fairly equal proportions.

These watercolors will do just fine in my doodle journal where permanence is irrelevant and exposure to light non-existent. The delight achieved from dancing a pretty color across the page counts most and for that the Cotman watercolors are well up to the task.

Winsor & Newton Cotman Swatches

The colors I prefer in a palette today are not what I used in a class long ago. So as these get used up, different colors will replace them. Winsor Red and Daniel Smith Green Gold have already won the first two slots while several others are close behind. Part of the fun is letting the color choices evolve so this kit will look quite different in a few months.

The folding palette box is plastic and shows no signs of age. It weighs next to nothing, but holds eighteen colors and has enough space to mix several more. It is offered as a Plein Air Palette from Everett’s Watercolors, but there are similar models from many sources.

watercolor travel kit

A Martha Stewart Avery elastic band from Staples binds the slim box to a Stillman & Birn Epsilon Journal for an easy travel kit. Add to that the Autopoint mechanical pencil, Noodler’s Black in the Lamy Safari EF that never dries out, an Isabey Travel Brush plus a cup of water and I can doodle anywhere.

30-year-old watercolor paintings

Fading can be an issue with watercolor, but my old paintings held up well. Good quality acid-free 140# paper plus storage in an art binder contributed to the excellent condition despite the years.

My family has teased me about the number of tubes of paint I’ve collected under the tutelage of some ace enablers. Now I feel less guilty as my stash should be viable for decades and that is very reassuring indeed.

As a side note, there are mixing trays on this page that would be a useful complement to a small box of colors. One is the Palette Paint Tray 9-Well AA15410 and the other is the 16-Well Paint Tray AA15423.

Oh, and just in case you thought I carried making swatches to an extreme, take a look at this collection.

%d bloggers like this: