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Watercolors as therapy

I’ve never served in the Armed Forces and would never compare my measly life to theirs. That said, I’ve known several good folks who have served and seen how they use painting as therapy.

For instance, I met a UDT once who would paint islands from a plane’s view. At first, I didn’t know what they were. He actually had to tell me what they were before I knew what I was looking at.

Keep in mind, this was long before the internet. Now, we have images of everything everywhere.

All that said, I do run a ridiculously high stress level. Stress will kill you. Literally.

Now, I’m not a doctor, so take this next stuff with a grain of salt. That’s my disclaimer.

I believe that stress is a physical thing. Your body processes stress physically. When your liver can’t take all the stress, it sends it somewhere else.

Stress will lead to everything from ulcers to bad skin conditions. I had a skin condition that was so bad that I was literally bleeding randomly, and wasn’t safe to leave the house for several days.

Yes, I’ve healed since then, but that’s an example of what stress can do to you.

Watercolors as therapy

All painting is good. Watercolors may not necessarily be your cup of tea.

They are for me though.

Watercolors have a meditative quality to them. When I paint my ladies, I use layer after layer of paint. That has a calming, meditative effect on me.

Painting helped reduce my stress. Significantly.

Roxy and Allie as mermaids
Roxy and Allie as mermaids, work in progress

I’m currently waiting for the third layer to try. I got the timer set.

My wife and I just got back from a vacation in Central America and I took a lot of shots. You’ll be seeing Costa Rica and Panama in my paintings.

I photographed everything from flowers to monkeys to sunsets to jungles. Unfortunately, I didn’t bring my DSLR camera. We saw wild macaws, parrots, and other gorgeous birds but with a cell phone camera, the pictures turned out horribly. I deleted those bird shots as they were unusable.

Regardless though, we took so many lovely pictures that I have a lot of reference photos. Now, the above painting (on a watercolor board), will feature a lot of what we photographed there.

The whole painting process reduced my stress levels big time. Painting is general is calming. And there’s nothing for me like painting layer after layer that you have to do from everything to painting skin color to skies and seas.

If you run a high stress level or if you have PTSD, I highly recommend watercolors!

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The supplies you’ll need to start with watercolors

If you’re thinking about starting with watercolors, there are two types of things you’ll need. You’ll need items you have to buy at an art store (or of course online), and items you can get elsewhere. The latter, you may already have.

So let’s go over these.

To buy from the art store

You’ll need three things – watercolor brushes, watercolor paper, and watercolor paints.

Can you use other types of brushes for watercolors? Sure.

But watercolor brushes are specifically made for watercolors. You’ll notice that watercolor brushes matter. Of the three though, they’re the least important expenditure. I’d suggest getting cheap watercolor brushes in the beginning if you have a limited budget.

Watercolor paper? Once again, start off with cheap watercolor paper. Your first ten paintings will be throwaway anyways. Watercolor isn’t an easy medium by any means.

And last, the paints.

I’ve seen artists get by with cheap watercolor paints and make some pretty cool stuff. The artist is more important than the tool.

As you get better though, you’re going to want better tools. It’s the same thing with anything.

For now, you’ll be fine with cheap watercolor paints. You’ll learn the difference as you go. It’s way more important at first to hone your technique than it is to use professional grade tools.

You may already have

You’ll also need pencils, erasers, a surface, jars, scratch paper, paper towels, a sponge, and clean water.

Kimchi jars are the perfect size for everything

Save your jars. My wife and I eat a lot of Kimchi. It’s supposed to be good for your gut flora. I actually like the taste too, especially the spicy stuff.

These jars are the perfect size for both storing your brushes and also for the water. You’ll need two jars for water. One jar, you use to clean your brush and the second one, you use as the final rinse.

Do both matter? Yes. Unless you want to have the previous paint in what you’re painting next. I’m very religious about rinsing from two jars.

Water obviously. Tap water does the trick unless you live in a place with really bad tap water. If so, you’ll have to buy water. You don’t want to have muddy watercolors.

Paper towels and a sponge. You don’t absolutely need a sponge. But now that I have sponges, I use them.

You use the sponges to get the perfect amount of water on your brush. Some artists also use them for effects (like clouds for instance).

You’ll use the paper towels for everything from cleaning up messes to more effects. Always keep paper towels handy. Murphy’s Law states that the one time you forget the paper towels will be the one time you really need them!

Scratch paper for testing colors. You’ll do so much work with colors. How much water you use changes the colors. Plus, you might do a lot of color mixing as well. You’ll need to test the results before they go onto your real painting surface.

Pencils and erasers obviously. You don’t have to, but a lot of watercolor artists will draw their ideas on the watercolor paper before painting. I actually ink my watercolors, but that’s after drawing with pencil first.

As for your surface – I literally paint on the floor because I have a bad back. You may prefer an easel. Up to you.

Let me know if you have any questions and I’ll try to get back to you on a timely manner.

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You don’t need that many watercolors

One of the many beauties of watercolors is that you don’t need to own that many watercolors. My palette only has 10 holes and I’ve never had a problem with that. Even paintings that look like I have tons of colors are only using the same colors with more or less water or painted with different strengths.

I’ve written about cutting down to only 7 watercolors. Some go down to 6. I like 7 because it’s a magic number.

I’ve also written about monochromatic exercises and why they’re important. You get good at monochromaticism and you’ll really be good with your colors!

Often less is more. The Japanese were the masters of this.

So it often is in cooking. So it often is in watercolors.

Less is more

Opium Tales - Mermaid Island
Mermaid Island – thanks Allie!

I used a lot of colors for this Mermaid Island painting, right? Actually, no. Both the sea and the sky are the same blue – Daniel Smith French Ultramarine. The greens for the trees and the hills? Winsor and Newton Olive Green. All the sand is one color as well – Sennelier Yellow Light, except the shadows are done with a mix of that and Winsor and Newton Burnt Sienna.

Super simple.

That’s yet another beauty of watercolors. You can get so many different colors out of one bottle of watercolor paint.

It’s all about knowing how much water to use. You do that with experience.

Just paint. I’ve always said the first ten paintings are throwaway anyways. That’s why I believe in experimentation.

Usually I paint with a plan. Sometimes I don’t.

The painting you see above was supposed to be a throwaway experiment. It turned out pretty good so I’m going to keep it and get it framed, then sell it.

Sometimes you get pleasant surprises like that in life.

Only 10 pots for my watercolors

I love my porcelain watercolor palette. I’ve used the same one since the beginning.

You could wash it in the dishwasher with your dishes. It’s porcelain, just like your plates.

However, it only has 10 pots. Some have 12, or even more.

But that’s ok. I don’t use all of them most of the time anyways.

In the far left pot, I have a mix of Burnt Sienna and Titanium White that I use for the main skin tone color. I keep reusing that mix until it runs out. Then I have to make another mix.

Right above it – Hansa Yellow Medium. I love this color. It also doubles for Allie’s blonde hair. To its right, it’s Burnt Sienna which I use for so many different applications.

To the right of that one – Perylene Red. Another one of my favorite colors. I use that one for so many different applications as well.

To the immediate right of the primary skin tone mix – Titanium White. Watercolor, not the gouache. I have the same color in gouache as well but I use the watercolor versions more often.

Then from there out, chaos. Could be anything.

You’ll see me do complicated paintings and still, I don’t use all 10 pots. Like we’ve discussed, you can get so many different colors out of one watercolor tube.

(Can you tell how much I love watercolors?)

Won’t be switching to oils anytime soon

Oil painting is supposed to be the epitome of painting. That’s what the majority of the Masters painted with.

But do you know what? There are things you can do with watercolors that you can’t do with oils.

Yes, I’m aware it’s the other way around as well.

But, for now? My wife and I live in a tiny ass apartment with a single bathroom. I literally paint on the bedroom floor.

We have no space. My models sit on the bed while I sit on the floor and draw them.

Or, I sit on the bed and they stand up.

We have no room. Which you know what? You can get away with that with watercolors. No other painting medium does tiny places as well as watercolors.

Also, no other medium does more with less than watercolors. This is a severely underrated medium.

I have a feeling that in the 2020s, I’m going to be one of the top evangelists of watercolors. I love these things! And I sincerely hope I can get you to love watercolors as much as I do.

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Painting with honey watercolors, Part II

One thing about being an artist – your opinions will change. You’ll have your favorites. And something else will come along and you’ll end up liking it even better.

We are constantly evolving. Constantly. All of us.

Not too long ago, I wrote an article on how important is watercolor paint brand. Well, I’ve already changed my opinion since then.

This shit will happen to us. We’ll like something. And like something else just as much. Then, suddenly fall in love with something and realize those two previous things just weren’t as good.

I now like Sennelier watercolors more than Daniel Smith, Winsor and Newton, or Blick’s artist brand. Just my personal opinion, but one formed after serious time spent painting.

Smells better

I’m probably one of the only people you’ll ever meet who even cares about this one. Regardless, I’ll say it anyways. As I’ve previously discussed, I’m nearly blind and it’s made my other senses way more sensitive. I absolutely love the smell of both Sennelier watercolors and M Graham gouaches, both made with honey.

You use way less paint

I ended up getting a Sennelier travel set. They come in smaller tubes than I’m used to buying.

But that’s OK.

I’m no scientist, but I’m obviously using less paint when using honey based watercolors. These tubes are going to last much longer than the non-honey based watercolor paints.

This is a good thing since I’m painting constantly. Sure, they cost more. But considering how well they spread, I have a feeling the cost is really a wash.

Mixes easier

I’m one of the rare watercolor artists who really don’t mix that much. The only time I’m mixing a lot is when I get my skin tones with watercolors.

That said, I made a new batch of skin tones. And you know what? Super easy to mix! Way easier than the other paints I’ve used.

After five layers of paint - all Sennelier watercolors
After five layers of paint – all Sennelier watercolors

Learning curve

Well, not everything is a-ok. It’s a bit of a learning curve to use these honey based paints. I’m used to using the other ones and the washes are a bit different. The mixes are a bit different.

How I paint skin tones is a bit different as well. The burnt sienna really pops through. I do something that you’re not supposed to do with watercolor. You’re supposed to paint light to dark. Well, for layer five, I do a burnt sienna layer. Then paint my skin tone layer over that layer twice (for a total of seven layers).

The burnt sienna really shows through with the honey watercolors. Way more than when I used the non-honey watercolors.

As I’ve mentioned – a bit of a learning curve. I simply learned to use less burnt sienna with the honey watercolors then I’ll use with the non-honey watercolors.

Also, you’re going to have to clean your brush a little bit better. You know how you swirl it around in your jar? Well, expect to do it a bit longer. Not too much. But it’s noticeable. This for me is by no means a deal breaker. I don’t mind at all.


Daniel Smith wins with total colors. I’m still going to buy DS’s luminescent watercolors. I especially love that blue one that I always use. It’s great for mermaid tail blends and for eye colors. Nothing like luminescent blue eyes in my fantasy world pinup girls.

I’ve heard some people say that the honey based paints are bolder. Honestly? Hard to say. Daniel Smith has some bold colors as well. Winsor and Newton appear more subdued and old fashioned to me. I do love those both though for those specific reasons. Sometimes you want bold. Sometimes you want subdued.

So honestly, I don’t really have a preference when it comes to colors.

What wins me over is I’m just having so much fun with these. It’s like when I got a Paul Reed Smith guitar. I loved my Ibanez and my Schecter already. But the PRS was just better. Why? Because of intangibles.

You may look at the intangibles I’ve listed and think I’m off my rocker. That’s totally fine. I may be nuts. But, I do make some pretty good pinups.

Selene's Rangers - Guardians of the Moon
Selene’s Rangers – Guardians of the Moon

This is Allie in all three poses. Mostly Sennelier watercolors and M Graham gouaches, but with Daniel Smith’s Moonglow for the moon (I love that color) and Daniel Smith’s luminescent paints for a lot of the rocket. I also use Daniel Smith’s Rose of Ultramarine for their eye shadow. I’m really fond of that color.

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Painting with honey watercolors, Part I

If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, you know that I love M Graham gouache. But, for a completely different reason than anyone else.

I’m nearly blind. I literally need my glasses to find my glasses. Do you remember Velma from Scoobie Doo? If so, you probably remember when she’d lose her glasses. She’d be feeling the floor trying to find them.

That’s me. I can’t see shit without them. I have to feel around the house until I find them.

I cannot drive without my glasses either. No way. I’d kill somebody.

So, what does that have to do with watercolors?

Well, I also have the controversial opinion that high end watercolors are high end watercolors. I’m not a watercolor brand stickler. I’m not a brand stickler for anything though. Guitars. Cars. A good tool is a good tool. The brand is secondary.


So, going back to not being able to see shit, my other major senses are way better than the average person’s. It’s because I rely on them more.

No matter how beautiful a woman is, if she stinks, that’s three strikes. I can’t get past that.

And on the flip side, I love a good perfume. I only have two bottles of cologne – a Tom Ford and a Versace. Yes, they’re expensive but they make me smell good.

Likewise, a +1 to a woman who knows how to smell good.

Honey based watercolor and gouaches
Honey based watercolor and gouaches

M Graham gouache smells good. So, Blick stores had a killer sale on this French made Sennelier watercolor paints. They’re honey based. So what does Roman do? He buys them.

The next question – how do they paint?

Well, first I have to paint with them. Part II coming up in 30 days as I want serious time with them before an honest review.

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How important is watercolor paint brand?

mixed watercolors

So, how important is watercolor paint brand? Keep in mind, this is one artist’s opinion.

A lot of watercolor artists are brand sticklers. They’re convinced that brand X smokes brand Y. You’ll get the same thing with guitarists, car enthusiasts, and every other person who’s convinced their favorite brand is better than the competition.

You know what?

I don’t care. Seriously. I don’t.

I like Daniel Smith paints. A lot. I’ve even tried their luminescent paints. And I liked two of those and hated one of those, and was indifferent about one of those.

One day in Hobby Lobby, I really needed a few paints. They didn’t have Daniel Smith. They only carried Winsor and Newton and their cheap brand at the time. So, I tried Winsor and Newton because I didn’t want to waste time with student grade paints.

And you know what? I loved Winsor and Newton!

Then one day, I was in Blick and they had a ridiculous sale on their store brand. From deduction, I knew Blick watercolor blocks were really something a lot more expensive that they bought in bulk. However, I won’t say the name. I know how they’re able to do it though. You buy something in bulk and make a deal with the company and they’ll let you slap your store log on it.

Costco does this. That’s why Costco brand Scotch is pretty decent Scotch. It’s really something higher end that they bought in bulk.

Anyways, Blick brand paints are also pretty good paints.

“So do you have a preference?”

Honestly? Not really. Yes, don’t buy student paints if you can afford to buy the high end paints. Student paints use cheaper materials and are watered down. You’ll find you’ll have less pigments with student paints. You’ll learn this the hard way.

Yes, you can still create excellent art (assuming you’re pretty good) with student paints. But, why do extra work?

I’m fine with any of those three that I’ve used so far. Sure, I’ll try others as well. As long as they’re the professional grade paints. I’d love to try M Graham watercolors for instance as I already happen to love M Graham gouache.

Now, if you really want to be a stickler, do the same painting twice, except do it with two different brands. Then actually get back to me and let me know which paint brand you like better.

I’ll be honest with you. I’m a horrible judge. You know why? Because I’m pretty adamant that good tools are good tools.

I could take a high end guitar from Paul Reed Smith, Ibanez, Schecter, Jackson, or a slew of other guitar companies and I’ll be more than happy to perform live with it. Exactly the same thing with watercolor paints.

Now, if this isn’t you, then you need to experiment.

But let me be clear on one thing – there are no right or wrong answers in any of this. Just preferences.

If you’re happy with a tool, feel free to fall in love with it and hate its competitors. That’s just not me.

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5 things to know before starting watercolors

Before I started watercolors, I was already working with Allie. I was heavily into colored pencils at the time.

Why colored pencils? I have no idea. I wanted to get better at drawing and regular pencils seemed boring to me. Or something like that.

It’s funny because now, I love regular pencils. Well, to be precise – mechanical pencils. But back then, I simply wanted some kind of color.

Enter watercolors. I wanted to try them out. So I looked at watercolor message boards and read what people said. And, I took the advice seriously.

So this article is part their advice which turned out to be true and part my advice. I’ll specify which is which.

Draw two hours for every one hour of painting

Their advice. And, the old man who said this was right.

Painting is the easy part. But if you can’t draw, your paintings will suck anyways. Unless you’re doing paint by numbers, which I assume you’re not doing.

So simply draw two hours for every hour of painting. And I’m not kidding. Painting really is the easy part. You’ll agree with me within a year, assuming you’re practicing daily.

Cheap watercolor paper sucks, but…

This is one I learned the hard way. Cheap watercolor paper sucks. But, your first 10-20 paintings will suck anyways. So you might as well use cheap watercolor paper.

You’ll learn the difference between cheap watercolor paper and good watercolor paper. That said, not in the beginning. You won’t notice.

Another thing – if you’re lucky, you’ll catch decent watercolor paper on sale. Plus, I’m not too far from a Blick store. Their generic is affordable and rumors are it’s actually a high end British brand. I wouldn’t be surprised as their generic is quite good.

I happen to use their generic blocks a lot. I love them. And I’m too lazy to stretch my watercolor paper. Thus, the Blick blocks.

Save your jars

Nothing more annoying than not having clean jars. My wife and I eat tons of kimchi. We save all those jars. She washes them at least twice though before using them for watercolors. You definitely don’t want your brushes to smell like kimchi.

I try to have at least four clean at a time. It sucks to have no clean jars and an inspiration. You need water to paint as it’s watercolor after all.

It’s called watercolors for a reason

You’re not going to have total control over watercolors. If you go into it with the mindset that you can control the water and get the water to do everything you want, you’re only going to get frustrated.

I’ve said before that watercolors aren’t for everyone. It takes a certain personality to love watercolors.

I’m a water person. I absolutely love water.

I’d love nothing more to be in the Caribbean right now with some beautiful women, drinking a nice cocktail.

If you’re totally unable to let go, you won’t like watercolors. Water has a mind of its own. Water wants to do what it wants to do. You have to be comfortable with water doing its thing.

So there will always be at least part of your painting that will have some randomness to it.

Yes. This will bother some people. A lot. I get it. And if you think it will bother you, you’re probably better off with another medium.

If you’re not having fun, you’re going to quit

I paint whatever I want. That’s how I ended up doing fantasy pinups. I paint exactly the type of painting I want to hang up in my office.

Now if you see painting as a chore, you’re only going to get frustrated. And you’ll eventually quit.

This is supposed to be fun.

Now on the other hand, if you absolutely love it, nobody could stop you from getting good. Seriously. You’re going to get good at it.

You’ll find yourself thinking of ideas and painting way longer than you expected to. You’ll get lost in the work. The hours will disappear and you’ll forget about other things.

That’s all a good thing. Unless of course you forget to pay the bills and they shut off the lights on you.

I’m either drawing or painting every single day. Even on a cruise ship, I bring my drawing pad and while everyone else is sleeping in, I find a nice quiet place and draw Allie and Roxy. They always send me selfies right before a vacation so I have them on my phone. And I just draw straight from my phone. It’s great practice!

But yeah, that’s how it will be. You’ll find yourself doing art every chance you get. You’ll find yourself in a coffee shop drawing random people. Then you’ll catch yourself drawing your coffee and you won’t even notice you just did that.

You’ll go on a date and draw your date on your napkin. And you’ll see something outside and you’ll start thinking about how to get that exact same color from the paints you have.

You’ll see a chance for painting and art everywhere you go.

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French Ultramarine, Indigo, and Payne’s Grey

I’m sharing with you one of my watercolor secrets. If you want to get that magical nighttime look, I simply use these three colors – French Ultramarine, Indigo, and Payne’s Grey.

But since I’m painting on a watercolor board this time around, I’m going to go through a lot of paint. You need to really layer it on there.

I like alternating the surfaces. Sure I usually paint on watercolor paper, sometimes even on wood. But recently, I’ve been painting on a lot of watercolor boards.

Anyways, about those colors. Let’s examine each one.

French Ultramarine

I’m not a brand stickler. Some stores around here are heavy into Daniel Smith. The closest one to me prefers Windsor and Newton. Whatever. I think good paints are good paints. Both brands have wonderful versions of each of the three colors. And they’re not the only brands, just the most accessible where I live.

French Ultramarine is a deep blue when not watered down. You can water it down to make it a weaker blue. In this case, it’s on there pretty thick. Very little water. You can see how deep it is.

If you’re wondering, French Ultramarine is made by grinding up lapis lazuli, a beautiful blue rock, into powder. During the Middle Ages, it was the most expensive pigment, even more expensive than gold.

For our purposes, it’s the deep blue layer, the lightest of the three but still plenty dark. To get that white moon reflection, I simply take a piece of paper towel, wet it, and wipe away a little bit of the paint.


Have you ever played that board game Puerto Rico? If you have, you know indigo is one of the things you trade. You may also know indigo as the dye for your blue jeans.

Indigo comes from plants. Nowadays, a lot of it is synthetic but back in the day, it came from plants.

For colors, it’s almost halfway between purple and blue. It’s another rich blue color.

Once again, I caked it on there as I really like the color. It can get quite dark when caked on. That’s about four layers of paint on there.

Opium Tales - Aphrodite and mortal friend
Aphrodite and mortal friend

Payne’s Grey

What’s Payne’s Grey? It’s a super dark blue/grey color that artists often use when they don’t want to use black.

William Payne was an English watercolorist. He invented Payne’s Grey and his works were already forgotten in his lifetime. Unfortunately for him, he’s best known for inventing that color, rather than his works.

For my purposes, it’s a dark color that’s not quite black. I love black, don’t get me wrong. But I only use true black for black purposes. In my opinion, Payne’s Grey goes better with Indigo and French Ultramarine than black does.

The girls

Both girls are Allie. I wrote up the backstory of the painting and will post it once I get this thing framed. This is Aphrodite and a human friend, visiting Greece in 2019. No, no place like this exists exactly as in the painting. I simply took a bunch of pictures that we took from Greece a few years back and combined them on a magical island. Yes, those trees as well are from Greece.

I wrote up a whole article on how I get my skin tones in watercolor. So you’re really not seeing too many colors here. You’re seeing the colors for Allie and those three colors mentioned above. That’s it.

I rarely go crazy with colors in watercolor. Usually, I keep to seven colors a painting.

The stars? Gouache.

And one more thing. Let’s talk about color theory. You’ll notice the girls “pop out” a bit. Ultramarine blue, indigo, and Payne’s grey are all cool colors. The girls are mainly warm colors. So by theory, they should pop out.

Do they? I think so.

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Experimenting with gradient washes

If a man comes up to you, and tells you he knows absolutely everything about watercolors, ask him how long he has been painting professionally. No, not just for fun. Professionally.

If he says anything under 20 years, walk away slowly. The man is probably an axe murderer and has bodies in the basement.

Watercolor is awesome. No, watercolor isn’t for everyone. Because it’s so, well, weird.

Every time I feel good about myself when getting good at a new technique, someone else will come along and paint something totally cool and I’ll need to learn that trick.

So, this technique is not me teaching you how to do it. This is my very first time doing it.

Rather, this is me attempting something I’ve only done in my watercolor notebook.

If you’ve done this before

If you’ve done this before, don’t laugh. Rather, think about how your first one looked. Better? Worse? About the same?

See, this is why I love watercolors. I think of all the painting mediums, watercolor leaves the most open.

You’re going to be really good at certain techniques. Then, you go on to the next technique.

Mastery takes decades, assuming you spend the hours every year.

Yes, I will try oils one of these days. But, I’m having so much fun in watercolors (including gouache of course) that I think I’ll be doing this for at least the decade after this one.

If you’ve never done this before

Now if you’ve never tried a gradient wash on a large scale (this is a decent sized watercolor painting), I hope it inspires you to try it. Yes, it’s best that you don’t experiment on your best watercolor papers. However, I’ve been hitting the art stores so much that I’ve been snagging their sales and got me a few steals. So I can justify using good watercolor paper now for experiment since I literally have hundreds of papers around.

My first gradient wash experiment
My first gradient wash experiment

Yes, I hope it inspires you to try. Maybe I shouldn’t have done such warm colors. The model doesn’t pop. But you know what? It was an experiment. I’ll end up giving this one away to a friend.

Try it. You should be experimenting often anyways.

Colors used – Blick Artists’ Watercolor – Naphthol Red and Lemon Yellow.

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Are Daniel Smith Luminescent Watercolors all that?

If you’ve been doing watercolors for awhile, you’ve come across Daniel Smith paints. Although I’m not a brand stickler, both Daniel Smith and Windsor and Newton watercolors are generally pretty good. I’ve also reviewed M Graham gouache earlier, and enjoy that one too. I’ve even bought Blick store brand watercolors as they were on an insane sale that I couldn’t pass up.

So, what about the Daniel Smith Luminescent watercolors series? Any good?

So far? Depends on which one.

Iridescent Electric Blue

This one is da bomb! I absolutely love this color.

Roxy belly dancer
Roxy modeling as Alicia

The blue on Roxy’s dress is Daniel Smith’s Iridescent Electric Blue. If you look closely, you could see sparkles in the paint. Unfortunately, pictures don’t do it justice. You actually have to see this in person.

It’s the same thing when you see an electric guitar that has been painted well. In real life, it’s the coolest thing in the world. And you take a picture of it and show everyone and it’s just not the same.

It’s really hard to capture just how good this one is. But if you read other reviews, the reviewers will also tell you the same thing. They’ll mention that pictures don’t do it justice. You have to see it in real life.

Iridescent Ruby

On the flip side, this was the absolute worst tube of watercolor paint I ever bought. It’s terrible. It’s weak. Way too light.

Roxy doing a belly dance

If you look at her bra top, you could see the Daniel Smith Iridescent Ruby. Whereas, that doesn’t look too bad, there’s a reason for it. I literally had to mix it with another red paint in order for it to look like anything. And, that’s with the Iridescent Ruby caked on.

I love Daniel Smith. I think their paints are great. But, even Michael Jordan misses shots. This is like Michael Jordan missing the backboard entirely and hitting a cheerleader or a cameraman. They dropped the ball entirely with this one. I sincerely hope DS discontinues this particular paint.

Iridescent Goldstone

Roxy modeling for Speaker Girl

The necklace? Daniel Smith Iridescent Goldstone. It’s gold. I don’t think it’s necessarily better than any other gold I’ve seen. It’s definitely a worthy gold. Not bad. Just not the best.

It’s what I’ll be using for gold until I run out of it. I like it. But I’m not entirely awed by it.


I just bought Iridescent Scarab Red. I’ve fooled around with it in my watercolor journal and so far, it’s looking promising. After I finish a painting using it, I’ll show you.

I haven’t fooled around with any of the other colors. But I can tell you of the four, one is absolutely outstanding, one is good, one is the worst paint I’ve ever bought, and one I don’t have enough experience to judge just yet.

I’ll write a sequel to this article after I buy a few more of these.