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September 2013



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Cyclamen, mineral paints demo

I'm working on the manuscript for the North Light book, my Watercolor Tricks and Techniques for the 21st Century, and my editor wanted a new vignette using mineral paints.

I'd done an article for Watercolor Artist on Rublev's Natural Pigments paints, and have used Daniel Smith's and a few of Joe Miller's, just to experiment with, and wanted to use some of the brighter colors than the ones I've done in the past--like this one using the Natural Pigments Cozens box.

Cloudy Day, plein air

(Lost some of the color in the scan, alas...)

I bought a cyclamen for our middle godchild's birthday and thought it would be fun to try out some of these colors--on the painting at the top, I used Rhondonite Genuine (the pink), Natural Amazonite (darker green), Serpentine Genuine (lighter, yellower green), Sodalite Genuine and Purpurite Genuine--these latter two provided the darks. 

They do lift well, where I wanted to give a bit more detail to the leaves--I used a small, stiff, damp brush and blotted up the loosened pigment immediately.

It was an interesting experiment, but truthfully, I'd still prefer a fresher, more transparent rose for the flowers. I'm just not wild about the mineral paints, I'm afraid--I don't quite get it.

I'm told there are some colors that are just marvelous--my friend Laura Frankstone works wonders with Lunar Blue, and I'm going to have to try it. Some of the rest of them are more difficult to work with. Hey, maybe it IS hard to teach an old dog new tricks, especially when the dog really doesn't see the need to learn them. ;-)

But...since I teach, I DO feel the need to try out new things. Just not to stay with them if they're Not For Me!



I think your cyclamen turned out beautifully--the pink is quite vivid and complements the lively mix of line and wash you've used. You captured the spirit of the cyclamen.
Thank you! I was fairly happy with the finished product, just wondered how much easier it might have been if I'd been using my old standbys. Guess it's good to test your limits sometimes!


I think the petals are so delicate. I'm especially impressed because I have been trying to learn to show petals with the light glowing through them at the edges, and I find it hard to get.
Thanks, Annie! It is hard to get that delicacy, isn't it? I'm glad you like this...


There's a softness to the cyclamen painting that's not usually characteristic of your work, but I quite like it - maybe it comes from the difficulty of working with mineral paints, but it's really nice. The rest of the work is also up to your high standards too!
Hi Casey! I do like to work wet-in-wet from time to time, particularly when doing an actual painting like this--not so much in my journal, which is mostly what people see, because it's kind of inconvenient there!

Thank you so much for your kind words! I did like that they're mostly easy to lift...


Mineral paints

I have some of these also, and I have to agree with how you feel about trying them but not sticking with them, perhaps. (I read your article on p. 20 of Watercolor Artist--good job.)

I have one of the Rublev palettes and it is interesting; I like it for pen and wash best. I did a test swatch and the colors are evocative, but very opaque and muted. As to the Amazonite and such, these just don't get me excited when I use them. I want to try Lunar blue, however.

Re: Mineral paints

I am IN LOVE with the Lunar Blue! It's lovely, granulates beautifully, very atmospheric. The others I could probably do without, but that one's already earned a place on my (semi) permanent palette!