What's your favorite brand of watercolor paint and color?

I think I can safely say that we all "LOVE" color, so I posed this question to my student groups to find out what they like and it's been interesting to hear all the different replies. 

Through the years I have gathered lots of different brands of color and when working on my own paintings I enjoy experimenting, but one of the challenges that can happen is when you try incorporating it into the current pallet. Some artists believe that you shouldn't mix brands, but really how often does that happen?

You could work with the three primaries of one brand, but if your like me, I enjoy playing and seeing how different color flows, rewet's, granulates and blends. It's exciting giving new colors a try, after all, as are artists, color is one of the things that inspires us. 

When buying a new brand of color make sure to test it first before committing to a painting. 
  • Things to think about:
  • How does it blend with other colors and brands.
  • How is the transparency. 
  • Does the color muddy when blended.
  • How much has the color shifted when dry.

For instance I once used a beautiful purple and when it dried it turned into an acid pink, it was shocking.

Color is personal and these are only just a few of the colors students are using.
Starting with the most popular brands:
Winsor & Newton, Daniel Smith, Holbein, Maimeri, Schmicke, Lukas, Mission, Cheap Joe's, Davinci, Art Spectrum (in Australia) and St. Petersburg 

  • Winsor & Newton: French Ultramarine Blue,  Winsor Blue (Green Shade) Burnt Sienna, Indian yellow, Quinacridone Gold, Cobalt Violet
  • Holbein: Cobalt Blue, French Ultramarine Blue, 
  • Daniel Smith: Ouinacridone Burnt Orange, Cobalt Blue Violet, Cascade Green, Moon Glow, Jadeite Genuine, Carbazole Violet, All the Quinacridone colors, All the Prima Tek colors.
  • Art Spectrum (Australian): Red earth, Leaf Green

What's your favorite color & brand?


  1. I use watercolour dried in the palette as I do a lot of urban and plein air sketching, so I am always most interested in colours that re-wet really well.

    I've been using Daniel Smith for over 20 years. I have tested just about every other brand available too - and included painted swatches of them on my website - but there are so many exclusive DS colours that I love that they are my go-to watercolours.

    My favourites are Buff titanium - a lovely granulating ecru colour; Quinacridone gold - they are the only ones who make the genuine version with PO49 in their 15ml tubes and it's gorgeous; Goethite - another wonderful granulating colour, this time an earthy yellow great for beaches and sandstone. Then there are lovely convenience colours like their Sap and Undersea greens which are useful for botanicals and landscapes straight from the tube. I like their genuine burnt sienna too - made from PBr7 rather than the W&N PR101 as it is a lovely skin-tone colour when washed down as well as being a great warm orange-brown for landscapes. I do have a PR101 DS Transparent red oxide that is gorgeous, especially for rusty effects. And of the Primateks, I love Green apatite genuine, Serpentine genuine and Piemontite genuine. So much fun :-)

    Da Vinci is another excellent brand and I think their Benzimida Orange Deep is just stunning. Many of them also come in large 37ml tubes, which is fantastic if you get through as much paint as I do...

    Happy painting :-)

    1. Hi Jane, thank you for all of your suggestions, some are colors that I haven't really worked with and look forward to giving them a try. I have staid away from the Da Vinci, due to many colors being more Opaque than I would like, but I'll give them another try :)


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