Friday, 13 April 2012

Daniel Smith Pt.2

Following on from Pt.1 here are the pages from the 238 Dot Try-iT sheets. To summarize they are dots of paint on watercolour paper covering the entire range of Daniel Smith watercolours, although new ones are added quite frequently and may not be on here, Quinacridone Purple being one example. The idea is that you pick up colour with a wet brush and make swatches. It may just be me but I found that it was difficult to get really strong colours and they tended to lean towards tints. The dots also vary in size, some being a lot more generous than others. This is why I've handled them like this as the swatches I made were too pale. One slight deficiency is that pigment details are missing so you have to get them separately. They are easily available so it isn't a problem. Click on the sheets to enlarge. So many wonderful colours where do you start?


Here we have yellows, through reds to purples.


Basically  earth colours.


Blues and Greens


Only Blacks washed out

This then is the range and a comprehensive one without doubt. A bewildering selection with many options in most colours. Here are a few more swatches of particularly interesting paints.

Sleeping Beauty Turquoise


Lunar Blue (Pbk11/PB15)


Lunar Earth (PBr11)

Lunar Violet (PV15/PBk11)





Daniel Smith are a very innovative company. Perhaps they stray too far in that direction at times such as `scented' watercolours, which was a special limited edition they did a few months ago. A matter of opinion I suppose. 

One intriguing area is the Cadmium hues. There are four colours that come into this classification Cadmium Yellow Deep, Cadmium Orange, Cadmium Red Scarlet and Cadmium Red Medium.  What's so special? DS claim to have used a process called co-precipitation which makes them behave like a single pigment paint, even though they are composed of more than one. This they claim makes the `hues' even more opaque and with brighter chroma than the normal Cadmiums. As a result they have discontinued some - not all - of the equivalent Cadmium paints. I e-mailed them to ask if they applied this process to other multiple pigment paints and if not why so, but received no reply. A second e-mail was also unanswered.  Perhaps they thought I was being provocative but it seemed to me a reasonable question. So much for their vaunted PR. They aren't the only ones who react in this way when making enquiries that ask pointed questions. I was intending to complete this epistle on Daniel Smith  with Pt 2 but have many more paint swatches so will complete the coverage in Pt 3 when I will attempt to tackle the tricky question of price and whether they are in fact worth buying by comparing competitor makes, both in ranges and price. We seem to be paying a significant price premium in the UK compared to the pricing in the USA with regular special offers.

 Additional topics. Why buy the Primateks? See what Bruce McEvoy of Handprint has to say about them. Rui, who  comments on here, has given his views about several DS colours, including the Lunar ones so I will include them. I would love to be a fly on the wall when Winsor & Newton and other competitors are discussing Daniel Smith. This third part will be posted within the next week or so.  

6 comments:

L.W.Roth, said...

At Daniel Smith I was particularly impressed with the extensive watercolor pad sets. I do like the pads for when I travel or impulsive plein air sessions. They are very compact and excellent packing. The only colors I take along in tubes are a medium gray and white. Thanks for turning me on to this marvelous company Peter. I'm looking forward to your third part. I didn't know Daniel Smith existed before you.

Peter Ward said...

Yes, we only get part of the Daniel Smith catalogue over here LW, although some of their other products are beginning to appear. That together with the prices puts a slightly different perspective on things. They have a terrific range although I do like Graham.

Robert P. Armas said...

Excellent review Peter.I would love if you can make one of M.Graham watercolors :)

Peter Ward said...

I will be featuring Graham, probably next month Robert.

Mick Carney said...

That's the Peter I know and love, pricking the hubris of self publicists. On a more serious note, you are doing a good job of opening up a no nonsense discussion of artist materials. Most of us haven't got your tenacity so we rely on characters like yourself to inform and stimulate us.

Peter Ward said...

I don't set out to be provocative Mick but there are questions that sometimes beg to be asked and the artists magazines skirt around them.