These Watercolour Tubes Lasted Me Five Years

In 2013, I was given some Daniel Smith watercolour paint to test out by a friend. I've already used up some of the tubes but there are three tubes that have lasted me for more than five years. Those three colours are Quinacridone Red (PV19), Quinacridrone Magenta (PR202) and Phthalo Blue (PB15:3).

It's really quite difficult use up these colours for several reasons.

Quinacridone and Phthalo colours are have incredibly high tinting strength. Only a tiny bit of paint is needed to create an intense wash.

The other reason is, there aren't many subjects that require using large amount of red to paint. Red doesn't appear as much compared to other colours, like blue (sky) or greens (plants). I usually use red to neutralise the greens, but you don't need to use much.

Phthalo Blue is a colour that I like, but I'm very cautious of using it because of its tinting strength. When it comes to painting the sky, I prefer to use French Ultramarine because I like the granulation.

These are the typical mixes you can get with the three colours.

I kinda like the mix of Phthalo Green with Quinacridone Magenta to produce a really dark colour that's close to black. It's green for painting greens that are in dark shadows.

So I still have a long way to go before using up these three colours. Maybe I should just throw in a yellow and paint exclusively with this limited palette. That way I can use them up fast and explore other colours.



Hi, Teoh. I'm just curious

Hi, Teoh. I'm just curious why you would have an urge to use these up quickly. You said to try other colors, but of course you can do that anyway. I have heard others mention the "need" to finish up a stock of paint as well. I'm not questioning that "need," I just don't understand it.

Thank you for your insight on this!

It is literally impossible to

It is literally impossible to run out of phthalos due to their extreme tinting strength and I avoid them for this exact reason. They are great mixers but difficult to handle on sketching conditions. They can mess up everything. But they are great for premixing certain hues.
The Quinacridones though are not in the same league and both Q. Red and Q. Magenta are some of the colours that I use the most and I have to buy often. But I paint a lot of florals and botanicals either way so it has to do a lot with the subjects that I prefer to paint.
Q. Magenta is also the ultimate mixing colour. It shouldn't be left out from any kind of sketching palette as it is one of the very basic colours. I would advice to prefer though those that are made by PV19 that is more transparent and ligthfast.

Another internet watercolor

Another internet watercolor artist suggests that if tubes dry out, you cut them open with an exacto knife, collect the dried up paint, put it in a palette and use it. This only works with watercolor, of course. I have not worked in watercolor for long enough to test the theory (I've never run out of a color!), but I'm pretty certain it would work.

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