You should often amuse yourself when you take a walk for recreation, in watching and taking note of the attitudes and actions of men as they talk and dispute, or laugh or come to blows with one another… noting these down with rapid strokes, in a little pocket-book which you ought always to carry with you.
— Leonardo da Vinci.
Since Jane Blundell’s Workshop last month I have really been thinking hard about watercolour paints and how I should be using them. One of the many things that I learned was that Alizarin Crimson has a high lightfastness therefore we should not be using it as it will fade with time. I had been using this colour for many years now, and I am so happy to have learnt this… amongst many other things too. Permanent Alizarin Crimson is fine though, even though it is a synthetic blend.
For many years now I have been looking at the excellent website Handprint.com and there was a section that I told myself that when I had the time, I would surely test it out. And finally I tested it out today, even though I had no time, and it was much easier than I had originally thought that it would be. It is called “Learning how dilution feels” on the site and can be found under the link “The secret of glowing colour“.
I started with a tiny teaspoon that I filled with tube paint… which one did I use? Well, the one that I have tons of at my house and that I will not be using anymore for anything else than for tests. Alizarin Crimson. So I filled up the tiny teaspoon and with a synthetic brush I put that quantity on my clean palette. This is the “Raw” version 1:0. Then I added 1 tiny teaspoon of water and mixed it well to the paint, and this gave the 1:1 ratio of water and paint. The texture was one of molasses or corn syrup. You can easily follow what was the next step, huh? Well the colour started singing at 1:3 (cream texture) and this is where it started beading too! From 1:3 to 1:6 (milk texture stage) the colour had attained its maximum chroma and I was thrilled to see this. 1:7 and 1:8 were really nice too and at ratio 1:9 it started feeling watery… fine for some instances, but the colour had definitely lost its chroma. At ratio 1:12 blooms started appearing, a sure sign for me anyway that I have overwatered. Wow! I loved doing this as I always have problems of overwatering or underwatering my paintings… hard to find the right balance! Hope that you enjoyed this test -)
Colour: W&N Alizarin Crimson
Paper: Handbook Travelogue Sketchbook 8″x 8″