The Daniel Smith 238 Dot Color Chart for their Extra Fine Watercolors
One thing I touch on in my workshops is that not all pigments are created equal. My palette consists of paints from a variety of manufacturers because over the years I have determined which shade or tone I like of that paritiluar color from a specific manufacturer. Just because it has the same name doesn’t mean its the exact same color.
In the recent “Watercolor for Beginners Workshop” I taught. I had the students only work with a limited palette of 5 colors. Two blues, Cobalt and Ultramarine, one red, Permanent Rose, one yellow, New Gamboge and Quinacridone Burnt Orange or Burnt Sienna. I feel for beginners too many colors can be overwhelming and they learned to mix everything they needed from these 5 colors.
Something interesting evolved with the yellow, New Gamboge, which is a warm yellow. My preferred New Gamboge is a Windsor Newton. However I had a tube from Danial Smith which I had never tried before. When I swatched them both out, the Daniel Smith New Gamboge was a bit warmer and more orange in tone. Nothing wrong with that, it’s all a matter of preference.
Students that purchased paint, mostly bought Windsor and Newton’s New Gamboge. Researching it further not all manufacturers are offering “New Gamboge,” American Journey from Cheap Joe’s has a “Gamboge Hue.” Therefore, that’s why my students probably bought the Windsor Newton because it had the exact same name of what I had asked them to bring.
Older Windsor Newton packaging on left and new packaging on the right.
Here is where it gets interesting. Windsor & Newton changed their packaging a while ago and the tubes are now silver instead of with the white paper label. I had a older big tube (37ml) of New Gamboge with the white label. Students bought new silver tubes. When I saw them squirt some out on their palette I couldn’t believe it was the same color as the Windsor & Newton I had, and it wasn’t. It was more mustard in appearance and when swatched out it was like a cross between New Gamboge and Quinacridone Gold. It just was not the same color I had intended them to work with! So even though it is from the same manufacturer it can be a different color!
It may be hard to tell the color differences from this photo, these are the different New Gamboge samples.
I had ordered a tube of Windsor Newton’s New Gamboge before the workshop to replace the tube I had used up and when it came I sent it right back, It just didn’t seem right for my palette. I feel the Daniel Smith New Gamboge, is a bit too orange and not the warm yellow I need. Now I’m on a mission to find a new warm yellow.
A couple of weeks ago I bit the bullet and finally ordered a set of the Daniel Smith Dot Cards, which I have wanted to do for a long time! Four cards total have a dot of paint of every paint they have in their line. Just wet with a brush and you have an actual sample!!!! I wish every manufacturer did this! How great is it to need a color and know exactly what you are going to get! I have a few Daniel Smith colors in my palette. I have purchased quite a few and those I’ve liked have stayed and I use often and others I use occasionally, but still love them for different purposes. Now there is no spending money and hoping that I like what I get, at least with Daniel Smith.
So now back to needing to find a new New Gamboge. Comparing the Windsor & Newton New Gamboge, the old formula that I like, to the samples on my Daniel Smith Dot cards, I feel that their Hansa Yellow Deep will be a good substitute! Problem solved.
The cards are $25 plus shipping. I feel it’s money well spent. You get dots of all 238 colors in their line. It was so much fun to wet them all to see what color was going to emerge, you could also sense the behavior of the paint, did it move fast or take a while to get the pigment going. I can guess the value range right away for each color, saw some new colors I would like to try, saw some I thought I was interested in but maybe not after getting the dot card, which will save me money in the long run. And if I’m looking for a new color for a particular painting or want to try something new, I’ll be more inclined to look at my dot cards, and perhaps order Daniel Smith. Lastly, they are just so cool to look at! Really, the only paint manufacturer out there where you can actually truly sample a color without buying a whole tube of paint!
You go Danial Smith! Why didn’t I order these sooner?
Limited Edition Giclée Prints & Note Cards of my work available here.