Winsor and Newton professional water colour field box
Winsor and Newton professional water colour field box

After the fun I had emulating the great Rowland Hilder with the Cotman version of this same field set, I couldn’t wait to get started with the professional set. Sadly, I did have to wait a while as circumstances didn’t permit me to dive straight in so, to whet the appetite, here’s a little gallery of pictures from when it was box fresh

And here’s a close up of the selection of paints that the field set arrived with

Winsor and Newton professional water colour field box
Winsor and Newton professional water colour field box
From left to right, and top to bottom:

  • Lemon Yellow
  • Winsor Yellow
  • Winsor Red
  • Alazarin Crimson
  • Winsor Blue
  • French Ultramarine
  • Sap Green
  • Yellow Ochre
  • Raw Sienna
  • Burnt Sienna
  • Ivory Black
  • Chinese White

I already knew how much I’d enjoyed using this little field box, so in terms of the practicalities, no change there – only to say it was great fun to have this out and be painting in seconds! I’m hopeful that the ease, convenience and immediacy that this set affords is going enable me to be much more spontaneous and opportunistic about when and where I get to do a quick sketch. After using the Cotman colours I was keen to repeat a couple of the same studies, as much as anything just to see whether, as an enthusiast rather than a professional, I was wasting my money on buying the most expensive quality paints. From the minute that brush and water hit the paints, there was an immediate difference. The blocks were so quick to soften up and the intensity of the colour seemed significantly stronger that for the Cotmans. On applying the paint, it seemed also seemed much more transparent (although I think part of this was psychological because a. I know that’s promoted as one of the main differences between the artist and student quality paints, and b. because I was aware of the strength and intensity of the pigment, I was also adding lots of water into my mixes. After initially paying extra attention to the paints… I soon forgot about scrutinising their qualities completely in favour of simply wrestling with the sketch.

Roland Hilder study using Winsor and Newton Professional paints. Painted on Bockingford 140gsm rough paper with oatmeal tint,
Rowland Hilder study using Winsor and Newton Professional paints. Painted on Bockingford 140gsm rough paper with oatmeal tint.
In an effort to do as like for like a comparison as possible, this painting was done on the same, quarter imperial sized sheet of tinted bockingford rough as the first study and using the same two brushes. I didn’t however refer to the first painting at all when doing this second study – for which I again used Rowland Hilder’s original study as my reference point. And the ‘actual’ difference… well, here’re the two versions and, while I do prefer the most recent one done with the professional paints – I also think that my greater familiarity with the subject matter, the experience of already having painted this scene once, and the better quality paints – all played their part in producing what I think is a much more satisfactory sketch. But please, here are the two versions so do have a look, judge for yourself, and let me know what you think. (And while you’re deciding, I’ll try to do another comparison study!)

Rowland Hilder studies: #2 painted using Winsor and Newton professional watercolours, #1 using Winsor and Newton Cotman watercolours
Rowland Hilder studies: #2 (top) painted using Winsor and Newton professional watercolours, #1 (botttom) using Winsor and Newton Cotman watercolours

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