Since 1832 when Henry Newton and William Winsor introduced the first moist water colours to the world, much of our reputation for supreme quality has stemmed from the Artists' Water Colour range.
Since then Artists' Water Colour continues to be formulated and manufactured according to our founding principles; to create an unparalleled water colour range which offers artists the widest and most balanced choice of pigments with the greatest possible permanence.
Each colour within this wide and balanced spectrum of 96 colours, has been selected and formulated to offer the greatest choice so that artists can use a unique palette that best suits their work.
Both Artists' Water Colour tube and pan colours are made individually to the highest standards. Pan colour is often used by beginners because it can be less inhibiting and easier to control the strength of colour.
Tube colour is more popular overall, used by regular users, those who use high volumes of colour or stronger washes of colour. Many painters have both, as pan colours are useful when travelling and sketching. Of course, artists can use both tube and pan together if they wish.
Water colour more than any other medium relies upon the variable characteristics of the pigments used. As it is essentially a staining technique, everything rests on the handling properties of the pigments; whether they can produce a smooth wash or a textured wash; how opaque or transparent they are; the brilliance and strength of their colour; and so on.
With this in mind, it has always been - and will continue to be - our aim to provide artists with the widest possible range of pigments to give them the greatest choice and flexibility. It takes a total of 87 different pigments to produce the 96 Artists’ Water Colours.
The world’s industries have also multiplied during the history of Winsor & Newton, leading to the continual development of new pigments. Plastics, ceramics, aviation and car industries have also needed stable, bright, dense colours and this has been wonderful news for artists.
Today, our Artists’ Water Colours contain an ever-widening range of high performance pigments, which ensure strength of colour and excellent brilliance combined with extremely high permanence ratings.
Brilliance can be defined as the richness, intensity and depth of the colour. The optimum brilliance of every colour in the Artists' Water Colour range is unparalleled by any other water colour. Remarkably, this brilliance is combined with high permanence. Botanical painters will benefit particularly from the excellent and unusual combination of brilliance, purity and permanence, especially in the red area of the spectrum with colours such as Quinacridone Red, Quinacridone Magenta and Permanent Carmine.
Transparency & Opacity
Our Artists’ Water Colours exhibit unrivalled transparency due to the unique pigment dispersion in the manufacture of the colour. This is particularly important because transparency is the key characteristic of water colour. As a result of the thinness of the water colour film, all colours have a transparent quality on paper, allowing the reflective white of the paper to shine through. However, pigments do retain their natural characteristics to some degree. For example, transparent pigments refract light in much the same manner as stained glass, making jewel-like brilliance and clean mixing. Opaque colours such as cadmiums are likely to cover significantly more than transparent colours.
The varying transparency and opacity of a pigment will affect the optical character of the individual colour as well as how the colour mixes with other colours. The most transparent colours will enable you to create a pure glazing effect by applying a number of washes on top of one another. The more opaque colours give flatter washes and greater covering over previous washes. Opaque colours are also useful for toning down colour mixtures.
Since 1832, one of our founding principles has been to offer a range of Artists' Water Colours that has the greatest possible permanence. Fortunately, the 20th century featured enormous improvements in the lightfastness of colours, helping us in our quest.
In fact, over the last few decades, advancements in this area have been nothing short of remarkable. New pigments developed for the car, ceramics, and plastics industries have provided us with an astonishing array of colours with unparalleled permanence.
As a result, 93 out of 96 colours in the Artists' Water Colour range are classed as "permanent for artists' use". This means that 97% of our Artists' Water Colours are rated AA or A for permanence to ensure that the colours used today will appear the same for generations to come.
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