Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Mijello Watercolors testing

As you might have already read in one of my previous posts (July 2015), I received the Miejello Watercolors samples from USA, and, before using them for any painting, I do my usual color tests: (a) I squeze a small quantity of paint in a clean palette and examine the paints, (b) I make a small gradient swatch of each color, from straight from the tube to very diluted, followed by  (c) a few mixtures between some of the colors to see their potential.

This time I had 10 different tubes of the Mijello watercolors ( 9 of them are in a small set that can be found in the shops): Permanent Yellow Light, Yellow Orange, Burnt Sienna, Permanent Red, Permanent Rose, Rose Madder, Viridian, Peacock Blue, Mijello Blue, Van Dyke Brown. This is how the paints look in my palette:

Regarding the tubes, I noticed that all colors are well marked with information about the actual pigments, lightfastness, transparency and staining properties. This information is of high value for the professional watercolorists, who usually chose new colors based on the pigment information rather than based on the commercial names each company gives to the paints.
When coming out of the tube, the majority of the paints have very good consistency with the exception of the Van Dyke Brown, which came out far too watery. It could be only the tube I got in this sample that had this issue, and since I do not have the opportunity (anytime soon) to get another tube, I cannot say for sure that this is valid for all their tubes of Van Dyke Brown colors.
In the first day I did the individual color swatches, and waited for the next day to do some mixes. This was because I wanted to see how dry the paints would be next day and how easy/difficult would be to get them back to tube consistency again.
The Mijello paints are not drying fast, although exposed to very hot and dry weather conditions (end of July in Greece). Even after 24 hours these small quantities of paints were still soft and re-wet very well. They reminded me the quality of the Sennelier watercolors, which are also very easy to re-wet even after a very long time.

The next day I painted also the mixture swatches, and this is how my test paper looks:

Regarding the individual color swatches, I noticed that each color straight from the tube is very intense, which is a wonderful property. Only that you need lots of water to get your brush cleaned to move to the next one. Bellow you can see the graded washes of each color.

<- Perm Yellow Light

                Yellow Orange ->

 <- Burnt Sienna

                       Perm Red ->

 <- Perm Rose

                 Rose Madder ->

 <- Viridian

                Peacock Blue ->

 <- Mijello Blue

           Van Dyke Brown ->

Now, the Mijello watercolors have a property which some might love and other don't like at all: they stay in place! What I mean by this is that they do not disperse as much as watercolors usually do when you place a dot of color on a larger wet area. I see this as a great quality desired when painting in a well controlled manner, like controlled graded washes on a small area. But you might also run into troubles and get unwanted hard edges if you are expecting them to act like other watercolor brands.
Based on the above results, I assume that they would be great on hot pressed watercolor for very detailed and controlled techniques. Again, I need to try it to see how it goes.

Looking at my individual color swatches, I was wandering if there is really the need to have both the Permanent Rose and the Rose Madder colors in the 9 tube set. Even looking at how they mix with Yellow and Burnt Sienna, I only see a difference in intensity, but not justified enough to have actually 3 reds in the set and only one blue.

Looking at the mixtures, I must say I like them all - even the complementary colors give beautiful variations of grey. All mixed colors are bright and beautiful. The Peacock Blue with the Orange and Burnt Sienna give some very beautiful greens, while the Mijello Blue gives some lovely earthy greens. The two Rose colors with the Yellow  give wonderful red oranges.

Bottom line: I like them, and although I suppose I will never go fully "Mijello", I think I might get some of their tubes for very specific work/technique.

Next to come: testing the colors in actual paints!

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