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Summer Leftovers #2: Avocado & Apricot Pits

Avocado & Apricot Pits, Watercolor on coldpress paper, 6x8
Avocado & Apricot Pits, Watercolor on coldpress paper, 6x8"

I thought that these apricot pits and this avocado pit, still in a bit of it’s outer papery sheath would be a good subject for using my set of Kremer Pigments’ pan watercolors.  The Kremer watercolors are unusual in that they’re so highly pigmented, mostly opaque and mostly sedimentary. They are quite stable when applied: the colors don’t charge or bleed much into each other, unlike the more volatile quinacridone and other synthetic pigments.

But I found that those qualities make them less suitable for glazing because their opacity and and saturation mean that one layer hides the one beneath it. Half of the colors in my 14-color palette are muted shades of red, brown, gold, green; a few are more brilliant, but so richly colored that they have to be thinned way down to appear transparent.

I guess what I’m saying is that I’m not as familiar with how these colors work together as I am my regular palette of mostly Winsor Newton tube watercolors. It takes practice to have control over one’s media and I felt pretty out of control with these but enjoyed playing with them. I’ll try them again for the next summer leftovers.

5 replies on “Summer Leftovers #2: Avocado & Apricot Pits”

So, Jana, you have finally convinced me to start quick sketching daily. By your example, not from any pushing on your part. I have to use a pencil – being too tentative to use ink. But I am enjoying it without a sense of duty or judgment.


The colors of these Kremer pigments are terrific. It sounds like you aren’t convinced yet that you like them. But if the colors are any indication, it’s a wow! We’ll be waiting to see and hear more. Like the new blog look too.


Thanks Nel. I’ve started thinking that the best way to use them would
be as a supplement to colors I’m already using rather than trying to
use only the Kremer Pigments palette. Otherwise there isn’t enough of
a range of color/transparency/opacity, etc. as I prefer. Jana


From what Carol Gillott says in her Paris blog, she’s an advocate of first getting the color right on the palette, not on the paper, and I guess that her mixture for the medium in the pan sets reflects that preference. I.e., no glazing.

Funny story: when I was in the shop to pick up the set, I balked at the price, and considered the eight-color set, including a black and white. The exasperated woman at the counter who I presume was Carol took me in hand and lectured me soundly about the use of black and white in watercolors, eventually selling me on the 14-pan set. She’s definitely passionate about the medium.

I picked up some empty half pans from Kremer along with the 14-color set and am trying to decide on replacements for working en plein air. I yanked the perm yellow, pyramid yellow, cobalt blue medium, and chromium oxide. Currently in the set on probation: irg red, titanium orange. This gives me space for seven half pans.

Current thoughts: golden barok red and Grumbacher cobalt violet, both really nonstaining, and I can use cobalt violet for cherry, dogwood, and magnolia blossoms as is. WN transparent yellow (py150); Winsor yellow (py154) is the same as the Kremer permanentgelb. MG Viridian and MG ultramarine blue. Prussian blue to complement the Venetian red. (Kremer now has a Paris Blue, same thing, pb27)

I was going to replace the cob blue dark with a whole pan filled with ultramarine blue (M Graham, not the expensive Kremer Cennini recipe), but with the Italian raw sienna, it makes a swirly, grainy gray that I really like for overcast skies.


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