Top 10 Winsor & Newton Watercolors
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Top 10 Winsor & Newton Watercolors

Looks like we’re back for another color roundup! Today we're doing a countdown of my top 10 Winsor and Newton colors. These are going to be in my opinion, the most iconic choices and best in class for this brand. Winsor and Newton is a brand that’s been around for nearly 200 years and it’s no surprise they have such a devoted following because their paints are really exceptional.

This list was really hard to make because in general, i don’t think you can go wrong with any of the colors from Winsor and Newton. They’re just that good. But there are a few that, in my opinion feel very unique to the brand whether that’s the quality or richness that the paint delivers or just the uniqueness of that particular color compared to other brands on the market and those are the colors that I’m going to highlight and talk about today.

10. Indigo


Indigo may not the most exciting color compared to other flashier or more exotic colors. However, it is a workhorse color and in my opinion the indigo from Windsor and newton is best in class.

It has the depth and dark values that you would expect from an indigo without losing the beautiful rich saturation that makes so many other indigos look dull and grey.

Indigo is useful not only in its pure state but it’s also an incredible color to use for mixing. I get my best earth tones and blacks from mixing indigo with other warmer colors and it gives me a lot of flexibility to play around and come up with some really exciting color schemes.

 

9. Rose Doré


Rose Doré has a beautiful luminescent quality to it. What I really love in this particular formulation is that it never reads as too pinky or salmon and it isn’t muddy and brown either.

Like the name suggests, it’s the perfect rose gold. Like if you were to walk into a jewelry store and find a really beautiful rose gold metal that doesn’t steer too pink or too gold. It’s kind of in the middle of the two and that actually makes it very neutral which in turn makes it very versatile to work with.

I use it a lot in skin tones but it can also be used to warm up elements in a landscape or architectural painting, or if you’re trying to create reflections of light from sunset or golden hour, this color could be very useful color to have in your palette.

9.Venetian Red


I love Venetian Red and WInsor and Newtons does not disappoint. Historically, Venetian red was a red earth color used in Italian Renaissance paintings so it definitely has a sense of history and culture to it. Winsor and Newton’s venetian red in particular is really beautiful and doesn’t get too brown.

It maintains beautiful vivid warm red and to me, makes an excellent color for creating all sorts of skin tones too. The paint itself is on the opaque side and that also makes it really great for building deep tones. I’ve definitely used this on things like stems, tree trunks and branches to give them darker values while warming them in the process. Anyway, Winsor and Newton’s version of this color is really gorgeous and definitely a must have.

7. Cerulean Blye

I’ve tried ceruleans from a lot of brands and something that comes up over and over again is granulation. Cerulean is kind of notorious for granulation in general so it’s a nice surprise when a paint comes along in this particular color and doesn’t do that.

I don’t want to say that I’m anti granulation or anything, I’m ok with it in more muted earthy or jewel tones, I am much less tolerant of it in colors like Cerulean. And by the way, granulation just means the paint creates a grainy nearly Sandy finish when it dries.

I use cerulean a lot for painting skies or large washes and I really need something that applies smoothly. It’s not going to be the most opaque color but then again, most ceruleans aren’t but what it will give you is wonderfully even washes that are really easy to work with on large areas. So like I said, if you’re doing a sky, or an ocean or a watercolor map or just about anything with a large surface area of cerulean, this one is one to try.

6. Winsor Violet

Number 6 is Winsor Violet (also known as Dioxazine Violet). This one I love for the same reasons as I fell in love with Winsor and Newtons Indigo. It’s a terrific workhorse color that doesn’t sacrifice the darkness of its deepest values for saturation.

Just like with the indigo, it doesn’t get muddy or grey. It’s rich and violet through and through so your painting still has beautiful brilliance even when you add those darker tones that this color also delivers. I often reach for this one as an alternative to black, it’s that dark! But it gives your painting a little glimmer of cool, purple tones peeking through underneath those shadows.

And just like with indigo, you can really leverage mixing this color to make some truly amazing earth and neutral colors.

5. Quinacridone Magenta

We’re halfway through our list with number 5 on the countdown and that is Winsor and Newton’s quinacridone magenta. Quinacridone is such a powerhouse color and having tried Quinacridone by quite a few others including Sennelier, Daniel Smith, Holbein and Mijello among others, I can confidently say that Winsor and Newton’s delivers the best iteration of this color. A gorgeous rich magenta that feels bright and saturated but still looks incredibly sophisticated.

A lot of times, I feel like Quinacridone can either get a little dull or way too vivid and artificial looking. Winsor and Newton seems to have struck the perfect balance between looking warm and natural but not getting too electric. It makes me think of powdered pigments and dyes from the streets of Bombay, India or a juicy berry from a mulberry bush. Just a fantastic color all around.

4. Sap Green

Number 4 on the list is another workhorse color that Winsor and Newton does exceptionally well. I’m all about finding colors that aren’t just spectacular to look at, but that you can use time and time again for many different uses and applications.

And what could be more versatile than a nice, unique Sap Green and Winsor and Newton’s permanent sap green fits the bill. The thing that I find most appealing about sap Green and the same holds true for most of the range of colors in this brand is the smoothness it has when applied to paper and mixed with other colors.

If you’re looking for a lot of granulation this will not be your best bet or your favorite brand but if you’re on the lookout for a color that has really beautiful mossy tones and is incredibly easy to blend and work with, this one is a phenomenal choice.

Obviously it will appeal to anyone doing natural subjects like plants and florals but thinking a step beyond that, Sap Green is a color that plays nice with so many others. It has complexity and earthiness to it which pretty much guarantees that it won’t steal the spotlight from the other colors you’ve got going on in your painting.

3. Winsor Orange (Red Hue)


We’re down to our Top 3! Next up is Winsor Orange Red Hue. This orange is pure, it’s vibrant, it’s juicy and it’s incredibly smooth and buttery in its application.

There’s something bold and unapologetic about it but without being garrish or tacky. And that’s kind of the problem that I have with lots of the primary oranges from many brands is that there’s something kind of artificial about a lot of them. This one looks more storied and evokes more historical notes.

Think of still life paintings by Paul Cezanne, or Louis XIV’s orangery in the palaces of Versailles. It’s an orange that captures the jewel tones of a brilliant sunset but somehow still has a sense of history and time. Maybe it’s just me and I’m biased but this is the orange of all oranges.

2. Winsor Yellow Deep


Next on our top signature Winsor and Newton colors list is Winsor Yellow Deep. A brilliant, bright color that can easily run the gamut between a golden orange and a sunflower yellow. In a deeper concentration, I can visualize the golden tones you would find in the honeycombs of bees.

Water it down some and you can get the pale yellows you would find on the fluffy feathers of a chick or duckling. It’s definitely a warmer yellow and the breadth of the range within that one color makes it wonderfully versatile to use. In fact, add just a dash of any brown color to it like umber or sepia and you can get yourself beautiful remixes of your typical yellow or gold ochres and sienna.

1. Winsor Blue (Red Shade)

And finally number 1 Winsor Newton color that I think is just a signature of the range is Winsor Blue Red Shade. This one is just special. It has this beautiful luminescent quality that just reminds me of a Sapphire jewel from the windows of Tiffany’s. No matter the angle you look at it, and no matter how pale or dark the color is on your page, it just has this vivid quality to it that is so dimensional and sophisticated.

It can be used for everything from a sky blue to a nautical or ocean scene. It makes a terrific blue for my ballerina costumes and makes the most memorable blue for decorative designs.

I also happen to feel that this color is such a signature of Winsor and Newton as a brand. It has all the things that I look for in a quality professional paint which makes me reach for it time and time again. Unforgettable, high quality color, a timeless look, easy to work with and mix and versatile enough for me to find a million things to use it for.

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