Last stop on the word tour of watercolors in celebration of World Watercolor Month is the UK. What a month, it’s been an amazing experience!

Winsor & Newton watercolor paint swatches, dot cards of limited edition sets, watercolour palettes, paint tubes and half pans

With its headquarters in London, England- Winsor & Newton is a fine art manufacturer that has been providing professional art supplies since 1832.  The company was founded by William Winsor and Henry Newton.   Along with a brief history, here is a link with photos of Mr. Winsor and Mr. Newton.  With windswept and ample facial hair, they look like 19th century artists.  Today we will be taking a look at a little bit of company history, and their professional line of artist paints.  I was joking around with Charlie about these posts being like a meal and not a snack.  There’s a lot to digest- here we go!

History of the Colour Tube from the WN site:

Winsor & Newton tube display

“The metal paint tube was first invented by American oil painter John Goffe Rand as a way of transporting paints to use outside. The tubes were in fact syringes which were used to squeeze out paint and preserved the paint for a longer time, allowing artists increased flexibility and the possibility of a larger palette as colours took longer to perish.

Upon hearing of this stunning innovation William Winsor immediately sought the patent as Winsor & Newton were the only colourmen producing moist water colour. Once the patent was secured, William Winsor added one essential improvement to this design: the all-important screw cap. Thusly, the paint tube we know and love was born.

In the photo above, you can track the journey from the traditional bladders to the introduction of the syringe tube in 1840 to the Tube Cap introduced in 1904.”

This fascinating History of Pigments is an article on their site.

The modern tubes:

Winsor & Newton 5 ml paint tupes

I don’t really have a palette for these other than a couple of small stoneware ones where I’ve been keeping the colors I use the most. When I started writing this review and went to look at my WN paints I thought holy cow, where did I get all these tubes from!?  This isn’t my go to brand, but somehow I’ve acquired them.

Their Professional Water Colour line comes in 96 colors, of which 76 are single pigment.  Sold in 5 ml, 14 ml, 37 ml tubes, and half pans. 48 of their colors comes in sticks, and 36 colors in  watercolour markers. The paints are manufactured in France.

The tubes I’m showing here are the smaller 5 ml size.  Since I don’t have these in a palette, I did a lot of unscrewing of lids. The tiny tubes are a real pain to get the lids screwed off and on.  The caps can really stick. I had to use a rubber grip type of thing that I got from Cheap Joe’s as a promotional item.  It’s a small version of a jar opener.  As soon as I get a suitable palette, I’m squeezing them all into it.

Winsor & Newton paint palettes

I’ve seen pictures of giant porcelain pans, but didn’t find them anywhere other than Ken Bromley  Art Supply in the UK.  They also show up on eBay for a silly price. Here’s a 4:56 minute video about them.

“93 out of 96 colours in our Professional Water Colour range are classed as “permanent for artists’ use”, rated AA or A for permanence to ensure that the colours used today will appear the same for generations to come.”

“The transparency of Professional Water Colour is due to the way the pigment is dispersed during manufacture. In thin washes, the colour is present but the reflective white of the paper can still be seen. The colours provide brilliance and clean mixing and the natural characteristics of pigments mean that some will be more transparent than others.”

At one point they released limited edition sets Twilight and Desert. Because they were released some time ago, the sets aren’t always easy to find in the US, especially the Desert. Some of the colors are available individually on Dick Blick, but you have to sort by “No.” and then they come up first in the sort because they don’t have numbers.  Or look for them by color name, which I’ve listed below.  Jerry’s Artarama is selling the Twilight set for $57.  That works out to $9.50 per little 5 ml tube, which is a lot!

Winsor & Newton dot cards of limited edition colors twilight and desert

Twilight set: Sanguine Red, Quinacridone Violet, Smalt, Aqua Green, Cobalt Green Deep, Chromium Black.  Sanguine, Q. Violet and Chromium Black are staining, the other three are granulating, but the granulation is minimal.

Desert set: Yellow Titanate, Transparent Orange, Indian Red Deep, Phthalo Sapphire, Gold Brown, Dark Brown.  Couldn’t find a lot of in info on this set. Ken Bromley in the UK is where I linked to for this, the entire set is around £24, which is about $32 US dollars.

It’s nice that the half pans have the color printed on the sides.  I wrote the brand on the other side with a Sharpie.  Please excuse the bits, these pans went on an adventure and were also attacked by wild chickens.  Got a little sand stuck in them. Dick Blick’s half pans start at $7.27. Tubes in the 5 ml size start at $6.50.   A set of 12 half pans starts around $82. Most local art stores carry this very popular brand, and of course, numerous online retailers.

The swatches- through writing these reviews, I’ve realized I have some random ways. Below is my attempt to put the colors in some type of order.  Swatches done on Strathmore 400 Series Watercolor Paper.  I forgot to do transparency lines on the first two squares. Click to enlarge.

Winsor & Newton watercolor swatches on strathmore 400 series paper

  1. Winsor Lemon, Yellow Titanate, Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna,  Transparent Orange, Quinacridone Magenta, Alizarin Crimson, Sanguine Red
  2. Perylene Maroon, Potter’s Pink, Quinacridone Violet, Cobalt Green Deep, Cobalt Turquoise, Aqua Green, Smalt, Manganese Blue Hue, Winsor Blue (RS)
  3. Davy’s Gray, Dark Brown, Sepia, Chromium Black

I get slightly annoyed with this brand’s naming convention for their “Winsor” paints. Like now, I’m looking up the pigments for Winsor Lemon and Winsor Blue and so on, to get the pigment names to share what they are usually called.

  • Winsor Lemon= Permanent Lemon Yellow- PY175
  • Winsor Orange= Permanent Orange- PO62
  • Winsor Red= Pyrrol Red- PR254
  • Winsor Green BS= Phthalo Green- PG7
  • Winsor Blue BS= Phthalo Blue- PB15
  • Winsor Violet= Dioxazine Purple- PV23

Their Colour Chart with lightfast, opacity, and permanence keys.

Permanence rating explained: AA-Extremely Permanent, A-Permanent, B-Moderately Durable, C-Fugitive

There are no C category pigments on their chart.  The three B category are- Alizarin Crimson, Rose Madder Genuine, and Opera Rose. I opened up the PDF, same one linked to above, and enlarged to see the key and categories.

The pigment numbers and ratings are also on the tubes- have good eyes or your readers ready- the print, so tiny.

Winsor & Newton color chart

The traditional link to for more technical information on this brand.  So much info on that site!  If you are serious about paints, it’s were to go for info.

It’s hard to go wrong with this brand.  It’s beautiful, vibrant, transparent, and nice to paint with, but it’s also expensive.  It’s a reliable brand with a lot of enthusiasts. Everybody has their favorites. Looking at the chart above, they have a lot of yellows. They don’t have interesting color mixes and the numerous granulating paints like Daniel Smith. If I had to pick between brands, I would go with one of the less expensive, but equal in quality paints. I have a few favorites in the WN line that I would buy again- Quinacridone Violet, Smalt, Yellow Titanate, and Chromium Black.

I put the info below in the post from last week, but I’ll add it here too.  A little price comparison of the tubes between brands.  I used the price of Burnt Sienna for all brands and linked to Dick Blick for this example.  The WN price is consistent, also starting at $6.50 a tube at Cheap Joe’s and Jerry’s Artarama.  Their medium size tube contains 1 ml less the the other brands- 14 ml instead of the regular 15 ml, and is more expensive than any of the brands listed.

The Cotman Pocket set sold on their site, which is their student grade line, looks like it has gotten an upgrade.  A review of the Cotman Pocket Box pre-upgrade here.

I do a lot of silly little paintings, and things that I find amusing.  I like quirkiness.  Much of the time it’s all I have the time or inclination to paint, so they also end up my examples- like this one.  My friend and Guest Doodlewasher Carol Jurczak, was curious on the colors I used on this.  I figured I’d show an example of what Smalt, Quinacridone Violet and Yellow Titanate look like used together.  I love Quin Violet and Smalt together for skies and nebulae.  The dark is Chromium Black, it’s my favorite black.  These are from the limited edition lines. In a small Pentalic Aqua Journal.

Winsor & Newton and fineTec watercolor painting by jessica seacrest using smalt, quinacridone violet and yellow titanate
Winsor and Newton, FineTec Silver

There’s been some wonderful discussion going on in the World Watercolor Month Facebook group about painting rules and leaving white paper, or using white watercolor, gouache or any other white medium.  I usually refrain from commenting on technique or ‘rules,’ I don’t consider myself qualified in this area.  I am offering though, this example below of leaving the white and how brilliant it looks.  It would not look this bright and clear with white gouache or ink. Though, the stars here are white FW Acrylic Ink splattered about. My philosophy- experiment, do what’s in your heart, and do what’s right for you.   I follow enough rules in life, art is not a place where I want to entertain them.  However, I want to know about them so that I can gain skills and knowledge to base decisions from. I’ve started to use white in some of my more recent space paintings, but I usually leave it out of other subjects.

“Painting is Self-Discovery.  Every good painter paints what he is.” -Jackson Pollock

Winsor & Newton watercolor nebula painting by jessica seacrest using limited edition twilight colors
Winsor and Newton Limited Edition Colors Nebula

I like the limited addition Twilight colors, along with Yellow Titanate- a lot.  Here is another example of some of them. I painted this way before I new I would be doing a review, the darker blue is probably Indigo from Daniel Smith.

Winsor & Newton waterclor painting by jessica seacrest using limted edition twilight colors

Three books by two different UK authors, who have very different styles:

Jean Haines’ World of Watercolour, and Atmospheric Watercolours: Painting with Freedom, Expression and Style.  She has a super loose and expressive style.  I looked at Atmospheric in the library before I bought it.  She makes use of plastic cling wrap. An example on how to paint sheep is in both books, there is some overlap. I read one comment that nailed her style, they didn’t mean it in a positive way, but I consider it a positive- “too much zen.” Not all of the examples are exactly step by step, I assume so that you make it your own. She has a unique way of seeing.  I have great appreciation for her style, but it’s not for everyone.  She has other books available.  

Ron Ranson On Skies: Techniques In Watercolour and Other Media.  He uses a hake “big brush method,” and a limited palette. He’s got a few books available. His subdued palette does not excite me, that probably isn’t a surprise after seeing the eye popping colored nebula above.  If you enjoy, or have a limited palette, his work is an example of using one. Check out a few YouTube videos if you are interested.  He’s a little cantankerous in the intro of the book, which I found amusing, but other’s have describe it as patronizing.  He has a simple no “fiddling” approach, which I appreciate. 

Ron Ranson on skies watercolor book

Sharing this article again- Reinventing the Wheel: Why Red is Not a Primary Color from the site John Muir Laws, which discusses color theory and color mixing.

Mary Beth Morgan Dollar over on the World Watercolor Month Facebook group shared this link, it’s a great little article from the Daniel Smith site:

Why Paints Work the Way They Do:
Explaining Organic and Inorganic Pigments
By Jan Hart

Winsor & Newton sanguine watercolor painting by jessica seacrest
Sumi Ink and Sanguine Red

Out of anything supply related, I’ve been asked about masking fluid the most.  Next Saturday’s post will be on resists.  Then the supply post format will be switching to every other Saturday.

All previous review posts can be found under “Reviews” on the menu or click here. This is the last weekend of World Watercolor Month!  The Facebook group will carry on as World Watercolor Group, come join us, we are having a lot of fun over there!

Happy painting and see you next Saturday!

Posted by:Jessica Seacrest

Hi I'm the Doodlewash Supply Blogger and offer reviews of various types of art supplies, watercolors, and helpful tips. I approach artistic expression with a light-hearted point of view. I love to see, and support others opening up to, and embracing their creative process with any medium or creative expression.

55 replies on “DOODLEWASH REVIEW: Winsor & Newton

  1. I’m a complete newbie, so I really appreciate your thorough reviews — as well as your thoughts on technique, and your book recommendations. Each of your posts is like a little master class. Thank you SO MUCH for taking the time to write and illustrate them!

    PS: “Please excuse the bits, these pans went on an adventure and were also attacked by wild chickens.” HA HA!


  2. I always buy Winsor-Newton in tubes, but honestly I keep using them even after they dry up on my pallet months later. Is this good or bad? I should probably use the little bricks of color instead. I did once upon a time, but gave the tray to mom and started using the tubes. Now I have a few tubes with dried paint in them. I’ll have to cut and tear open the tubes to get the color out.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi! Most watercolor artists I know, or read about use tubes that they squirt into a pan or palette and rewet them. Most of what I have are tubes I’ve dried in palettes or pans. I read one book where the artist said to squirt all your tubes out into a palette (she was talking about the small 5ml ones) so that they don’t end up dry in the tubes. Being able to rewet, is one of the huge advantages to this medium. Wishing you luck with liberating your paint from the tubes! 🙂


  3. Will read this more carefully later, but had to laugh at your comment about the caps on the small tubes of paint: yes! I’ve found that, too. What a pain. No wonder you like pan paints. 😀

    Can’t wait to read this more thoroughly later…I do like W&N paints.

    Thanks, Jessica! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It was awesome! And I had planned to come roaring back for August but, as I’d just told Charlie, something came up for me that could turn out to be exciting news and I have to devote a lot of time and work to it for the next little while so I won’t be fully back yet. x


  4. I read somewhere (sorry, can’t rememeber where!) that Winsor and Newton has reformulated their paints so that they rewet better, so that they are not drying out into little bricks when laid out in the palette. Do you find this to be true? Thanks for your through reviews!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Cathy, came across something weird in one of the videos I linked in the post, the one about their giant pans. At the end of it the guy commented on how their tube paints aren’t designed to be dried in the palette and rewet, because some of the “stuff” disappears. The video was from 2008. I thought that sounds like one of the stupidest things I’ve ever heard, isn’t one of the advantages of WC it’s reweting properties?! But maybe there is something to it and they did reformulate. The Potter’s Pink I have is in a white tube (the color of the tube the guy held up in the video), which I assume is an older version, it does not rewet well. I looked for info on the reweting not being so good while researching for the post, but didn’t find any. The rest of what I have rewets fine.

      I have one more thought on this, They are giving out dot cards, that seems like they have confidence in the rewetting ability of their paints.

      I’m thinking about attaching the video to an email to them and asking about it. I’ll link it here, in case you want to watch it.


  5. Winsor and Newton makes a Perylene Green that is very useful for painting foliage. This is not available from most paint manufacturers. It is based on a BASF pigment.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi, may I ask, where you got your extremely useful looking porcelain palettes? I’ve never seen porcelain palettes like this! Also, since you’ve used the sanguine red, would you have a comparison color that you’d say it’s like? I’ve been looking for a good deep red and I think this might be the one. Thanks in advance for your help.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Jennifer! The palettes I ordered from a ceramic artist in California. I remember that his name is Will. On Instagram he goes by @iswills, and he doesn’t exactly retail. At one point he had a contact email on his account, I lucked out and got in touch with him, paid, and eventually the palettes showed up. Check out his IG account.

      The pigment on the Sanguine is PR187, it’s described is a bright, deep bluish red. I’ll offer two links on pigments in hopes they help. This one is different than other reds that I have. It doesn’t seem like a lot of manufacturers use this pigment.

      There is one red by White Nights that you might want to take a look at- Ruby. There are swatch photos on this White Nights Watercolours post.

      Mijello Mission Gold also has some powerful reds. Looking at my swatches, their Rose Madder may look similar. Here’s a link.

      If you are in the US, I’ll put dots of Sanguine and the Mission Gold Rose Madder on a card and mail it to you if you want to try them out. Email me-

      I hope this what helpful and that you find what you’re looking for. Best of luck!


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