REVIEW: Light Spring and Bright Spring Watercolor Sets from Da Vinci Paint Co.

It’s Spring, and the Da Vinci Paint Co. has created two curated sets, Bright Spring and Light Spring Watercolor sets, to celebrate the colors of the season. With those names, you might think the colors are much the same but they are different — not just in color, but in the way they perform.

Sets of six 15 ml tubes of paint chosen to represent the beautiful colors of Spring!


Da Vinci Paint Co. produces watercolors that, after years of using them, I consider to be highly consistent in quality, ease of rewetting, and intensity of color. But the pigments used in watercolor have characteristics that are important to know about whatever the brand.

We commonly think about the characteristics such as the colors of our paint, and whether they are light or dark (their value), but there are other characteristics that can make a big difference in the way our work turns out.

These two sets are good way to compare high-key and low-key colors, dispersion, and opacity.

Characteristics of the Bright and Light Spring Sets

While each set has a yellow, red, green and blue, they come from totally different pigments. The Bright Spring set has an orange and brilliant pink while the Light Spring Set has a peach and a lavender.

The Bright set has all transparent and semi-transparent colors, producing intense, vivid colors capable of great contrast and a range of light to dark. The Phthalo colors, the blue and green, are powerhouses that can dominate. In combination with the intense orange, pink and red, your paintings can become dark, but also create moody drama.

The Light set has all opaque and semi-opaque colors, producing bright pastel colors, capable of producing an intense feeling of light. The lavender is a fabulous color for reflected light in shadows. Rather than drama, you create a feeling of serenity.

In color terminology, mid-tone hues to white are considered high-key, while mid-tone to black are low-key. The Bright set has a range of low to high-key. The Light set is all high-key. Very high-key.


As I mentioned the two sets also perform differently. What does that mean?

I did a quick test with both sets using the same brush, the same paper, and the same amount of water. I used the wet-into-wet technique, dropping juicy mixes of the paint into puddles of water on the paper.

The main difference in performance is dispersion. On the left we have the Bright Set, on the right, the Light Set.

With the Bright set, notice the spikes, especially the yellow in the upper left, and that the shapes themselves are not as sharply defined.  The colors run together more. The Light set has distinct shapes, with less blending, and fewer, shorter spikes.  

Dispersion is the way a pigment acts when dropped into water. Some colors explode, leaving spiky trails everywhere, other colors barely move, and many are somewhere in between.

In short, the Bright set is more explosive than the Light set.

Can the Bright colors be controlled? Absolutely. Control the water, control the explosion. But if you are into loose painting, and/or abstracts these explosions can be like fireworks — a thing of beauty.

Can the Light colors move more? Yes. But you’ll have to work at it. What will come easily is control, hard edges, and exquisite detail.

If you already know your style and/or what you like, choosing the right set between these two will give you the most satisfaction.

If you want to experiment with the characteristics of watercolor pigments, playing with both of these sets would be a great way to do it.

Pigment Key

  • P = Pigment
  • PB=Blue, PBk=Black, PR=Red, PY=Yellow, PG=Green, PV=Violet, PO-Orange, PW=White
  • LF I = Lightfastness Excellent
  • LF II = Lightfastness Very Good

Bright Springtime Set

I consider this the more flexible of the two sets, because you have more range of values and key.

Bright Springtime Pigment Info:

  • Hansa Yellow Medium — PY74, Transparent, Staining, LF II
  • Benzimida Orange — PO62, Semi-transparent, LF I
  • Opus — PR122 + Red Dyed Polymer, Semi-transparent, Staining, LF Not-Rated
  • Permanent Red — PR188, Semi-transparent, Staining, Granulating, LF II
  • Phthalo Green (Yellow Shade) — PG36, Transparent, Staining, Granulating,   LF I
  • Phthalo Turquoise — PB16, Transparent, Staining, LF I

I already knew this set had explosive colors, so my test here was both in controlling the dispersion, and in taking advantage of it. I used a mix of wet-into-wet (less wet than my comparison above) and wet-on-dry. My second layer was a less juicy mix wet-on-dry only.

Notice how the darker colors give you a sense of mood and drama.

Magnifying the Garden Photo Reference by Jade87 on Pixabay

This second painting was all wet-into-dry, using lots of negative painting and focusing on control, to show that these colors do behave themselves well when told to do so.  You do have the option of letting the paint do its wild thang, but also of control if you prefer.

Peach Blossoms Photo Reference by fietzfotos on Pixabay

With these powerful colors, your paintings can easily be dark, so I decided to show that they can also be full of light. Although my reds dominate, I used every color in the set, keeping to tints that let the transparency show.

Light Springtime Set

I tend to the dark side, so it took me a little trial and error to get used to this set. Once I got away from my dependence on value contrast, I loved it and want to experiment more with the light side of the Force — er, watercolor.

Da Vinci Red Tint, Mint Green and Sea & Sky are all new Da Vinci colors.

Light Springtime Pigment Info:

  • Naples Yellow — PY35/PY43, , Semi-Opaque, Staining, Granulating, LF I
  • Lavender — PV15/PW,, Semi-Opaque, Granulating, LF I
  • Peach — PR188/PY65/PY43/PW6, Semi-Opaque, LF II
  • Da Vinci Red Tint — PR254/PW6, Opaque, LF II
  • Mint Green-PG7/PY3/PW6, Semi-Opaque, LF II
  • Sea & Sky — PB15/PW6, Semi-Opaque, LF I

Anytime you have opaque colors, you have the risk of chalky colors. Good opaque colors don’t become chalky easily, but if you use the paint too thickly or keep adding layers it will happen.

My test here was to see how easily it would happen. I used some of the paint with almost no water — much thicker than it is wise to use, and in some areas I kept layering. I did eventually get some chalkiness, but it took work. It will be easy to avoid with this set.

Soaking Up the Sunshine Photo Reference by quimono on Pixabay

Since the colors in this set have much the same value, it’s harder to get contrast with light and dark.. You can get contrast by layering some of the colors and not others.

More importantly, the white of the paper helps build contrast. I used masking fluid to reserve the whites. Masking fluid does create hard edges. You don’t always want those, but they are perfect for representing the intense shadows of a sunny day.

Gardening in the Sun Photo Reference by JullWellington on Pixabay

Once again, I used masking fluid to reserve whites, but just for highlights. I used very light tints throughout and relied on the contrast of color.


I really enjoyed working with these sets. Although similar at first glance, they are very different in the pigments included, and the way the colors perform.

I suspect many people will be happier with one set or the other. For those who like high drama, lots of value contrast, or loose, explosive brush strokes, the bright set would be best. For those that like sunny colors, the feeling of light, and lots of control the light set would be best.

For those who like to play with the difference in pigments and their performance, or just like to switch things up a lot, then both sets would be a great way to do this.


Light Spring Watercolor Set

Bright Spring Watercolor Set

Hahnemuhle Collection Watercolor Pad Cold Pressed 9×12 Inches 300gsm

Hahnemuhle Collection Watercolor Block Rough 9.5×12.6 Inches 300gsm

Hahnemuhle Collection Watercolor 300 Block Hot Pressed 9.5×12.6 Inches 300gsm

Rabi Alieva da Vinci Brush Set for Watercolor & Gouache


I received the six-tube Light Spring watercolor set & six-tube Bright Spring watercolor set from Da Vinci Paint Co. for the purposes of this review. I received no other considerations, though this post may contain affiliate links which help support the Doodlewash community. As always, all opinions expressed are my own.

Recommended2 recommendationsPublished in Art Supply Reviews

8 thoughts on “REVIEW: Light Spring and Bright Spring Watercolor Sets from Da Vinci Paint Co.

  1. Hello Ms. Sandra,

    Thank You for one more lovely review. The peach blossoms are gorgeous and ‘Gardening in the Sun’ has such a happy feel to it🙂


    Sparkling Heart
    • sandra-strait

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