I’m here on this lovely day to share about watercolors from Da Vinci Paint Co., one of our sponsors for World Watercolor Month. We will explore a bit about the company, take a look at the Da Vinci watercolor twelve color travel palette and dot samples – I swatched on a couple different papers, and then I will share some final thoughts at the end. Charlie, the master mind behind Doodlewash®, has been using Da Vinci watercolor in his posts lately. In August, he took a field trip and visited them! He toured their facility, you can read about that here.
Here’s a little a little excerpt from his experience.
“I’ve been loving these paints, which have a vibrant and consistent quality to them (they also have a special rewetting agent that works as well as honey, better if you want to lift color a bit on the paper), so it was so cool to see a bit behind the scenes. The amount of care and control that goes into these paints is astounding and, at the end of the process, each tube is hand-poured. No large factory floor with robots. Just a small group of passionate people who really want to make something perfectly fantastic.”
I love it, it’s like he went out and did a little reconnaissance that helped me with info to write this. Plus it’s just cool that he got to see where the paint making magic happens!
About Da Vinci Paint Co.
Da Vinci manufactures a large variety of paint mediums in Rancho Santa Margarita, California, USA. One thing I like about writing reviews is learning about the people and the companies. They are often spearheaded by a person with a vision and then carried on by subsequent generations of family members. Da Vinci Paint Co. got their start with Marcello Dworzak in Italy more than 90 years ago. The company carries on, led by a third generation of the family, and in Southern California. The person that gave Charlie the tour was also Marcello, he is the grandson of the original paint maker.
Read all about the family and paint making history here.
Da Vinci Watercolor Paints
Da Vinci Watercolor paints come in 8ml, 15ml and 37ml tubes, pan and tube sets, and there is a line called Paul Jackson Signature Colors– those are lovely. They also sell a 24 color dot sample set for a few dollars. That comes in a nice looking sort of case with all the colors and pigments printed in the lid. If I counted correctly, their line consists of 110 colors, which includes a few iridescents.
From their site:
“In 2006, we reformulated Da Vinci’s Watercolor base formula to allow for 15% more pigment and better performance. Our current watercolor formulas are ideal to use straight from the tube or in pans. They will not crack when filled in pans and have outstanding rewetting properties. Da Vinci Watercolors are consumer rated 4-5 stars for quality and our 37mL tube price is still comparable to the competitor’s smaller 14mL size, making Da Vinci Watercolors the best value in professional paints.”
Da Vinci Watercolor 12 Color Travel Tin
This is the 12 full pan set. They have a screaming deal on their site- $56 for the set! The Da Vinci watercolor 6 tube 15ml sets are also nicely priced, around $40. Free shipping in the Continental US with $49 purchase. Pigments, lightfast ratings, transparency and staining qualities can be found on their site under the info for each color.
The tin is nice quality, I like that it’s not black, like most other brands. The inside tray is removable. There is a metal finger loop on the bottom. I never use the loop, and usually remove them so that they don’t snag things when I put them into a drawer or bag. It also came with a color card insert- thumbs up to that.
All swatches, unless indicated otherwise, are on Arches 90lb cold press watercolor paper.
It’s a nice basic set. All the colors in this are single pigment, except for Sap Green- which is to be expected. This set mixes clean colors.
- Da Vinci Yellow- PY154 (Benzimidazolone Yellow, or sometimes called Azo Yellow, or Winsor Yellow)
- Hansa Yellow Deep- PY65
- Da Vinci Red- PR254- (Pyrrol Red)
- Alizarin Crimson (Quinacridone)- PV19
- Permanent Rose (Quinacridone)- PV19
- Phthalo Blue (Red Shade)- PB15
- Ultramarine (Green Shade)- PB29
- Sap Green- PG7, PY42
- Yellow Ochre- PY43
- Burnt Sienna- PBr7
- Burnt Umber- PBr7
- Titanium White- PW6
This swatch is wet in wet.
The colors are transparent with good tinting strength, have a smooth constancy and nice rewetting property. All pan sets I have are half pans, it’s nice to use a larger pan. I bet you can guess the one thing I don’t like about this set- the Titanium White. Another more useful color could have rounded it out, like a convenience color- Payne’s Gray. I may try to pop the white out of the pan and fill it with something else. This is a small personal annoyance- I don’t like when companies name their colors after themselves like the Da Vinci Yellow and Da Vinci Red, other companies do this too. Typical naming convention keeps things simple and keeps me from having to look things up.
Swatch in a 4″x 6″ Stillman & Birn Gamma Series.
Da Vinci Watercolor Dots
Da Vinci dots! Generous dots, the case is light- a coated type of cardboard carton, reminds me of an egg carton, only it’s more fun. It came with a color chart brochure and a 10% off coupon. The Da Vinci watercolor dot set is $6.99 and ships free in the US. It’s a pretty cool way to present samples and could be a good option to have for quick travel sketching. And it’s just cute!
Dot colors- printed in the lid along with pigments and lightfast and other ratings:
Cadmium Yellow Lemon, Hansa Yellow Light, Cadmium Yellow Medium, Hansa Yellow Deep, Da Vinci Orange, Cadmium Red Light, Da Vinci Red, Quinacridone Red, Red Rose Deep, Opus (Vivid Pink), Ultramarine Violet, Da Vinci Violet, Cobalt Blue, Ultramarine Blue, Cobalt Turquoise, Phthalo Green, Hooker’s Green Light, Leaf Green, Yellow Ochre, Quinacridone Gold, Burnt Sienna Deep, Terra Cotta, Burnt Umber and Payne’s Grey
Opus (Vivid Pink) PR122, second row, second one in- I take as their version of Opera. PR122 is Quinacridone Magenta. It’s not as bright as Opera, but this one has a light fast rating of “very good.” Opera in a couple of other brands like Holbein and Winsor & Newton contain the same PR122 used here, and BV10- Rhodamine B, which is a synthetic dye that fluoresces and gives it that super bright pink hue. BV10 is not lightfast.
On the bottom row, spots 5 & 6- Burnt Sienna Deep PR101 and Terra Cotta PR102 are a bit similar. If buying tubes separately, I’d pick one or the other. Or maybe Burnt Sienna Transparent PBr7 and the Terra Cotta.
Sample sketch of layered rock formations in Sedona, Arizona, known as Schnebly Hill Formations. The sandstone is from the Supai Group. This area of the American Southwest is really something to experience. Same Stillman & Birn Gamma Series used above.
If you are new to watercolor and looking for an affordable set of artist quality paints, this is a great option. If you are not new to watercolor- it’s a great option. Can’t beat a $56 whole pan set of 12 that ships for free. For more insight on pigments and a fuller range of Da Vinci watercolor swatches- see Doodlewash Guest Artist Jane Blundell’s blog here.
Other recommended art supply blogs
Lovey Sade of- Sadie Saves the Day. Her blog is fun, and fresh. She includes informative videos and her voice is nice.
And of course- Handprint.com for some serious watercolor info.
Final thoughts of a more personal nature
I started off reviewing art supplies as an exploration and process of discovery. My intention was to share the love, and hopefully help other people also looking to learn about art supplies. This is my 46th review. I feel fortunate that somehow the opportunity found me, from deep in my heart- thank you Charlie. I put a lot of time, money, and heart into these reviews- I can say that I gave it my all, and got to know awesome people along the way. The experience turned out to be way more than just about art supplies. I’ve come to the point where I am satisfied with this part of my exploration. Thank you so much for reading my reviews and enriching my experience. I’ll still be around, just not sure in what capacity. I would like to leave you with some final thoughts on art and life.
I recently read a Mary Oliver poem that was shared on Instagram. Many of you may have seen it, as it was going around, or have read this poem before.
“It is a serious thing
just to be alive
on this fresh morning
in this broken world.”
I love Mary Oliver’s poems, and respect the artists that shared this quote, but I feel a different way:
We are not broken; our world is not broken. We are evolving and growing, we are waking up. We have challenges. On our journey of discovery, we currently learn through contrast- yin/yang, light/dark, pleasant/unpleasant, joy/sorrow, what we perceive as good, what we perceive as bad, expansion and contraction. There are growing pains to this beautiful dance that we all move through together. When has any deep growth, learning and change for you, not come through in the form of contrast? The world at large is no different.
We are way more than consumers with a limited perspective.
The thoughts you generate, how you see the world, and what you create matter. It impacts all of us.
Happy painting and sketching.