REVIEW: Paul Rubens (SHI YUN) Precipitated Watercolor Paint Set

Last year, I spent a couple of weeks taking care of a sick family member. When I got home, I was bit depressed and not in the least inclined to paint. I received this set of Paul Rubens Precipitated Watercolor (also packaged as SHI YUN) Set as a gift, did a few strokes across the paper and … instant drama! I was energized. A few quick and easy paintings later, and my creative muse was back.

Will this set be for everyone? Probably not. These are low-key, dark, moody colors. But they are also evocative of palettes used by many of the Masters, and did I mention drama?

Precipitated Watercolor Paint Set by Paul Rubens

Video

Precipitated (SHI YUN) Watercolor – The Colors

Paul Rubens Precipitated Watercolor Set Color Chart

This set is professional quality.

I’ve noticed that many companies are coming out with small sets of granulating colors that are mixed with black. I’m not sure what started the trend, but this set of precipitated colors is one of them.

The set includes six colors, each mixed with Mars Black.

The colors included are:

  • Shaded Yellow — PBK11/PY110
  • Chinese Ink-blue — PBK11/PB15
  • Dense Cyan— PBK11/PB29
  • Dusky Purple — PBK11/PV23
  • Misty Carmine — PBK11/PR254
  • Country Green — PBK11/PG7

Mars black, PBK11, is a semi-opaque color, so even though most of the other colors are transparent on their own, all the colors are semi-opaque in the set. However, that changes with the amount of water — each of these colors will range from totally opaque to totally transparent.

I think the lightfastness is indicated on the tubes, but in Chinese. The qualities of a paint can vary according to brand, but I looked up the pigment index information at handprint.com to learn about each color.

This is what I found:

  • PBK11 is Mars Black, very lightfast, and staining.
  • PY110 is Isoindoline yellow, lightfast, and moderately staining.
  • PB15 is Phthalo Blue, very lightfast, and strongly staining.
  • PB29 is French Ultramarine Blue, very lightfast, and staining.
  • PV23 is Dioxazine violet, lightfast, and heavily staining.
  • PR254 is Pyrrol Red, very lightfast, and highly staining.
  • PG7 is Phthalo Green, very lightfast, and heavily staining.

The colors all granulate — I suspect this is the meaning of ‘precipitated’. The pigments have lighter and heavier particles. The heavier particles separate, precipitate so to speak, and sink into the paper, so you get specks of dark among the lighter tints.

As with most granulating colors the amount of water used and the paper greatly influence how much granulation occurs.

Precipitated Watercolor Paint Set Packaging

Precipitated Watercolor Paint Set Packaging

The 15 ml tubes come in a beautiful round box. The cover is done in the style of the Dunhuang murals, unique paintings that decorate the walls and ceilings of over 500 Buddhist caves.

The tubes are inset into slots in the box. It’s a very appealing set-up, but there is nothing to lock the box when closed.

All the information on the box is in Chinese. I had to look up the color names online (I wrote them next to each tube). There is an informational sheet inside the box, but it is also in Chinese.

Thankfully, the pigment index information is in English on the tubes, and there is the standard transparency box that indicates the colors are semi-opaque. All the rest of the information on the tubes is in Chinese.

Precipitated Watercolor Paul Rubens Paint Tube

The tubes have stripes of color, indicating the colors inside.

This set is also packaged as Rubens SHI YUN series and referred to as layered color watercolor pigments.

Performance

These colors are very reminiscent of those used in traditional Chinese brush paintings and work well for something done in that style.

The colors also remind me of the palettes used by the Old Western Masters.

What I find most amazing about these colors is that drama can be created with only a few strokes. This example, done in the video, shows what I mean. It’s wonderful to watch the colors blending, the granulation forming, and the great contrast between the colors.

When I started, I didn’t have any plan in mind, it was purely abstract. As I painted, I thought maybe I would turn this into a waterfall.

Once it dried though, I changed my mind.

Looking at the work after it dried, I saw a snowy mountainside. I decided to add a little white gouache at the bottom to increase the feeling of snow, and add some stars. I’d left the white of the paper showing in a few places. I mixed the gouache with a little of the shaded yellow, and turned some of those white bits into falling stars.

All told, even with drying time, this took about 15 minutes to do.

There’s no doubt that these colors lend themselves to night time subjects. However, you can get a lighter feel by leaving lots of white, as I did with the bat-eared fox up above, or by using lots of water so you have lighter tints.

But, oh those night time scenes. Don’t you feel like you’re seeing the secret life of lemur’s in this painting?

Overall

The Paul Rubens Precipitated Watercolor set has dark, moody colors that easily create a sense of drama. They might be too dark or limited for some, but I personally find them exciting. They make me think of the palettes of both Asian and Western Masters.

All six colors are mixed with Mars Black. The pigments are professional quality, lightfast, semi-opaque, and highly granulating.

Although, the colors most easily lend themselves to night time subjects, it is possible to paint something less dark by leaving lots of white, or using lots of water to create lighter tints.

Tools

Disclaimer: 
I received this Paul Rubens Precipitated Colors Watercolor Paint set as a Christmas gift, and am reviewing it because I think others would like to know about it. 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.

Recommended5 recommendationsPublished in Art Supply Reviews
19 Comments
  1. rubiescorner 3 months ago

    I have found that water color is wonderful, but I use acrylic paint to make the water color brighter. I use the combination. I paint out the scene, and the the focus is usually in the acrylic paint that dries quickly. I use to paint with oil paints, but my father would say, “Use Acrylic paints.” I found them to be delightful, and bright.

    • Author
      Sandra Strait 3 months ago

      That sounds like a fabulous combination! I use acrylic on occasion but it bothers me that they are plastic.

      • rubiescorner 3 months ago

        I use it for depth of color, contrast, etc. I love brightness, and glowing colors. I love to see what others are painting. My family has gone on, but they were talented. I took courses in Art when I had to take more hours for certification. It helped to have some knowledge.

        • Author
          Sandra Strait 3 months ago

          It does help to have some knowledge. I’m mostly self-taught from books and videos and just hours of practice. Sometimes, I fell I did things the hard way, but I think it let me more willing to try unusual things that I would have been taught were wrong, when they are actually just not popular or apply to a certain technique.

          • rubiescorner 3 months ago

            I had 300 dollars worth of lessons from a teacher who used to teach in the schools. She taught the basics, which I knew, but she said, “You put the clouds in your paintings. Are they special to you?” I thought this was profound. I love the clouds when they come, and I paint from my heart. I have little training, but wisdom is there at the oddest times!

          • rubiescorner 3 months ago

            I lost what I was replying! I took lessons, but only 350 dollars worth. It covered the basics, and some parts I knew. She encouraged me, and noticed that I love to paint clouds. I do.

      • rubiescorner 3 months ago

        I know little about what they are made of, but I love acrylic paints. They clean up quickly, where oil paint is a process, and if you don’t clean the brushes enough, it can be a problem.

  2. Ky 3 months ago

    Oh my. These colors are so appealing to me. I usually work in bright colors, but when I need a darker feel, they just can’t make it happen. Thanks for your review!

    • Author
      Sandra Strait 3 months ago

      Thank you, Ky! I’m the same way. I won’t use these colors daily, but when I want something night-themed or just quick and dramatic, this is the set I’ll grab.

  3. Mary Roff 3 months ago

    Wonderful review, Sandra and fabulous paintings!!!

  4. Teresa 何 Robeson 3 months ago

    Those are wonderful, moody colors! Glad they helped your recover from a down period in your life.

    • Author
      Sandra Strait 3 months ago

      Thank you, Teresa! They really were a lifesaver for me – well, an art-saver, anyway, lol.

  5. Varsha Koli 3 months ago

    These look interesting! loved the paintings you have done using these paints!

  6. Brenda Sommerville 3 months ago

    Thank you for your review, they are always so informative.

    • Author
      Sandra Strait 3 months ago

      Thank you, Brenda! That’s a fabulous compliment!

  7. Trissa Nova 3 months ago

    Wow, those are beautiful colors. I love DS perylene green & piemontite genuine…and the green & carmine in this set look similar to me. Thank you for the review Sandra.

    • Author
      Sandra Strait 3 months ago

      Thank you, Trissa! The green is similar to perylene green but the carmine is more red than the piemontite genuine, especially in the tints.

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