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 (SHI YUN) Watercolor – The Colors
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
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.
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.
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?
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.
- Paul Rubens Watercolor Paint, 6 Precipitated Colors 15 ml Tube Set
- Paul Rubens Professional Wash/Mop Round Squirrel Paint Brush, Size 4
- Paul Rubens Watercolor Paper, 140lb Cold Pressed Watercolor Pad, 7.48-Inch Diameter Round Sheets
- Paul Rubens Art Supplies Watercolor Paper Hot Press, 100% Cotton Rag with Glitter Sparkling Effect, Acid-Free Paper 140lb/300gsm, 10.63“ x 7.67”
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