REVIEW: Summer Watercolor Set from Da Vinci Paint Co.

The feel of Summer is easily captured with the Da Vinci Paint Co. Summer set. 

This is a curated set of six 15 ml tubes, meaning the colors were chosen with the season in mind. Not just for their colors but for the wide range of characteristics — transparent to opaque, warm to cool, some granulating, some staining. You’ll be able to catch the natural greens, golds, and browns of the summer, as well as the eye-catching hues of flowers, sparkling rivers, and bright sunshine.

The Packaging

Da Vinci Paint Co. tubes include the lightfastness rating, the transparency/opacity, the Pigment Index number(s), the technical name(s), and any other ingredients. Usually the only other ingredient is the responsibly-sourced, natural gum arabic.  

The tubes also list the ASTM rating(s), so if you have concerns about possible toxicity, you can research each color.

The set comes in a cardboard box with a brightly decorated slip cover.  The cover has a color chart.  The box doesn’t provide much protection to the tubes, but is nice for storage, making it easy to identify which colors are inside. 

The box is a small advantage in storage but, as with most Da Vinci sets, the price is an advantage as well.  The Summer set currently costs $55 USD. I added up the current single tube price of each and they came to $65.55 USD. So buying the set gives you colors that work well together, and saves you money. 

The Colors

  • Titan Buff-PW6, Opaque, Staining, Granulating, LightFastness I
  • Soulshine-PO62/PY97, Semi-transparent, Staining, Lightly Granulating, LightFastness II
  • Seaglass-PB15:4/PG7, Transparent, Staining, LightFastness I
  • Rose Dore-PV19/PR188, Transparent, Staining, Granulating, LightFastness II
  • Ultramarine Violet-PV15, Transparent, Granulating, LightFastness I
  • Raw Umber Natural-PBr7, Transparent, Staining, LightFastness I

Characteristics of the Summer Set Colors

I’ve been doing quite a few reviews lately, including some for Da Vinci Paint Co., so I decided to do this one a little differently. Not terribly, but enough to keep myself from getting bored, and hopefully, to do the same for you.

As I’ve explained in other reviews, Da Vinci Paint Co. watercolors are very consistent in the way the handle, all having intense color, and rewetting easily. Any differences in handling have to do with pigment characteristics that you’d find with any brand. These are high-quality, professional paints.

With the exception of Seaglass, I had previously used all of these colors in more than one brand so I had a pretty good idea what would happen when I used them.

So instead of a wet-into-wet painting, this time I started with several small paintings, varying techniques and trying different mixes.

Seaglass is one of those colors that people will argue about — “It’s green! No, blue! No, green!”  I see it as green, but with so much blue that I wondered what greens I could get with it.  Mixing it with the Titan Buff and/or Soulshine gave me this range of greens.  They aren’t the only greens, but it was enough to satisfy my immediate curiosity.

Now I was eager to actually start painting.

Titan Buff, also called Titanium Buff, Buff Titanium, and several similar names, is a color easily dismissed as a dirty white. In fact, it’s a very handy color. I’m going to spend a little extra time talking about it, because a lot of people do dismiss it, and that’s a shame.

Used alone, it’s perfect for the underside of clouds, warm sands, fields of hay, and wool. A little ultramarine violet or blue added for the darkest shading gives you the feeling of the sky peeking through.

If you use acrylic or oils, you may well have used this color as an undercoat to work from a soft warm color instead of white. It can be used this way with watercolor as well. Instead of buying toned papers, you can use a very light wash of Titan Buff.

Titan Buff can also give you ‘barely there’ objects, like those seen through the depths of mist or fog, when you paint a light wash of it over other colors.

It is opaque, so it can be used over darks to create clouds of dust or to create a subtle highlight in darks. 

Titan Buff works well with the other colors, but some care is needed. If everything in your painting is transparent, this opaque color will stand out like a band-aid if too dark. I mentioned a dirty white earlier? It can be a dirty white.  Good for clouds of dust, but not always good in stretches of pristine, transparent colors.

It’s a staining color, so it won’t lift easily.  It granulates, and can be mixed with other colors to make them opaque and granulating as well. It tends to dominate mixes for that reason.

All of the colors in this set are granulating, except for Seaglass, and all are staining, except for the Ultramarine Violet, which means the color won’t lift as easily as others might. Of course, that means I had to immediately try lifting the color, lol.  

I do a lot of color lifting in my work.  Too much, but I like the subtle way it blends colors and gives a glow. 

Rose Dore is a coral red that dilutes to a warm peach. It’s great for florals.  It does granulate, but not as easily as the other colors. I mixed a little with the Soulshine in the upper left of the dahlia, and you can see that when I lifted, the Soulshine’s yellow left more color.

See the area in the upper left, that looks a bit dirty? Yep — that’s Titan Buff. I added it with the idea of lifting it and changing the color a bit. I think it may be the most staining color of this set, lifting poorly and creating a dirty area.  When glazing with Titan Buff, it is best to use light washes.

In the jellyfish painting, I let Ultramarine Violet and Seaglass blend together over the entire paper. When it dried, I started lifting out the shapes of the  jellyfish, wetting the lines with a damp brush, letting the wet sit for a few seconds, and then blotting the area with a rag. You can see that most of the Ultramarine Violet lifted away, even though it was mixed.  The Seaglass lightened, but still left color. It does stain, but not deeply.

Soulshine (formerly Indian Yellow) is a lovely yellow, warm enough for sunshine, cool enough for lemons. It creates beautiful greens.  Like the Titan Buff, it is granulating, so it’s great for adding texture, too. 

My hedgehog was started with a base of Titan Buff.  

Then I used Raw Umber Natural, which is a great color for animal fur. It also granulates, giving the fur or dirt or rock texture. It can go slightly green, and that’s all right because a lot of animals have a greenish tinge to their fur from grass stains. 

It can also create beautiful golden browns. Those golden undertones in also make it great for grasses, sand, warm earth, and some skin tones.

A mix of Soulshine and Raw Umber Natural was used for the head and feet, and dabbed into areas among the quills, leaving some of the Titan Buff showing through. Once dried, pure Raw Umber Natural was used for shading and the darker quills. 

Rose Dore was, of course, the color used for that cute little ear, and Seaglass created highlights for the nose. Rose Dore and Seaglass mix to create a beautiful black, which was the base color for the nose.

Ultramarine Violet is a neutral purple — neither warm nor cold. It’s a rather quiet color that mixes well with others.  The low-tinting strength makes it useful for glazing, underpainting where you want a hint of purple. It creates great nightscapes, and mixes with Seaglass to create a range from a muted green-gray to a glowing purple blue.

Getting a little more serious, I did a larger painting, playing with the browns and golds and especially the greens. Oh yes. this set gives you greens!

And I finished up with the type of painting I usually start with.  Wet-into-wet to really release the colors and make them glow. This kind of painting also tells me something about the dispersion, the way the colors flow in the water. Titan Buff was a slower moving color (opaques usually are) but all of the colors moved well. None were explosive, moving wildly, so this is a set of colors that is fairly easy to control. 

Da Vinci Paint Co. Summer Watercolor Set! – Value $55


Da Vinci Paint Co. Summer Watercolor Set

ZenART Verbena 17-pc Brush Set for Acrylic and Watercolor

Hahnemuhle Collection Watercolor Cold Pressed 9×12 Inches 300gsm,  Rough 9.5×12.6 Inches 300gsm,  Hot Pressed 9.5×12.6 Inches 300gsm 

Links of Interest

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

REVIEW: Sketching Stuff™ Watercolor Pan Set from Da Vinci Paint Co. 

REVIEW: Joyce Hicks Signature Da Vinci Watercolor Palette

REVIEW: Scratchmade Da Vinci Pan Set


I received the six-tube Summer 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.

Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in Art Supply Reviews

14 thoughts on “REVIEW: Summer Watercolor Set from Da Vinci Paint Co.

  1. Hello Ms. Sandra,

    How are you? Pleeeeeeease don’t take this the wrong way (I truly love all your reviews) but I loved this review as the very best one yet. The opening paragraph sounds lyrical the way you describe what the colors can be used for. And Thank You TONS for describing how you painted the jellyfish. In my mind it’s registered as ‘painting backwards’ and I can’t wait to try this technique. The colors and the box are beautiful and I love their names – specially seaglass. I can go on and on thanks to how inspiring I find today’s review. But will say bye for now coz I’m gonna pick up my brushes and paint a bit. Thanks again, lots of love,

    Hope you’re having a fabulous summer,

    Sparkling Heart
    • sandra-strait
    1. Thanks a million, Mugdha, for your lovely complements! When you use the color-lifting technique be sure that you don’t scrub. Just dab with the brush, wetting the area and picking up the color with a tissue or rag. If you scrub, you can damage your brush, wearing away the bristle, and also lift bits of paper. That can cause the color to get muddy or make it so the paper won’t take any more color. The paper matters — some brands allow more lifting than others. That’s why I like Hahnemühle, it’s very good for lifting.

      1. Thank you so much for those valuable tips. I will definitely give this a try and remember the tips you’ve given. Thank you🙂


  2. Appreciations for this in-depth review—the colors look tempting, I may have to try them. I’d like to see how the Titan buff compares to Jaume Brilliant, and the Rose Dore to the brand I’m using.

    1. The Jaune brilliant I’ve had in the past varied a bit from brand to brand, but I think overall was more transparent and leaned more to the yellow. Titan Buff is more neutral. I think rose dore is another color that varies from brand to brand. I’d be interested to know how yours varies.

  3. Fantastic review Sandra. I love all the greens in your garden scene and I am now encouraged to be more adventurous in my colour mixing – I want that variety 🙂
    Thanks for a great review

    Sparkling Heart
    • sandra-strait

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