Golden happens to be a company that is headquartered not too far from my home. I was happily surprised to learn they were so close. I was even happier when we received a ton of information on their products and some watercolors to try since most of my own cards are watercolored. Florida Four was kind enough to write up a review of their watercolors for us. The rest of this post is what she provided.
I tried the samples cards of QOR watercolors provided for us at our art retreat. These watercolors are true to Golden standards, highly pigmented except for one color, and have some interesting qualities. These are professional grade paints, but I would recommend them to anyone who wants to improve their watercolor skills past the limits of student grade watercolors.
I tested these QOR paints on the watercolor cards provided and they react as indicated by the color charts provided by Golden.
The most surprising reactions I found were the extremely dark pigment density of the Dioxazine Purple, and the amazing beautiful pigmentation of Cobalt Violet mixed with Ultramarine Blue. The Ultramarine Blue was much more granulating than the Sennelier French Ultramarine that I tested it against. The Cobalt Violet by itself was the least concentrated pigment, and I used all of the sample to do my tests, and wished I had more because mixed with Ultramarine Blue, it was magical! It would make great florals and glowing clouds.
Here you can see some color mixes I made with the granulating colors, and though some are semi opaque or opaque, they still make lovely colors, that if mixed carefully, are not muddy. I could make a Payne’s grey shade by mixing Ultramarine, and Transparent Red Oxide. I made a Burnt Sienna color with Chromium Oxide Green and Transparent Red Oxide. A deeper color resembling Burnt Umber, was made with Ultramarine Blue, Transparent Red Oxide and Chromium Oxide Green. A gorgeous blue-green was made with Cobalt Teal and Ultramarine. The granulation tends to soften some of the colors to more muted natural shades, especially when mixed with other colors.
I love greens, but usually they must be mixed to make natural shades for foliage. This can be tricky to achieve for beginners. However, the granulation of the Chromium Oxide Green (COG) helped to make some lovely natural shades. I had to use Sennelier French Ultramarine because I ran out of the QOR sample, but I think it would be similar, but more granulating. I also mixed Sennelier Pthalocyanin Blue with the COG.
My favorite green mixes were the Chromium Oxide Green + Nickel Azo Yellow. Neither are granulating, but together they make a cheerful Spring Green.
The combination of COG, UMB and TRO did make a dull greenish gray shade that seems a bit muddy, but would make nice shadow colors in foliage.
Many more colors could be mixed with just the 2 sample cards we received, these are just a tiny fraction.
2 colors I would like to try on sample cards are Burnt Sienna and Pthalo Blue, because these 2 colors can be blended with other colors to achieve a bigger range. The Ultramarine blue can’t be mixed well with the warm yellows provided, and that would be useful to see. The Transparent Red Oxide is a bit stronger red than a Burnt Sienna, so didn’t make the hoped for Indigo mix with Ultramarine, that I was trying to make.
One color that always stands alone is Cobalt Teal. It is simply difficult to achieve by mixing other colors. I used Sennelier watercolors to try to achieve a color that matched Cobalt Teal in its intensity and opacity, and was unable to easily do so. Cobalts are pigments I tend to stay away from, because of their carcinogenic properties, but the gorgeous intense color is perfect for striking seascapes and cheery tropical motifs. Keep the Cobalts away from children and pets and be careful not to injest any, and they are incredibly satisfying to work with.
Also included on this photo is a comparison of QOR Ultramarine Blue and Sennelier French Ultramarine, just so you can see the different in granulation.
Here are the cards I painted using QOR watercolors and stamped with Tigerlily’s stamp. My only regret is I stamped these on Canson Watercolor paper, which isn’t as good as my other brands, and I think would have been more luminous.
Here is one I did with Dylusions spray inks on Bristol, compared to the Watercolors on Canson. I do tend to get a more luminous effect with the Dylusions sprays, which is why I love them for quick easy backgrounds. But they are not all lightfast, and they don’t react like watercolors.