Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are primary colours in the Professional Water Colour range?

All colours in the Professional Water Colour range make bright clean mixes. Artists are however, often interested in the colour theory of painting. The three primary colours in the Professional Water Colour range are Winsor Lemon, Winsor Blue (Red Shade) and Permanent Rose. These colours are the best selection when only three colours are used.

When using a six colour mixing system, we recommend Winsor Lemon, Winsor Yellow, French Ultramarine, Winsor Blue (Green Shade), Permanent Rose and Scarlet Lake.

2. What does hue mean when used in colour name?

"Hue" means colour and indicates that a modern pigment has been used instead of the traditional one. For example, 'Cadmium Red Pale Hue' is a 'colour of cadmium red pale'. A hue colour is not necessarily inferior.

 3. Which whites are in the Professional Water Colour range?

Within the traditional water colour technique, the white of the paper provides the white used as highlights in a painting as well as providing a light-reflecting background which contributes to the overall brilliance of water colours. 

However, many artists use Chinese White at the end of their painting for highlights or to dull some colour mixtures during painting.  Introduced by Winsor & Newton in 1834, Chinese White is the most popular white in water colour.  It is semi-opaque and has a blue undertone.  Titanium White (Opaque White), is the whitest, most opaque white.  It has a high tinting strength and a high covering power.

4. Which are good brushes to use with Professional Water Colour?

 Every water colour brush in the world should do three important things. It's how well these things are done that separates the best from the rest. Here are the three benchmarks that every water colour brush aspires to:

  • A great point - The brush should come to a crisp point, an excellent brush will hold that point during use allowing the artist to create edges and fine detail.

  • Perfect 'snap' or spring - The brush should spring crisply back into shape during use. The right degree of spring allows the artist to have control with an element of ‘give and take' between the brush and the surface.

  • Even flow control - The colour should flow evenly and consistently from the point of the brush and there should be capacity within the belly of the brush to allow the artist to lay down flowing, gestural strokes of colour.

Water colour brushes are generally made from two types of hair:

There are different grades of sable hair, but the very best are the Kolinsky sable from Siberia. The finest Kolinsky is a soft, golden-brown colour that darkens at the tip.

The finest hairs come from the tip of the tail of the male Kolinsky, hairs from other parts of the sable pelt are used in lesser quality brushes. Second quality hairs are much shorter and less "springy" than their counterparts, however they are a little more affordable and still provide a high quality brush.

We also provide a selection of brushes made from superior synthetic filaments. The advantage of these brushes is their affordability, however our many years experience in brush-making mean that we have been able to source synthetic fibres with excellent colour carrying capacity and much improved spring. This makes our synthetic brushes a first choice for many artists.

5. Can solidified tubes be rescued?

It will not be possible to return Winsor and Newton Cotman Water Colour tubes to their liquid form. However, you will be able to use them as a type of pan colour. We would point out that they will not perform as well as Cotman Water Colour that has been formulated specifically for pan application. Adding a little Winsor & Newton Gum Arabic medium may help as well.

To prolong the life of your water colour tubes for as long as possible always ensure:

1. The threads on the neck are free of colour

2. The lid is replaced tightly

3. The tubes are stored at ambient temperature

6. Can you make pans by allowing tube colour to solidify?

It is generally not advisable to make pans from solidified tube colour as better results are obtained using the custom formulated pan. It is however possible to create a kind of pan colour by doing this which can be improved by adding a little extra Winsor & Newton Gum Arabic medium.