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COFFEE SHOP STUDIO | DANIEL SMITH Granulating Watercolors

These subtle, versatile colors are created from heavy, granular pigments that, when applied in washes, settle into beautiful reticulated patterns that enhance texture.

Watercolor Artist Jodi Steele's playful otter was created as an exploration of the granulating properties of Sodalite Genuine and Lunar Black.

Jodi says: "In a mood to experiment and feeling inspired by Sumi-e Painting, I was looking for a super-pigmented dark wash with lots of character. I mixed my two colors together and applied them with a large brush and a loose hand. The granulating pigments were allowed to settle into my surface. Once dry, my second more controlled layer was used to suggest features on the face and create those expressive little toes."

Jodi creates her work using DANIEL SMITH Watercolor Ground on 3/4" and 2" Deep Art Board. Our Watercolor Ground replicates the characteristics of Watercolor Paper while freeing the Artist to work on any surface. 

What causes Granulation?
Granulation of a watercolor paint occurs only with specific pigments. With few exceptions, these paints contain one or more inorganic pigments containing metal. The granulation effect increases with the addition of deionized or distilled water. The pigment(s) drop out of the binder/water solution and settle into the valleys of your watercolor paper. The heavier (denser) pigments usually create granulation, such as DANIEL SMITH Lunar Black and DANIEL SMITH Cobalt Blue.

Only a few organic pigments granulate because their density is not much different than the binder/water solution. Examples of organic pigment granulating watercolors are DANIEL SMITH Manganese Blue Hue which uses a special Phthalo Blue pigment, and DANIEL SMITH Rose Madder Genuine.

Mixing with Granulating Pigments
Adding a granulating pigment into you mix can produce delightful results. Make sure you give it a try! Above we mixed transparent, non-granulating Nickel Azo Yellow with Lunar Blue and created a very versatile green that makes magic happen on the paper. 

DANIEL SMITH Granulating Watercolors

Sodalite Genuine
Sodalite, with a distinctive deep blue color is one of the components of Lapis Lazuli and very rare. DANIEL SMITH Sodalite is the finest quality and deepest blue that comes from Greenland and the flanks of Italy's Mt. Vesuvius. In watercolor, the inky color of this semi precious stone granulates as it dries, layering a blue-black textural surface on a smooth blue-gray undertone. Low staining, lightfast and semi-transparent, Sodalite creates a three-dimensional quality as it dries.


Lunar Black
Imagine a transparent black with an expansive value range and pigment particles that react like magnetic shavings attracting and repelling each other. Unique pigment properties make Lunar Black a radically reticulating color. When dry, a Lunar Black wash resembles a marbled moonscape. This mottled stony texture can be successfully glazed. You can even gently paint into a wet to damp Lunar Black, dropping in watery pigment-virtually any combination of favorites. Lunar Black is an inorganic neutral black watercolor pigment and a Daniel Smith exclusive.

Cascade Green
The craggy peaks of the Cascade Mountains divide lush, damp western Washington from the dry high plains of the east. Conifer forests, rushing streams and alpine meadows showcase a million shades of green and inspired this versatile addition to our artist-preferred greens. As you brush it on, subtle variation from dark to light adds the illusion of depth. Straight from the tube, this rich, mid-range green is cool, dark and mossy. In washes, it has a stunning clarity. In any application, it has excellent lightfastness.

Goethite (Brown Ochre)
Found in iron deposits nearly worldwide, Goethite (Brown Ochre) is named after Johann Wolfgang Goethe, the German philosopher, poet and mineralogist. Our unusually pure pigment is mined in Russia, south of Moscow. Rich and warm, DANIEL SMITH Goethite is a dark tea color in mass tone and washes out to a rich, warm tan. In washes, it displays intriguing granulation, with pools of light and dark in every brush stroke. Like all colors derived from the earth, it is light-fast and permanent lasting connection to the planet and the creative forces of nature.

Pompeii Red
A dramatic rusty red-orange – the charismatic color of autumn's falling leaves. Made from earth that has been heated to attain a burnt color, this granulating watercolor adds texture and gives a glow of natural warmth. Soft folds of fabric, or the slopes of distant sunlight hills, benefit from Pompeii Red's earthen color. Mixed with Carmine, a lovely vermilion with a slight pink undertone is produced.


Rose of Ultramarine
This exciting blend mixes Quinacridone Rose and Ultramarine Blue. The blue settles as the rose floats, creating a vibrant, dimensional purple. For those artist artists who "always mix their own purples", this unique, otherwise unattainable separation is worth exploring. Juxtapose Rose of Ultramarine with pure Phthalo Blue for fun and effect.

Manganese Blue Hue
This cool turquoise blue is ideal for creating form or indicating space. It is a medium-staining semi-opaque pigment with wonderful granulating properties. A good substitute for Cerulean Blue, Manganese Blue Hue offers an additional advantage: it mixes well with other non-staining semi-opaque to create a mottled texture in underlying colors.


Nickel Titanate Yellow
This semi-transparent Yellow Green appears opaque in mass, yet lifts cleanly. It is low staining, making it excellent in portrait mixtures for dark flesh tones. Use concentrated to diluted mixtures in florals and field flowers. This lemon yellow hue works well with purples and all the greens.

Lunar Red Rock
Add texture to your watercolor paintings with this rich burgundy watercolor. Lunar Red Rock is a lovely violet-red that granulates and travels into the wet areas of your painting. Add more water for maximum granulation and watch as the pigment settles into your paper leaving a light wash of color with a deeper shade of reticulated pattern

DANIEL SMITH Granulating Watercolors

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