Watercolor Exchange / Art Supply Haul with Luna Howell

My friend Luna Howell sent me the most adorable package as part of a watercolor exchange that we did together. She is just a super generous and nice person and I was so excited when I got the package in my mailbox.

She sent me some green tea candy from Japan and the cutest Totoro themed note in addition to all the watercolors she sent along!

So here are the colors that she sent:

Name Pigment Brand
Jaune Brilliant #2 PR 108, PO 20, PW6 Holbein
Shell Pink PO 73, PW6 Holbein
Vermilion Hue PO 73, PR 254, PY 110 Holbein
Quinacridone Opera BV 10, PR 122 Holbein
Monte Amiata Sienna PBR 7 Daniel Smith
Potter’s Pink PR 233 Daniel Smith
Kyanite Genuine Daniel Smith Primatek
Serpentine Genuine Daniel Smith Primatek
Fuchsite Genuine Daniel Smith Primatek
Imperial Purple PB 29, PV 19 Daniel Smith watercolor stick
Sap Green PO 48, PY 150, PG 7 Daniel Smith watercolor stick
Quinacridone Burnt Orange PO 48 Daniel Smith watercolor stick
Burnt Sienna PBR 7 Daniel Smith watercolor stick

Holbein Watercolors

These are the colors I was really most interested in checking out. I have never worked with Holbein watercolors before and they are not exactly easy for me to access. There are also not a lot of very detailed reviews of these paints.

The first thing I noticed is that these paints arrived melted. Luna packed the watercolor half pans into a small plastic baggie, and these had melted and gotten all over the other watercolors.

I thought this was kind of weird especially considering that it is only early spring and still very cool where I live.

That made me wonder if there is honey inside. There is no honey in these pains, but they use, gum arabic as the binder, and glycerin as a moisturizer. I can only assume that they use a lot of glycerin!

The pans rewet very easily (probably because of all of that glycerin) and they have this extremely smooth and creamy feel.

I had expected the colors that contain white to be very chalky and all, but they are actually surprisingly vibrant. Of course, they are still opaque that is something that can't be avoided.

Something that shocked me about Holbein paints is that they seemed to dry even more vibrant than how they appeared when wet. That's the opposite of how watercolors normally work!

Not only that, but the whole buying the Quinacridone Opera is much more vibrant than Winsor and Newton's Opera, which is saying something since that is already such a saturated color. Also, the color seems to be holding up a lot better than the Winsor and Newton version.

You can, however tell that they definitely don't use very much dispersants like ox gall, because the colors do not move very much in water.

Because of all of these things, I’m really really interested in trying out more colors from buying. The colors seem to be very smooth, very finely ground, and extremely vibrant and pigmented.

Daniel Smith

All the other colors that Luna sent me were Daniel Smith colors.

Potter’s Pink

Potters pink is a dusky, granulating, desaturated pinkish color.

It's one of those colors that is really overlooked by the majority of watercolorists. That's probably because it's not really the most useful color on its own. But in mixtures is really where it shines.

I played around with this color for a bit and found that it makes an interesting beachy than color when mixed with raw sienna. When mixed with quinacridone magenta, you get a sort of rose madder hue, and when added to greens, it causes them to granulate with darker, desaturated flecks. It also mixes well with cerulean blue to form grays and dull lavender colors.

Monte Amiata Sienna

You should know that I have an obsession with yellows by now. I am also particularly picky about my earth yellows.

Monte Amiata Sienna could probably be considered a type of raw sienna or yellow ocher, but it is much clearer and more transparent than either of these colors. If you wanted a raw sienna with little granulatioand much more saturation, this would be it.


I've never tried the Primatek series before. Most of what I've heard about them is that some painters buy them for the glitter that some of the colors have, which was never particularly interesting to me. I've also heard some people simply call them curiosity colors that are not useful in real painting.

So when I got to try these and realized how useful they can be, I was very surprised!

Kyanite Genuine is a beautiful, dark, granulating color that is perfectly suited for dark skies, or stormy water.

Fuchsite Genuine is this color that seems very saturated and sits somewhere in between pthalo blue and phthalo green on the turquoise/teal side of the color wheel. If you are obsessed withthese colors, it's very easy to make a vibrant turquoise or teal starting with this color.

Serpentine Genuine is the best out of this bunch, and it's a granulating single pigment green that has flecks of Brown in its undertone.This collar made me want to get all of the single pigment greens in the Primatek line! It's perfect for landscapes!

Watercolor Sticks

I had also never tried the Daniel Smith watercolor sticks before, and it was a very interesting experience working with them.

You can't really call these crayons, because they are too soft to really draw with. At least in my climate. I have read that softness of the sticks varies a lot depending on the humidity of your climate.

They feel closer to something like an oil pastel or an oil state, but even then, I would say that in stick form these are only useful for adding texture to a painting. For most watercolors these would be much more useful when cut into pieces and put into half pans, which is just what I'm going to do.

Thank You Luna!

I learned a ton from this watercolor exchange, and I'm so happy that Luna and I got to know each other through it! Thank you so much for your generous package Luna!