German art supplies manufacturer brand Schmincke Horadam, who produces paints and mediums, has released a new limited edition series of artist-grade watercolors: super-granulating watercolors. In this blog, we explore the properties of these paints and take a deep dive into super-granulation. Read on to know more.
What is Granulation in watercolors?
Granulation in watercolor is the effect that is created when the pigments in the paint separate and settle in a diffused pattern on the paper, oftentimes allowing other pigments that they are mixed with to show through. Simply put, it is the process of paint particles falling out into visible flakes which creates additional texture on the paint surface. Granulation is often achieved simply by mixing paint with the highly granulating black pigment PBk11, but Schmincke used the principle of combining two different pigments which are highly granulating by themselves and also look harmonious together.
This is a unique solution that no other paint manufacturer has. In addition, some of the paints in this series beautifully fall apart into several pigments, such as Glacier Green, which uses two pigments, green and brown.
All paints in the series are highly lightfast (4**** and 5*****) and are predominantly semi-opaque/semi-transparent.
Schmincke Horadam Super-Granulation Sets: The new special edition of Schmincke super-granulating watercolors is part of the Horadam professional range. It includes 15 colors in 15 ml tubes, which are grouped into three series: ‘Deep Sea’, ‘Glacier’, and ‘Galaxy’. There are five shades in each series, which best reflect the colors of similar scenes. All series’ have blue and black shades, and then they are distributed according to the name of the series: ‘Galaxy’ has purple and pink shades, ‘Glacier’ has cold blue and blue shades, and ‘Deep Sea’ contains greenish and blue colors. The whole new line consists of blue, green, brown, pinkish-violet, and black.
The Galaxy set includes Galaxy Pink, Violet, Blue, Brown, and Black. There are some naming peculiarities in this entire series of paints, such as the fact that the paints are super-granulating but the set is called: Supergranulation on the box, and Super Granulation by the dealers. In any case, like all the colors in this set, the paints in the Galaxy set have good lightfastness.
They are all non-staining (which means that they can easily be lifted off the paper), the Violet and Blue are semi-transparent, the Pink and Brown, and Black are semi-opaque. This is the most vibrant of the sets, but don’t believe the photos on the package or in the various marketing materials, none of the colors in any of these sets really pops or is as vibrant as they appear to be. All these colors tend toward naturalistic, landscape painting tones.
Forest Set: The colors in the Forest Set are Olive, Green, Blue, Brown, and Grey. They are all extremely lightfast, the Olive and the Brown are semi-transparent, the Blue and the Grey are semi-opaque and the Green is opaque. I have no idea why the Forest Brown (944) is called Forest Brown as it’s not a brown at all, it’s more of a greyish green. Forest Blue is also a misnomer, as it’s also a green, this time one that looks like it was mixed with indigo. This is the most monotone of the sets, though if you are focused on landscapes, there are some interesting greens here.
The Glacier set boasts the best paint in the series in my opinion, the Glacier Green which is just a delicious paint to have on your palette – a phenomenal and unique green with pronounced brown undertones. I can’t wait to use it in my work, and I’ll be buying a 15ml tube of this. The rest of the colors in this set are Glacier Blue, Turquoise, Brown, and Black. Despite what the marketing material may say, there is very little difference between the various blacks in these sets, and if I could I would have skipped all of them and used the Forest Grey and the Tundra Violet instead.
All the colors in this set rate are in the 4-5 star lightfastness range and all apart from the Brown (which is semi-staining) are non-staining. The Blue is semi-transparent, the Turquoise, Green, and Black are semi-opaque and the Brown is opaque.
Deep-Sea Set: The Deep Sea set features the following colors: Violet, Indigo, Blue, Green, and Black. The Green here is a misnomer, as it’s also a blue (with only the slightest green tinge) and the violet is greyish and flat compared to the Galaxy Violet (and in any case if you’re looking for a vibrant violet look elsewhere in Schmincke’s lineup). This is probably the most redundant set of the five, and you can pretty much skip the colors here without missing much. Indigo, Blue, and Green are semi-transparent, and Violet and Black are semi-opaque. Lightfastness is very good to excellent and non of these are staining.
The Tundra set contains Orange, Pink, Violet, Blue, and Green. Tundra Violet is another misnomer as the paint is practically black with a tinge of purple. This is the most staining set (Violet and Green are staining, the rest are semi-staining), but also a pretty mixable one. Orange, Blue, and Pink are transparent, Violet is semi-transparent and only Green is opaque. It’s also one of the most compelling greens in the set, with its olive-like tones and its pinkish undertones it’s both unique and generally useful for landscapes.
Shop for sets:
To sum it up: the new Schmincke granulating colors, which are very lightfast and using the natural nature of the pigment, are really worth a try.
They allow to differ and create more interesting watercolor washes, are very beautiful in pure form and in mixtures, and create an incredible texture on the surface of the paper. And it’s impossible not to fall in love with these colors: when you watch these watercolor paints flowing and granulating your heart freezes with delight.