Why artists and designers use Winsor & Newton Professional Watercolour

Professional Watercolours

From JMW Turner to the present day, Winsor & Newton Professional Watercolour has been a first choice for artists. Design industry professionals and contemporary painters rely on its portability, vibrant colours, and broad range.

But what are the qualities that make it so special? We identify its core features and share some quotes from our roster of artists about their personal experience of using Professional Watercolour?

Of the 109 colours in the Professional Watercolour range, 79 are made from single pigments. If the colours of the light spectrum are added together you gain white light; combine the colours of the paint spectrum and you achieve a muddy grey. Pigments in paint absorb parts of the light spectrum and refract others; the refracted light is the colour we see. Maximum refraction and the optimum method of achieving clean, vivid colour is through a single pigment paint.



“Winsor & Newton have an extensive range of historic and iconic colours, a high proportion of which contain single pigments. I feel that having colours which are not imitations brings me closer to the values of the classic artists.”

Gum Arabic is a highly refractive binder, making a valued characteristic of watercolour paint its transparency. Used in watercolour transparent pigments will reveal the layer below the painted surface. On watercolour paper light will reflect off the white surface, increasing colour luminosity. Glazed over other colours transparent watercolours combine like sheets of coloured glass. Best for layering, these pigments also achieve the cleanest admixtures.



“An exciting colour for me is Transparent Orange because of its specific formulation, it is both warm and has a very deep, luminous vibration allowing it to be incorporated with another colour through toning or layering.”

Clean and bright, Transparent Orange is a particularly versatile colour. Characteristic is an intense, vivid ground tone and a deep undertone moving it towards yellow, making it especially suited for portraits. Combined with key colours from the range such as Winsor Blue (Red Shade) enables earthy tones that change depending on the amount of orange added: from rich, red earths to the most dry and arid, perfect for landscape painting.

Granulation is a prized effect in watercolour, occurring when pigments, often with larger and more uneven particles, clump together outside of the binder and onto the textured surface of watercolour paper. In the Winsor & Newton Professional Watercolour range there are 34 granulating colours including Mars Black, Perylene Green, Transparent Orange, Cobalt Green, and Cobalt Violet.



“A favourite of mine is Mars Black, it has a dense, black ground colour and a burnt earth undertone that makes it particularly useful in studies of tree bark, browned rocks or textures of soil and barren surfaces.”

One of the most granulating colours in the Professional Watercolour range, Mars Black performs best on rough paper which enhances its granular performance.

“Really these days I don’t look elsewhere, the level of performance I want from my watercolours I get from the Winsor & Newton Professional Watercolour range.”

Artists and designers trust Winsor & Newton to deliver expert colour. The special qualities of Professional Watercolour gives them all they need to imagine endless possibilities.

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