There are four types of Daniel Smith Watercolors that don’t get a lot of use – mostly because it’s not obvious how or why to use them, or which colors to select! Me included. I had swatched out the ones on the dot card into my swatchbook, but as you’ll see in the video, I didn’t really trust tiny swatches to tell me much about the paints. (Scroll down for a gallery of swatches of the luminescent colors.

I googled to find out the differences between the different luminescent paints; John (the top cheese at DS) had explained it to me but my mind had shut down. LOL. So if this starts to tax your brain, don’t feel alone! He wrote up some of this info HERE – big credit to him for writing it down so I could read words and think through them! These are his descriptions:

  • Iridescent: Reflection – particle of light hits paint/pigment matrix and bounces back. Much like a mirror.
  • Interference: Refraction – particle of light enters the paint/pigment matrix and scatters light.
  • Pearlescent: adds opalescence – like an opal or pearl – to the color it’s mixed or glazed with.*
  • Duochrome: one pigment that bounces between two colors.

*I think of this more as glitter, myself. Except it doesn’t rub off like glitter…yay for that, right?

In the video below, you’ll see my Whiskey Painters mini palette with the colors (all below) – I cover a ton of info in a short time:

  1. The types of luminescents (Iridescent, Interference, Pearlescent, Duochrome)
  2. Black watercolor paper (to purchase or how to make it)
  3. Paint-outs, which show off the effects better than little swatches
  4. Fine art applications on several of my water-themed paintings
  5. Card Making application to test colors and make cards too

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Watch the video below or click HERE to see it in HD on YouTube.

Subjects to consider adding luminescent watercolor touches:

  • birds’ feathers
  • insects
  • fish
  • seashells
  • flowers
  • snail’s trail
  • spider’s web
  • silvery or golden moon
  • clouds aglow at sunset
  • rainbows
  • snow and ice
  • glint of water reflections.
  • metals like pewter, copper, silver, and gold.
  • fairies, dragons, mermaids and other fantasy figures.

I hope to paint some of these subjects deliberately in the next few months and play with more of these colors, to see more of what they do. If you’d like to keep an eye on my nutty watercolor adventure, pop over to my Instagram. In the meantime, the paintings seen in this video….


I tested out the colors that are in my little Whiskey Painter palette – but this would be an excellent test of the colors on the dot card if you have one. (The luminescents are only on the large dot card, I believe.) You can see which colors create effects you’ll like. Oh, by the way, write down which colors are which, I kinda just randomly put them all over and have no idea what’s what. LOL. Do as I say, not as I do!

For those who love Shark Week – I’ve collected a bunch of my favorite shark stamp sets in the supplies list at the end of this post!

Swatches of the Luminescents

As I said before, these little swatches don’t help a ton, but they might at least give you a general idea of what you’re getting when you try a color!