Note: this is the first in my earliest foray into Daniel Smith watercolors. Much has been learned since 2016! So I have edited this post in 2021 with updated info.
Primateks are paints made from natural pigments – rocks! Many are sought on mountaintops or valleys the world over. The more rare they are, the more expensive the tube, so beware! In today’s post I’m swatching out all the Primatek colors so you can see what they look like and make some choices about what you might want to try.
Disclosure: I began purchasing my Daniel Smith watercolors a while back; once I met the good folks at DS, they volunteered to provide me with many more colors so I can have them for testing and teaching you here on my blog and YT. Daniel Smith has no editorial control over anything I say about their paints, but I am able to reach out to them with product questions, so if things come up – I can get answers from people who know. (They have chemists! Holy cow. I wanna have lunch with chemists sometime. Wouldn’t that be fascinating?)
Granulation – the key property that sets these colors apart is that they are granulating to one degree or another. That means when painted on watercolor paper, the pigments settle into the valleys of the paper in a textured way – it’s not a failure, it’s a feature! Sometimes other colors can exaggerate the effect, too – certain colors like Nickel Azo (not a Primatek) loves to race into wet areas between the more pigmented parts of Primateks, and they can create interesting effects.
Glitter – Some of the Primateks have a glittery quality to them and they are and oh, how special! Colors with glitter content: Red Fuchsite, Bronzite (glitteriest!), Burnt Bronzite, Amethyst, Fuchsite, Kyanite (great for twinkly skies), Sugilite, and I hope I didn’t miss any!) See them twinkle in the video.
Natural colors – As these come from natural minerals, they don’t tend to be as bright as other colors like Quinacridones (which are synthetics).
Note that the amount of pigment vs water can make a difference in any of these effects showing up.
Primatek set of 6
If you’re curious and want to just see how these paints work, there’s a set of six 5ml colors – or choose from the larger selection of colors.
This little card shows just a wee bit of the effects that can be garnered from Primatek colors.
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- Daniel Smith Primatek Set of 6
- Daniel Smith Dot Charts
- Arches Cold Press Paper: EH – BLICK
- Arches Cold Press sheets: BLICK
- Schmincke Palette EH – BLICK
- Half pans EH – BLICK
- Synthetic blend watercolor brushes, recommended for crafters
- Natural hair watercolor brushes: