September 22, 2023


How Art Works

A Nearer Have a look at Distinctive Pigments from A. Gallo Watercolours

6 min read

Handmade in Assisi, the A. Gallo Watercolours are impressed by a deep and abiding love of color and craftsmanship. This Italian firm specialises in conventional honey-based watercolours, and behind each color recipe is a ardour for historic pigments and portray methods.


A. Gallo pan watercolours

Discovering A. Gallo Watercolours

Made by artists for artists, the creation of A. Gallo Watercolours was impressed firstly by research of medieval manuscript portray methods, and the concept of a cross-cultural dialogue between the traditional artwork of paint-making and up to date watercolour. Now, almost ten years later, A. Gallo boasts a powerful vary of 100% handmade watercolour paints comprised of premium pigments, mulled by hand on a glass slab with a particular gum Arabic, rosemary, and honey binder, and poured into pans. In contrast to different commercially ‘extruded’ paints, the A. Gallo Watercolours are poured in layers, a number of instances, over the course of two to a few weeks. This intensive pouring and drying course of creates a extremely pigmented and luminous paint that prompts nearly instantly when moist.


showing the wetting of a pan of A. Gallo watercolour


Deeply impressed by historic color, A. Gallo have additionally labored to create steady, lightfast, and non-toxic recipes designed to imitate classical colors similar to vermillion, carmine, and verderame which have traditionally been made utilizing poisonous or unstable compounds. All colors of their vary are subsequently fully free from mercury, lead, arsenic, cobalt, and cadmium, and are environmentally pleasant.


Swatches of A. Gallo colours


The New A. Gallo Colors

I used to be lately given the chance to check 5 new additions to the A. Gallo Watercolour Paint vary, which by the way comprises some delightfully expressive names. The colors I examined have been Dragon’s Blood, Buckthorn Berry Inexperienced, Meteorite Brown, Leighton Purple Ochre, and Vivianite. The paints all arrived in conventional half-pans with a branded paper wrap, adorned with a small swatch of the paint color throughout the highest. Every paint wetted up shortly, providing up a full brush-load of color.


rewetting an A. Gallo pan


Dragon’s Blood: NR31, Clear with Poor Lightfastness

This pink has a unprecedented historic pedigree, having been utilized by the early Greeks, Arabs and Romans in each artwork and drugs. Regardless of the writings present in medieval encyclopaedias, which claimed this pigment to be the blood of actual elephants and dragons who died locked in mortal fight, there isn’t any precise blood on this paint: solely the pigment NR31, which is derived from the resin of the Daemonorops draco plant and different rattan palms. The paint itself lifts properly and has a robust granulating impact, and since it’s a clear watercolour, the color may be utilized in layers to create something from pale, rusty tones to a robust blood pink. Sadly, with a Poor lightfast score, this isn’t a color with excessive longevity, and as such might not be appropriate for all watercolourists.


A. Gallo Dragon's Blood watercolour

Dragon’s Blood


Buckthorn Berry Inexperienced: NG2, Clear with Reasonable Lightfastness

This refined inexperienced is one other historic color, comprised of the sap of ripe buckthorn berries and weld. It wets up properly from the pan – like all of the A. Gallo Watercolours – and goes on the paper cleanly. It layers properly, has a Reasonable lightfastness score, and with sufficient water added there’s a trace of granulating properties, with some small particulates seen when the paint is swatched out. The color is a luminous but delicate green-gold, with a pure earthy tone that I consider would make this paint particularly appropriate for each panorama painters and botanical artists alike. It does elevate out with persistence; nevertheless, it doesn’t elevate fairly as cleanly as the opposite colors I examined.


Buckthorn Berry Green A. Gallo watercolour

Buckthorn Berry Inexperienced


Meteorite Brown: Chondrite Real, Semi-Clear with Glorious Lightfastness

Meteorite brown is exclusive. You would possibly even say, it’s out of this world: this paint is created from literal floor meteorite stones, often known as Chondrites. In the present day, these may be present in Morocco, close to the town of Zagora; however these stones initially got here from the asteroid belt which is discovered between the planetary orbits of Jupiter and Mars, and fell to our earth within the type of taking pictures stars. As you would possibly count on, this paint has a wonderful granularity, which may be utilised to create distinctive and distinctive textures. The color itself is a deep, wealthy brown, and the paint is semi-transparent, with Glorious lightfast and lifting properties; making it a super addition to the palette of a painter who’s seeking to discover new color and texture of their work.


Meteorite Brown A. Gallo Watercolour

Meteorite Brown


Leighton Purple Ochre: PR102, Semi-Clear with Glorious Lightfastness

The pigment used to create Leighton Purple Ochre is PR102, a pure pink iron oxide. Because the title of this paint suggests, it has a really particular provenance: this explicit pigment is harvested from pure pink earth within the northwest of England. It’s gathered in restricted portions from the areas round Warton and Yealand: a pocket of land that after belonged to the Washington household. As soon as gathered, the hardened items of earth and iron oxide are pulverised and washed, then sieved to create small batches of this superb artisanal powder. That is then used to create a semi-transparent paint with Glorious lightfastness score, which gives vibrant but earthy rust-red tones which are appropriate for a lot of kinds of watercolour portray, from portraits to sunsets. The paint itself is creamy and easy, wets and re-wets simply, and gives a fantastically excessive pigment load. It lifts comparatively cleanly regardless of the wealth of color in every brushstroke and might be simply used for something from a delicate, blush-pink wash to intense pops of deeper color.


Leighton Red Ochre A. Gallo watercolours

Leighton Purple Ochre


Vivianite: Vivianite Real, Clear with Glorious Lightfastness

That is one other paint that doesn’t include a conventional pigment quantity. Reasonably, that is created from pure vivianite: a uncommon blue-grey mineral. Vivianite may be harvested from natural, phosphate-rich environments, similar to clay beds and peat bogs; or present in crystalline type inside fossil shells or fossilised bone. Each of those earthy and crystalline types of vivianite have been used since antiquity to create a paint with a delicate, blueish hue and a granulating, mineral texture. I significantly loved testing this color, as I discovered that this clear paint swatches out properly, lifts cleanly and simply, and creates curiously textured marks that transition from a deep blue-grey color to a pale, ethereal mist when used with loads of clear water.


Vivianite A. Gallo Watercolours



Having already had some expertise portray with A. Gallo Watercolours up to now, my expectations have been excessive for these new colors; and I have to say, I wasn’t upset. Every color I examined was completely distinctive and had its personal outstanding character. I additionally completely loved discovering the person histories and processes behind the creation of those paints, which helps to make utilizing them really feel that little bit particular. The small half-pans are eminently transportable, and every color I examined packs a decently-pigmented punch. They show to be an attention-grabbing addition to the present vary of A. Gallo Watercolours, and I definitely wouldn’t hesitate to incorporate every of those paints in my very own private portray observe.



Additional Studying

Introducing the New A. Gallo Handmade Watercolours

Artwork Phrases Defined: Watercolour Portray

Assessment of Jackson’s Curated Units: Vegan Watercolours

Classes Realized After a 12 months of Watercolour Portray


Store A. Gallo Watercolours on


Clare McNamara

As Weblog Editor, Clare oversees content material for the weblog, manages the publishing schedule and contributes often with options, critiques and interviews. With a background in superb arts, her practices are illustration, graphic design, video and music.

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