September 30, 2023


How Art Works

Assessment of Michael Harding Skilled Watercolours

7 min read

Even at first look, the paints obtainable within the Michael Harding Skilled Watercolours vary will pique the joy of any watercolour painter. These are artist-quality paints, finely floor for vibrance and readability, and every is very pigmented for a beautiful energy and depth of color. The vary boasts a powerful 136 shades, 92 of that are single pigment colors, which is designed to allow shiny, clear colour-mixing. By testing eight colors from the watercolour paint vary, I used to be in a position to see for myself the wealth of color and excessive pigment load that this model prides itself on – and rightly so, in my view.


First Impressions of Michael Harding Skilled Watercolours

I need to admit, my expectations for these watercolour paints have been excessive, as I do know that the Michael Harding vary of oil paints already has a wonderful status. The watercolours arrived in sturdy 15 ml tubes, neatly labelled, with the title of paint, pigment quantity, and a band of the corresponding color on the entrance of the tube. As somebody whose organisational abilities usually are not precisely unbelievable, I at all times discover this a really useful characteristic with regards to tube paints! The one difficulty I had right here was the color on the Indanthrone Blue tube: it seems to be extra violet than blue to me, which meant I did seize the mistaken paint a few instances by mistake. The squeezing consistency of the paint was very related throughout the eight tubes I examined: creamy, thick, and a little bit sticky. This I think is partly because of the components employed in making these paints, which embody high-quality gum arabic and honey.

The care that has been dedicated to producing this vary was evident in each paint I examined, with every color boasting its personal distinct character. The spectrum of watercolour paints supplied is designed to go well with any artist’s function, boasting traditionally fascinating pigments corresponding to Rose Madder and Lapis Lazuli, in addition to many trendy synthetics which provide stunning vibrant color.


Michael Harding Professional Watercolours

Michael Harding Skilled Watercolours


Testing Colors From the Michael Harding Skilled Watercolours Vary

When choosing my paints, I elected to check a variety of brights and darks, six of that are single pigment colors and two of that are blends, as I used to be excited to see whether or not there was a lot distinction between them, and simply how nicely these paints would combine.


Orange Sundown

This paint is maybe the strongest of all the colors I examined. Additionally it is a surprisingly good mixer: I’ve discovered prior to now that deep orange tones are inclined to muddy a little bit when blended, as they’re typically created with a mix of purple and yellow pigments, quite than a real orange. Michael Harding’s model of this color makes use of a single pigment, PO34, which softens right into a pale, elegant wash. This paint is marked as semi-transparent, and when used thickly it has an actual robustness of color. This might be a beautiful addition to the palette of any botanical artist or painter of florals, with its vary of wealthy color.


Orange Sundown and Imperial Purple


Imperial Purple

Wealthy, shiny, and vibrant, this excellent purple color is a rigorously crafted mix of two pigments: PV19, a violet shade; and PB29, which most individuals will recognise by its different title: Ultramarine Blue. This turns into evident when sufficient water or a little bit salt is added to a wash of Imperial Purple, encouraging the paint to separate out and reveal a pleasant trace of blue underlying the deep violet color. This distinctive mixture is what provides Imperial Purple its outstanding depth. As with all Michael Harding colors, a little bit of this color goes a great distance, because of the paint’s excessive pigment load. It’s a clear color, giving shiny, granulating washes, and I feel it will be a beautiful addition to a floral or botanical artist’s palette.


Indian Yellow

This yellow is pure sunshine: a delightfully heat, buttery color. It’s made utilizing PY83, a clear non-granulating pigment, which supplies this paint an admirable, in addition to a superb depth. It can stand as much as heavy watering-down and may nonetheless produce, clear washes of wonderful transparency. As a heat tone it tends in the direction of the ‘purple’ finish of the color spectrum, and as such is a pure mixer with fellow heat colors corresponding to pinks, oranges, or reds. That is one other that I’ll actually be including to my common palette. 


Michael Harding Professional Watercolours

Indian Yellow and Opera Rose


Opera Rose

I used to be so excited to do this color as Opera Rose is a daily favorite of mine.; and in contrast to others, the Michael Harding model is non-fugitive, and has lightfast score. Additionally it is splendidly shiny; and totally, totally pink. The pleasant factor about this paint is that whereas the color is extremely vivid when used immediately from the tube, it may be closely watered right down to create the dreamiest of rosy hues. This color lends itself most naturally to watercolour florals or botanical artwork, nevertheless I consider that this color’s versatility would make it an fascinating addition to a panorama artist’s palette as nicely. It additionally mixes superbly with Indian Yellow to create some great sundown tones.


Perylene Inexperienced

One other of my common favorite colors, I used to be thrilled with the richness and depth of color on this watercolour paint. I’ve at all times had a gentle spot for Perylene Inexperienced because it was one of many first tube paints I ever purchased; and as such, I used to be delighted to search out that the Michael Harding model is a real pleasure to color with. Curiously, though often known as a inexperienced, the pigment behind the great thing about this color is technically a black: PBk31. Maybe this can be a clue to its intensely darkish color, which may virtually go for black when squeezed recent from the tube. Nevertheless, I discovered this paint works finest when blended with sufficient water to deliver out its gentle forested tones. It’s a beautiful color for a panorama painter, and ideal for a plein air kit-palette the place area and weight is at a premium, because the vary of sunshine and darkish tones you may get from this single pigment color is, I feel, a outstanding high quality.


Perylene Inexperienced and Perylene Violet


Perylene Violet

In direction of the darker finish of the spectrum, Michael Harding’s Perylene Violet is a deep and characterful color. This can be a wealthy purplish paint with pretty dusky hues, which makes it each mixer usually, and a very good neutraliser for different brighter hues of watercolour paint. Along with this, I discovered it to be a good looking, elegant color in its personal proper. It may be used thickly for daring darkish marks, or blended with loads of water for a clean, gentle wash of shadowed violet. That is one other single pigment semi-transparent color, with a wonderful lightfast score and little to no granulation.


Indanthrone Blue

This blue has a splendidly wealthy, deep-sea color. When squeezed from the tube the paint could be very thick, as are all of the Michael Harding Skilled Watercolours. When laid to paper the color is deep but shiny, providing a pleasant readability. However I discovered when testing that this paint really comes into its personal when blended with a bigger quantity of water. The richness of this color allowed me to skinny it proper right down to create pale, clear washes with out seeing any change in hue or color splitting. I think that this might make a wonderful layering color and is at the moment threatening to exchange Ultramarine in my plein air palette.


Michael Harding Professional Watercolours

Indanthrone Blue and Moonlight



One of many few watercolour paints within the Michael Harding vary that isn’t a single pigment color, Moonlight is nonetheless a good looking and stylish shade. Crafted from three separate pigments, this warm-toned impartial has a pleasant tendency in the direction of granulation, notably on chilly press paper. When blended with sufficient water, this paint will readily cut up out and supply gentle pinkish tones underlaid by a touch of sea-green: a novel and surprising high quality that I would definitely wish to experiment extra with. This paint has excessive transparency and lightfastness score, in addition to being a low staining paint, which implies that it lifts nicely too. I additionally observed that when dry, a thick wash of this paint will retain a barely shiny end, harking back to a shellac ink.



Lifting and Staining Properties of Michael Harding Skilled Watercolours

Every paint I examined carried a remarkably excessive pigment load. A number of of the colors I chosen had excessive staining energy, specifically the Indian Yellow, Orange Sundown, and Indanthrone Blue. As such, these colors are cussed, and didn’t ‘carry’ nicely after I tried to drag some color up from the paper with a moist brush. Nevertheless, the opposite paints have been extra cooperative. Moonlight specifically lifted very nicely, leaving clear, shiny paper behind on each scorching press and chilly press sheets.



It appears that evidently the twenty-year look forward to Michael Harding Skilled Watercolours was nicely price it. The excessive pigment load implies that these paints are glorious worth, as a little bit goes a great distance. Typically, I used to be impressed by the readability, the vibrancy, and the sheer fantastic thing about the colors I examined. With a variety of 136 paints to select from, I may solely check a fraction of the paints that the Michael Harding vary gives; nevertheless, I discovered these to be a really promising pattern, and I’m already planning so as to add extra to my assortment.



Additional Studying

Michael Harding Watercolours Assessment

In Dialog With Michael Harding About His Skilled Watercolours

A Information to Watercolour Portray

Classes Discovered After a Yr of Watercolour Portray


Store Michael Harding Skilled Watercolours on


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