Review: Mission Gold Pure Pigment Watercolor Set #Mijello #MissionGold #Watercolor

Between a flare up of my bad wrist and a busy summer, I've done very little artwork at all for the last few months.  I hate that.  When I start up again, it's like there is a disconnect between hand and brain and it takes a while to get back into the flow.

After reading a review at the FrugalCrafter website (the link is at the bottom), I decided to purchase a  Mijello Mission Gold Pure Pigment Watercolor Set, to help get myself in a creative mood.  It worked!

First things first.  There are SO many watercolor sets on the market.  What makes this particular set of interest?  There are twenty-four 15 ml tubes and two 5 ml tubes.  And every color in the set is made with one pigment.  A one pigment color is considered 'pure'.  It's more likely to be highly lightfast, more intense, and less likely to make mud when you mix it with other colors.

Mijello makes a point of the fact that their paints have excellent dispersion and solvency, which means the paint dissolves and flows easily and evenly, even after they have dried and are re-wet.  The ingredients are non-toxic, and the pigments have a uniformity of color strength and viscosity.

The 15 ml colors included are: Lemon Yellow/PY3; Permanents Yellow Light/PY154; Permanent Yellow Deep/PY65; Red Orange/PO73; Scarlet Lake/PR112; Permanent Red/PR112; Permanent Red Deep/PR254; Cherry Red/PR209; Indian Red/PR101; Crimson Lake/PR202; Permanent Rose/PV19; Perylene Maroon/PR179; Rose Madder/PR176; Permanent Magenta/PR122; Cerulean Blue/PB15:3; Prussian Blue/PB27; Cobalt Blue No.2/PB28; Ultramarine Light/PB29/ Viridian/PG7; Bamboo Green/PG36; Yellow Ochre No. 2/PY42; Green Gold/PY150; Red Brown/PBr25; Van Dyke Brown/PBr7.
The 5 ml colors included are: Chinese White/PW6; Ivory Black/PBk7

Look & Feel
The colors ARE intense, and you have to work for a lighter tint. Because they re-wet so easily and are so intense, a little goes a long way.

I've found Mijello's claims of uniformity, solvency and dispersion across all the colors to be true.  The similarity makes it easier to learn what your paint will do and not do because they all do about the same.  But some artists will want the differences, such as granulation, extra-reactiveness, and more or less intensity.

Fresh from the tube, the paints are somewhat tacky, but when dry they are easy to re-wet and spread nicely. To some extent, once dry they remind me of quality pan paints. I found the staining qualities to be somewhat different, in that some colors stained less or more than I expected.

Many of the colors are very close in hue.  There are lots of reds that are similar - perhaps too much so for the casual artist, They will create different color mixes that will delight those who like to experiment or desire very precise coloring.

This would make a good learning set for a beginner, and even many advanced watercolorists.  I think the only artists who might be disappointed would be those who want very specific effects, such as granulation.

Given the price range for the number of pigments and amount of paint, it is a good buy however you look at it.

Another thing that I feel stands out about this set is the packaging.  Labeling is thorough and easy to read (more about that later), and there is lots of information within.

The set comes in a handsome, sturdy cardboard box.  It wouldn't hold up for frequent travel, but I think it will last indefinitely as a container for the tubes, and it will fit nicely in most drawers.  I've found I like to use the paint dried, so I squeeze some in a palette and store the tubes.  

There were two types of labels on the paint tubes in my box.  I'm getting up there, and find it harder and harder to read labels, so I was pleased to see larger printing than usual.  The tubes that had white printing on red were harder to read than the black on red, but still better than most paint tubes.  It is easy to find the pigment index number that seems to hide on so many brands of paint.

Besides the pigment name and the pigment index number, each tube had a 'W' number.  I'm not sure if this is a Mijello in-house number or another identification system I'm unfamiliar with, but it's nice because some colors do have the same index number but a different formulation.

The pigment names are fairly standard, with a few exceptions such as Cherry Red or Bamboo Green.  I went out and looked up the pigment index numbers to see what the names are for other brands, so I'd have a better idea of what they were.

The one pigment name that truly baffled me was Cerulean Blue.  Cerulean Blue is usually a mixture of a blue and white.  In this case, the pigment index number is PB15:3, which is usually called Phthalocyanine Blue, a much more tropical color with very different properties than Cerulean Blue. The color in question looks much more like the Phthalocyanine Blue.  I don't know if the naming was a mistake, or if Mijello just has different ideas about Cerulean.

The inside lid of the box has a list of all the colors included...

....and there is also a slip-on cover with a color chart.  This slip-on also helps keep the box closed when not in use.

Included is a pamphlet that explains the qualities of the paints....

... and has a color chart of the pigments as well as chart of the colors that can be mixed.  This chart shows you the colors needed for each mix.  Unfortunately, it doesn't give a very accurate idea of how much of each color you need.  Still, knowing the colors is the important part.  The rest is experience.

Tips and techniques for laying out your colors and different ways to mix them are also included.

While reading about a painting retreat held by Pat Howard of the Painted Prism, I saw some beautiful color wheel mandalas that her students were painting.  That made me think of the Zentangle mandalas I've seen, and I decided to combine the two ideas in order to experiment with a few of the colors. This seemed more interesting than doing charts.

I tried to choose the three coolest primaries for one wheel, and the warmest for a second one. I drew my tangles with a waterproof Pigma Micron and painted over the lines.  This allowed me to discover how opaque and transparent the colors were by seeing how much they hid the lines.

The center of the wheel has color dragged from the ring around them.  In that ring, I painted with almost undiluted paint and let it dry.  Then I lifted color from the stripes, and did the dragging to see how much the paint might reactivate.

For the main portion of each section, I used a very dilute mixture, aiming for a light tint.  Then I used the complementary color (the opposite color) to paint in detail, trying to get at least three values. I mixed yellow and red, yellow and blue, and red and blue to get my secondaries. This means that when I glazed (mixing by painting wet color over dry, instead of mixing in a palette), I was essentially mixing all three primaries together.  This commonly leads to mud, unless all three colors are equal in temperature (their tendency to blue or yellow).

This gave me information about flow, tinting strength, temperature, mixing neutral colors and how close to mud I would get when mixing all three of the primaries.

Neutrals were easy to achieve, and I think I avoided mud, though I don't like all the colors I got so I'll be trying some other mixes as I go along.

As I mentioned in the beginning of this review, I haven't been painting much, so a sunset picture seemed in order.  Sunset silhouettes are quick, easy paintings that let you see how the different colors react with water and how they flow.  I also discovered how easy it is to get your darker values with this set.  The intensity of the colors is wonderful.  My scanner made the darks seem lighter than they are to the eye.  (I also managed to splash some water on the painting, so don't hold that against the set).

Having played around a bit, I felt ready to tackle something a bit more complex and was thoroughly pleased with the results.

The 26 pigments in the Mission Gold Pure Pigment Watercolor Set are intense, re-wet easily, and can be used to mix another 28 colors.  The consistency of the paints is uniform, and they rewet easily with no loss of color.  Because each color consists of only one pigment, you aren't likely to mix muddy colors.  The packaging is excellent, providing useful information, and a box that will serve to hold the paints for a long time.  It isn't designed for travel, however.

I found nothing to dislike about the set, but the pigments have properties  (warm, cool, opaque, transparent, reactive, etc.) that will appeal to some more than others. Many of the pigments are very similar, differing mainly in their properties rather than in actual color . There is very little granulation to be found.  Many of the pigments that are usually highly reactive in water, are less so with this set.

Some of the color names are unfamiliar, and color named Cerulean Blue may be mislabeled.  The index number in that case is PB15:3, which is usually a Phthalocyanine color, and the pigment does resemble Phthalocyanine Blue, instead of the lighter, cooler Cerulean Blue.

The similarity of pigments might be somewhat confusing to a beginner, but the price (the set from Crushon on Amazon is currently $98) makes this set is an excellent deal, and the possibilities for mixing provide a learning experience even for more advanced watercolorists.

I bought the Mijello Mission Gold Pure Pigment Watercolor Set on my own and thought it was interesting enough to review.  I was not asked to do this review, nor did I receive any recompense for doing so.


Review: Mission Gold Pure Pigment Watercolors by the FrugalCrafter