Review American Journey's Six Color All Terrain Watercolor Set @CheapJoes #Watercolor #WatercolorReview

If you are here for my Rhodia Heritage Giveaway, you can find it here.  The giveaway ends Friday!

I've wanted to try out some of Cheap Joe's American Journey brand of watercolors for a while.  I saw their All Terrain Set and thought it was an interesting mix of colors - different from what I already have, so I bought it.

I would swear that I took photos when the set first arrived, but I can't find them, so you get to see what the tubes look like after I've squeezed most of the paint into a palette, lol.

This paint set includes a 5 ml. tube each of Blue Stone, Coastal Fog, Pat's Coastal Blue, Quinacridone Gold Deep, Rainforest and Raw Umber Violet.


If you haven't already guessed by looking at the tubes, this is NOT a set for those who are obsessed with transparency or single pigment paints.  What I found intriguing though is that several of the colors have pigment in common.  Read on. You'll see what I mean later.

Pigment Name          
Color Index    

Lightfast  
Transparent
Opaque  

Staining    

Temperature
Quinacridone Gold Deep
PY150/PR206
Very Good
Semi-Transparent
Yes
Warm
Raw Umber Violet
PBr7/PV19
Very Good
Transparent
Yes
Cool
Rainforest
PB17/PBr7
Excellent
Semi-Opaque
No
Cool
Bluestone
PB36/PY42
Very Good
Semi-Opaque
No
Cool
Pat's Coastal Blue
PBr7/PB36
Excellent
Semi-Opaque
Yes
Cool
Coastal Fog
PBr7/PW6
Excellent
Opaque
No
Cool

I know some people are not familiar with the naming and index system used for paints so I'll do a quick explanation.  If you already know this stuff, just skip the next paragraph.

All paint is a mix of a source pigment and other additives like binders. An example of a pigment is Natural Iron Oxide, which is derived from hematite. Some paints have more than one pigment.  There are no standards for naming, and no telling what color you might actually get based on the name.  Therefore, you look at the color index which is associated with the source pigment.  PBr7, for instance is the color index number for Natural Iron Oxide.  P stands for Pigment, Br for Brown, and 7 is the number given to Natural Iron Oxide.  PY-Pigment Yellow, PR-Pigment Red, PB-Pigment Blue, PG-Pigment Green, PV-Pigment Violet, PW-Pigment White, PBk-Pigment Black.


Remember that I mentioned that some of the colors had pigments  in common? Look at how many of these six colors have PRr7 in them.  Pat's Coastal Blue and Bluestone both have PB36.  I wondered if it would be easier to avoid mud with this set because of this.

There are lots of ways to get a muddy look in your watercolors.  Mixing complements, mixing warm colors with cool colors, overusing opaque colors, or just overworking the piece.  I decided to jump in and see if I could make mud.  And... .

Ack! Yes, I did make mud.  To be fair, I was deliberately doing all the things that I mentioned above.  Given how badly I abused the paint and paper, this is better than I thought it would be.

I was also playing with an idea I've had in my head for a Fun And Easy Landscape.  Sometimes, I don't quite know how I want to paint something until I actually paint it.  This was a good excuse to play with the idea while testing the All Terrain Set.  And despite the mud, I could see something nice happening with my pony.


So, now that I had a better idea of how the pigments performed, and a better feel for the subject matter, I tried again.


Under my touch, this set requires that every layer dry completely.  I don't like what I get with wet-into-wet.  The Quinacridone Gold Deep dries paler than I'm used to with other brands, but I have more success building it up with layers rather than trying to get an intense wash from the get go.

Although the Raw Umber Violet is labeled as staining, it was the one color that I had success with lifting.

I wish the Bluestone was a stronger pigment. Then I could mix it with the Raw Umber Violet to get a darker value.  It may be that I just haven't found exactly the right mix yet.

Overall, I like this set.  I struggle with the lack of yellow (I'm a yellow freak) and I haven't been able to get as dark a value as I'd like.  I don't think I would recommend this set to a beginner, because dealing with the lack of a distinct yellow, blue and red requires some knowledge of color.

This won't be a go-to set for me, but if I want a coastal fog and salt spray, a golden desert scene, or a misty morning or sunset I'll reach for this American Journey All Terrain set.

And as for my composition, it still needs some thinking.  I was starting to see signs of overwork, so I quit for this time around.  I want to try this on a larger piece (this one is 5x7) and try some different color palettes.

Disclaimer:  I bought this set with my own money.  No one asked me to do a review and received no compensation for doing so.  I just thought it was an interesting color palette that would be interesting to other palette addicts like myself.

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