A First Look at Roman Szmal’s New Colours within the Aquarius Watercolour range

Roman Szmal’s Aquarius Watercolor range already has a wide collection of 165 colours, most of which are single pigment, which ensures clean mixing and allows artists to really customise the colors on their palette. Roman Szmal have recently announced that they are expanding the range further to include 15 new colors in full pans, including 3 colors containing Earth Pigments, and 3 sets.


Something to note when initially looking at the new colours, there are quite a few pigments that are not commonly found in other watercolor ranges. The first in this list, Quinophthalone Yellow, I have only listed listed by one other paint manufacturer. Out of the 15 new colours, at least 12 are single pigments.

Quinophthalone Yellow (PY138)

There are also three pigments which appear to be unique to Roman Szmal – Iron Chrome Brown (PBr27), Chrome Orange Hue (PO82) and Ginger Red (PR290)

Each color is made with high-quality gum arabic and glycerin, linden honey, distilled water and pure pigments. Every pan is hand filled and labeled with watercolor paper.


Swatch of the 15 new Roman Szmal Aquarius Watercolours

Quinophthalone Yellow (PY138)

Lightfastness Rating (according to the Blue Wool Scale): 7
Non-Staining/Staining: Staining
Granulation: No
Transparency: semi-transparent

Quinophthalone Yellow is a very bright, clean intense yellow, which when diluted gives a delicate lemon tone. It is not found in many watercolor ranges and does somewhat resemble Hansa Yellow Light in hue.

Quinacridone Gold Hue (PR102/PY150)

Lightfastness Rating (according to the Blue Wool Scale): 8
Non-Staining/Staining: Staining
Granulation: Medium granulation
Transparency: transparent

Perfect for warm green shades, the transparency of Quinacridone Gold Hue also lends itself to glazing. A deep, rich almost brownish/orange yellow in masstone which when diluted produces a warm, yellow gold colour.

Chrome Orange Hue (PO82)

Lightfastness Rating (according to the Blue Wool Scale): 7/8
Non-Staining/Staining: Non-staining
Granulation: Medium granulation
Transparency: semi-transparent

Another color which is not often featured in watercolor ranges, Chrome Orange Hue is an alternative to the original toxic chromium orange.

Blue Ridge Raw Sienna (PY43, Earth Pigment)

Lightfastness Rating (according to the Blue Wool Scale): 8
Non-Staining/Staining: Non-staining
Granulation: Medium granulation
Transparency: semi-transparent

A natural yellow iron oxide, which has been obtained from deposits in the Blue Ridge Mountains of the USA. Leaning towards an orange/yellow brown in masstone with warm undertones, when diluted Blue Ridge Raw Sienna exhibits a lovely warm gold colour.

Blue Ridge Burnt Sienna (PBr7, Earth Pigment)

Lightfastness Rating (according to the Blue Wool Scale): 8
Non-Staining/Staining: Non-staining
Granulation: Medium granulation
TransparencySemi-opaque

A natural brown iron oxide, which has been obtained from deposits in the Blue Ridge Mountains of the USA. Blue Ridge Burnt Sienna is a rich, deep brown that does have a hint of red within it, making it much warmer in tone.

Dark Ochre (PY43, Earth Pigment)

Lightfastness Rating (according to the Blue Wool Scale): 8
Non-Staining/Staining: Non-staining
Granulation: Granulating
Transparency: semi-transparent

Dark Ochre is much deeper in tone than regular Yellow/Golden Ochre and leans toward brown.

Ginger Red (PR290)

Lightfastness Rating (according to the Blue Wool Scale): 7/8
Non-Staining/Staining: Non-staining
Granulation: Medium granulation
TransparencySemi-opaque

A warm, granular orange/brown with a distinct red shade, mixing Ginger Red with green it makes a lovely green gray.

Quinacridone Scarlet (PR N/A)

Lightfastness Rating (according to the Blue Wool Scale): 8
Non-Staining/Staining: Non-staining
Granulation: Medium granulation
Transparency: semi-transparent

Quinacridone Scarlet is a bright, clean red which is slightly warmer in tone than Perylene Red.

Perylene Red (PR178)

Lightfastness Rating (according to the Blue Wool Scale): 8
Non-Staining/Staining: Staining
Granulation: Medium granulation
Transparency: semi-transparent

Perylene Red is a versatile, intense, deep red which when mixed with yellows and golds creates autumnal oranges, and when mixed with Phthalo Green, a wonderful neutral gray.

Quinacridone Purple (PV55)

Lightfastness Rating (according to the Blue Wool Scale): 8
Non-Staining/Staining: Non-staining
Granulation: Medium granulation
Transparency: semi-transparent

Quinacridone Purple is a lovely, rich, purple which has a slight reddish tone, again is not seen in many watercolor ranges.

Ultramarine Intense (PB29)

Lightfastness Rating (according to the Blue Wool Scale): 8
Non-Staining/Staining: Medium staining
Granulation: Medium granulation
Transparency: semi-transparent

Unlike French Ultramarine, Ultramarine Intense is not as granulating, which allows for some really nice blending to be achieved.

Cobalt Green Deep (PG26)

Lightfastness Rating (according to the Blue Wool Scale): 8
Non-Staining/Staining: Non-staining
Granulation: Granulating
TransparencySemi-opaque

Cobalt Green Deep is a dark, granulating, subdued almost gray green which is ideal for creating earthy tones. Mixed with reds, it can create some interesting grays and is great for foliage and landscapes.

Iron Chrome Brown (PBr29)

Lightfastness Rating (according to the Blue Wool Scale): 8
Non-Staining/Staining: Non-staining
Granulation: Granulating
TransparencySemi-opaque

Similar in tone to Manganese Brown, Iron Chrome Brown is a brownish to bluish/black shade. It is also one of the shades which appears to be unique to Roman Szmal.

Manganese Brown (PY164)

Lightfastness Rating (according to the Blue Wool Scale): 8
Non-Staining/Staining: Non-staining
Granulation: Granulating
TransparencySemi-opaque

A great color for rendering shadows, branches and landscapes generally, Manganese Brown is ideal for when black may be too intense.

Shadow Gray (PB29/PBr7/PV19)

Lightfastness Rating (according to the Blue Wool Scale): 8
Non-Staining/Staining: Non-staining
Granulation: Medium Granulation
TransparencySemi-opaque

Shadow Gray is a neutral gray which leans towards blue-violet. This is the only new color which contains a combination of three pigments (Ultramarine Blue, Iron Oxide and Quinacridone rose) and is a gray that doesn’t contain black – ideal for stormy skies and shadows. It is also a great alternative to having black in your palette.


Color Mixing

The top two mixes feature Perylene Red, one with Phthalo Green (Lukas 1862 Watercolours) and the other with the new Quinacridone Gold Hue. The Perylene Red mixed with Phthalo Green creates a lovely gray that is slightly on the warmer side. Perylene Red and Quinacridone Gold Hue create a deep, autumnal orange at full strength.

Next is Cobalt Green Deep mixed with Permanent Alizarin Crimson and then Ginger Red – the first mix creates a lovely warm reddish, muted purple. Ginger Red is one of the pigments unique to Roman Szmal, when mixed with Cobalt Green Deep creates an earthy gray green that would be useful for dark foliage or shadows.

Ultramarine Intense mixed with Permanent Alizarin Crimson as expected gives a wonderful blue violet, however what is great about the Ultramarine Intense is that it is less granulating than a traditional French Ultramarine so you can get a nice block of solid colour. A classic mix, Ultramarine Intense and Blue Ridge Burnt Sienna gives scope to a wide range of grays, both warm and cool depending on the ratio.

Lastly and probably my favorite of the mixes I tried out was Quinophthalone Yellow and Phthalo Green. I guessed this would create a bright, vibrant, intense green and it certainly didn’t disappoint. A true what I would call apple/lime luminous green.

Mixing Quinophthalone Yellow (PY138) and Phthalo Green


Alongside the 15 new colours, three sets have been released in collaboration with artists Mona Omrani, Jane Blundell and Izabela Wolska-Kusmider.

Top set: Roman Szmal + Mona Omrani Palette Set of 28 Full Pans, Middle set: Roman Szmal + Jane Blundell Set of 24 Full Pans, Bottom set: Roman Szmal + Izabela Wolska-Kusmider Botanical Set of 12 Full Pans

Roman Szmal + Mona Omrani Palette Set of 28 Full Pans

Chosen by watercolorist Mona Omrani, this set of 28 Full Pans features some colors that were introduced in 2020 such as Misty Morning and one of the newest shades, Blue Ridge Burnt Sienna. The colors within this set include:

Titanium White, Benzymidazole Yellow, Nickel Azo Yellow, Permanent Yellow, Yellow Ochre, Cyprus Raw Umber, Aquarius Gray, Scarlet Red, Permanent Alizarin Crimson, Cherry Quinacridone Red, Quinacridone Magenta, Dioxazine Violet, Shadow Violet, Misty Morning, Lavenda, Cobalt Blue , Ultramarine Intense, Phthalo Blue GS, Indigo (Hue), Payne’s Gray, Aquarius Green, Permanent Green Light, Hooker’s Green, Phthalo Green BS, Blue Ridge Burnt Sienna, Sepia, Neutral Tint and Aquarius Black.

Roman Szmal + Jane Blundell Set of 24 Full Pans

Selected by artist and teacher Jane Blundell, this set of 24 full pans is a balanced palette which will allow you to paint a range of subjects. Included within the set is a convenient orange (Aquarius Orange) and a purple (Mineral Violet). It also contains a great range of realistic greens, which will be great for foliage and landscapes. The colors within this set include:

Buff Titanium, Hansa Yellow Medium, Quinacridone Gold (PO48 + PY150 version), Aquarius Orange, Pyrrol Scarlet, Pyrrol Rubine, Quinacridone Red, Mineral Violet, Ultramarine Intense, Cobalt Cerulean Blue, Phthalo Blue (Green Shade), Cobalt Turquoise, Phthalo Green (Blue Shade), Perylene Green, Aquarius Green, Sap Green Light, Gold Ochre, Goethite, Mummy Transparent Red, Blue Ridge Burnt Sienna, Indian red, Cyprus Burnt Umber, Cyprus Raw Umber Deep and Shadow Grey.

Roman Szmal + Izabela Wolska-Kusmider Botanical Set of 12 Full Pans

Izabela Wolska-Kusmider is a botanical artist and has chosen this configuration of 12 colours:

Aquarius Yellow, Permanent Yellow, Quinacridone Gold, Benzimidazole Orange, Permanent Red, Permanent Alizarin Crimson, Quinacridone Magenta, Quinacridone Pink, Dioxazine Violet, French Ultramarine, Phthalo Blue Red Shade and Cobalt Cerulean Blue.

In terms of botanical painting and what colors you would need to get started, this set provides a good base – most botanical artists and palettes will contain a range of pinks/reds and a few yellows and blues to enable you to make a range of greens . While I definitely am not a botanical watercolourist I thought it would be good to try out the colors and see what I could come up with. I didn’t struggle to create any of the tones in the purple Iris that I painted and the 3 blues within the set enable you to create both warm and cool tones.


Roman Szmal Aquarius Watercolours on jacksonsart.com:

Roman Szmal Aquarius watercolours are available individually herethe majority of the new colors can be found at the top of the color chart.

The three new sets, along with the existing sets can be found here

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