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Monday, 1 September 2014

Hurray for Vegan Watercolor Paint!

The movement of watercolour pigments gliding freely with the water on paper has always captured my fascination of this painting style. Such effortlessness but yet a challenge to produce a believable 2D scenery from several translucent layers — typical of this "loose" style. I realise that really there is no ordinary moment. What seems to be a random flow from a dab of paint actually produces much better results than my controlled brush stroke could ever do.

Am I attracted by the watercolour painting style because of its somewhat "unfinished" aspect that reflects a fact of nature? I could literally lose myself for hours observing the imperfection of nature then translate it into watercolors.

When the guys at Colors of Nature offered to send me a sample card of their colour palette for a review, I was not only more than eager to try their paints but thrilled to hear that they were completely vegan! I had not yet come across an earth-friendly, petroleum-free, cruelty-free paint brand before. So, with much excitement, I awaited the sample colour card to arrive.

I have been painting, like most children, since childhood. But I have kept painting all the way into secondary school. During my final school years, I specialised in watercolour style because, as advised by my art teacher back then, it is a much quicker style once you master the technique. Back in the days, we were mostly working towards being able to finish the art examination in time. So, watercolour proved to be an efficient painting style with that regard. Charmed by the freshness of colors and translucent layering, I soon developed a deep connection toward this style and pretty much clung to it as my favourite even after school. For one thing, it involves much less chemicals compared to oil paints for example; the thinners can be quite sickening after spending several hours around them. But also, watercolors are quite economical; a little paint goes a long way. I now paint for a hobby whenever time permits.

The Colors of Nature palette is quite small with 13 hues, two kinds (light and dark versions) of each: Ochre, Burnt Umber, Raw Sienna and Raw Umber and then Ultramarine Blue, Chromium Green, Natural Red, Burnt Sienna and Titanium White.

I used cold pressed acid-free watercolour paper to try out the paints. Despite the limited palette and the challenge that this presented, the results were absolutely stunning. In contrast with other watercolour paints I have previously used, this brand does not lighten upon drying which is one common aspect of watercolor. This one pretty much keeps the same tone reducing the need for over layering where colors may tend to turn muddy and opaque. I loved the fresher feel and how the paint reacted with the paper. I used all the colours except the Burnt Sienna and Titanium White. I don't usually use white with watercolour except for corrections, so I did not have any use for the white in this painting.

Here's a short video I made while I was trying the paints. I am really looking forward to placing an order for more paints from Colors of Nature and I gladly recommend them. I can now paint with the peace of mind of a 100% vegan environmentally friendly set of colors. The folks at Colors of Nature said they were working on a range of oil paints and extending their palette with more blues, a red, some violets and a bright yellow; I will await these with much anticipation.

By the way, after being pecked at a few times by Boyfriendlovlie, I have decided to put this painting on Society6 if you wanted to get a print (or mobile cover) of it for yourself.

Use this link to get 10% off your purchase at Colors of Nature. They have got a range of kid's paint that is safe for children too!


  1. Wow. Thanks for sharing your painting, and information about the paints you discovered. The painting is beautiful — you really captured the nature of the koi fish. I'm going to share your post with a friend who uses watercolor all the time, and also look into the Colors of Nature for myself.

    1. Thanks Andrea. I really enjoyed doing this painting. I find watercolor to be very relaxing. I am sure you will love these paints if you try them. Do let me know if you do and what you think of them. :)

  2. Oh man! What is in normal watercolor paints that makes them not vegan?

    1. The pigments sometimes come from animal origin, like red (or carmine) for example are sometimes made from crushed cochineal insects. Sometimes gelatine is also used in paints.


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