Stunning Combination: Watercolors

stunning combination watercolors, lunar black, quinacridone sienna,watercolor painting,

Want a winning new watercolor combination to try?  You’re going to love this one with its  Spectacular Effects!  Creative, fun, imaginative.  Perfect for landscape paintings.  Relaxing, calm, zen. What more could you ask for?!   This duo can just about create a painting by themselves if you let them.

stunning combination watercolors, lunar black, quinacridone sienna,watercolor painting,
Lunar Black

Daniel Smith Watercolor Combination

Lunar Black and Quinacridone Sienna are a dynamic duo.  I’ve used this watercolor painting combination for over 20 years and I still am completely fascinated every time I use it.

For a long time, I had a bit of trouble saying  “Quinacridone.”   The secret is fairly simple:     “quin -a- cri-done.”     Easy!



Lunar Black and Quinacridone Sienna

Daniel Smith watercolour paints Lunar Black PBk11   and   Quinacridone Sienna PO49 create a magical effect that I just can’t obtain with other paint combinations.  I absolutely love the colors of both these watercolors,  alone and when mixed together to create new color blendings.

Have a go.  Discover watercolor in a fresh, exciting way and see for yourself what these two colors can get up to together!   Plus, its a great way to practice and have fun at the same time.



A minute tidbit of paint pigment information….


4 categories of paint pigments:   transparent, opaque, staining, granulating


Quinacridone Sienna   is a Staining pigment.

It stains, it is vibrant, it glazes brilliantly,  it shoots and spreads out wildly, it mixes well with others.

The rich Orange color will soften out if needed, when its either diluted with plenty of water or greyed off with its opposite. Or with Lunar Black.

But, it is spectacular to leave snippets of its delicious vibrancy showing through in various places to catch and hold, the viewers’  eyes in your paintings.


Lunar Black   acts like a Granulating pigment as its magnetic micro particles swirl and reticulate and create strangely wonderful textural patterns.

IF,  its handled with plenty of fluid to allow those particles to sink and texturize. Otherwise… it won’t.   Now you know!

Lunar Black will mix fairly well with many other colors. Not so much the Opaques, they are what I call ….”The dirty Mud Makers”  –  well,  they can be.


It mixes like a champ with all the Stainers.  I love all the blends with Stainers, they are fabulous.  Try these… LB + phalo blue,  + Alizarin Crimson,  + phalo green,  + prussian blue,  + Azo yello,  + Quinacridone Magenta, etc.


Lunar Black  is not a full on black.

This black is a softer, more delicate charcoal greyed black.  If you think you’re buying a dense, flat black that is Opaque…. Nope!   That’s not Lunar Black.

It hits its stride in a very fluid wash;    where all the particles are freed to create lovely textural effects.



stunning combination watercolor, quinacridone sienna landscapes,
Landscape Quinacridone Sienna , Lunar Black


Textural Useful Effects

Lunar Black mixed with Quinacridone Sienna creates some of the most stunning patterns I’ve seen in watercolors.

Painting in watercolors, I know the paints will dry lighter and lose some of their “Pop” – so there are things I do to compensate.

Paint a bit darker in some areas;  use a Stainer like Quinacridone Sienna which normally can retain its intensity better than Transparents;  use textural Granulating paints to help create more visual interest, “Pop.”


The granulation and textural effects from LB  (Lunar Black)   opens up a new realm of possibilities to explore while playing with your watercolor mixes.


Great for tree trunks,   (think banksia, cedar, madrona, etc.)    mountains, hills, escarpments and rocks,  perfect for streets and roads,  animals.

This watercolor combination would be fabulous for creating the patterns of a Calico cat.



watercolor pairings, lunar black, sienna,
Lunar Black Mountain



Process for this Watercolor Combination

Try to make sure to use a very generous amount of water,  in order to allow the pigment to flow.

This enables the ‘pigment’ to activate.  Insufficient water will  disable the pigment’s ability to achieve the effect.

You could, pre-dampen a specified area on the paper and then drop the colors into that wet area. This would effectively, ‘contain’ the watercolor from going outside the selected area.





I hope you enjoyed this post on Lunar Black and Quinacridone Sienna,  two rather addicting watercolor paints to use in landscapes and creative paintings!


Its the Holidays,  Have Fun with the Paints!




Published by debiriley

The act of creation, in any media is a fascinating and magical process. I simply love to create. Expressing in color, line, tone, texture - as if, they were words upon a page. Creating a uniquely me, interpretation. Enjoy More of my "one-of-a-kind" expressive art at and,

42 thoughts on “Stunning Combination: Watercolors

    1. Thank You! I’d been saving this post about Lunar Black for a couple months – I wanted to share it right before Christmas. It is one of my all time top fav combos!! Glad that you like it too 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  1. Thanks for the sharing, Debi, you are as usual so giving, insightful and spot on colours. Have a well deserved break. Wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas and a peaceful, joyous New Year. Teresa xx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh Debi! Big Happy Sigh! You amaze me every single day! I so want to paint like this! Not much time for playing with paint these days as I am quite busy with work and then preparing for the holidays, but I CANNOT wait for January and February, when things settle down, and I get some ME time to just relax and PLAY with paint! I am going to go back and read all of your posts and PLAY PLAY PLAY! How I wish I could have a week long camp with you to LEARN! I can’t even figure out stainers from opaques from granulators et al. How do you keep track? How do you learn? Why are watercolors not labeled as such? Or are they and I don’t know? I can’t wait to have more time to learn and create such beauty like you do! Every day, I look forward to your posts and aspire to paint like you some day. thank you Debi for sharing so much wonderful wisdom!

    Liked by 3 people

      1. oh… well, wait! I can go to the closet and get my magic wand……….. rofl too funny. wish that I did have one!!
        but really, that is the easy part, the hard part is – making yourself, learn progressively, not in a mad hatter dash. I have tried doing it both ways.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You are so wise! and so right! I want to be a fabulous artist all at once – with the wave of a wand! But then where would the joy in the journey be? Thanks as always for your words of encouragement and artistic wisdom Debi!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I understand. It is a real irritation, when you want something so much … and it just keeps dancing out of reach.
        At least with watercolors, you know that by persisting, you will succeed! 🙂


  3. A truly lovely and calming colour combination! Tonight, I am drawn toward Lunar Black Mountain.. Debi . I should love to create with these colours. Wishing you a happy holiday season!! Joanne

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you very much Joanne! the mt. was done primarily using a knife loaded with those paints, if you were wondering about that one. 🙂 happy holidays to you too!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve enjoyed reading this post, Debi, and will come back again to try it myself. Just wanted to add Quinacridone Gold, especially the French one made by Sennelier, to your attention. I’m every time amazed with the kind of explosion Quinacridone Gold creates on the wet surface. Thank you for sharing your experience with us. Merry Christmas 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Violeta! Merry Christmas to you as well. I’m glad you liked the post 🙂 And, I adore Q.Gold as well, it is as you say, amazing. These Stainers just run, and shoot forth like runaway rabbits on damp paper, don’t they! Sennelier is a great brand, we have trouble in Perth getting many brands though; its one of the most remote, isolated cities – in the world.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I’d think you could find them… and, failing that, there is always Online shops! Jerrys, Cheap Joes, Daniel Smith that send everywhere. even to Perth. LOL

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    1. thank you so much Andrew, I thought you just might like these two colours!
      I’ve come back from buying some gorgeous quail eggs, I plan to see what happens when I use LB + QS for them. …. I’m hoping, it will pan out.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Real – burnt sienna PBr7 is a great pigment! the synthetic subs many are making now are horrid…
        I find I must clarify what the BS stands for in class… lol

        Liked by 1 person

    1. QS is great, but is has a way HIGH red content. so you’d need to be aware of that and compensate. but yes, If I HAD to, totally get rid of my BS, then QS it would be. But – Both are Better!! imo BS has a cooler touch that goes neutral and gre3y much easier when you need that, for landscape things.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I had a feeling that it would be an overwhelming color….I decided to stick with BS as my grey mixer. We must be on the same page! lol I am thinking of getting QS just to spice things up at some point.

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