If you seek an easy way to take watercolors on plein air painting adventures, the QoR mini with its half pans of luscious watercolors is awaiting your brush! The QoR mini is a travel set that provides twelve half pans of dry QoR Modern Watercolor paints in a small closeable metal palette ready for on-site or studio use. Two sets of six colors line up along the long sides, held in half pans nestled into a silicone insert that forms three mixing areas in the center. The lid provides additional circular depressions for mixing, similar to those in the metal cases for the QoR sets. The back provides a list of the paints and pigments in the set. There is an included swatch chart so you may paint out samples of each of the watercolors. Closed, the metal tin measures approximately three and a quarter inches by four and a half inches by five eighths of an inch tall. This article will introduce the mixing potential held within the twelve half pan colors.
What the paints are, and their traits:
The QoR half pan set provides two yellows, an orange, two reds, a purple, two blues, a green, two browns, and a gray.
- Cadmium Yellow Primrose, PY35, ASTM LF I, semi-transparent, non-granulating, staining; a green-leaning bright yellow
- Nickel Azo Yellow, PY150, ASTM LF I, transparent, non-granulating, staining; a warmer yellow leaning toward tan or amber when used with less dilution and offering a vibrant glowing yellow when diluted in washes
- Transparent Pyrrole Orange, PO71, LF Good based on our tests, transparent, non-granulating, staining; a clear strong lively orange, beautiful in glazes
- Pyrrole Red Medium, PR254, LF Excellent based on our tests, semi-opaque, non-granulating, staining; a bright orange-leaning red
- Quinacridone Magenta, PR122, LF NA (our tests show LF Excellent), transparent, non-granulating, staining; a saturated, vibrant purple-leaning red
- Dioxazine Purple, PV23, LF NA (our tests show LF Excellent), semi-transparent, non-granulating, staining; a strong dark purple
- Ultramarine Blue, PB29, ASTM LF I, semi-transparent, granulating, semi-staining; a purple-leaning blue
- Phthalo Blue (GS), PB15:3, ASTM LF I, transparent, non-granulating, staining; an intense green-leaning blue
- Sap Green, PG36 + PR101 + PY150, ASTM LF I, transparent, non-granulating, staining; a yellowish green, in washes the pigments can separate slightly creating a lovely dappled green
Two browns and a gray:
- Transparent Brown Oxide, PR101, ASTM LF I, transparent, granulating, staining; a redder iron oxide than Burnt Umber, with very fine granulation
- Burnt Umber (Natural), PBr7, ASTM LF 1, semi-opaque, granulating, semi-staining; a natural iron oxide providing a classic ‘brown’ color
- Payne’s Gray, PB15:3 + PBk7 + PV19, ASTM LF II, semi-opaque, non-granulating, staining; a mixed blue-gray alternative to black, a little added to another paint can create fabulous chromatic neutrals
Lightfastness and the QoR mini:
Eight of the QoR mini paints contain pigments rated lightfast I or II by ASTM. We determined lightfastness ratings of the other four paints by following ASTM’s protocol for testing. The pigments in Pyrrole Red Medium (PR254) and Transparent Pyrrole Orange (PO71) do not currently have ASTM ratings, and our testing showed them to be LF I (Excellent) and LF II (Very Good), respectively. The pigments in Quinacridone Magenta (PR122) and Dioxazine Purple (PV23) already have less than ideal ASTM lightfastness ratings, so we tested our QoR paints containing these pigments as well. We found that both of these QoR paints showed excellent lightfastness, equivalent to ASTM LF I. Because of the discrepancy between our ratings and ASTM’s ratings, these paints are listed as Lightfastness NA. More information may be found in the Just Paint article “QoR Lightfastness Testing Update.”
Color Mixing Chart for the QoR mini:
We created a graphite grid of one-inch squares on Fabriano Artistico 140 lb Cold Pressed Paper. Since there are twelve paints in the QoR mini, the grid is twelve squares high and wide. Starting in the upper left, each grid row and column is labeled with one of the travel palette colors. Where a grid row and grid column intersect, the square shows a mix of those two colors. Each of the twelve colors by itself (mixed only with water) can be seen if you follow a diagonal from the upper left (Cadmium Yellow Primrose) to the lower right (Payne’s Gray). The squares beneath this diagonal show a darker wash of the mixture, and the squares above the diagonal show a more diluted wash of the mixture. Mixes were judged by eye. Although an attempt was made to make each square a visually equal balance of the two mixed paints, color shift sometimes occurs during drying. This mixing chart suggests the mixing possibilities; a wide and exciting diversity of colors may be achieved by changing the ratios in mixes to allow one color or the other to dominate. We encourage you to explore!
How to treat your QoR mini:
You might wish to begin your experience of the QoR mini by painting the color chart included in the set. Each printed square contains a letter from “A” to “L”. The same letters can be found in the silicone insert beside the half pans. Use the paint that corresponds with the letter to fill that square. A gradation will show the color’s potential more clearly than a flat wash.
Once you are finished painting, we recommend any extra water be blotted off the mixing areas and the palette be left to dry with the lid open. Since it is a travel palette, transporting while damp will be common. In such cases, it might be good to temporarily enclose the palette in a plastic bag in case there are drips. Should you wish to clean the paint, allow it to dry first. You may then swipe the surface with a damp brush or lint-free paper towel or cloth. Blotting wet or damp QoR can waste a lot of paint!
If you paint enough that your half pans begin to empty, you may refill them with paint from QoR tubes. We wish you great enjoyment and success using the QoR mini!