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Winsor And Newton Cadmium Free Watercolour Paints

Painting With Winsor & Newton Cadmium Free Watercolours

 Wednesday 05 June 2019  -   Sandra M

Get a Watercolour Tutorial With Glyn Macey!

Find out how Winsor & Newton Cadmium Free Watercolours compare to the original cadmiums.

What Are Winsor & Newton Cadmium Free Watercolours?

In 2019, Winsor & Newton released 8 new cadmium free colours in their range of Professional Watercolour Paints. Cadmium free colours are a safer choice for artists. They have the same physical & chemical characteristics of existing Cadmium colours but without heavy metals being present. There is a concern that Cadmium colours are harmful to your health and a risk to the environment.

These new Winsor & Newton Cadmium Free Professional Watercolour Paints are available in half pans, 5ml tubes & 14ml tubes.






Winsor & Newton Cadmium Free Watercolours Size Availability



How Do Winsor & Newton Cadmium Free Watercolours Compare To The Original Cadmium Colours?

Made from the highest quality pigments, these Winsor & Newton Professional Cadmium Free Watercolours have the same great performance as genuine Cadmium paint: colour strength, vibrancy, transparency, light-fastness and colour mixing.


Winsor & Newton Cadmium Colours Comparison



What the Artists are saying:

Winsor & Newton set up a blind test with artists & they couldn't tell the difference. The artists were surprised at the absence of cadmium. The cadmium free colours were bright, vibrant, give good coverage and mixability. Some artists found the cadmium free colours to be brighter:

“The B colours (cadmium free) behaved exactly as I wanted. They were strong, mixed well, were good in washes and created a great range of colours”

“All my B colours seemed to be a little more tangy… a little brighter”

“It never occurred to me that one was cadmium and one wasn’t….”


Artist Glyn Macey’s Review On Cadmium Free Watercolours:

'I have been painting with watercolour paints for over thirty years. Like most professional artists, I have always used a brand that I know I can rely on. The brand that gives me the best results every time. For me, that brand has always been Winsor & Newton Professional Watercolour.

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm up for trying new approaches and techniques. In fact, I'm the first in the queue, but when I heard that Winsor & Newton were developing Cadmium free watercolours, I admit, I was a little concerned.

Just how would I be able to create those Jewel like, crystal clear, luminous watercolour washes of yellows, oranges and reds without my Cadmium colours?

Well, turns out that my tossing and turning sleepless nights were unnecessary. I needn't have worried.

I tested a batch of Cadmium free watercolours expecting change, but there was none. I couldn’t distinguish between traditional Cadmium colours and the new environmentally friendly, Cadmium free versions. I have also asked artist friends to try them and not one could tell the difference.

The new formulation precisely matches the physical spontaneity of the original cadmium colours but without the additional heavy metal cadmium.

The opaque pigments selected deliver maximum transparency and translucency. Each colour is bright, vivid and glaze perfectly for those important deep washes.

So why was Cadmium so important in colour mixing?

Well, Cadmium is a soft, silvery white metal (a little like Mercury) and has traditionally been used to create pigments with strong colour, brilliance and permanence. There were hardly any stable pigments available when first introduced in 1840, particularly for yellows, oranges and reds. In fact, Mercury was often used in colours such as Vermilion. But Cadmium had the advantage when it came to light-fastness and brilliance, giving previously unstable colours a new lease of life. Turner realised this and created some of his most glowing work only after their introduction.

But when environmental and health concerns were first voiced back in 2014 about the use of heavy metal pigments in artist colours the search was on for a more environmentally friendly alternative.

The new Cadmium free colours were developed over a three year period and tested in every conceivable way to ensure an exact match with conventional Cadmium colours, for translucency, brilliance and longevity. Only then were the new colours tested once more, this time by professional artists (and I was one of them). Each artist was given two identical sets of colours to use, one set of genuine Cadmium colours and one of Cadmium free colours, together with a journal to make judging notes. A few of us were also given two sets of the same as placebos to really drill down on the testing results. The artists involved had no indication as to which set was which and not a single artist could pick up any differences. Isn't that extraordinary?

So, JMW Turner used Cadmium colours for the last ten years of his life and Vincent Van Gogh loved his Cadmium colours. However, I bet neither of the great artists could spot the difference against the new Cadmium free watercolours!'


About Glyn Macey:

Glyn Macey was born in Newlyn, Cornwall in 1969 and currently lives in Penzance. His work has developed in response to the unique environment surrounding him.

Glyn Macey's paintings can be seen in many collections world-wide and his design work is found in many major high street retailers. He can often be found roaming the harbours, moorland and coast of his native West Cornwall, with sketchbook in hand recording the details of daily Cornish life and history. Such sketches are in turn used as the basis for the studio paintings.

Using watercolour, acrylic, mixed media and an array of mark making techniques, Glyn endeavours to capture the underlying essence of the landscape, the essence that shapes the landscape and the people who live in it.


Cadmium Free Watercolour Tutorial With Glyn Macey:

Follow Glyn’s 12 step tutorial to learn how to use the new Winsor & Newton Cadmium Free Professional Watercolour Paints. You will need the following Art Supplies:

- Winsor & Newton Professional Water Colour Sable Brush No. 6 Round.

- Winsor & Newton Professional Water Colour Sable Brush Rigger.

- Cold Pressed Water Colour Paper 140lbs / 300gsm 9” x 12”

- Winsor & Newton Professional Watercolour Paints 5ml tubes in the following colours:

- Cadmium Free Yellow

- Cadmium Free Orange

- Cadmium Free Red Deep

- Cadmium Free Lemon

- Smalt Dumont’s Blue

- Indigo


Winsor & Newton Professional Water Colour - New Cadmium Free Colours - ‘Estuary Sunrise’:



Winsor & Newton Cadmium Free Watercolour Tutorial Estuary Sunrise


Step 1

Working flat, I begin by adding a brush load of clean water to the sky area, deliberately leaving a sun shape dry around two thirds of the way down the paper towards the left hand side. I also leave a streak below the ‘sun’ as dry paper. Next I add a wash of Cadmium Free Yellow to the wet paper, letting the colour find its own way around the sky, sun and sea. I am looking for an overall variance of tone so I’m happy to leave some paint as the mass tone (colour from the tube) and some areas as the undertone (colour when diluted).



Winsor & Newton Cadmium Free Watercolour Tutorial Step 1


Step 2

While the sky area is still wet, I add a loose wash of Cadmium Free Orange to just a couple of areas in the sky above the sun and a line below the sun creating the beginnings of a soft horizon line. Note the colours blending wet in wet, this is a key technique for soft edges.



Winsor & Newton Cadmium Free Watercolour Tutorial Step 2


Step 3

Next, while the paint and paper is still wet, I add a generous streak of Cadmium Free Red Deep to the sky and another across the horizon. These red streaks will help to draw the eye to points of interest and add richness to the tonal balance.



Winsor & Newton Cadmium Free Watercolour Tutorial Step 3


Step 4

I let the painting dry completely before adding a wash of Cadmium Free Lemon over most of the sky and sea. This creates a ‘glaze’, which adds luminosity and depth to a water colour, allowing the underlying colours and tints to glow through. At this stage I also bolster up the red areas with a touch more paint. The red combines with the newly applied lemon creating soft edges where it meets wet paint and a crisp edge where it meets dry paint. The combination of both soft and hard edges is key.



Winsor & Newton Cadmium Free Watercolour Tutorial Step 4


Step 5

Let the painting dry fully, before using the point of the round water colour brush to add a few touches of Smalt Dumont’s Blue to the right hand side of the sky, sea and horizon line. Again, the blue wash will act as a glaze creating in turn a range of tones over the dry colours below. In this case, yellows and reds.



Winsor & Newton Cadmium Free Watercolour Tutorial Step 5


Step 6

I use a touch of Indigo as a rich dark to ramp up the foreground ripple shadows and horizon interest. Using the point of a good quality water colour brush, it is easy to add surprisingly crisp lines.



Winsor & Newton Cadmium Free Watercolour Tutorial Step 6


Step 7

Next, after letting the painting dry completely, I go back in with the Cadmium Free Red Deep. A simple tint this time to ramp up the richness and detail of a summer sunrise. Note how the newly added red areas retain their crisp outlines against the soft reds beneath.



Winsor & Newton Cadmium Free Watercolour Tutorial Step 7


Step 8

The same process is used to add a tint of Cadmium Free Orange to the left side of the sky and sea. I use the brush to describe simple ‘cloud’ shapes to add interest and depth.



Winsor & Newton Cadmium Free Watercolour Tutorial Step 8


Step 9

Using the tip of my Rigger brush I am able to add in just a few touches of rich Indigo to give the impression of the masts of ships and yachts. I carry the lines down into the sea for added reflections.

Step 10

A few dark, thin lines can be used to add depth to the sea area by describing ripple shadows. Note how the Rigger brush lines differ in size from the No 6 Round brush lines.



Winsor & Newton Cadmium Free Watercolour Tutorial Step 9


Step 11

Let the painting dry completely before using the tip of a craft knife to scrape a few highlight details to the sea and boats. No need to overdo this stage, less is definitely more.

Step 12 - Final Step

Finally, I decide that my sun is really too big and bright for the painting so a damp brush with a touch of Cadmium Free Lemon is used to soften the edges of the sun shape, making the sun appear smaller and slightly hazy. Perfect for a warm Summer Sunrise.



Winsor & Newton Cadmium Free Watercolour Tutorial Step 10


These new Winsor & Newton Cadmium Free Professional Watercolours are a great idea but if you're a fan of the existing Cadmium range, don't worry there are no plans for them to be discontinued or replaced by the Cadmium Free version.


Tell us what you think about Winsor & Newton's Cadmium Free Watercolour Paints! You can buy the whole range of Professional Watercolour Paints from Pullingers.



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