What Are The Unusual Colours?

Sue likes to use special pigments and paints that create a unique “flip” when viewed from different angles. “Shiny & Bright” is a great example, where you can see the blue sky reflected in the slime on the sandstone rocks as you walk past.

Colours flip between a bright opalescent color and its complement. Over white or lighter surfaces, the colour is more subtle and the “flip” effect is more obvious. Over black or darker surfaces the colour is more obvious and the “flip” effect is less dramatic. Used alone or mixed with other colours, gels and mediums, these colours develop non-fading, non-tarnishing metallic and pearlescent finishes.

She also adds a number of dry and wet media to the paint to create a more distinctive effects. Acrylic examples include:

  • Mica Flakes with larger particles for more textured metallic effects
  • Iridescent Stainless Steel and Micaceous Iron Oxide give highly reflective metallic effects
  • Crushed semi-precious stones such as garnet
  • The grit of sand or the look of stucco


Using a variety of gels and mediums textures are built up until the right look is achieved. Acrylics can be made to look like oil paintings with the use of the right mediums, making paints thicker and glossier. Or to emulate watercolours by using mediums to thin the paint without the danger of the paint losing its adherence properties.

Along with the usual Winsor and Newton Professional Watercolours, Sue also uses DANIEL SMITH PrimaTek Watercolours which are literally made from mineral pigments, many of which are semi-precious like Bloodstone, Jadeite, Sodalite, Amethyst, Serpentine, Rhodonite, and Lapis Lazuli.

She also makes her own watercolours using pearlescent pigments so that the special effects seen in nature can be more closely replicated. Roses often have a sheen on the petals that is very subtle. The feathers of birds often have the look of oil on water that no normal paints can achieve. “Showoff Peacock” has the shimmer of gold tail and turquoise chest feathers.


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