Sennelier Professional Watercolor Review l'Aquarelle 98 Color Chart Video Demo Swatch
Sennelier l'Aquarelle is a professional quality honey-based watercolor made in France (see La Petite Aquarelle for their student grade). This brand has 98 fairly standard common colors. They mostly have smooth, fine particle paints, with very little in the way of granulating earths, color separating pigments, pastel or mica metallics. It's a good stable brand for basics, with some convenience mixtures ideal for botanical art. There are a few hidden gems within this brand that I think are worth seeking out. The pans and tubes are slightly different in formula (pans have less honey). I prefer the tubes overall, as it's easier to get stronger color load from them once poured to dry in a pan. Hand pouring from tubes may not be ideal for travel though, as they dry quite sticky (but not quite as runny as M.Graham can be). I would not use the tube paints for travel palettes, the pre-made pans are ideal for outdoor trips.
Sennelier's watercolors are capable of holding incredibly smooth blended gradients and layering/glazing very well (depth and value of color) compared to other brands. There is relatively low flow/disperse, allowing you to keep color where it is intended. I used their colors in this spotlight video about PY150 Nickel Azo Yellow:
They offer the rare pigment PY153 as Sennelier Yellow Light, a beautiful primary mixing yellow option. This pigment was mostly discontinued when major manufacturing of it stopped in 2012. I am uncertain if Sennelier just has a big stockpile of this pigment or a way to manufacture it just for themselves, but they have continued to offer this paint for the past 9 years despite all other brands stopping its single-pigment sale (some companies like Old Holland and Schmincke still add a small amount to mixtures from their stores).
I recommend trying the single pigment colors called Quin Red PR209 - superbly smooth version of this pigment where many other brands seem gritty in comparison. Caput Mortum (a granulating deep red iron oxide) and Turquoise Green PG50 (an unusually vibrant bright beautiful blue-leaning version of Cobalt Teal). They also have a couple of pretty, mildly color separating, purple mixtures called Cobalt Violet DEEP, or LIGHT hues. These mixtures have a unique appearance not easily replicated by any other brand. If you're not objected to convenience mixtures (particularly ones you may actually find yourself mixing a lot on your own...) I found their Forest Green, Olive Green and Chinese Orange beautiful for botanical or Art Nouveau theme work.
Cons: A negative in this brand is a lack of ability to create color separating mixtures. Part of the trouble is that the Viridian is a smooth mixture including PG7 Phthalo Green (not the pure granulating PG18) and the French Ultramarine is a mixture of PB29/PV15 which doesn't have the intense texture that many brands French Ultra does (ie. Schmincke's French Ultra is the most granulating one I've ever seen). Not everyone wants super textural paints, but unfortunately Sennelier doesn't even give you the option.
Lightfast testing has been completed for all 98 colors. I tested both masstone (full strength) and diluted (over 50% water) for this range in order to best detect any issues with pigments that may fade in tints/diluted. Overall this company does not use many unusual pigments and all but 6 of the 98 were suitable for professional art projects such as long term wall art and sale. Most colors were correctly rated, but Aureolin PY40 still has an outdated LFII rating despite discoloring within 1-2 months in a south facing window (LFIV actual). The Greenish Umber has diluted PY83 in it - this yellow fades in tints, causing a hue shift from greenish to blue in 3-6 months (much worse than the LFI/*** rating on their color chart). Otherwise the results were really quite good:
Swatch Cards --- all 98 colors in progress ---
I purchased my Sennelier paints on Amazon, but Blick or Jackson's are also great places to shop. I use affiliate links, as an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Thank you :)
You can also find the individual tubes for shipping WORLDWIDE at Jackson's:
Individual tubes also available at Blick USA:
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