A little while back I ran into the Jane Blundell’s blogpost about Aquarius watercolor paints by Roman Szmal. I had never heard of the brand before – which isn’t crazy, for more and more brands keep popping up in the watercolor hype – but I felt Jane’s enthusiasm and got enthusiastic. I contacted Roman Szmal and he sent me a beautiful set of paints.
What makes these paints stand out in the first place, is their price considering that real artist pigments are used. At the same time they are as affordable as student quality paints. So, the next logical question would be: are they any good?
Yes. These Aquarius watercolor paints are absolutely very good. And the collection is wonderfully big with lots and lots of beautiful pigments to choose from.
Upon receiving the paint one things stands out immediately: the wrapping. Every pan is wrapped in a piece of non-sticky paper. And that in its turn is covered with a wrap of watercolor paper on which an actual sample of the color has been painted. Seen together in a box that offers a tremendously luxurious feel. And when choosing colors, the real swatches are extremely helpful.
As you can see in the image above, this is a wonderful set of colors. Literally ALL of these are lovely as can be. And some colors in this set are typically colors I never use, but have begun using since I got this set. There are of course the wonderful Mineral Violet and Shadow Violet. These colors that hold contrasting pigments have done miracles for Daniel Smith too. But a more unlikely lovely color is the Caput Mortuum (2nd row from the bottom, 1st pan on the left) which has a pinkish/lilacish undertone and some heavy dark particling, which makes it an outstanding color to use in skin tones, shading and landscapes when you are looking for some unpredictable texture. And the sap green is the most beautiful one I’ve ever had. And the orange on the top right of this image is nothing short from gorgeous. And…oh well, I could go on like this for quite a bit because I love this paint. Just look at the video at the bottom of my page.
I’ve been asked if these paints compare to Yarka / White Nights. To some extent, but these are brighter and more vibrant, in my experience. And especially over time some colors remain more vibrant and strong. Personally I would choose these over the White Nights anytime. They are heavily pigmented and allow immensely good for layering.
They are different from paints like Horadam in that the pigments are perhaps a little less finely ground. But in my experience that is an assett of this paint rather than a setback. It give this paint its own character and since the colors are lovely and vibrant, to me it’s just a big plus. Especially in work in which I paint a lot of texture. This is absolutely artist grade paint.
In the top photo you can see what this paint does on cold press watercolor paper and still creating texture. That’s pretty marvellous. But in the next photo you can see how a smoother image is also very well possible with this paint and looks smashing and vibrant in colors. And the layering in this one was just perfect!
The one point of attention with these paints is that when you get them, some colors can be very sticky. To me personally it’s not a problem, but some colors may need a little work to unwrap. Roman Szmal gave me the advice to rip the paper wrapping off very quickly. Then it should not stick as much. I recorded two videos of this paint. The second is a swatching video that I’ll post below in this article. But the first was a very long live video I did in which you can see me unwrap the paint.
First I’ll give you the shorter swatching video. And after the video you will find a list of addresses where you can order this paint.
The Aquarius watercolor paint pans by Roman Szmal are available at the following stores:
Directly from Roman Szmal’s facebook page
Wrapping it up? (we’ve just unwrapped it!)
This paint has been on my desk from the moment it arrived, so I’m looking for a better container to keep it in. Because the fact that it’s been at hand for so long is the best proof of how happy I am with this paint. I have not once felt the need to put it away and grab one of my other sets.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and I’m curious to hear if you’ve got any experience with this brand of watercolor and if so, what experience that is. Perhaps you even have photos online of your work?
I think you all know by now, but to be sure I’ll mention that there’s no affiliate link between me and the manufacturer of this paint, nor with any of the online shops I’ve mentioned. I review these paints honestly and merely from my own fascination with and love for watercolor paints.