Bijou Watercolour Palette

When I replaced some of the colours in my Winsor & Newton bijou watercolour box last year, some of the original selection weren’t available so I thought that it would be worth doing another set of swatches to familiarise myself with the new palette.

I’m always impressed by the variety of colours that can be mixed from such a small selection; basically a warm and a cool version of the three primaries with a few useful secondaries, such as sap green and my go-to colour for so much natural history, yellow ochre. I find neutral tint useful too; more versatile than black.

It’s always good practice for me to paint swatches, and to try and hit that midway point between the two colours that I’m mixing. It’s also rather therapeutic to settle down for a while, listening to Radio 3 as I mix colours.


Winsor & Newton Professional watercolours


Bijou Box

Some of the mixes, top to bottom rows, of Winsor green (blue shade), permanent sap green, Winsor lemon, cadmium yellow and permanent rose.
bijou watercolour box
Bijou watercolour box.

AFTER NINE YEARS of almost daily use my smallest watercolour box has been worn down to the metal on the outside, like a battered old ammunition box.I decided that it was time to treat myself to a new one, although I’m keeping the old one so that I don’t have to keep transferring the new box from one art bag to the other.

The new Winsor & Newton Bijou box has the advantage over my old unbranded version, which is exactly the same size, in the arrangement of the half-pan watercolours; I can get an extra two colours in it.

swatchesI decided to go with the selection of eight that comes with the box – scarlet lake, permanent rose, Winsor lemon, Winsor green (blue shade), French ultramarine, yellow ochre, burnt sienna and ivory black – removing the tiny brush from the central section to add four extras; cadmium yellow, permanent sap green, cerulean blue and raw umber.

I’m surprised how well ivory black mixes with other colours (the far right column and the second row from the top in my swatches), for instance it makes an olive green when mixed with cadmium yellow.

Made in France and described as a ‘superior hand finished stove enamelled artists metal box’, it seems that¬†unfortunately the Bijou has recently been discontinued but it’s worth checking your local art shop to see if they’ve still got one in stock.