Color Mixing With Sennelier 12 Pan Set With 6 Free Colors

Let’s talk about Sennelier Watercolors.

Sennelier is a French company that manufactures quality honey-based watercolors for both students and professional artists. They have been operating for decades and have catered to the old masters as well. I heard from friends that if you visit their store in France, you can either get the prepared halfpans and paints or you can consult with them and let them know how much of a particular hue you will need- they will give you the exact amount of pigments (powder) that you will need to complete your art work. Their second floor is also brimming with all kinds of artists and archival papers where many artists today source their materials from. They also make different media such as oil, acrylic paints, pastels, papers, and varnishes.

To know more about Sennelier, visit their website:


What I have is the 12-color set with 6 free colors, which I heard was a promotional item they offered. It’s their artist-grade line. I got this set a few months back in Hong Kong for a fair price (around Php 3,700 or  HKD600). I immediately grabbed this and had to calculate my expenses. I’ve heard of really good reviews about this brand and I was delighted to see it had 6 free colors so I just had to get it since I trust that it would be a good investment.

So this is how the box looked like complete with price tag:


Here is the inside of the metal case with a few additional pans I placed-  bottom right area

The original colors are in the 12-color set are:

Lemon Yellow, French Vermilion, Carmine, Alizarin Crimson, Burnt Sienna,Warm Sepia, Green Light, Forest Green, FrenchUltramarine Deep, Phthalocyanine Blue and Dioxazine Purple, and Payne’s Gray.

I used 200GSM Cold Press Canson Watercolor paper for these swatches which is most accessible here to let others know what to expect of the colors.


Most of these colors are either transparent or semi-transparent except for French Vermilion – rated opaque. I’m surprised at how it’s rated such when this is my go-to color for skin tones but I use it in diluted washes so I don’t mind its “opacity.”

The promotional free colors are:

Naples Yellow Deep, Bright Red, Cinereous Blue, Venetian Red, Raw Umber, and Ivory Black


All free colors are rated opaque except for Raw Umber which is rated transparent but the opacity of the hues are not a problem if you use the colors in watered-down mixes.

The set has lovely colors but I also wanted to get to know the full range of colors I can do with the “purest” primaries that it has so below is how the colors turn out using only Lemon Yellow and French Ultramarine Deep as constant colors while I changed the red hues.


I added in Opera Rose that I had (not from this set) just to see how its vibrancy plays with the colors. I’m mostly satisfied with using Carmine the most because of the clean mixing of all secondary colors. I least like Alizarin Crimson for that as it leans to a more to muddy mixes but great neutrals! I would love to keep using this for just gray mixes but I can achieve that all the same with different red. Plus the fact that most references tell us Alizarin Crimson is one of the most fugitive colors available (meaning the can’t withstand fading over the years) along with Opera Rose and Madder Red. Alizarin is a cool red but I observe that this hue in Sennelier feels like a maroon shade.

There is always a confusion about Ultramarine and Phtalo Blue, whether either is a cool or warm blue, and this may differ with various brands. So at first I am unsure if Sennelier’s French Ultramarine Deep is cool or warm since the don’t have descriptive labels unlike the “Green Shade” & “Red Shade” of Phtalo Blue of Daniel Smith to let us know towards which side of the spectrum it goes to. I am only sure that Carmine is a cool red and seeing as how Ultramarine and Carmine mixes nicely here I’d say we have a cool blue here.

So I think I will more likely use French Vermilion, Carmine and Bright Red.

Now let’s mix with Phtalo Blue!


French Vermilion is really an orangey red so it should naturally get a bit neutral mixed with blue but I did not experience this mixing Vermilion and Ultramarine (cool blue as I mentioned). However, mixing it with the Phtalo blue in this set made for a tad bit dull purple. Mixing Phtalo blue with the Carmine turned out good but like the previous experience in mixing with Alizarin Crimson, I got a very desaturated mixture again. So i have mixed feelings about using Phtalo Blue, I think it’s a cool blue but I keep seeing statements from different sources that it’s should be a warm blue. Perhaps it’s like Daniel Smith’s Green Shade Phtalo blue. I’ll still use this blue hue to add variety to my palette.

Stay tuned for my next article on how I use which particular colors for what subject matter!

For more info on other colors of Sennelier see the chart below (also available from their official chart)colorchart-eng-watercolor

Stay tuned for my next article on how I use which particular colors for what subject matter!

2 thoughts on “Color Mixing With Sennelier 12 Pan Set With 6 Free Colors

  1. Hi Ate Kat! 🙂 I just found your site and what I find really amazing is how you give detailed information, and comparisons to your watercolor sets. You give constructive criticism which is why I really enjoy reading your reviews. I especially like your watercolor collection set blog. ^^

    As my paints are about to be completely consumed, I was thinking what brand of watercolor should I go try next, I am currently using Pebeo Studio Watercolour (12 color tubes), and so far, I am pretty satisfied with the product. I am also using Canson 200gsm cold pressed paper.
    As a beginner, what watercolor paint would you recommend for me? Thank you! 🙂


    1. Hi Anne!
      Sorry for the late reply, you can actually go and try out different paints (student and artist grade) from Art Nebula whenever they have pop-up stores in different locations. They are in UP Town Center now. Trying is free and you can take time to observe colors and pigments but I recommend getting the Sennelier student-grade set (it has a nice palette) or if you are ready to upgrade and know what colors you usually use, you can get their artist-grade solo halfpans so you can still use your Pebeo tin case by just replacing the pans or buy 3-5 tubes (which is much more cost effective) to build your palette! As for papers, I have a few faves but for ones that are easier on the budget you should try loose Fabriano sheets (there’s a cheaper one), Bockingford, Arto, or maybe even cotton paper (like Sennelier). You might want to graduate from the loose-sheets of Canson that have very obvious pores. The better the paper, the better the “stick” of the paints and the more vibrant your colors can become! I hope this works out for you 🙂


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