Melting White Nights Watercolour - a story of Cerulean Blue

I wasn't intending to write a review of St Petersburg White Night paints as I only have one, but I'm so dismayed by it that I simply had to tell you guys about it.

Picture the scene: it was a gorgeous summer's day, I had an errand or two to run and then I was free for a couple of hours. Great! I packed my watercolours, paper, waterpots and my new favourite sketching brush (a 5mm flat springy one stroke brush that seems to be able to do everything) and a lovely picnic of cheese, an amazing apple and ginger pickle sauce from my local church and some homemade slaw mmmmm. I stopped in town for less than an hour to do my chores, leaving everything in the car. The sun was shining but this is England right, the cheese will be fine.

After walking up and down the canal for a while I found a perfect spot at Burscough Wharf and set myself up by some empty moorings.

I often start a new sketch by establishing my lines with a yellow sharpie. YIKES I nearly lost half of them in the canal - it's a good job that they float!

Now to open those fabulous watercolours.

Hang on, what's happened, the lid is stuck!

Gently prise it open to find this...

My one and only white night full pan watercolour has melted (and hardened again) all over my lovely W&N Winsor blue. The cheese, by the way, was absolutely fine.

This is SUCH a shame as I really like the way that the white night cerulean behaves on the paper - it is bright, easily manipulated and is easily lifted - completely different to my W&N Artists Cerulean which I find a real pain to use with its granulation and staining and general bad temper. However I do take my paints out with me and I need them to stay put in their pans. If White Nights insist on wandering into the next pan then they will have to be banished.

Undeterred I continued on to paint this quick sketch of the bridge. I love the juxtaposition of the calm canal with its house boats just beyond the bridge and the enormous lorries that pass over it every ten minutes or so. Such a role reversal from the heydays of the canals when barges passed up and down all day and foot passengers used the bridges.

I've since discovered that others have also had problems with melting White Nights paint. What is your experience?


  1. They are softer and easier to get out of the pan as they have more gum arabic and honey in them. You could use one of those blocks for cold bags, don't know if it would work. It was really hot here yesterday!! At least it didn't end up blue cheese. I've never taken them out painting as I use my trusty little W&N field box.

    1. I usually use my tiny Cass Art artists paint box when I'm out and about as it has 18 quarter pans of very nice soft and vibrant watercolours. I only took my larger box out as I wanted to use my favourite hot day shadow colour, W&N perylene violet. I can't figure out why they melted, they weren't in the car unattended for that long although it was in full sun. By the time I came to use them, which was maybe an hour later, it was solid again. Very strange.


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