Choosing Keeping Retro Watercolour, 20th Century Part II


Choosing Keeping presents three exclusive, special editions of 8 shades of Gansai. This Japanese alter-ego to European watercolours is not dissimilar to gouache and is made by a 100 year old paint maker in Japan. The paints can be used directly out of the box with a wet paintbrush - either thinly in translucent washes, or by layering for a bolder effect. These can also be used on darker paper bases. 

Choosing Keeping's own take on this traditional Japanese art material, each set in this retro trilogy is inspired by colours of a decade past: 60s, 70s, and 80s, each has its own appeal. Put together they are the perfect set for a gift. We recommend the Aquarella (white) and Aquarello (off-white) for the perfect paper pairing.

Included with each set is a blank letterpress swatch card featuring each individual colour name to be painted in for colour referencing. This can come in handy as appearances can be deceiving and each colour is only revealed once wet and set to paper!

Material: Gansai watercolour
Included: 3 palettes each with 8 colours in chiyogami paper presentation box and 3x blank letterpress swatch cards which can be painted in for colour reference. 
Vegetarian/ Vegan: No (contains gelatine glue binder)
Made in Japan

Colour breakdown:

1960’s set:
43 - Sango-iro - Coral
48 - Azuki-Cha - Literally translating to mean ‘Azuki bean tea’, this reddish brown pays homage to the Azuki bean which is ever popular in Japanese cooking. 
26 - Ugoisucha-midori - Olive brown or nightingale tea green? The Japanese are good competition for the Brits when it comes to their love of tea, apparent in their colour naming!
47 - Hatoba - Usually translated to mean blue-black in the context of colour, but literally translating to ‘pigeon wing’, this bold pink references the lighter parts of pigeon feathers. 
33 - Yoneki - ‘American timber’ which is a sandy yellow tone.
35 - Fuji-murasaki - A deep, royal purple named after the spectacular Japanese Wisteria. 
59 - Akagane - Copper or, more literally, red-gold 
46 - Sora-iro - Sky Blue

1970’s set: 
17 - Asagi - A blue green that shares its name with an ancient breed of Koi which is characterised by striking blue scales. 
57 - Kouhaku - Yellow-white
23 - Gin-nezu - Light grey; literally ‘silver mouse’
204 - Mizu-iro - Light blue; literally ‘water colour’ 
2 - Oudo - Ochre; perhaps the oldest pigment, found globally in prehistoric cave paintings - synthetic alternatives to the natural pigment are more frequently used today, as in this instance. 
219 - Rikyuu-Nezumi - In translation this colour combines ‘dark green’ and ‘mouse’ but in practice it is far lighter than such a name suggests.
40 - Natane-iro - Rapeseed 
1 - Enji - Shortened from enjimushi which is the Japanese name for the insect from which the deep red dye carmine is derived. A synthetic alternative is used today. 

1980’s set:
201 - Akebono-iro - This light pink literally translates to ‘daybreak colour’: Picture the lightest and subtlest shades in the clouds at dawn. 
216 - Zouge-iro - Ivory
21 - Byakugun - Light blue; in Japanese this colour traditionally describes the pigment made from crushed azurite.  
208 - Amairo - Flax 
76 -  Rumi-Orenji - Luminous Orange 
225 - Bara - Rose
202 - Nadeshiko-iro - This pink is named after the family of flowers we call ‘pinks’ rather than the colour itself: Dianthus. 
223 - Kuchiba - This dark brown literally means ‘decayed leaves’ but more commonly translates to the English colour russet brown. 

Swatches and illustrations courtesy of Claire Fletcher