Rosa Watercolours

Tim Fisher discovers the benefits of working with Rosa Watercolours and finds them well worth trying!

About Rosa Watercolours

Rosa Gallery watercolours are designed and produced in the Ukraine. The paints have been developed by collaborating and listening to the requirements of professional artists. If you are just starting to paint in watercolour, or are looking for an alternative to paint with, these are well worth trying!

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Top features:

  • Made from organic gum arabic
  • Good adhesion
  • Great colour flow
  • Made from premium finely ground natural pigments
  • Available in 70 colours
  • The majority of colours are single pigment which is a great aid to colour mixing

Where to buy

Prices start from £3.50 for individual pans and from £25.19 for sets

Rosa Watercolours can be purchased from Art Supplies with Painters Online


Initial findings

I was given 14 x 10ml tubes contained within an attractive wooden case. I also received a set of 35 pans within a metal painting box. The box is solid and well made with a thumb ring which provides the perfect portable palette, ideal for working out of doors and with generous mixing areas in the two lids.

Squeezing out the entire range of tubes, my first impression was that the fluidity was just right. The flow of the paint would allow ease of dilution and enable me to mix rich and vibrant washes without the paint drying and caking on the palette. I was also pleased not to witness any binder separation which sometimes happens with other products.

Making a colour chart

Rosa watercolours colour chart

My first step was to make a colour chart of all 14 colours. From this I could quickly see the pigment properties of each tube and get an idea of colour flow.

Putting Rosa Watercolours to the test

All the pigments used for the tests below are either transparent or semi-transparent with a high lightfastness rating. This information can be easily found on the side of the tube or pan, as well as the pigment numbers.

The first two tests were painted on 100% cotton watercolour paper.

Test one: Using Rosa Tubes

Demonstration: Lygon Arms, Broadway

Stage one

Lygon Arms, Broadway sketch

Starting with the tubed paint, I selected a subject to the rear of the Lygon Arms, Broadway.

Taking a heavily textured 300gsm cotton watercolour paper, I drew in the subject using a fine waterproof black pen.

Stage two

Lygon Arms, Broadway stage one

After wetting the paper with a soft brush, I started an overall wash using a mix of cobalt blue and madder red.

After painting down to the buildings, I switched to yellow ochre and cadmium orange and washed these all the way to the base of the paper, remembering to leave a few lighter areas where necessary.

The board was tilted and I found the colour flow of the initial wash was very satisfactory and gives the painting a good base to work on and build up the painting.

Stage three

Lygon Arms, Broadway stage two

I discovered a rich sap green colour which is labelled ‘Green’. By combining this with indigo and yellow ochre for the lighter areas, the overhanging tree was added in.

The hotel walls were built up using additional washes of yellow ochre and cadmium orange into which some cobalt blue was bled.

The furniture also received a wash at this point after which I went over the figures adding subtle washes.

Making a mix from ultramarine, madder red and umber I added shadows onto the rooftops and the courtyard.

Stage four

Lygon Arms, Broadway

Afternoon Tea, Lygon Arms, Rosa Watercolours, (10x14in)

To complete the painting, the windows were added on the lower storey and the foreground strengthened by adding a mix of cadmium red and umber onto the umbrellas.

I worked over the furniture and figures with some darker washes to the shadow sides and generally build up the shadows.


Overall, I found the glazing properties of the Rosa watercolours to be outstanding, allowing me to build up strong, bright transparent washes without disturbing the underlying paint and resulting in clean colours within the finished painting.

Test two: Using Rosa Pans

The Watchtower, Lazaretto

The Watchtower, Lazaretto

The Watchtower, Lazaretto, Rosa Watercolours, (12x16in)

For the next painting, I decided to use the set of 35 pans to paint a view of the watchtower on the island of Lazaretto.

Unwrapping the pans

When first opening the pans of watercolours, a protective paper covering must be removed. This is best done by peeling the paper from the long side of the pan. The short sides of the wrapper are perforated, so it leaves a sticker at each end of the pan that contains details of the pigment and its ratings which could be easily lost.

Initial thoughts

I’m not normally a fan of pans but these feel slightly tacky and its very easy to generate strong washes once they are wetted. The pigments contained within are a good selection of colours which should allow any subject to be tackled. The mixing wells of the painting box are deep which reduces the risk of cross contamination when working.

Putting the pans to the test

Using a 100% cotton rag Not surface, I draw in the subject using a fine waterproof pen.

The sky was mixed first using ultramarine with a touch of carmine and painted down to the buildings. As I painted down, more water was added to produce a gradated sky wash.

After letting this dry, I painted in the main structure of the tower with yellow ochre into which a little burnt sienna was added.

The tree breaking in from the left and the Yukka growing on the right were painted in with green into which I added a little indigo.

Towards the end of the painting I glaze a few shadows over the buildings and into the lower foreground.


I found these colour pans very easy to use, allowing me to work quickly and fluidly.

Test three: Using Rosa on a cellulose based paper

Cley High Street

High Street, Cley Next The Sea, Rosa Watercolours, (10x14in)

For the last painting I decided to move away from 100% cotton and try a cellulose based paper. These types of surface don’t always stand up to a lot of punishment from watercolour painting and it can sometimes result in slightly dull work.

I decided to keep working with the pans and drew in this view along the High Street of Cley, Norfolk, still using a fine fibre tipped pen. I also used the pen to add some of the dark window openings before painting.

I focussed on the buildings and left the sky as white paper, washing raw sienna and Mars brown over the buildings.

A wash of cobalt turquoise was placed on the roadway.

Once the painting had completely dried I added a series of shadow washes over all the buildings with a mix of ultramarine and carmine.


Again I found these colours glazed really well and I was left with a bright and colourful painting.

Final thoughts

I enjoyed working with these paints and I’m looking forward to trying out some of the newer colours just brought out. I’m particularly intrigued by colours such as jade green, cobalt gray and violet black.

Rosa Gallery watercolours are available to buy in pans, tubes or sets.

Some artists may be interested to know that some sets are designed for a particular topic ranging from botanical to landscape colours.

All of the options for purchasing Rosa Watercolours offer good value for money.

About Tim Fisher

Tim is a professional artist based in Leicestershire. He is editorial consultant and regular contributor to Leisure Painter and has a range of practical art books published by Search Press.


Tim also hosts regular webinars for Painters Online and has produced a series of videos for our Studio members.


To find out more about Tim's art courses and holidays, visit his website by


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