I enjoy painting and am fascinated by paint.. One of my prize possessions is, The Artist's Handbook - by Pip Seymour. Sometime I just enjoy adding paint to a support. So I wondered what other artists' favourite paints/art-materials are; in some sense I am also asking your view on what is the best in class! This is my choice 1) Soft pastels (Unison+ Diane Townsend Terrage pastels) 2) Oil ( Michael Harding and when I could get them Pip Seymour oil paint.Or make my own) 3) Water Colour (Daniel Smith+ some Schmincke watercolours) 4) Acrylic (Golden+ Cryla) 5) Egg tempera (Sennelier, the only choice really unless you make your own)
I would be very interested if you make your own; my soft pastels were very hit or miss, usually my home made oil paints fared a lot better.
linseed, damar, egg, Arabic ( or a starch), shellac, wax used uniquely, or mixed or as an emulsion (add rabbit skin and oil)... joined with pigment covers a host of paints... why buy paint if you can have pigment and an egg or rancid flax oil - or a touch of saliva?
Funny thing I started with acrylics then later tried oils , I was terrible lol I just binned them. 2 years later for some reason I tried again and persevered, and thankfully I am stubborn and don't give up as now they are my perfect paint to use.
Thank you Ronald; I have used Gouache; I wonder how does Acryla Gouache differ from acrylic? Also I gather you are a teacher. I just wondered if you institution allow the use of soft pastels (health and safety).
Angela, there is something quiet special about oil paint. A well as perseverance, I think it is always worth trying different brands of oil paint some seem to work better for a given artist. I have also found which brand that seems to work best varies from colour to colour.
TdpArts I see your point. Why buy paint? I think some might argue that you get better paint and more cheaply if you buy it. Pigment does not come cheap especially if brought in small quantities. Added to that, pigment can sometimes be very difficult to source and even the big companies can run into difficulty.
There is an interesting method of paint manufacturer few know about. Mixing mouse dung with an oil base along with various pigments can be used to reveal hidden nuances when applied liberally in certain areas and sparingly in other areas.
As per your request '...I would be very interested if you make your own...', I mentioned some of the basics of paint. It sounded to me that you were affirming the practice of making paints. But your response seems to suggest it is not worth the effort.
Personally I have found that making ones paint and materials is a blessing! It is economical and there are plenty of sources that still provide reliable pigments at modest cost - at least that is the case in North America, Kama Pigments in Montreal comes to mind but there are a host of small distributors.
For so many reasons, making pigments and dispersions of pigments part of ones palette is a win-win for the artist.
Not in the least bit; I am very interested. All I was pointing out was that other might have a different point of view from you and me. I think it is definitely worth the effort; and personally I think it goes beyond the practical considerations. I know that certain artists go even a stage further, and actually dig up their own pigment and grind them.
The acryla Gouache has the flexibility and water resistance , when dry, of acrylic and yet feels and looks like gouache. They eliminated chalk boards due to dust so normally oil pastels, not chalk pastels are used in the rooms. You can use sidewalk chalk outside if you wish but it hardly is the same. I teach the little ones K -6 th grade, might be different in middle and high school.
Terrance; the sourcing of art materials is very pertinent to the discussion. You are truly fortunate; to be able to source pigments at a reasonable price. In the UK sourcing them is relatively easy (in particular if I source them from abroad). However; sourcing them a reasonable price is another issue. I could be completely wrong here; and I would very happy for an artist in the UK to say you can get them at such and such place. I love real media art; but sadly it is very now very difficult for me. If I was a professional real media artist then buying them in larger amounts would reduce the cost.
1) Soft pastels: Rembrandt, Mount Vision (I have a smattering of other brands as well but these two make up the bulk of my palette).
2) Oil: Winsor Newton (I also have Rembrandt and a couple other brands, but I haven't painted in oils for a long time)
3) Watercolor: Holbein
4) Acrylic: Liquitex
5) Drawing: Most of my 2mm leads are Prismacolor, my pens are several brands, Micron, Copic, FaberCastel, Tombow
I was in Montreal last week and now I am moving around to various towns in Quebec. Currently in Trois-rivières, eventually be back in Montreal, I was so close to Kama Pigments in St. Hubert. But now I know the address, so I will buy some pigments to try out at home in Ontario.
Now I remember, you mentioned it in one of my thread long time ago. Thanks and I will try that.
The second point relates to the sourcing of the products! With quality and cost this probably will be a major factor in an artist choice.
Taking for an example Oil paint; there seems to be a general consensus about what is considered to be premium grade.
Old Holland, Michael Harding and Vasari . A video I watched made the point that in the US you would need to buy direct from the company that produced it. However in the UK you could obtain Vasari from Jackson's art supplies, this is no longer the case. So if you live in the UK you would need to import from the US, I will simply mention here tax and duties.
Of course there will always be premium artisan oil paints: but these tend to come and go.
Going back to pigments; I decided to look at Jackson's and I did find that they had some reasonably priced pigments. However, one of their brands were out of stock, not just one of them but all of them. ( probably not just for now but permanently), their own brand fared a bit better.
Ronald I am also not sure about art colleges. However, I did line manage a Head of an art department in an 11-18 school so I am aware of some schools view. Health and safety kicks in as does cost. As a medium they are not very budget friendly.
David a wonderful choice. Windsor and Newton is a very interesting brand; slightly looked down a now days! Acrylics are interesting' if you are painting small painting and laying it on thinly then Golden is viable, if you painting fills the size of a large floor and you lay it on thickly, then almost any choice of acrylic could bankrupt you.
"Acrylics are interesting' if you are painting small painting and laying it on thinly then Golden is viable, if you painting fills the size of a large floor and you lay it on thickly, then almost any choice of acrylic could bankrupt you."
I buy Liquitex because it is a good bang for the buck. Golden is good paint but not much if any better than Liquitex and costs much more. I do however use Golden Fluid acrylics for splatters and runs, but I don't to a lot of that. I paint thickly, but my paintings are mostly on the small side.
I haven't actually bought any oil paint in years, I still have quite a few tubes that are partially or even mostly full.
"There's Windsor and Newton, ....in water-mixable oils."
You mean their "Artisan" line? I actually have some tubes of that and my last several oil paintings were done with them. The problem with them I found is they are very stiff so I had to add some medium to them to soften them up a bit, even then they didn't really feel like regular oils, but rather kind of sticky. I've heard good things about Cobra, but since I never really paint in oils anymore I haven't made that investment.
"...In fact a full face respirator would be even better. ..." Well I do believe that safety is an issue; and of course there are people who are sensitive, and even hyper-sensitive, to things like turpentine, etc. Yet there are ways to stay safe that are not so drastic.
For the most part a person can avoid most of the 'dangerous' effects of materials by recognizing what is problematic and practicing common sense with a touch of discipline - most studio-work requires very small portions of pigments; and once the pigments are wet they have no airborne adverse effects; the pizza maker has a worse problem with mere flour!
And then there is the turpentine issue for oil painters - but turps and other such solvents are not needed in the studio of an oil painter who works with tube-paint or oil paint that has no varnish added; cleanup is baby-oil and soap/water...
Oil paint is as simple as linseed oil and a pigment of choice... But tube-paints require stuff to keep the paint homogenized sitting on a shelf for a log time, and since the companies know painters like the paints to dry around the same time they 'adjust' the characteristics to that end with dryers, extenders, etc.
One of the safest practices one can utilize is learning what exactly these materials and practices entail. And it is not rocket science to learn about oil paint, watercolors, temperas... those were developed on the farm centuries, millenniums, ago!
My comment was not aimed at professional artists; but I am aware that this is a 12+ discussion board. The last thing I would want, is for a 15 year old to say try it at home. Also times change, just look at the picture of the people building New York's skyscrapers. When I was a child in London; people very rarely waited for a bus to stop before they got on or off. It is not about playing nice; what we both have in common is that we both think it is of value making our own paint. I can not really paint anymore (significant nerve damage in both hands) but I still enjoy paint both applying it to a support and making it. I also can spend hours reading The Artist's Handbook by Pip Seymour. However; I would fully accept that some would have a different view to me; and personally think the health and safety aspects are very important. After all I doubt you would find anything written today (or videos on say you tube ; some of which are really good) that do not begin with the health and safety advice.
I work in a lot of different mediums, here are my favorite brands in each.
Colored Pencils: Derwent Lightfast, Holbein, and Faber-Castell Polychromos. Oil Pastels: Van Gogh Soft Pastels: Koh I Noor and Sennelier Watercolors: M. Graham, QOR, and Holbein. Gouache: Winsor & Newton and Holbein. Acrylics: Daler-Rowney System 3 and Golden High Flow. Oils: M. Graham and Gamblin.
There are a host of reasons that nudge me to comment about materials in the manner that I do. But in this forum the rules make it somewhat difficult to express all the particulars - and that is fine, I go with the rules as best I can.
And I am well acquainted to 'change' - a subject that is better left to itself rather than discussed here. But what can be pointed out is that we are about to experience a new round of 'inflation'; and with this next escalation of prices the cost of 'artist materials' are going to fly! Personally I have noticed that they have been through the roof for years. People need alternatives (it is trendy to make your own bread, plant tomatoes and herbs, etc). Well I think they can find there way to safely mix a little paint to enjoy their urge to paint - the stuff we clean with and live around each day is more likely to get us than most pigments...
Titanium dioxide, zinc oxide we put on ourselves as sun block... Arabic and mastic are used in the baking industry... Toothpaste comes with disclaimers and warnings. If young people [12+] were given the real picture about where they are, and what is going on them and in them, they might do better than many of us.
I can go on about the subject but I will leave it at 'play nice'.
I’ve been using Gamblin most recently, for a few years. Good quality and not overly expensive. They have very small tube openings though, too small I think, to easily get more than a small amount on your palette at one time.
Ron, I edited that out to stay more on point with the topic as to just what paint is being used, but suffice to say anyway, I think it was once a much better paint.. and, maybe just me but who knows, some may like it.
Ken, thank you for the comments. A little of point would be fine with me. In fact; sometimes what seems off point in in fact not. The choice of paint can vary with time and partly due to change of manufacture and other reasons. Williamsburg's paint might be a case in point. It was once a highly valued paint produced by a small artisan manufacture. It was brought up by Golden now owns it, still a very good paint but maybe not with quiet the same appeal as it once had.
I first tried Utrecht oil paint in the 80s, and was very impressed with them. It had great coverage, and i liked the way the paint handled and felt, and the way it came off the brush onto the canvas. I haven't tried the more expensive brands such as Old Holland or Vasari, paints in that range, but their marketing says they are comparable to any more expensive brands, despite the affordable price. I would have believed it of their paint I had first tried. I've tried a handful of paints, not an extensive number, but liked it [the older paint] better than any I've used since.
"...Utrecht oil paint in the 80s..." I too used Utrecht paints back in the days; and the paint was impressive. In those days the company was owned by two brothers [wiki has a nice concise history about the company].
I met the brother and even gained much information from them - they were very nice people and cared about the products they provided ( a friend of mine know them well and introduced me). In the nineties they even provided me with raw material contacts (for pigments and oils). And then they sold the business and I noticed that the line of paint had more and more 'substitute' and 'Hue' tubes than was the case back in the earlier times.
Back in the 80-90s there was lots of re-formulating going on; 'education' was expanding in the studio arts and Ralph Mayer had joined the panels on 'artist materials' - government, ed and the industry came together to establish 'standards'...
Well that is the artist materials world of today! And artist paints today are very very different than in the past - sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse. I use tube paint in my studio; but for the most part only mixed into my own concoctions. For one, much of today's paints are formulated with 'organic pigments' and they are mainly transparent - I like my paint to cover opaquely when it is a cadmium.
NY had lots of boutique paint makers in Manhattan and Brooklyn and more throughout the state - I almost opened one. There were plenty of 'characters' in the business in those days... but that is for another day.
Yes there are several that have even survived beyond their original owners - Art Guerra comes to mind in NYC. But without using their products myself, I tend not to announce them because products change and sometimes the qualities I would endorse are lacking.
Kama Pigments in Montreal is still a boutique line of paint and materials; they have grown and handle many other lines as well but they still hold on to the raw materials and their pricing is ok - recently looked at their website and was amazed at the number of raw pigments available. I know the owner since before he started the company so I am perhaps less than objective.
I easily appreciate the businesses that supply artist materials; it is not easy to run such a business these days. And I understand that competition can effect what is sold and can even effect the consistency one depends on. So not wanting to be so dependent, I tasked myself to understand the materials that are necessary for what I enjoy doing.
Making paint myself became a no-brainer when I started working larger - 33x44inch are in the small format size of many of my oil paintings. Painting large demands lots of paint (even that I paint thin). Also, I love to work in different media (especially while oil paintings are too wet to work); having pigments and dispersions lets me embark on journey with w/c, tempera and most any other binder without purchasing sets of paints.
This little thread, with its exchange of ideas and memories, has re-opened some subjects that were gathering dust - now its time to clean the palette and get to the next of the next! Thank you for playing!
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