Snob Paints (Williamsburg pt.2)

Hello everybody, I hope your week is going well. I wanted to finish up my swatch-fest for now with the rest of Williamsburg paints. I have a few more brands but maybe I’ll save them for later. I can’t assume everyone is an art materials geek like me ๐Ÿ™ƒ. Below are the swatches:

Format:
The left column shows the paint as they were squeezed from the tube labeled with the paint colour.

The right part of the picture is the paint tinted to increasing degrees with M. Graham’s Titanium White Alkyd paint. Please note that Titanium White does skew the colours a little cooler (Again, sorry about the quality of pictures).

IMG_4545

Cadmium Red Light (fine)
This beautiful opaque red leans orange and can be tinted to an orange without the addition of yellow if you are in a pinch.

Cadmium Red Medium (fine)
A true medium red without being too orange or blue. A little oilier than cadmium red light or deep.

Cadmium Red Deep (fine)
This is the first Williamsburg colour I fell for. An intense deep, opaque bluish-red. I found the texture really unique: kind of mousse-like, not oily or runny but not pasty either. Really nice to work with.

Italian Pompeii Red (medium)
A natural earth colour with noticeable texture. It is semi-opaque but it can be painted almost transparently with some skill.

Permanent Crimson (very fine)
I got this colour to replace true Alizarin Crimson because of its lightfastness issues. You can see that it’s luscious and gorgeous, look at the pinks you can get! I’ll have to see if it really replaces true Alizarin but so far, it looks good.

 

IMG_4551

Cinnabar Green Light (very fine)
This is a convenience colour with a Good lightfastness rating. I can see its use in a modern palette but I will pass on any convenience colour without Excellent lightfastness unless I’m nuts about the colour. In this case, I am not.

Viridian (fine)
I never used an oil-based Viridian before. This is a beautiful transparent deep green with many nuances.

Green Gold (very fine)
Gorgeous translucent olive-green with Excellent lightfastness.

Courbet Green (very fine)
This is a convenience mixture with Excellent lightfastness and very handy for using in foliage, forest, shadows and useful for mixing.

My general impression of Williamsburg is very good so far. Their Cadmium Reds are outstanding and there are some colours like Prussian Blue (not on the swatch chart) that is really unique. But I think like any good brand, you tend to have favorite colours. The individual characteristics of the paint colours is what will keep you. For me the difference in texture of these paints is really noticeable when dealing with pigments that are milled to medium consistency and larger. The artistry of the manufacturer is in bringing these characteristics to light by their skill in combining pigment, binder and milling for the artist to appreciate.

One great thing about Williamsburg is that it is owned by Golden, so support and communication from the company is upfront and open. Even before I started using Williamsburg, I always had good communication with Golden and now it’s the same for Williamsburg. They are always willing to answer any question and are helpful. Having said all this about Williamsburg, the paints themselves are not cheap. It is up to the individual to decide if it’s worth it or not. I personally, have always found better materials always to be worth it.

Thanks for visiting my blog,

Jeannette

Please follow and like me:

Snob Paints (Williamsburg pt.1)

Hello everyone, I hope you are having a good start to your week. I have been sick with a cold that did a number on my sinuses. Thankfully, I’m getting better.

Continuing on with paint swatches, I am showing Williamsburg paints. Williamsburg is a company based in the U.S that has been bought by Golden paints. Golden is a very reputable company known for their acrylic paints.

I had a few of their paints already and really liked them. I was interested in more of their paints but after some research in art forums, I found that there was talk about the consistency in the paint “grind” (for the lack of a better word ). So I contacted Williamsburg and corresponded with Sarah Sands, who is the Senior Technical Specialist for Golden Paints. I found her to be very informative and gracious to deal with. Sarah Sands is also a major contributing writer for JustPaint (blog/newsletter for Golden Paints), which contains very useful technical information about art materials and best practices.

After my correspondence with Williamsburg/Golden, I learned that their paints are offered in four different “grinds”. The grind or milling of the pigment in the binder produces different effects in the final paint product. These effects may be in the form of texture, transparency, colour and general feel of the paint. Williamsburg strives to offer the different characteristics of these paints to the artist. In order to exemplify the diversity in the milling, I was sent samples of their paint. I will break up the paint swatches into 2 posts.

Format:
The left column shows the paint as they were squeezed from the tube labeled with the paint colour.

The right part of the picture is the paint tinted to increasing degrees with M. Graham’s Titanium White Alkyd paint. Please note that Titanium White does skew the colours a little cooler (Again, sorry about the quality of pictures).

Williamsburg

IMG_4543

Zinc Buff (very fine)
This is a gorgeous light colour with excellent lightfastness. Especially good for skin tones and any subtle light passage. The only concern with this colour for me is the Zinc content. I am trying to stay away from zinc for the brittleness that can cause cracking and adhesion problems. I have not found out yet whether zinc under certain percentages are safe or not.

Brilliant Yellow Pale (very fine)
Is a beautiful pale yellow that is a mixture of pigments so it results in a convenience colour. The lightfastness rating is Good but not Excellent.

Cadmium Yellow Medium (fine)
This is a good warm medium yellow with the opacity you’ve come to expect from a cadmium.

Italian Lemon Ochre (medium)
I love this colour. It’s an Italian earth colour with noticeable “grit” or texture. You can get some beautiful clean, subtle and nuanced light ochres with this.

Yellow Ochre Domestic (fine)
This is a good example of a solid yellow ochre, stronger than the Italian Lemon.

IMG_4544

Stil de Grain (coarse)
This is a lovely synthetic earth colour with a surprising coarse texture.

Cobalt Violet Light (very fine)
This is a beautiful transparent violet that is not a strong tinter. I don’t really like super loud violets but this one even in masstone is gorgeous.

Cerulean Genuine (fine)
This is a good cerulean blue as you would expect cerulean (an opaque greenish/grayish blue) to be.

Persian Rose (very fine)
This is a nice enough opaque convenience colour with Good lightfastness rating but I personally am not a fan of it.

Sevres Blue (very fine)
Another convenience colour that is brighter than Cerulean blue and has Excellent lightfastness rating but I’m not crazy about it.

These are my first impressions of these paints and my opinions might change with use. I will post the next batch of Williamsburg paints in my post to follow. I hope these swatches are helpful to you. If you are interested in more information about the individual paints like pigment information, drying time and texture of the paints, Williamsburg lists this information on their website.

Thanks for visiting,

Jeannette

Please follow and like me:

Snob Paints (Michael Harding)

Hello everyone, yes it’s Friday! I hope your week has been good. As always, I’m looking forward to the weekend. As promised, here are swatches and first impressions of Michael Harding paints:

Format:
The left column shows the paint as they were squeezed from the tube labeled with the paint colour.

The right part of the picture is the paint tinted to increasing degrees with M. Graham’s Titanium White Alkyd paint. Please note that Titanium White does skew the colours a little cooler (Again, sorry about the quality of pictures).

Michael Harding
IMG_4548

Phthalocyanine Blue Lake:
This colour was one of the most pleasant surprises. Phthalo blue is one of the most strongest tinters but this one was quite easy to tame. It is very clean and you can get really lovely soft greenish blues.

Ultramarine Blue:
Very nice clean blue that leans red, a basic staple colour in most palettes. It is one of the oilier paints. After doing some research I found out that without fillers/additives, it’s difficult to get Ultramarine Blue to be stiffer. Some pigments need more oil than others when they are ground in their binder.

Terre Verte: 
A beautiful soft earth colour that is green-yellow. It has very low tinting strength and a velvety texture.

Magenta:
A lovely reddish-purple. Very versatile and useful.

Manganese Violet:
I love this violet because of the colour obviously, but also because it’s not obnoxious as some purples can get.

My overall impressions with Michael Harding Oils is very good. The company only makes oil paint. Harding himself is very active in sourcing pigments and I find the colour descriptions very helpful, since he is an artist as well.

The other thing that I appreciate is the packaging of the paints: the tubes have actual swatches of the painted colour as well as pigment name, pigment type, lightfastness rating, oil content, transparency/opacity, tinting power and drying time. Many reputable companies that sell artist’s grade paint usually list pigment name, opacity/transparency and lightfastness but not all of the other useful information that Harding provides on his paints, as in the picture below:

IMG_4563These paints are not cheap but they are less expensive than Vasari. So far they seem very nice. I still have to use them more to get a better feel for them. But from what I’ve seen so far, I highly recommend them.

I hope this information was useful if not interesting to you.

Thanks for visiting and have a great weekend!

Jeannette

Please follow and like me:

Snob Paints (Vasari)

Hello everyone, I hope your week is progressing well.

As I mentioned in my last post, I acquired some new paints. These paints are some of the world’s best brands and especially Vasari is very expensive. Even more so because I’m in Canada and the exchange rate is abysmal. Vasari is a boutique paint and as far as I know, you can only order from them directly in the U.S. or from Jackson’s Art Supplies in London.

IMG_4522I also got some Michael Harding paints based in the UK (a top quality paint with decent prices), Blockx paints (an old and reputable company based in Belgium),  Mussini paints by Schmincke (a very reputable German company) and Williamsburg paints (a U.S. company that is now owned by Golden, a reputable paint company). And finally, I got some Rublev lead white paint from Natural Pigments. A couple of other brands that should be in the lineup is Old Holland and Maimeiri Puro but those will have to wait until another time.๐Ÿ˜

I am going to post swatches of the paints I’ve mentioned here, but this post will focus on Vasari. I will post the other brands in posts to follow. I apologize for the quality of the pictures below as I was just doing these swatches for myself as reference. Then I thought why not post it for everyone else too. By the way, the white paint to colour paint ratio is very rough and I’m pretty bad with the palette knife. Hopefully, you will find it helpful if you’re interested in these paints.

Format:
The left column shows the paint as they were squeezed from the tube labeled with the paint colour.

The right part of the picture is the paint tinted to increasing degrees with M. Graham’s Titanium White Alkyd paint. Please note that Titanium White does skew the colours a little cooler.

Vasari:IMG_4547You can click on the image to enlarge

Paint colours from top to bottom:

Cadmium Lemon: I was surprised at how oily with was straight out of the tube. Nice colour similar to other Cadmiums I own but didn’t seem be overpowering, you can get some nice soft yellows when tinted down.

Genuine Naples Light: This was the most expensive paint not just because of the brand but from any manufacturer that makes it. And not many do because of toxicity/scarcity of the pigment. As you can see, it is a very different yellow that it hard to achieve by mixtures. When tinted down, you can get some really subtle pale yellows

Raw Sienna: Also a wet colour but beautifully neutral. I can see this being used quite a bit.

Ivory Black: A basic warm black that can tint neutral grays. I only have a cool black so it’s a welcome addition.

When I was considering the colours from Vasari, I wanted to get so much more. But because I spent so much on the Genuine Naples Yellow, I got more reasonably priced colours instead.

My first impressions of Vasari surprised me the most, I thought that I would hear the angels sing.. but it didn’t happen. I also new it was a “loose” paint but I was surprised at how oily or how much initial oil from the tube came out. I know you can l leach the oil out on a paper towel but it’s an extra step. There’s no doubt on the beauty of the colours but these are only swatches. I will have to see how they behave when I paint with them. As they say, the proof is in the pudding.

Stay tuned for more swatches and first impressions…

Thanks for visiting,

Jeannette

Please follow and like me:

Winsor & Newton Pigment Marker: first impressions

I recently went to my local art supply store and saw a demo of these markers. While I don’t do a lot of marker work, I was excited by these markers because they are pigment based and are lightfast. So if you happen to do a great doodle, it would be frame worthy because of the quality pigments used instead of dye (which usually fades quite rapidly with exposure to light).

I was pleasantly surprised by the painterly quality you can achieve with these markers. When using marker paper, or in my case, Winsor and Newton marker paper, the pigments remain blendable for quite a while. You can rework it over and over again with a colourless blender or W&N white blender.

W&N white blender is semi-opaque. I have to say I love this blender. I haven’t come across a blender like this in marker form before. This blender and the marker paper is what allows to get the painterly effect. You can also can get so many tints of colour to achieve varied monochrome looks and stretch your palette as well.

Below are a couple of quick sketches:

image

If you do any marker work at all, these are worth investing in.

Please follow and like me:

Akashiya Sai

image

I think I mentioned before how strongly I feel about using archival art materials. I usually use only acid-free, better yet lignin-free, and lightfast art making supplies.

The only exception so far is Akashiya Sai brush pens. These Japanese dye-based coloured pens have synthetic brush ends that are finer and more supple than regular waterbrushes. They are also a dream to work with. They blend with water so easily and the colours are so beautiful, vibrant and transparent. I mentioned them before but I had to bring them up again because they are sooo nice to work with.

Since they are not archival (the colours will fade with light), I use them only in journal pages or doodles that will not be sold or displayed:
image

If you like watercolour effects in a brush pen and do not need something archival, give these pens a try. You can find them at Jetpens and other online stores like Amazon.

Wishing you a lovely weekend.

P.S. I can never remember how to spell the name of these pens. 😆

Please follow and like me:

Ceracolors (part III)

image

I just got around to conducting more experiments with Ceracolors. Again, these are very quick experiments, no more than 30 mins each (except for applying gesso). I am still pleasantly surprised by some aspects of Ceracolors, while other aspects have me perplexed.

First, the perplexing part: my application of Ceracolors on wood cradle board. In my previous post, I had trouble with the Ceracolors cracking. I thought it was either the heat applied to soon or the untreated substrate of the raw wood on the cradle board.

This time, I prepared the cradle board with 2 coats of R and F encaustic gesso. The result is that it still cracked! And it started to crack even before I used the heat gun:

image

It was great to paint with and I did use thick impasto applications of the paint. A couple of heavily worked parts lifted off. Which tells me that adhesion wasn’t secure. And I also feel that if my paint was extended with medium rather than water, it would be better for adhering multiple layers as well.

I can think only of couple of things left to try: see if the paint adheres better to a substrate coated with watercolour ground, or try using a commercially prepared board for encaustics. Other than that, I can’t think of anything else.

image

On the other hand, Ceracolors on ragmat works beautifully. I didn’t do any preparation to the matboard at all. And painted in impasto and any which way I wanted. You can see the paint did not crack:

image

Matboard is cotton and absorbent, and this is the only difference. Wood cradle board and matboard are both rigid enough, but the wood is not as absorbent as the cotton “paper” of the matboard. It would be great just to paint on matboard, but it would need to be framed.

I like to paint on the deep cradled wood panels because they do not need framing. If the matboard is a larger size, it would have to be doubled-up to increase rigidity for framing but does not need glass. I’m speaking as an ex-picture framer.

I’m going to try again with a substrate coated with watercolour ground and a commercially prepared board, probably Ampersand. They do make quality products. So stay tuned for the results in part IV.

Please follow and like me:

Journal page with Golden High Flow

Lately, it’s been hot. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like to do much when it’s hot. So I’ve been just fooling around with my journal pages.

I’ve been trying Golden acrylics again. I don’t know why, but the Heavy Body and the Fluid ranges of the Golden acrylics underwhelm me. But the High Flow and the Open ranges I like quite a bit. The random blobs were done with the Golden High Flow ‘Drawing’ set:

image

The paint was squiggled on and sprayed with water. The paints are pretty much acrylic inks and I love the applicator bottles they come in. It’s much easier to get small amounts of paint and also easier to transfer into other bottles if you need to.

The High Flow ‘Drawing’ set comes with a nice assortment of colours including three metallics: gold, copper and silver. They are quite fun but needs to be shaken vigorously like many liquid metallic paints.

image

I decided to add a little doodle with my favorite white pen, Uniball Signo. This time I was able to get more of the thinner version that I was out of.

image

Wishing you a wonderfully balmy summer weekend!

Please follow and like me:

Ceracolors wax paint (part II)

image

As promised, I am continuing my review of Ceracolors wax paint. Above is the completed test painting done on an untreated cradled wood panel. In my review part I, I tested the paint on some acid-free mat board. I really liked the way it handled and had no problems adjusting to its characteristics.

Today, my review continues with how the paint handles on the untreated wood panel. I applied Ceracolors in Titanium White straight onto the small scrap panel with a palette knife as a background. It kinda looks like vanilla frosting and it spreads easily like it, too. 😋

image

Afterwards, I applied heat with a heat gun while the paint was still wet and noticed some bubbling.

When working with hot wax (encaustic) on untreated wood, there is always some off-gassing. This is because wood is always in various states of fluctuation, adjusting to the moisture level in the atmosphere. This fluctuation causes little pits to form in the molten wax and is inconsequential with regard to the structural integrity of the encaustic art work.

In the case of Ceracolors, I am working with a water miscible wax paint. As the paint dries and moisture evaporates, the paint forms cracks and flakes off slightly. This is bad news regardless of how cool the cracked texture looks in some parts. I’m hoping this problem will be resolved with the application of encaustic gesso (keeping fingers crossed and I will do another review that includes the results). The application of gesso on a substrate is standard practice in oil and acrylic painting.

image

Now onto the good part. As you can see with the little abstract test piece, you can get some really neat effects. You can apply the paint thickly straight out of the tube for impasto. You can water it down and get light watercolour effects. And you can use sgrafitto technicque and scratch into the paint without waiting a long time for paint to dry. The sgrafitto technique produces white lines or pointillist effects in my piece. The little white dots and lines were made by just scratching in with a sharp metal wire. I love the fact that you can do this, and in some of my watercolour paintings I have used white acrylic paint to get the same effect.

image

Below is another detail in close-up:

image

I am very excited and look forward to discovering many more things that you can do with this versatile paint. I’ll keep you posted.

Please follow and like me:

Ceracolors wax paint (part I)

I’m trying a brand new medium. I mean a medium that’s not only new to me, but pretty much new to modern art supplies. I say ‘pretty much new to modern art supplies’, because there have been recorded formulations since antiquity that were similar. I am here referring to Punic wax.

Within the scholarship about the Fayum mummy portraits, it is undecided whether cold or hot wax was used, but the wax I’m talking about today is a water-soluble cold wax paint.

I only know of two water-soluble wax paints in modern formulations available today: one is Cuni paints from Spain and the other is Ceracolors made in the U.S.A and sold by Natural Pigments. I’m going to be testing out Ceracolors:

image

I started to play around with the paints on my trusty pieces of mat board:

image

The paint comes out of the tubes well, much like traditional paints, and the most wonderful thing is they don’t have any odor, not even a slightly oily smell. You can see that the titanium white I’m testing out is thin like a regular paint, not like the molten wax of hot encaustic. Ceracolors can be heated to speed up drying and curing, but if heated when wet, the heat will cause bubbles to form.

image I mixed up the paint with a spatula on my glass palette. They mix really well. The consistency is different in that it’s slightly lumpy and light but in a good way. Usually if paint is lumpy it has hard bits that don’t dissolve, but in this case the paint feels a little mousse-like. It’s hard to describe and I don’t know if this description makes any sense.

The paint application is smooth and has great coverage. One thing though, the paint dries very fast. If you’re painting with a brush and doing glazes it will be difficult for you. As along as I can adapt to the characteristics of the paint, the fast drying time can work for me. For example, I like doing glazes, but with oils it takes forever. With Ceracolors, the paint dries quickly so as long as you work in thin layers scumbling. Your progression is much faster. The fast glazing possibility is very satisfying to me.

image

The paint is great to work with using the palette knife and mixes very well with water. The compensating factor for the quick-drying paint is that it re-wets pretty well. Here’s a closeup of the face I did in about 30 minutes. It has about 5 layers of paint.

Surrounding the face, I just used a flat brush to paint one-stroke quick stripes so you can see how the paint goes on. This paint is very versatile and I’m exited about the many possibilities. And like any wax-based paint, you can polish it to a lovely sheen when it’s dry.

I will post further experiments with this paint as they happen.

Please follow and like me: