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

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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.

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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

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Charcoal Sketch

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Hi everyone, I just did a quick sketch to test out Strathmore 500 Charcoal paper. The paper is in pad-form (approximately 9 x12) but it also comes in large single sheets.

The good stuff: it’s archival and 100% cotton and not too expensive (about half the price of Stonehenge paper)

The possibly not so good stuff: laid texture (good if you like it), thinness

For me this paper’s laid texture is too pronounced, especially in this size format. It’s hard to blend if you want a softer look. The texture also makes it harder to erase with your putty which makes it harder if you like to work carving by out highlights. Also, the texture heaviness might not be so pronounced, if you use the larger size single sheets that are available. For some, the laid texture might be just what they are looking for but it would have been nice to have had a choice.

The other thing is the thinness of the paper (64lb, 95g/m2). It does not bother me at this size but in larger sizes, it would be easier to flop around and cause dents.

Overall, some might love this paper for the same reasons that some might dislike this paper.

 

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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:

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

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Ceracolors (part III)

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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:

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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:

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

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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.

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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.

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