Friday, September 21, 2007

Paint Brands

I'm so impressed with all the comments from the last post on how-to art books. Thank you all. I'll have to track down some of your recommendations.

Someone wrote me the other day and asked me what was my favorite brand of oil paints, I have to say I don't really have a favorite. I’m not that picky. I try them all. Even the cheapest paints, like Lukas’s student brand ($2.00 a tube) seem to work OK most of the time. I get so nervous when a tube of paint costs more than a tank of gas that I'm afraid to squeeze out any. But maybe I'm missing something, and I'd love to hear what you think.

To me, brushes matter more. A good Kolinsky sable really is worth it. I usually buy the second most expensive brand of brushes. I assume those companies work harder than the most famous brands.


Anonymous said...

heya, I'll leave a suggestion on your doorstep so far as brushes are concerned-

is a small UK based brushmaker and I've heard from many of my friends and fellow artists that they're very, very good. They have an amazing range and choice and, since the company is family owned and produced, I wouldn't doubt you can get a set custom made exactly how you like them. I have to be honest and say I haven't used them myself, postage and currency transfers to australia make it a little prohibitive, but they're certainly worth a look

as far as paints, I'm an acrylicist as I mostly paint models. For those paints, Citadel, Citadel foundation and Valejo paints are the best, though all are very expensive for anything but miniature work.

Michael Dooney said...

I agree on the paints, I've tried lots. I work mostly in acrylics and I used Liquitex for years because the caps were easier to get on and off ;)
I eventually switched over to Goldens which are creamier and definitely have more pigment.
I've got a zillion brushes and prefer traditional bristle brushes and Monarch Mongoose brushes...they have the perfect combination of soft yet stiff quality which works great for pushing paint around.

S. Jones said...

You don't find they have problems when it comes to mixing one brand to another? I'm not very familiar with oils, but I know with some mediums the composition of the various brands is just too different to mix with any success.

Unknown said...

I mostly use acrylics as well. In my limited oil painting experience, I've used Grumbacher and Holbein. I really enjoy and prefer Holbein's paints to Grumbacher because, in my experience, they are much more consistent in what comes out of the tube. Holbein's paint is always a firm paste that spreads like butter. Grumbacher's don't always give me that experience-- they range from the paste to big oily glops (with most of it being pure transparent oil).

As far as brushes, I enjoy the Monarch Mongoose brushes as well. I tried buying the Dick Blick branded Red Sables and had a terrible experience with them-- the bristles were literally falling out of the ferrule. So, I tend to agree that, with paint brushes, you really get what you pay for.

I'd like to see a post about your color pallette at some point.

Thanks again for the blog.

Unknown said...

Just discovered you had a blog from good ole' Lines & Colors. Really great insight into your techniques.

As for oil paints I also mix it up quite a bit...Gamblin and W&N when I want to save a buck...I ever prefer their Naples Yellow Light to any other on the market. A few of my artist friends and I have been using more and more Williamsburg paints. Great quality for a little more price, but still very reasonable.

Great blog - I'll be back here for sure.

Anonymous said...

You guys have given me a lot of ideas to try, thanks.

Check out Scott Altmann's gorgeous blog Bad Dreams Good Nightmares at

Anonymous said...

Ha, I get that feeling too. With wasting paint that is.

Lee Smith said...

I've read that the harsh dryers in student grade oils destroy your brushes. For that reason, I use only artist grade Winsor Newton, M. Graham, and Gamblin. I don't buy premium paints for the same reason you gave. I've seen the art work from consumers of these expensive paints and it is usually abstract, pure color. I almost never apply pure color from the tube. Rosemary brushes are the ultimate, yet affordable brushes.