Tuesday, May 30, 2017

About the paints I use....my thoughts on different paint brands.

This post was first written in December of 2013.  A lot has changed since then.  I've updated this post by writing my current thoughts in red ink.

Very often when I show photos of my work table with its jumble of assorted paints, in this blog I get e-mails or comments with questions about the paints I use.  So I thought it would be good for me to collect my thoughts on the paints I choose and tell you why I like them, or in some cases don't.

I paint in lots of thin layers.  I like what happens when the colors interact with each other and my paint choices are based on that. Also let me say that these are my opinions based on what I want my paints to do. this is all still true.

What I want from my paint.
I  want the paint to just flow off my brush, almost like ink.  I want as little drag as possible.  I like all different surfaces, canvas, paper, primed board.  They each bring their own personality to the finished piece and the paint has to work with all those surfaces. this is still true
I want to be able to put out big piles of paint without,  "OMG! What is this costing me?" This has changed, I now realize what some of the inexpensive paints have cost me in terms of time and vibrancy. I don't hesitate when it comes to buy the best. 

 Above is my diagramed photo (kind of like the photos in the Arlo Guthrie song Alice's Restaurant) of the paints I am currently using.  I have circled and number the paints and they correspond to the list below.

So in descending order of least favorite to most favorite they are...

  • #6 Liquitex Brand Paints    Don't look too hard, you won't  see many on my work table.  The heavy body paints get snotty in the tubes and almost impossible to mix.  The soft body paints aren't worth the price.   Except for........... 
  • #5 Liquitex Gesso which I use for white.  It flows great and has good coverage.  If you use a lot of white this is a very easy on the budget alternative to Titanium white in tubes.  I now use Golden acrylic gesso, I think it has more pigment.
  • #4 Lukas acrylics in the big squeeze bottles.  The blues are good,  the reds and yellows, not so much, too transparent and un-pretty color, except I did like the vermillion red and the Indian yellow.  The price is good. I don't buy these any more except for the vermillion and the Prussian blue.
  • #3 Amsterdam Standard acrylics.  These are the student grade of the line. The price is similar to the Liquitex Basics, but they are much better.  The white is worthless, the pale tints aren't good by themselves but they are great to mix with other colors.  You get a lighter value of the color that isn't the same old boring blue + white = pale blue. You get some really interesting colors. I still use some of these.  The turquoise, the pinks, the grays, but never the yellows, reds, or oranges.
  • #2 Amsterdam Expert acrylics.  Really good paint for the money. Lots of pigment in the colors.  A little stiffer than the standard but still okay.
  • #1  Totally Awesome Holbein Acryla.  But they are really really spendy and look how tiny the tubes are!  But there are some must have colors, Compose Rose and Opera. 
I know I didn't mention a lot of brands, Golden for example, but these are the brands that are working for me now.  Maybe next year will be different, we'll just have to see what the next year brings. I now use a number of  Golden paints, I use the cadmium yellows, oranges, reds, and their magentas. And the titanium white

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