Wednesday, 7 February 2018
My Favourite Paint Brands
I'm sometimes asked about what paints I like to work with, and which brands I prefer, so I thought I'd share a blog post explaining which ones I love to use and why! At the end of the post I'll pop a few links to the online art stores I use to purchase my paints in case you're tempted to splurge yourself!
I got into acrylics after trying oils in my teens and deciding I really didn't like them. I didn't have the patience for them to dry and found them greasy, dark and messy. Acrylics were the polar opposite - fast drying, luminous, clean and easy!
My ultimate favourite acrylic paint brand is Liquitex, I have used the Heavy Body Acrylics for many years now and find the soft, buttery consistency irresistable! There is a wide range of brilliant colours available which are brilliant for my paintings (which are generally very colourful), and I find them a pleasure to work with. You can use them straight from the tube or water them down a bit to loosen them up. They blend well and when dry retain a good luminosity and clarity of colour.
In a very close second place, I love the Golden brand. Again, they have that same wonderful, buttery consistency and come in a wide range of colours, including iridescent paints. Golden also offer a range of texture mediums as well as Gessos that you can use with your acrylics. The only downside about Golden is that they do tend towards the higher price bracket, so for that reason I lean more towards Liquitex for value.
Third favourite is the Winsor and Newton acrylic range; they are soft and easy to use straight from the tube, with a great range of colours. Sometimes a bit pricier but a good artists quality paint that I enjoy working with. They also offer a good range of acrylic mediums such as gloss gel and flow improver.
I still have and use some Daler Rowney/Cryla acrylics that I bought a long time ago. If you make sure the lids are on tight then acrylics can last a long time! It's when the air gets in that they tend to dry out or go a bit gritty. These paints are very thick and I've found that I need to water them down a bit before use. They offer a good range of colours and are a good addition to my collection with their generously sized 75ml tubes.
The tubes are usually priced according to the pigments, so some such as the cobalt and teal shades can often more expensive. For artists just starting out with acrylics, most of these companies offer good value starter sets with a selection of great colours to get you going.
In the last year or two I've wandered back to my watercolours, and I've been using them alot lately on a series of commissions for Whistlefish. Watercolours are just fantastic, and can be used in different ways - compared to my acrylics I love the loose, alchemical nature of these paints and all the things you can do with them, but first, lets look at my preferred brands:
Golden are without a doubt the connoisseurs of great paint, and their watercolour doesn't disappoint. I invested in a set of their Q'or Watercolour Tube paints at Christmas, and like their acrylic cousins, they are buttery soft, with a beautiful range of colours. I usually work with pan watercolours (more about those in a moment) but needed bigger amounts of paint for large washes I was doing and tubes of paint make this easier to do (just dispense an amount in a generously sized palette and mix with water to the desired consistency). Although these paints are very expensive, to me they have been worth every penny. They have a stunning luminance when dry, come in a fantastic range of colours and are a real pleasure to work with. I use them alongside my watercolour pan sets when I paint, using a mix of brands which is totally fine to do.
I own a few watercolour pan sets which I've bought over the years - these are basically your traditional paint in a box sets, and the little metal or plastic boxes that your individual paint colours come in are called pans. I use sets by White Knights, a Russian brand, Sennelier, a great but (very) expensive French brand (hence why for now I only have their travel set) and Winsor and Newton - good old British paint! All of these brands offer sets that contain great colours, luminosity and pigmentation, and the bonus of using a tin or box of paints is that they're portable. You can also buy new pans to replace ones that you've emptied.
I recently discovered the beautiful world of Metallic Paint by Finetec. Their stunning colour range is made with mica, adding a rich and glittering finish which I add to my watercolour paintings when they're dry (see image above). I tend to use sterling silver and fine gold, so do check them out if you feel you'd like to add an element of sparkly mixed media to your work. These metallic inks are really popular in calligraphy too.
Where to Buy:
I buy all of my paint from the following places:
Finetec Paints are available directly from Penman Direct and Amazon.
Do shop around, I find that these online stores will often have special offers or discounts on certain brands so it's worth signing up to be on their mailing lists to find out when to buy things a bit cheaper. Alternatively you might be lucky enough to have a great art store local to you, there is nothing nicer than browsing a good shop full of different brands and products to inspire you!