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CHOOSING MY WATERCOLOUR BRAND
review by: Jan Irving
I came across The School of Colour and purchased a number of titles, but The Artist's Guide to Selecting Colours was the real eye opener. Until then I had assumed a paint from a well known company would be durable and reliable - not so!
Susan Harrison-Tustain (DVDs and book) introduced me to German's Schmincke paints, I bought a tube from a local supplier, it was very nice paint and easy to use, and you could reclaim from the palette even after it had been sitting there for a few days.
The M Graham website at that stage was fairly basic, and initially I could not find a local supplier, so my first half dozen or so basic primary colours came from Cheap Joes, a good and fast shipper but with a a bit of an attitude in sending say 80% of the order then just ignoring rather than waiting for restocking on a crucial colour, but overall the service was good.
M Graham's watercolour paint intrigued me as it is handcrafted and uses honey to keep the product usable over several days. I was certainly impressed with the colour, texture, and adherence of the the two paint tubes I bought from Ebay, and the follow up colours have been equally fabulous. For contrast, consider some of the Winsor and Newton range that had more filler than pigment!
Just to round of this short article, why did I choose to go with tubes rather than pan colours? There are many more companies producing tube watercolours so that gives a better choice, and also The Wilcox Guide to the Finest Watercolours generally found issues with a significant portion of any one company's range of pans. Pans require quite a bit of water work up to make them yield enough colour to allow mixing, hard on the brush, and also of course leaving the pans prone to contamination. So essentially, pans vs tubes was an easy decision.
And let me answer one question which I found the answer too rather late in my research - can you sue, successfully, paints from more than one company. Well, yes, of course; and generally I believe they mix well, but I have chosen to stick with just the one manufacturer for more than 95% of my paints because I can be confident that the bases of any two or more colours are likely to be the same or just so close that there is minimal chances of chemical reactions, good or bad, that may affect how the paint adheres to the paper or the actual colour changing over time.
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