By Mary Ann Boysen
When I first began taking watercolor lessons, I was afraid to waste money on the finest watercolor paint, or pigments. So, I bought the student grade Winsor Newton.
While I felt these were the best student grade paints at that time, there are now other pigments on the market new that are a bit more stable and have fewer fading properties.
When paint manufacturer speaks of a fugitive color they are referring to the fact that it may fade over time. I used to think that meant that it would run all over the page because I had never read it anywhere!
American Journey watercolor paints (or pigments) are quite good. They come in large tubes and the price is right…especially for the beginner who might shy away from expensive supplies. They are made and sold exclusively by Cheap Joe's Art Stuff….an art catalog that can be obtained by calling them @ 800-227-2788. Joe has also named some of his pigments for his favorite artists like Skip's Green (for Skip Lawrence), and Andrew's Turquoise (for Don Andrews).
The pigments I was introduced to by my first instructor were made by Winsor Newton. The Artists' Water Colour brand is their top of the line watercolor paint. All art stores carry this product as do the catalog art stores (and websites). My all time favorite color of theirs is Quinacridone Gold. It is much the color of Raw Sienna, but is extremely transparent. Other companies are making this color now also. Each is slightly different. Find the one you like and stick with it.
For years I demonstrated painting for a paper company and the Holbein representative would hound me about the value of their pigments. I was given samples to try and he finally convinced me that this is also an excellent brand. I now use as much of it as I do Winsor Newton colors. My personal favorites are Cobalt Blue Hue (which is more like a true brilliant sky blue and it mixes with other colors very well for pure tertiary colors...not grayed out).
Another is Opera. It's a hot pink and Holbein was the first to develop this color. Now, all the other companies are following suit. None have matched it perfectly, however. All Holbeinpigments are quite strong in color so if color is what you're after...go for it!
Daniel Smith has also developed a line of Quinacridone colors that are truly brilliant and lovely to use. The watercolor paints you use are a personal choice. I try to change my palette every now and then just for a fresh new approach.
I have ordered from all of the following suppliers and have been very satisfied. It pays to compare their websites for prices as they frequently have sales.
Just remember that when you purchase from a catalog that you must pay shipping unless you buy a large quantity. It might be worth a trip to your local store to see the products first hand. And you mMisterArt.comight find their prices comparable to the catalogs.
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