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Choices, choices!

Updated: Sep 11, 2020

When I began painting in oils, I was shocked by the cost! Actually, artist supplies in general are very expensive. Since we all begin (and continue!) as starving artists, this is a big issue. We are always trying to find a way to decrease costs, while maintaining quality. Since I’m not independently wealthy(!) I’ll be posting more in the future about how I have balanced those issues.


I began painting with Winsor Newton oil paint. The brand was locally available and very cost friendly. I tried Grumbacher, but I didn’t like the texture. They are thicker and feel more like putty. I soon started trying other brands in colors where it seemed to make an obvious difference, such as white, greens and blues. As a test, I bought 3 different tubes of white paint and mixed each of them with various colors . My husband thought I was being frivolous until he saw my test swatches! He has since demurred from commenting on my paint purchases! Lol!


I next moved up to Winsor Newton’s Artist’s Oil Colour paint. They are largely available at local craft stores like Michaels. That worked well for awhile until I became unhappy with my greens. Since I paint a lot of landscapes, green is an important color. I use various green pigments, as well as mixing various shades of blues and yellows. Because of this, I started testing other brands.


I tried Old Holland, M. Graham, Sennelier, Bloxx, Utrecht, Dick Blick’s store brand, and Gamblin. While there are certain colors that are special in each brand, I’ve settled on Gamblin that gives me a balance of quality and cost. It also helps that Michaels has recently started carrying Gamblin and I can use a coupon!


I recently purchased a tube of Old Holland Titanium White to see if that makes a difference. The color white is mixed with almost every other color during a painting session, so it is a key paint color to get right. More on those results in a month or two.


Just this past week, I read an article about becoming a more eco-friendly artist (article link HERE). The brand M. Graham was highlighted. M. Graham uses walnut oil as a binder for the pigments. Walnut oil is supposed to be non-yellowing (yay!). The big kicker is that you can clean your brushes with walnut oil instead of solvents (i.e. turpentine, Gamsol, mineral spirits, etc.). That’s a pretty attractive benefit. I will be trying this in the future and will keep you posted. Their pigments are also supposed to be beautiful and saturated. I purchased a tube of colbalt blue (my new fav blue) and will be trying it on my next painting.


M. Graham is available at Dick Blick Art Materials. If you use this link HERE I will receive a percentage of the profit at no cost to you. Thanks!

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