View Full Version : Building a paint information resource

Cariboo Bill
02-28-2013, 10:28 AM
Hi All

I am not having all that much success talking you into doing lightfast testing but I am wondering if there might be some interest in helping with the final resource that we will be able to develop in a year or so. The Light fast information will be the key data for any given paint or color index number but just for example here is part of what Bruce MacEvoy has to say about PR 108, Cadmium Red:

High quality, pure cadmium sulfoselenide is completely permanent, covers very well, is easy to handle, moderately active wet in wet, and blossoms readily if wetted while still moist (although it is relatively resistant to water discoloration once it has dried). It appears deceptively opaque when applied wet to the paper, but dries to a much more transparent appearance. The finished color has an irreplaceable, powdery luster in masstone, and a glowing, fleshy and transparent color in tints. The Holbein cadmiums are very saturated (except for the purple hue) and closely spaced along the spectrum. However, Winsor & Newton cadmium reds are just as saturated, staining, semitransparent, with a slight blossom wet in wet, and a nice sheen in thin washes. As a group the Winsor & Newton color locations are shifted toward orange (warmer) in comparison to the paints from other manufacturers. Daniel Smith cadmiums are slightly less intense, semiopaque to opaque, and tend to bronze when applied full strength.

I am wondering if we could update this kind of handling qualities of the paints that we have lightfast information on. It would mean that people would need to volunteer for a color index number (there could of course be more than one volunteer for a specific color index number that is the whole idea behind crowd sourcing anyway) , do a few painting tests, maybe include some digital images, and discuss how the paint handles.

What do you think. The lightfast testing will be rolling out results starting next January so that gives us a good amount of time to putter about with a color where we have several tubes of the color from different manufacturers.

I think we would set up a thread I guess in the Learning Zone for each of the color index numbers as volunteers appeared. I could put together a thread that outlines one way of doing the test swatches and comparisons and as results come in I could gather those all up to be included in the final data base that contains the light fast results as well.

03-01-2013, 12:22 AM
This sounds good. I know we have quite a bit of this sort of info already, some scattered around in various threads, some in the "Watercolor Handbook" threads. Some with wonderful images. But it would be a really nice resource here to have all the colors in an organized list.

The tricky thing will be to have some consistency in writing about each color, with so many different people contributing. We'll just have to try to cover basic attributes as objectively as possible, while adding our own voices to more some of the more subjective qualities. A variety of images of the color in use - not just a swatch - would be great.

Also, this could (hopefully) wind up huge, like the Handprint list with its separate pages for each color category. I'm wondering how it will be put together, especially as color entries will be trickling in out of order. Will there be an empty thread created from the start for each pigment (and blended color like Hooker's) in pigment order, with just a placeholder post for each? And then people gradually add their info to the appropriate thread? Will new pigments be able to be inserted in order, or will they have to go at the end? Just wondering how to make this in the most user-friendly way, while working within the constraints of a forum layout.

M.L. Schaefer
03-01-2013, 02:33 AM
I would hesitate at using Handprint information...for instance, it does not address the problem that Daniel Smith Cadmium is the "poorer" form of the color (not "purer" but less expensive and not quite the same grade as other Cadmiums.

Also, Handprint paint information is so out of date, its almost useless, and as I've said before, his conclusions are slightly biased (in the case of most of the manufactuers, very biased - tending to subconsiously lead us to other brands...in fact, if someone had not suggested Old Holland paints to me and gifted me with some, I would now be painting with another brand - the same with Lukas, the same with a number of manufacturers! I am ALL for the idea of addressing handling properties. It is a great idea! Some paints handle differently from others, but I do I think we should post our own comments of the paint, AND have comments from at least two to three other individuals so we do not create a bias. I also believe those comments should address paints used and then rejected, and the reasons why.

I guess I'm getting too technical, but I do not wish to go the way of Handprint where a perfectly good manufacturer has profits driven into the ground because of ill advised bias. I think that WetCanvas must, absolutely must, have complete integrity and rise to highest level when posting the comments because thousands and thousands of people view our site. BUT, again, I think the comments idea is absolutely fantastic, I would like to see it.

Possibly we can have a number of comments regarding handling properties for a manufacturer, for instance, Winsor & Newton, BOTH pros and cons. And for other manufacturers, pros and cons. But done with the highest degree of professionalism.

:heart: Margarete

M.L. Schaefer
03-01-2013, 03:42 AM
I thought again about my prior post. Possibly we can just have a general handling of the paint, without mentioning any manufacturer.

For instance, granulating colors: Most granulating colors need to be used fresh, if possible, to make the most of the granulation. There are exceptions, but they are few. If one prefers to use paint that is dried in the well, it must be thoroughly re-wet and worked carefully, to bring it back to its original consistency.

OR, maybe, next to each color tested for lightfastness (which would have the manufacturer's name) we can put a small blurb like: Very granulating, rewets easily. Very granulating, must be used fresh. Slight granulation, rewets easily. And etc. Something like that. Short, sweet, to the point, without bias.

:heart: Margarete

Anyway, something like that? I guess the main thing is the lightfastness testing....? I am sure that many of us have experiences that we would like to share with beginners...?

03-01-2013, 07:29 AM
I am not having all that much success talking you into doing lightfast testing

That is the story of my life. I work in a research department and each of us is on our own most of the time unfortunately.

Had it not been for the fact that between travelling to and from work as well as work time taking care of over 13 hours per day I would have loved to join your project.

As I make most of my watercolours from pigment form I think I could have contributed a lot to this research idea. Maybe I would still do it but in the present circumstances it would be impossible.