PDA

View Full Version : Question about M. Graham paints


Undergoose
05-09-2013, 12:36 AM
Hi guys :)

I recently purchased my first 12 tubes of M. Graham paint, and have been enjoying them, but I noticed something last night.

They seem to leave a 'bathtub ring' in my wash cups. Every time I dunk the brush, either for cleaning or grabbing some water, the brushes leave like an oil slick on the top of the water. It just floats there, and gets on the handles of my brushes, the inside of the cups, then onto my fingers, then my phone, forehead, ears, etc...

The brushes are really hard to clean as well. It almost feels like the paint has been contaminated by oil paints or something. Hot water and soap cleans it right up.

I haven't this behavior from any of my other brands. Something to do with the honey binder and using cool water in my cups? Not sponging my brush off before dunking it? Bad karma?

Has anyone else seen this, or did I maybe get a couple of bad tubes? I only noticed it happening on the pthalo blue and pyrrole red.

Thoughts? Suggestions?

Thanks in advance for what are sure to be brilliant solutions. :D

janinco
05-09-2013, 01:52 AM
I've used their paints almost exclusively for three years and have never seen what you're describing. I would suggest writing to them. Diana always answers right away and is very helpful. The contact information is on their website.

Jan

Undergoose
05-09-2013, 01:56 AM
Thanks for the info :)

I actually contacted them yesterday afternoon, but haven't heard back yet.

In the meantime, I'm just continuing to use them, and I'll try to snap some photos of the micro-sludge when it happens again.

Jeez. It's getting so a guy can't dip his french fries in his brush water anymore...:p

painterbear
05-09-2013, 05:06 AM
Like Jan, I've used M Graham paints for years and have never experienced what you described. :confused:

Hope you get an answer from them ASAP.

Sylvia

laudesan
05-09-2013, 06:44 AM
Try adding a drop of dish-wash liquid into your rinse water. It will help break the tension of the water on your paper and add your painting process, as well as maybe keep your water cups cleaner. Graham paints are heavy on pigment load, and their colours are reputed to be staining. They are great paints to use though. I love their transparent colours. They go a long way..

Happy painting...........

CJMonty
05-09-2013, 08:06 AM
I too have used M.Graham Watercolours for a few years now and absolutely love them, and as JJ says, they go a long way.
Ditto what JJ suggests with the dish wash liquid. I have never had this issue with them either.
Do you have particularly hard water where you are?

I use a Brush Cleaner and Conditioner, it's in a yellow container with brown writing, I can't think of the name just now and unfortunately I have been re-arranging my Craft Room and unable to get to it for the moment, but it's excellent, someone here may be able to help with the name of it. It cleans up Watercolour, Acrylics and Oils.

Good Luck and Enjoy them.

Take Care, Carolynn.

Undergoose
05-09-2013, 08:44 AM
Try adding a drop of dish-wash liquid into your rinse water. It will help break the tension of the water on your paper and add your painting process, as well as maybe keep your water cups cleaner. Graham paints are heavy on pigment load, and their colours are reputed to be staining. They are great paints to use though. I love their transparent colours. They go a long way..

Happy painting...........

Thanks for the suggestion! I just might try that. Will probably make my french fries taste even funnier, however. Pretty sure they don't have ketchup-flavored Dawn yet. I can definitely testify to the staining pigments, they're intense! Didn't take long to tint my little plastic palette.

the dish soap idea should probably be okay for the longevity of the paint...I think soap is the opposite end of the pH spectrum from acid.

I too have used M.Graham Watercolours for a few years now and absolutely love them, and as JJ says, they go a long way.
Ditto what JJ suggests with the dish wash liquid. I have never had this issue with them either.
Do you have particularly hard water where you are?

I use a Brush Cleaner and Conditioner, it's in a yellow container with brown writing, I can't think of the name just now and unfortunately I have been re-arranging my Craft Room and unable to get to it for the moment, but it's excellent, someone here may be able to help with the name of it. It cleans up Watercolour, Acrylics and Oils.

Good Luck and Enjoy them.

Take Care, Carolynn.

I think it's called "The Masters" Brush Cleaner and Preserver. I use it often, but typically not after every painting session.

I only use distilled water when I'm painting, and spring water for drinking. The tap water here smells like it comes out of a dirty aquarium.

I'll keep playing with the paints. I was laying the paint on particularly thick at the point where things started to get messy, sometimes dipping for more water with a little glob still stuck to the brush. I didn't see any problems last night with just painting normally.

I'm still deciding on my 'final' standard palette, and I've been finding that there are some other brands with better colors for some of the standards. Da Vinci yellow ochre beats M. Graham hands down, as does their burnt sienna (although the pigment particles on the siennas are pretty grainy with DaVinci). Pthalo green and blue are about the same, as are the pyrroles. I like the Da Vinci ultramarine better as well.

I'm leaning towards making Da Vinci my staple, as I work a lot more with folding palettes and mobile set ups. M. Graham gets a little tricky that way.

I'm also waiting on 10 more tubes of Sennelier to arrive in the mail. The two that I have are very comparable to M. Graham for working properties IMO, although the honey content is toned down a little, which allows skim-over in about 1/2 the time.

I tried a dozen Maimeri Blu's and was only sort of whelmed to the side a little. They should have named them 'Meh'meri Blu. :P Decent paint, not really bad or good in any particular way. I found their diox purple and raw sienna to be a little washed out looking.

I've also tried about 5 or 6 Holbeins, great colors, nicely ground pigments, but they dry pretty stiff.

I have about a bazillion W&N tubes that I'm phasing out. I've taken to using a couple drops of organic wildflower honey in my pans per 5 ml tube, and it's been working great to ward off the crumblies, but I have trouble getting behind a paint line that outright vocally doesn't support pan drying the tubes.

I'm on the fence about trying the Mijello Mission stuff. At this point, I've got so much paint laying around that I just need to start painting with whatever's in front of me. Seems a little silly to be trying another brand when I'm quickly finding everything I need in about 12 colors. :)

Thanks for the help!

WthrLady
05-09-2013, 01:33 PM
I use them as well and HAVE noticed this. We don't have hard water. I especially notice it with my Cad Red or Paynes.

I just wipe it off and ignore it.

Marcio C
05-09-2013, 02:44 PM
I have not had this problem.

olliewood0702
05-09-2013, 03:12 PM
I've never had this problem and I have a lot of M. Graham paints. I would have almost bet on it being something with your water, but maybe not. The drop of dish soap would work.

charliez
05-09-2013, 04:08 PM
Goose you are funny but I have not had this problem either!
Maybe its your brushes... hehe

WthrLady
05-09-2013, 04:59 PM
If I hadn't already packed up my studio, I'd record a video of it in action. If you load the brush and then touch it to the water, the paint explodes from the brush and spreads quickly from the brush outward like a bullseye. As my brush water evaporates (sometimes I forget to empty it for a couple days) it leaves a film as the water travels downward.

It reminds me of that stuff you put on water to make paper oil prints.

Undergoose
05-09-2013, 06:19 PM
If I hadn't already packed up my studio, I'd record a video of it in action. If you load the brush and then touch it to the water, the paint explodes from the brush and spreads quickly from the brush outward like a bullseye. As my brush water evaporates (sometimes I forget to empty it for a couple days) it leaves a film as the water travels downward.

It reminds me of that stuff you put on water to make paper oil prints.

EXACTLY! I'm now just using about 1 1/2" of water in my cup when I'm working with high-loaded brushes, at least it keeps it off the handle. Unlike most of my other brands, that 'bullseye' doesn't dissipate, but mostly floats around unless I REALLY agitate the water.

Diana got back to me and said that they hadn't heard anything about it either.

I'll keep playing with them, I'm sure it's just the way that I'm using them. I don't typically dunk a bunch of loaded brushes, but I've been doing a lot of test/comparison swatches/washes, end up with more paint than water in my little squares.

I asked Diana if they'd ever considered aggressively pursuing the plein aire artists that don't like to cart around a bunch of tubes. I've seen the possum palettes and stuff, but there's not been anything that really caught my eye for a mobile M. Graham solution. I'll keep brainstorming and maybe hit on something brilliant.

For overall consistency in a line, making one paint feel like the others, I've only noticed Schminke and Sennelier being even close to M. Graham. My collection of Da Vinci's are ALL OVER the place with pigment consistencies. Their burnt umber, while a beautiful hue, is so grainy that it barely moves in washes, while their ochre is the most finely ground I've seen. I might have to invest in some flow mediums and see what I can do with the heavy Da Vinci stuff.

As far as price/ml, no one touches Da Vinci for value in the earth pigs, they're like $0.24/ml, and the colors are quite nice.

I'll keep looking for some sort of clever palette solution for backpacking them, too.

Thanks for the responses and help, guys :)

WthrLady
05-09-2013, 06:32 PM
My MGrahams do not go plein air with me.

There is a great palette for them though...let me think. Darn it, I can't think of it. I THINK it was either in the last Cheap Joes or Dicks Catalog. They are little round containers with snap on leak proof lids and you can snap them into a palette that has a mixing center section. Nuts. I can't remember it's name. It's not the kangaroo palette. UGH. I'll keep my eyes open for it again.

Undergoose
05-09-2013, 06:35 PM
Yeah, that's the 'possum' pallet, I think

Dragoon
05-09-2013, 10:36 PM
:confused:
All those paint brands, and you haven't mentioned Daniel Smith's??
Simply brilliant paints!

Just sayin'...
D.

Marcio C
05-09-2013, 11:43 PM
13 out of 16 colors in my plein air palette are M Grahams. I don't have any problems with them leaking. There were only two colors that leaked out of their wells once, and have been replaced since: cobalt teal and cobalt violet. All other colors behave well.

I was curious reading you mention water, or oil, getting on your brush handles... how does that happen? Do you dip your handles in the water?

Undergoose
05-09-2013, 11:56 PM
:confused:
All those paint brands, and you haven't mentioned Daniel Smith's??
Simply brilliant paints!

Just sayin'...
D.

I don't own a single tube of Daniel Smith's. No personal grudge or anything like that, I just tend to confine myself to one supplier, and I've found Dick Blick to be consistently the lowest prices when averaged across the board.

They always toss some nifty free stuff in my boxes, too.

From what I understand, DS is a great paint line, but I'm at the point now where I have entirely too much paint, so now it's just time to stand beside something and make it work.

I'm getting ready to move across the country to Seattle for a few months, then back up to Alaska permanently, so I don't/won't have a proper studio for a while, hence my reluctance to convert over to M. Graham.

I'm actually going to be returning a bunch of tubes of Sennelier, as well. I've tested a couple and they take much to long to dry to be considered mobile paints. If I want perpetual goo, I'll just stick with M. Graham when I finally get set up permanently. I'd rather support domestic manufacturers when I can.

I've made the decision to use Da Vinci for my travel palettes and most likely M. Graham will be sprinkled into my studio set ups. I LOVE the way Da Vinci paints set up. When they skim over and are still squishy in the middle, I like to run my finger over the top and make them all shiny. :P They all re-wet really well, and quite frankly, I like them better rewetted than I do straight out of the tube. I can control the concentration of pigment in the brush when I just need a little of something.

I also love my Schminke 24 whole-pan set, I've only used it a couple of times, but I'm going to sell that off as well. It's too expensive to refill it, even though the paints are fantastic IMO.

The Yarka/St. Petersburg sets are nice, too. I have the original and sequel sets, and I'm not afraid to really get loose with them because they're so cheap. My next project is to go through both sets and identify all the fugitives and multi-pigmented things. I'll then consolidate them into one good set of 24 single-pigment, lightfast uniquely Russian paints, they're definitely a bit of a different animal. The castaways will be used for sketching and stuff.

I have a Lukas 24 whole pan set (same box as the Schminckes) that I've gone through and weeded out the junk and replaced them with a bunch of W&N stuff that I have laying around, mixing a large drop of honey into each of the pans. Haven't decided whether I'm going to keep it or sell it.

The last couple of years has been a lot of research into paints, it's been fascinating learning about all the pigments and the history of watercolors in general.

Now it's time to un-clutter my supply box and get down to focusing on becoming really good with the palettes/brands that I've chosen.

Undergoose
05-10-2013, 12:04 AM
13 out of 16 colors in my plein air palette are M Grahams. I don't have any problems with them leaking. There were only two colors that leaked out of their wells once, and have been replaced since: cobalt teal and cobalt violet. All other colors behave well.

I was curious reading you mention water, or oil, getting on your brush handles... how does that happen? Do you dip your handles in the water?

I'm fairly certain that if you got your palette workably wet, then closed it up 15 minutes later and stuffed it in your backpack like I do, you'd have the same mess. :P

I think I've figured out what was happening. I was making a LOT of swatches and testing patches of one color washing into another and such. My brush would be heavily loaded with paint and I was just dipping the tip in the water to add just a smidgen more of one color or the other. The water wasn't being agitated enough between dips to dissipate the pigment 'slick'.

every time I dipped the brush, the color would bloom off of it and hover on the top of the water. After a dozen such dips, I'd then go to switch colors and just dunk the brush down deeper to swivel it on the side. The ferrule and part of the handle would slide down through the floating pigments (only on the heavy staining colors, pyrroles and pthalos), and the pigments seems to sort of cling on to both the ferrule and the handle, leaving a light stain.

After a few color change/washouts between swatches, the brush really started to pick up color, at which point I noticed it.

I've only been able to reproduce this with the M. Graham paints. All of the others, the pigments dissipate on their own when I dip them.

It's not a big deal at all, now that I'm aware, I just agitate the water a bit before I go full-on dunking. ;)