View Full Version : What paints do you use?

11-02-2000, 01:22 PM
Thinking about switching paint brands.
What brand(s) of watercolor paints do you use and why?
What colors are staples in your palette?

No wrong answers here; I'm just curious.



11-02-2000, 01:59 PM
I use Winsor Newton pan colors, and limit myself to as few colors as possible.

As I believe in doing more with less, I carry that over in what I make available to myself.

A warm and cool of each primary, an umber, and a darker green to use to make darks with my reds.


11-02-2000, 03:51 PM
I have all kinds of paints - mostly because they were Mothers. The Winsor & Newton are nice as are the Holbien (I like their Sap Green). I was given a set of Daniel Smith and they are super - really like their quinacrochrome colors.

11-02-2000, 06:33 PM
The majority of my paints are Winsor&Newton Cotman watercolour tubes. I was give a 'palette set' as a christmas gift about 3 years back from my husband. I then got a big brush the following year (at my request), but never got around to using them until this year, when I went out and bought more tubes of paint, mostly the Cotman but 4 tubes of Winsor & Newton Artists quality.

I now realise I have FAR TOO MANY, and that they are of lower quality. Any future purchases I will definately stick to Artists quality, and limit colours as suggested by Larry.

Ah well, we live and learn, and hopefully learn from our mistakes.

Best wishes

Karen http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif

11-02-2000, 07:20 PM
I'm using MaimeriBlue (which I love)...clean pure pigment that almost never looks muddy...if fact I have to work hard to make mud with these.

I also have WinsorNewton and Van Gogh. The VanGogh I bought as an introductory set and I like them a lot too.

I don't use any black, raw sienna or raw umbers, only a couple of rich bright greens. I tend to not use the earthy colors too much at all, prefering to mix my dark shades.

Whatever you decide, purchase artist quality. You will find that they actually last longer because of the concentration of pure pigment.

11-02-2000, 09:58 PM
Originally posted by CHClements:
I'm using MaimeriBlue (which I love)...clean pure pigment that almost never looks muddy...if fact I have to work hard to make mud with these.

Aren't these the greatest paints? I love the purity of the Maimeri colors.
I've got a real hodge-podge of paints. W-N, Van Gogh, Holbein, American Journey, Dr. Martin, Old Holland etc.
I can get by with very few colors.
One staple on my palette is Holbein Neutral.

I've heard great things about the Daniel Smith quinacrochrome colors. Next on my wish list...although I need more paint like another hole in the head! http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/wink.gif



Artworks by Gisela Towner (http://www.artistnation.com/members/paris/gisela)

11-02-2000, 10:08 PM
Most of my paints are DaVinci - but lately I have referred a lot to the book:
The Wilcox Guide to the best Watercolor Paints... a lot of un-biased test results in there which have proved out for me in terms of lightfastness and so on. I too have a basic palette.. Ultramarine blue, alizirin crimson, perm.rose, viridian and thalo green, and burnt umber... and OF Course, my favorite color.... Transparent Red Oxide. Yummy!
http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif Carol (oops, forgot,,,cad.yellows)

11-03-2000, 01:08 AM
I use only Winsor & Newton artist grade tubes and Schmincke tubes and pans. Both brands are of excellent quality, IMO.

Paints I've had poor luck with: Cotman pans and tubes, Yarka pans, Grumbacher student-grade tubes, Koi tubes. Basically, you get what you pay for...or less.

Certain colors in the "poor luck" category worked quite well, but most of them were substandard. Lots of filler, and not much pigment.

And paper? I prefer Arches cold pressed or rough. It's tops in my book. I also like Bockingford cold pressed. And surprisingly, Cotman paper is much better than Cotman paints. W&N may just buy the paper from someone else and stick their name on it. I don't know. W&N's regular watercolor paper is okay, I guess.

Ron Marshall (http://bsg-arts.com/jump.htm)

11-03-2000, 02:16 AM
I use a mixture of paints both artist quality and student,just been given a box of georgian which Im going to use for pleine air.Agree with Larry though, try and restrict your pallette to warm and cool of primary.You can mix and match a great deal in this depending on the subject matter.
Paper, Arches Not, Waterford Rough,Waterford HP and Bockingford for sketches.

11-03-2000, 04:57 AM
I use Winsor & Newton Artistís colors; in order to prevent muddy colors I eliminated every color that had more than 1 pigment; in this way mixing 3 colors means mixing just 3 pigments.
I prefer transparent colors, so my palete is:

-aureoline yellow
-resin gum yellow
-rose madder (non staining red)
-permanent rose
-french ultramarine
-cobalt blue
-manganese blue
-blue windsor green hue
-van Dick brown (the only made up by 2 pigments)

I am satisfied with these colours, some are staining and some non-staining.
If you look in the color mixing forum, there is a specific post on color paletes.

ciao, http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif rapolina.

11-04-2000, 08:44 AM
I've kinda jumped around.... but I definitely can say that those Cotman student quality are not acceptable to me.... In The Artists' Magazine, Tom Lynch advertises Holbein. ...sample kits. I bought one, and it has some really fun colors. One is Shadow Green, and it is a gorgeous blackish green and mixed with their Cherry Red, makes one of the most beautiful darks.... I really do like to paint with not just your normal colors, but different exotic ones I can pick up. It's like having something new to wear! Thanks for asking! Great question!

[This message has been edited by Jane Sibert (edited November 04, 2000).]

11-05-2000, 02:50 PM
i use windsor & newton artist's series:

new gamboge
permanent rose
antwerp blue

on occasion i use sepia and/or chinese white
and if i need a better blue, then i use ultramarine.

i find that with this very limited palette i can make ANY colour necessary, and they all compliment and harmonize with each other.


11-05-2000, 08:59 PM
I use MaimeriBlu - six primary (or split primary) color system with some others thrown in. I like to use colors with only one pigment in them. The primaries are: PR254,PY97,PY175,PB15:3,PB29, and PV19. Dennis

Mary Kay
11-06-2000, 12:21 AM
I hope it's not too late to join this discussion...i too use the Wilcox book as a guide. When it first was published I was shocked to find that many of my paints were not recommended. I was actually searching for a better viridian green, the WN pigment was drying out in the palette.

Now I use mostly DaVinci paints. They are professional strength, and are available in 37ml tubes for the same price as WN. But there are some WN that i just can't give up.
i do not use cadmiums, they are too opaque. My basic palette is: DV aureolin, Holbein's perm yel deep, WN Scarlet lake, DV perm rose & red rose deep, WN cerulean blue, DV maganese, cobalt, and ultramarine, WN light red and indian red, DV viridian. Basically a warm and cool of each primary plus green and browns.

extras sometimes include a violet or a magenta, a thalo green or prussian blue.

Most important is to know your pigments, what their capabilities and limitations are. Eventually you should be able to look at an older painting and be able to identify the colors you used. Good Luck with your new color selections!

Mary Kay


[This message has been edited by Mary Kay (edited November 05, 2000).]

Alan Cross
09-12-2002, 02:28 AM
Hi I have to put my two cents in here I have tried lots of brands and the best I have found for all around juicy good looking colours are Da Vinci Paints , one thing I really like about them is if you fill your wells up with paint they never dry out.....well I do paint every day so that might have something to do with it!
Also I only use 12 colors in all and for most paintings I only use 4 to 5 colors.

09-12-2002, 02:38 AM
I use WN pans and tubes. Also tried Van Gogh, but my overall
favorite is the German brand Schminke .

09-12-2002, 03:01 AM
Started out with mostly W&N, but also love the M. Graham brand, and just purchased a few MaimeriBlu...

Haven't discovered my basic palette yet...I'm a color nut, but the ones I replace most often are aureolin, rose madder and cobalt blue...

09-12-2002, 05:58 AM
Hi, I use W&N artists quaility tube paint squeezed into my pallette, and refreshed as required. Here's my pallette layout and the number of times out of a hundred paintings that I tend to use each colour. As you can see I hardly ever use many of the colours.

Cerulean Blue .............. 10 skies
Cobalt Blue .............. 10 skies
French Ultramarine Blue 95 everything
Prussian Blue .............. 40 foliage with various yellows
Winsor Blue .............. 5 beautiful smooth washes but indelible
Paynes Grey .............. 5
Neutral Tint .............. 1
Viridian .............. 1
Sap Green .............. 1
Alizarin Crimson.............. 40 with Burnt sienna for flesh tones
Cadmium Red .............. 1 (Chimney pots mixed with burnt sienna)
Light Red .............. 20 (Mixed with FUB for greys)
Lemon Yellow .............. 50 with various blues for foliage
Cadmium Yellow.............. 50 ditto
Raw Sienna .............. 1
Yellow Ochre .............. 100 very pale as a precursor to skies
Burnt Sienna .............. 50
Raw Umber .............. 1
Burnt Umber .............. 100 (Miixed with FUB for greys)

I really could (should) cut my pallette down to the ten most used and perhaps the six.


09-12-2002, 07:09 AM
Started with Cotman tubes, but got a few Artists grade tubes, and was so amazed by the difference, I threw the Cotmans in the bin.

09-12-2002, 07:26 AM
I started out with Cotman pans and upgraded to Schmincke. I simply adore prussian blue.
Although I want to have a wide choice of pigments available, I restrict my palette to three for each painting - I just want to have the exact three I need.

Drew Davis
09-12-2002, 10:04 AM
W&N and MaimeriBlu, tubes.

I also look for single-pigment paints, high saturation, spaced all around the color wheel. All the usual suspects -- ultramarine, phthalos, quin crimson, perylene/napthol/pyrrol red, benzi/arylide/azo yellow, diox or ultramarine purple. I indulge with quin gold/burnt/siennas occasionally. I lend more toward the transparent organics rather than more granular, opaque metals and earths.

MaimeriBlu is a pretty good value if cost is a concern. Maimeri does tend to have annoying "marketing names" ("Verzino Violet", "Tiziano Red") making you work to check the pigment on the color charts. But then, W&N isn't a whole lot better in that regard. Really, I'm not going to be put off by a chemical name. Just call it quinacridone rose or phthalo blue, already. Save the marketing names for all those specialty mixtures and hues (to make it easy for me to ignore them! :))

09-12-2002, 10:18 AM
I use only W&N artists tubes. :)

09-12-2002, 11:42 AM
I have used many in the past...and am now persuing my artwork seriously, so I went through this same procdeure myself recently. I found the colors I liked best, had the best value, and the most consistant...were M. Graham & Co. I use a pallett of about 12 colors...love the quindocrine's. the Quindocrine rose is BEAUTIFULL for skin tones. I use it with Azo yellow...it gives a beautifull warm tone.

Azo Yellow
Cadmium Yellow
Napthol red
Quindocrine rose
Quindocrine red
azalarin crimson(thinking about eliminating...)
Cerulian blue
ultramarine blue
Pthalo green
Raw sienna
Burnt sienna
Paynes grey

my 2 cents worth


Mike Scott
09-12-2002, 11:49 AM
I use Winsor & Newton, M. Graham and Daniel Smith brands, but have tried most other brands. Winsor & Newton paints are excellent and reliable. The M. Graham & Daniel Smith paints are well-priced and high quality. I use mostly single pigment paints. Though I have a box full of tubes, I generally use a secondary palette or split primary palette and the siennas & umbers(although these colors can be mixed with the secondaries palette, I like the granulation properties of the traditional landscape pigments). My paintings have improved ever since I limited my palette to less than 6-12 pigments per painting.

09-12-2002, 01:19 PM
I started out with Winsor/Newton, but am migrating my palette to Daniel Smith. I adore their juicy, high quality colors! I do have a few odds and ends from W/N and Sennelier. I love Sennelier's raw umber, one of my favorite colors. I also use their warm sepia. I like W/N's olive green and keep that in my palette.

It was a revelation to me when I realized that my palette for painting is also the color of clothes I usually wear. Not one to wear bright, bright colors, and I rarely use them painting.


Rose Queen
09-12-2002, 03:20 PM
M. Graham tube paints, hands down; made with honey, they never quite dry on the palette and come up rich and glorious with the slightest bit of water. Dioxazine purple and Quinacridone Red are especially nice. I recommend a New Gamboge for every palette, too.

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09-12-2002, 05:47 PM
i use the wilcox guide to watercolour paints because the same pigment has a different quality from manufacturer to manufacturer. so i have a mix of everything: lukas, maimeri, talens, lefranc & bourgeois, art spectrum, etc. i particularly like daniel smith's range of exotic paints. the only brand i've had problems with is schmincke. i find that their pigments separate from the gum, so that when you squeeze the tube you get a brush load of gum instead of paint (their large tubes are fine, though).

prairie painter
09-12-2002, 10:02 PM
I use a basic six-color layout, of Grumbacher academy. Mainly because that's what the local craft store carries (and by local, I mean they are only a half hour's drive away. And I don't drive much!)
But lately I've been trying to decide between Daniel Smith (a local company) and M. Graham.. When I make the switch, I want to just use a three color system, though I'm unsure how to decide which 3 will work together. :confused:

09-10-2004, 08:57 PM
I'ue just joined WC, and am just about to change my well-used pans to tubes. Also haue narrowed the search down to Daniel Smith or M.Grahams.

Anyone for any suggestions?!!!

09-10-2004, 10:48 PM
Must admit I havent tried a lot but I gone back to W&N artist quality after trying Graham, as paints that dry in the pan are just easier to maintain and keep clean. I am also swayed by the recommendations in Handprint which is an amazing source of info. http://handprint.com/HP/WCL/water.html
I use about 10 paints in all and selected my preferences by testing and messing about to find which ones gave best results in mixing (for me).
I still keep my Graham pallette though, as the colours are intense.
Brian. :cool:

Richard Saylor
09-10-2004, 10:53 PM
Da Vinci: Hansa Yellow Light, Permanent Rose, Ultramarine Blue.