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pinkbubelz
04-16-2004, 04:13 PM
I have a set of Winsor & Newton Cotman Watercolors in a little wooden box, about 25 cakes....

I started looking around an noticed that some posts have mentioned that these are "student-grade"? I had no idea! I'm pretty new to Watercolor, but bought this box about 10 yrs ago to play around with. (and they seemed expensive at that time, too.) Now, I'm trying it out and I would like to know what people think about the Cotman Cake colors?

Or do most people use the tube colors? How does the cakes compare to the tubes? and what brands do you prefer? I know that this question might have been posed before, but would like to have some additional feedback....

--Iris

pampe
04-16-2004, 04:20 PM
They are student grade...very weak color...you will frustrate yourself trying to paint with them...get yourself some ARTIST GRADE tube colors

SEARCH HERE for old threads about brands, look at http://handprint.com, or ask away!



AND WELCOME!!!!

cdrane
04-16-2004, 04:25 PM
I've recently switched from student tubes (Academy, Cotman) to artist-quality (MaimeriBlu) - the artist grade are much better quality. Hands down - if you can get them, get them, even if you can only afford a blue, red, and a yellow.

That said, I found no problem in using the student grade. And I produced work that got compliments from people I respect. Also by using synthetic brushes, etc. So, what does this mean?

It means the materials/supplies/tools you use will not make you a good painter - practice, talent and inspiration will. Better tools will help - but it might just mean that a bad painting has brighter colors. Know what I mean?

So, my $.02 is that as soon as you can get better paints, get them. But don't expect too much out of them. After all, is Tiger Woods a great golfer because of his shoes, or his golf ball? Practice, talent and inspiration.

cdrane

Helen
04-16-2004, 04:26 PM
Pampe's right... student grade may be ok for your sketchbook but you really want the good stuff. And I recommend tubes -- watercolors are best when they're nice and juicy and you can't get juicy with pans.
Helen

pinkbubelz
04-16-2004, 04:37 PM
Thanks I will probalby just work with these for the moment-- I've bought a few tubes of the cotman colors and will see how they work out.

Also, what is your opinion on water color pencils? I've been using some by Der Went (Aquatone) they seem pretty cool :-) Although I have noticed that at times they can also be a little 'gritty"

--Iris

painterbear
04-16-2004, 04:39 PM
Artist grade paints are better for sure. They have more pure pigment and go farther than student grade paints do. Student grade paints are augmented with more fillers, sometimes even chalk, which makes them less expensive.

If you can afford to buy some artist grade paints, it would be good to do so. Start off with the primaries and you can mix a lot of different colors with just them. I would also add a tube of Burnt Sienna because it is wonderful on its own or mixed.

I use tube paints, so have no experience with pan paints. I think you could use your Cotman's for en pleine aire or if you are traveling because they would be very convenient.

I also used student grade paints for a year (I had been given a gift of Reeves paints by my daughter) and turned out some pretty nice paintings, but, when I switched to artist grade paints I quickly saw what everyone was talking about. There IS a difference.

Your paper is probably as important, if not more, as what paint you use. Definitely get yourself 140 lb. paper because less than that can really be frustrating to work with.

Sylvia

FriendCarol
04-16-2004, 04:47 PM
Once I realized the Pelikan paints I'd been using for 40 years were "gouache" (opaque) instead of watercolors (the transparent stuff that everyone is referring to when they say "watercolor"), I fell back on my tiny Cotman Field Kit until I could afford tubes. It didn't work for me all that well; I got the artists' quality W/N tubes, and I'm glad I did.

But.

SOME Cotman pigments are terrific (as Handprint.com will verify). Ron Hanson, (sp?) who is a very popular watercolor painter and teacher these days, writes that he ALWAYS uses the large Cotman tubes -- he says they're fine, and that since they're inexpensive, painters won't be so stingy with color using them. He also uses a restricted palette (about 7-8 pigments, including the ones that Handprint says are fine in the Cotman line; you can do a lot with just 3 colors, so check out his work!).

I was not able to learn to do what I wanted to do with the Cotman pans, but that doesn't mean that *your* style can't be expressed fully with them. SO, if the pans aren't allowing you to try things you want to try, you might be happier with either Cotman tubes (try to find Hanson's book in the library -- he's especially famous for skies), or W/N artists' quality.

I bought my pigments on eBay; waited awhile, but got what I wanted finally, at a price I could afford. Btw, don't throw out the set you got. You may well be able to use that lovely box with your new tubes (squeezing the color into empty replacement pans or half-pans).

Bottom line is, you need the tools that are right for the style of painter YOU are or want to be. (I recommend you find a library watercolor book with paintings you really like, and see what that paints that author uses, as a good start.)

steven
04-16-2004, 04:53 PM
I simply adore Cotman pans... :clap: I recently compared them to some Daler-Rowney artist quality pans, and I'm not convinced by the later.

One thing I like particularly about the Cotmans is the ability of some pigments to produce grainy washes. Cotman's Payne's Grey is an excellent example. I like this capacity very much to give texture to washes - handy if you paint landscapes.

I experiment quite a lot wish washes wet-on-dry, some combinations of colour will precipitate if A is laid over B, but not when B is overlaid on A.
The D&R artist quality Payne's Grey I have produces neat, but in my eyes boring flat washes... :o

True you can get more intense washes, but since I find translucence one of the most important aspects of watercolour, I'm not really too pushed on obtaining high-intensity, saturating densities, so this quality of 'artist quality' paints is a bit lost on me...

Tubes tend to contain more glycerine to keep them moist, which has its own problems (dulling of washes, or flaky precipitates amongst others).

For being students quality I find Cotman pigments extremely light-stable - I've seen some artist quality pigments fade as snow in the Sun... :evil:

Experiment with your material, it's fun and you will be able to put your findings to good use in your works ;)

P.S. I happen to know more than one professional artist that regularly uses Cotman paints.

P.P.S. having made a case pro-Cotman above, it's also permitted to mix pans/tubes and pigments from different suppliers :D

Hope this helps a bit... :)

Steven

steven
04-16-2004, 05:11 PM
Once I realized the Pelikan paints I'd been using for 40 years were "gouache" (opaque) instead of watercolors (the transparent stuff that everyone is referring to when they say "watercolor"),

BTW, a friend watercolour painter here in Dublin once showed me how to use poster paints in a watercolour fashion :eek: , using high dilutions of the primaries... I did a great loose watercolour floral painting with it!

jaytee
04-16-2004, 05:35 PM
Iris...... som eof us would KILL to live in the land of cheap MGraham tubes :D

here is a WDE post I made in January....

I used ONLY the three sample tubes of MGraham paints Fagan sent me { cos she couldnt get on with them!!} for the very first time;Napthol Red, Aureolin; Ult. Blue.
I did no drawing of any kind. not even a frame
I started with the darkest shadows at the bottom
I used no masking for the white
I started by concentrating on negative shapes of light and shade only
I tried to stay loose
I tried to apply what I had been reading about wetness of paper
I painted mostly wet on dry
Brittania 300gm woodpulp Matt
Size Approx 6 x 8
Time start - finish 1 hr 35 mins

Im reasonably pleased.. especially since not yet quite over 'flu....... I acheived roughly what I set out to do........ unusual for me!!!
Attached Images

Im posting this now 'cos I lost the first post while searching for this one...........if the image aint attached I will go back and find it :D

I recommended that you do a search in Watercolour general in past 6 months using 'Tubes' and or 'Pans' as your keywords............but NOT while in thehmiddle of replying :eek: :rolleyes: :D

PS Lets try this them - she says with little confidence :)

http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=158808&highlight=Prize+Sheep

PPS mmmmm adding IMG tags by hand doesnt make the image show........... perhaps there should be a URL in there too? lets try another way

http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=158808&highlight=Prize+Sheep

or just try going HERE if that doesnt work !!! (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=158808&highlight=Prize+Sheep)

PPS well for some reason that takes you to the whole thread !!!! though I got the properties from the pic. or so I thought.............

I HAVE to get this right........ bear with mehttp://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=79428&stc=1

PPPS.........have no idea why this wont work........... try this way by going HERE (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=79428&stc=1)

AT LAST .... at least straight to the PIC!!! and in case youve lasted thus far and are wondering why all this demented and obsessive effort........... it was to show what can be possible with three tubes of good quality artist colours !!! I simply dont think I could have done that with pan Cotmans !!!

FriendCarol
04-16-2004, 05:50 PM
I simply adore Cotman pans... :clap:

One other factor: Outside of the U.S. (maybe outside of North America?), pans are very popular. Inside the U.S. (maybe Canada too?), tubes sell while pan sets don't, or at least not very well. Have no idea why this is so, but it's further support for you using your pans if you're happy with them. P.S. Noticed Steven is from Ireland, which is what reminded me of this!

I was very, very happy with my lovely Pelikan opaque colors for 40 years -- right up until I decided I wanted to take watercolor seriously... At which point I discovered I couldn't perform well the exercises in any of the books primarily because I didn't have comparable tools!

I'm going to be book-taught and WC-taught at least until I have mastered the basics. After that, I may want to use gouache or poster paints or beet juice for all I know, but I'm going to start out giving myself the best possible chance of mastering the techniques with the "normal" tools first. :D I might do things differently if I could go to classes or something, but I'm pretty much house-bound, so that's not an option. So I'm being very conventional these days. :)

artdreamer1
04-16-2004, 06:37 PM
Since I just started, I figured I'd go the cheaper route and use the Cotman. I haven't had any problems with them but I also am planning on buying some M. Graham paint (tubes) that are on sale at Art Supply Source (50% off last time I checked--can't beat that if you ask me!!). I also think the paper you use is as important or maybe even more important! Like the others said, PRACTICE, I think, is by far the most important thing.
I've only DONE five paintings total (just started a couple months ago) but I can really see a big difference between the first one and the last two (1st one REALLY stunk, second was alot better, third was the best, fourth one I totally screwed up--try, try again--and the fifth one, I really loosened up and did something I've never done before. I did "pours" and spatters of paint and came up with a sort of "dancer" who looks like she's at a party with confetti flying all around. COOL LOOKING! I might have even picked up my first commission today so PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE (helps to have a background in art I suppose). Have fun!
Michele :)

auntchristine
04-16-2004, 09:52 PM
I think you could use your Cotman's for en pleine aire or if you are traveling because they would be very convenient.

Not only that, they're really good in the pans for small paintings. It's when working larger that there's a difference I think. I have both the Cotman travel set and the W/N Artists travel set (both are pans) and I always end up using the Cotman most (outdoors, sketching). Although, I always have to also bring a tube each of Cobalt Violet and one of Cobalt Blue, the two colors I most use. Then again, I love my little W/N travel set. It's ancient, a good thirty years old, metal, bottle and pallete all in one.

laudesan
04-17-2004, 12:52 AM
From my own experience:-

I bought Cotmans and Art Spectrum Student Grade when I first started. :(

Trut me when I tell you THERE IS NO COMPARRISON between student versus Artist grade.

As you painting experience grows, you will ralise the the students grade is cheap and nasty and you have to work REAL hard to get THEM to work how you would like.

Artist Grade (I use M.Grahams) are just the bee's knee's in my books. I am no longer fighting the colour, no longer making mud, I am just really enjoying the process of learning how to paint!!!!!

I hate that students paints are full if fillers and the pigment is not very strong.. I realised as soon as I started using Artist grade, I use LESS paint with them to get an even better effect than I could ever have gotten with student grade..

:)

.

dspinks
04-17-2004, 03:04 AM
True you can get more intense washes, but since I find translucence one of the most important aspects of watercolour, I'm not really too pushed on obtaining high-intensity, saturating densities, so this quality of 'artist quality' paints is a bit lost on me...

Higher color intensity/saturation does not mean higher opacity. The range of weak-to-strong translucent washes is much greater with transparent artist quality colors than with student grade.

That said, Cotman is one of the better student grade paints, infinitely better than Pelikan and Reeves. Cotman uses more fillers than artist quality, but it tends not to be of a chalky nature. The issues I have with student grade, including Cotman, are the limited number of colors and the use of pigment mixes to produce "hues" rather than using pure single pigments. This makes for not so spectacular results when mixing colors either on the palette or in wash layers.

Debra

Yorky
04-17-2004, 05:19 AM
Don't worry about it - sounds like a nice set. When you use the colours up, buy the equivalent artist grade paint and fill up the empty pan with it.

The most important advice I can give is to make sure you buy good quality paper.

Doug

Neeman
04-17-2004, 01:36 PM
Don't worry about it - sounds like a nice set. When you use the colours up, buy the equivalent artist grade paint and fill up the empty pan with it.

The most important advice I can give is to make sure you buy good quality paper.

Doug


Yes Doug!!!

But even more important after paper.

Start painting.

and ENJOY yourself using them!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Neeman

Flattwo
04-17-2004, 01:47 PM
Hi

I love Cotman watercolour paints apart from the Ultramarine, I also love Winsor & Newton artist quality

Flattwo

steven
04-17-2004, 04:29 PM
Hi All,

Let's do a blind comparison...

One row is done Windsor & Netwon Cotman student quality pans - French Ultramarine/Alizarin Crimson Hue

The other row is done with Daler & Rowney Artist quality pan - French Ultramarine/Alizarin Crimson

Which row is which? And which one do you prefer? :)

Steven

Comparison: http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/gman/lib/41227/bluescomparison.jpg

Flattwo
04-17-2004, 05:13 PM
Hi Steven

The bottom row is Cotman colours.........yes........no?
there is more granulation on the bottom example, which could be a good thing if thats wgat you are after

Flattwo

auntchristine
04-17-2004, 05:25 PM
No fair; I'm not familiar with Daler Rowney pans. I think the top row is Cotman though because that's how strong I recall those colors to be.

steven
04-17-2004, 05:37 PM
:D Keep the answers coming - I'll break the code tomorrow around this time... :clap:

Yorky
04-17-2004, 05:44 PM
I'd guess the top row were the artists colours.

Doug

painterbear
04-17-2004, 05:50 PM
Interesting comparison, Steven, but do we know if you mixed the two samples to the same consistency? I would assume you tried for the sake of fairness to make them equal in intensity before you thinned them down for the three samples.

I would think the top ones are the WN artist grade because of the richer color and solid form vs the weaker looking color and granulation of the bottom one.

Were these both pan colors? Do the same with tubes?

Sylvia

laudesan
04-17-2004, 07:52 PM
Interesting comparison, Steven, but do we know if you mixed the two samples to the same consistency? I would assume you tried for the sake of fairness to make them equal in intensity before you thinned them down for the three samples.

I would think the top ones are the WN artist grade because of the richer color and solid form vs the weaker looking color and granulation of the bottom one.

Were these both pan colors? Do the same with tubes?

Sylvia

That is a good idea someone do the same with cotman tubes and m.graham tubes...

.

jaytee
04-17-2004, 09:55 PM
Steven. I may be wrong, but it looks to me as though you did the test strips on two quite different papers............the upper surface looks to be much rougher than the lower.............. if so, I wont be drawn to comment :D Also Id prefer to see a wider range of colours used for the comparisons ! And of Paint types .........

But in the same way we all like different artists and different paper to work on so we like different paints.......not least because of the 'feel' of using them......because we all paint in different styles and with different degrees of wetness looking to achieve different effects.

Folk like me who admire Charles Reid ( yes I do :D though more his approach and the way he uses paint- often a la prima - than his actual paintings sometimes) may well prefer different paint to other folk who prefer to work in more traditional glazes and less impressionistically. Though not neccessarily :D

ALl part of Thels . Wonderful wacky world of watercolour :D

Neeman
04-17-2004, 11:16 PM
I would vote the bottom row to be Cotman ultramarine.
It reacts the way I expect of the paint when I use it
From the way the blue granulates
and it does not stain or give an even color.

When I use Cotman Ultramarine, it looks like the bottom panel.

I bought 15 tubes of 21ml Cotman.
All their single pigments.
It represents a great palette.
and very inexpensive.
And great for splashing paint on the paper.

Some of us here are beginners.
I totally see and know the difference between artist and student paints.

And it is great to say paint like a millionaire.
But some of us are not!
The materials only help to make a good artist.

Practice and only more pratice will get me there.
And using cheaper paint and paper helps me burn through stuff to get the practice I need.

Also I live in a place where supplies are very difficult to get and expensive to buy.

Very few people even talk about brushes!!!
Why does not every body insist they but the very best kolinski brushes??

Good material helps.
But only helps.

Neeman

Mz_Sketch_Pad
04-17-2004, 11:36 PM
this question came up during my wc color class- the explanation my teacher gave (briefly) was student grades are synthethic - so each color is the same - if that makes sense.. artist grades are pure pigments which have their own unique properties..

however on pbs, there is a water color show- simply painting w/ frank clarke... he uses the cotman in the tubes, a rigger brush, and a big flat brush for washes... his paintings are gorgeous.. when he does landscapes he (gasps) draws the horizon line w/ a ruler - i was taught this was a big no-no

any way having seen up close and personal paintings done w/ artist grade and w/ student-- i personally think the difference is important but not that important...

to me its like hearing a great violinist playing on a strad. violin and hearing him play on a student violin. no matter what he plays - he'll sound good.. the better violin will enhance it... (of course the strad will sound better)

so i say keep painting w/ cotmans and try to sell your cotman paintings- i'm sure they're beautiful

Charlydog144
04-18-2004, 12:02 AM
Hey for the first 5 years you're going to throw most of your paintings away anyhow. What makes the difference? You have to use this you have to use that, experiment. I use 6 or 7 different brands including Cotman cakes and tubes. You will find as you progress, there are good and bad in all. For example, Daniel Smith burnt senniais the worst. Yarka( inexpensive) is great for out doors. I have Cotman and Van Gogh cake paint and they all have good and bad qualities. Most important is practice and if you're new? Learn to paint first. Trust me, you'll get the paint, if you're intrested. I have probably 45 or 50 brushes, 50 to 60 tubes of paint and 50 to 60 sheets of paper and just ordered 25 more. It's an addiction. Oh books, I must have 200. All on art instruction. Like I said Paint is the least of your worries. So Paint and enjoy. It really is a fun experience. Charlydog144

steven
04-18-2004, 02:22 PM
Ok, Here's the solution:

Top row - Daler & Rowney Artist pans

Bottom row -Windsor & Newton Cotman pans

Yes, jaytee - good observation the upper row is done on different paper (Langton NOT) than the lower paper (Cotman NOT), but it illustrtes the point I wanted to make. Even on rougher paper it is difficult to put texture in a wash done with Daler & Rowney Artist pans. And it's just this texture I very much like in the Cotman paints...

I might be doing this comparison with other pigments - I only have access to the W&N Cotman and Daler & Rowney Artist quality pans, so I can't include other brands.

bookworm1
04-19-2004, 06:54 PM
A lot of people may disagree but here goes. If you are a beginning watercolorist I think it is FAR MORE important to have good quality brushes and paper than paint. If you have to scrimp on something, scrimp on the paint. Cotman and Academy are fine. Later, when you gain confidence and skill, by all means upgrade to professional colors. But, if you have to make a choice, spend on the brushes and the paper -- I think they are far more important.

pampe
04-19-2004, 07:19 PM
If you are a beginning cook and you use inferior produce, your food is not as tasty...but maybe that's ok because no one will eat it for 5 years

If you are a beginning builder, you can use poor quality wood and nails and that's ok too......right?

Then again....maybe someone will try to taste the food or climb the newly built stairs and then what do you do?

PAINT like a MILLIONAIRE...use the best you can afford....otherwise

WHY BOTHER?


You can make test stips with every paint you use....(only thing it proves is how I paint on MY paper with MY brushes).....I DO...and I put them in the window with dates on the to check the lightfastness and I can tell you the cheap student grade paints FADE fast

So...maybe you plan to throw them all out for 5 years...but ask folks around here....some have been shocked and SOLD a painting in 5 months..then what? You tell the prospective buyer you used inferior paint and hope they don;t mind?

stephie20
04-19-2004, 08:27 PM
A lot of people may disagree but here goes. If you are a beginning watercolorist I think it is FAR MORE important to have good quality brushes and paper than paint. If you have to scrimp on something, scrimp on the paint. Cotman and Academy are fine. Later, when you gain confidence and skill, by all means upgrade to professional colors. But, if you have to make a choice, spend on the brushes and the paper -- I think they are far more important.

I have only recently started painting in watercolours.....I made the costly mistake of buying cotman paints...and then pans ....and have now had to replace them all......no comparison to good artist quality tubes........

If you can't afford everything at once....spend the money on the paints...then the paper, but use at least 140lb, I still use sable & synthetic mix brushes which are a lot cheaper than sable, and I produce a fair painting with them.....I have a some I wouldn't part with.....as I learn more and need different size brushes then I will buy them gradually

Riene
04-19-2004, 11:22 PM
I am only a beginning watercolorist...(is there even such a word?) At this point, I am using a mixture of Cotman pans and tubes, Cotman synthetic/sable mixture brushes, and a various brands of 140lb papers. The total invested in this was not too bad--and perfectly acceptable for an amateur like myself.

I would not buy a Bosendorfer piano until I knew I had sufficient talent or ability to warrent that expenditure. Professional grade products are wonderful, no doubt, and hopefully someday I'll be worthy of them. For now...I'll practice on what I have!

:rolleyes:

laudesan
04-19-2004, 11:57 PM
I am only a beginning watercolorist...(is there even such a word?) At this point, I am using a mixture of Cotman pans and tubes, Cotman synthetic/sable mixture brushes, and a various brands of 140lb papers. The total invested in this was not too bad--and perfectly acceptable for an amateur like myself.

I would not buy a Bosendorfer piano until I knew I had sufficient talent or ability to warrent that expenditure. Professional grade products are wonderful, no doubt, and hopefully someday I'll be worthy of them. For now...I'll practice on what I have!

:rolleyes:

There is a BIG difference in price, from the Piano and the paints..;) :rolleyes:

Echa to their own, but I can say from personal experience, I didn't really like my paintings until I started using Artist rade paints..

Riene
04-20-2004, 12:13 AM
(True--have you ever priced a Bosendorfer??? :eek: )

I had no idea that one could pay so much for a paintbrush! I was rather prepared for the price of the paper and the paint....but admit the paintbrush costs surprised me. I limited myself to a size 8, size 4, and size 0, plus a 1/2 flat. Oddly enough, my favorite is the short-handled size 5 which came with my paint set...perhaps because it is so small it seems easier to handle.

Neeman
04-20-2004, 12:15 AM
PAINT like a MILLIONAIRE...use the best you can afford....otherwise

WHY BOTHER?


I can tell you the cheap student grade paints FADE fast

So...maybe you plan to throw them all out for 5 years...but ask folks around here....some have been shocked and SOLD a painting in 5 months..then what? You tell the prospective buyer you used inferior paint and hope they don;t mind?

Pampe,

W/N Cotman are rated at AA or A, which means they are very permanent or permanent.
Does W/N lie?
And the rating are the same as Artist paints.
So let us please put aside the matter of permanence!!!

I have used tools all my life.
and I know the investment of good tools and material.

BUT.

PAINT like a MILLIONAIRE...use the best you can afford....otherwise

The question is what can you afford.
And does the difference in results matter.

If you can paint like a millionaire because you are using less expensive paper and paint then use less expensive material.

As a master carpenter, I know when to use what material.
I know what an appentice needs to buy a tool box.
And what a beginner needs is different from a master.

There can only be movement with practice.
And having less expensive material to work with, often helps practice.

All watercolor material is brand dependant.
No one color reacts the same way from brand to brand.
So you have to learn each tube of paint tube by tube.

But we are dealing with a level of expertise that is almost irelevant to a beginner.

How do you learn washes?
By taking 10 pieces of paper and doing 10 washes.
Then another 10 pieces and doing another 10.
BUT only with the best material????????

somebody just asked about skies with clouds.
It does not matter on the paint.
Pratice practice practice.

And that is a lot of material
And money.

WHY BOTHER?????
Really!!!!

That does not help a beginner.

Neeman

Yorky
04-20-2004, 03:06 AM
We shouldn't let this debate get out of hand.

The most important thing is to PAINT.

I still feel the paper is the most important thing, followed by the paint and finally the brushes.

You would never get anywhere painting with top quality paint and the finest brushes if you painted on typing paper Ugh! So get some 140lb at least watercolour paper - and try different brands some don't suit me at all (Schoellenhammer for instance). Some suppliers to sample packs.

I use mostly synthetic or sable/synthetic brushes and find them economical and up to the job. Check on the debate about the expensive W&N Series 7 sable brushes on here - very mixed views!

So above all - paint, paint paint! The quality paints and brushes will come along later when you can appreciate them.

ingegerd
04-21-2004, 08:04 AM
I would justlike to ad that some of the cotman paints aren't very lightfast. After one summer in the sun the cadmium yellow hue fades to cadmium yellow pale hue, the cadmium red pale hue looks awful and much af the alizarin crimson is gone. If you use cotman I would recomend that you change these for some other brands.

cdrane
04-21-2004, 02:52 PM
I would justlike to ad that some of the cotman paints aren't very lightfast. After one summer in the sun the cadmium yellow hue fades to cadmium yellow pale hue, the cadmium red pale hue looks awful and much af the alizarin crimson is gone. If you use cotman I would recomend that you change these for some other brands.

Alizarin Crimson isn't lightfast anyway, regardless of paint quality level.

Anyone who says you can't paint well with student quality paints has an agenda. Artist quality is better, by definition. They are to be coveted, to be saved up for if need be. But they don't make you good.

I don't pretend to be the best painter - but I like what I do most times, and know when I've painted a bad painting. I've seen lot of work (guess where) painted with artist quality paint that is really bad. And it's not bad because of bad intentions, or being a bad person - just not enough practice. Practice is a key, plus desire; the primary keys to any creative pursuit. My bad paintings are the result of poor decisions or the lack of technique - not paint quality.

I have tackled, or tried to tackle many, many creative pursuits - from school band, to electric/acoustic/slide guitar, to banjo, to graphic design, to Art/Creative Direction (across multiple sub-disciplines) - the key is NOT materials or equipment, however important. It is DESIRE and PRACTICE. I have invariably moved from inferior to superior equipment as my desire and practice pushed the equipment to their inherent limitations. I have mentored many budding creative professionals, and not once has the real problem been materials or equipment.

Get what you can afford and move up as soon as you can. But don't let lower-quality equipment/materials hinder your doing it in the first place. Anyone who categorically pooh-poohs student quality materials is missing the point. Comparing paint to housing materials and food quality is apples-to-ducks (not even oranges).

cdrane

jaytee
04-21-2004, 05:30 PM
Something I think hasnt been mentioned recently but which certainly coloured the advice I gave early on......... Iris /Pinkbublz who asked the question is not a beginner as an artist........ she is already , as far as I understand it , an accomplished acrylics painter with an exhibition coming up in May........... however she IS new to watercolours................therefore the advice I would give her would be a little different from that Id give a total beginer..........

I woudnt give a total beginer a Strad violin.................... but neither would I give them a duff instrument that not even a pro could coax a decent tone from................... Im not saying Cotmans are at that end of the scale.......... but getting what you want to get out of materials at even the simplest level is important.........wold you try wood carving with a blunt chisel? ........and I still think 3 tubes of well chosen artists quality is a better starter than 12 pans of student grade.................

and we WERE asked about PAINT not paper and brushes :D If I remeber rightly !!

cdrane
04-21-2004, 05:47 PM
...therefore the advice I would give her would be a little different from that Id give a total beginer..........

I woudnt give a total beginer a Strad violin.................... but neither would I give them a duff instrument that not even a pro could coax a decent tone from...

Exactly.

cd

pinkbubelz
04-23-2004, 01:46 PM
Wow, I don't check in for a few days and a barrage of comments fly in!!! :-)

OK... So, to set the record straight.

1) I am mostly an oil painter... Have painted on & off for probably about 15-20 years in oils. :-) and haven't really done much with the watercolors. :-) I'm trying to give them a go, to see how differently it performs (and let me tell you I get so impatient with it because I am used to being able to mix my colors ON the canvas with my oils!)

2) I have the box of Cotman Colors and truly didn't even KNOW that they were student grades until recently-- I bought it years ago and paid $50 or so for a wood box with 30 cakes of paint. (on a student's income that was a small fortune, which is why I didn't paint with them until more recently). Only recently have I gotten it out to play with it.... I wanted to see what others thought the cotmans. Being new to Watercolors, I've painted mostly small paintings.... (on the postcards-- I believe the paper is usually 140 lb. I won't paint on thinner or lighter paper because it just simple doesn't hold up...) I am getting the distinct impression that they are not terrible, but they are also not as archival or strong necessarily as the artist grade paints.

3) one of the paintings I did a LONG time ago is framed in my parent's house in a hall way-- it's been there probably about 15 years (if not more!) I don't think it faded very significantly, but since I can't remember what paints I used at the time, I have no idea how much it may have faded. I can guarantee that I didn't use any type of professional paints at the time and probably not even the Cotmans.....

4) I actually decided to pick up some tubes of the Artist Quality W/N watercolors. I chose the paints I usually use in my oil color palette:

Cadmium Red
Cadmium Yellow
Veridian
French Ultramarine

Colors I don't normally use in Oils:
Cadmium Violet
Lamp Black (I don't use black at all in my oil paints)
Yellow Ochre
Burnt Sienna
Rose Madder
Ceruleun Blue
Another kind of blue (I can't remember the name off hand)

I ended up using these (artist grade) colors for the painting I'm working on for the Round Robin. I use a very light hand in watercolors, so the colors are VERY light. :) I'm a bit worried that if I over paint the colors, they might lift too much.. :( I also mixed a tiny amount of my cotmans in with the professional paints as well, but only in such small amounts that I think the overall effect to the other paints will be negligible .... I can DEFINITELY see the difference in my pocketbook, however!

It's been very interesting in hearing what people have to say. I agree, YES quality materials can help, but they are not necessarily the end-all be-all... One of my mom's favorite paintings is a water color / tempera painting my brother did when he was about 5 years old-- the vibrancy of the primary colors and of course the spontaneity of his strokes are wonderful.... AND, it has not faded even though it's been in a room near a large door-wall window... (but not in direct sunlight)....

It only goes to show that it's not necessarily the materials that make the artist's work great...a lot has to do with the physical & mental prepartions the artist makes for him or herself. :D

Well, thanks for the input and I'm looking to hear more!

van^
07-23-2004, 01:59 PM
Hey for the first 5 years you're going to throw most of your paintings away anyhow. What makes the difference?

:eek: I have not thrown away a painting yet! I've even done 2 commisions so far. Been drawing and painting for 1 year total. Of course, I was using a different medium, but still....that sounds excessive!

Flattwo
07-23-2004, 07:31 PM
Hi Van

I like Cotman paints and have used them often to great effect, just a little bit more work required with them, Artists paints are excellent, but for intermediate painters and hobbyists Cotman are fine

I acheived this intensity of colour with them, this is one of many examples I could show you!

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/23-Jul-2004/3457-Skippy.jpg

Regards

Flattwo

van^
07-23-2004, 09:38 PM
Wow! Very dramatic coloring! :) Thanks for posting that.

Actually, I am quite happy with my Cotman's so far. I figure this...I'm a beginner and from what I can tell with playing with the Cotmans I can achieve results that I like. If hey arent the best...so be it. When I run out of these colors I am betting on being pretty confident with my watercolor work...and at that time I will get artist grade paints. Then, if they are *truly* that much better...well, so be it! I will be even more happy with my results then!

GRWelsh
07-23-2004, 09:39 PM
Very nice Australian sky!

I like the Cotman colors, too. But then again, I'm just a hobbyist, not a professional.

What colors did you use for this painting?

Mz_Sketch_Pad
07-23-2004, 10:38 PM
frank clark from simply painting (ireland)- pbs show uses cotman paints- he's a professional and he gets beautiful results and a finished painting in 30 minutes

gnu
07-24-2004, 03:14 AM
ca't remember if it's been mentioned, but on a related note, when I won a still life and sold the painting(it was Coloured Pencil), I was asked on behalf of the new owner if I had used artist quality matierials,,I was able to reply that I had(rag paper, Artist CP)..I wonder if I would have had it returned otherwise?? makes me wonder..

I have 4 tubes of artist WC, (over here that cost me well over 15 dollars a tube- literally 26 times smaller than acrylics which cost me half this), and they are TINY..I won'te be doing any WC paintings anytime soon..I'll save them for tinting my papers!! at this price, I don't see how ANYONE can use these paints..if they aren't already seriously earning from their artwork...(I understand the larger tubes are more cost effective..if you can get them easily.)..
makes me glad I major in acrylics and CP..better cost wise..
I still use high quality papers though, I do not skimp on my chosen medium...
but if WC is for you, go for quality paints if you can..otherwise it may cost you in sales..

laudesan
07-24-2004, 03:51 AM
Gee Gnu.. Have you had a look at The Art Store NZ (http://www.theartstore.co.nz/category63_1.htm) 15ml M.Grahams are only 7 to 8 dollars a tube, and they are Artist Grade Paints..

If you have a look at the other brands of wc paints on their site you will find they are not THAT expensive.... Did you buy cadmiums????

I don't know how anyone can honestly sell a painting that is not done in Artist Grade materials. They are only letting themselves down I say..;)

Flattwo
07-24-2004, 05:42 AM
Hi

GRWelsh...it was a while ago but mostly the colours I think were, Ultramirine, Alizarin Crimson, Cadmium Yellow.

Personally, If it were not for Cotman watercolours I would not be painting today, I have a soft spot for them, saying that if I really like a painting I buy it, I would not care if it was a rose painted in beetroot juice and the leaves painted with cabbage water, as long as it lasts my lifetime.

I have an original tree bark painting by Australian Aborigonal Artists, looks like they used black household paint..its a favourite of mine

Imagination, skill and dedication are what really matter in art, the tools to acheive these goals are secondary

Flattwo

Egon
07-24-2004, 10:56 AM
:- ) Oh my good - I am lost now
Sorry friends I was sleeping all the time - its raining outside - so I discovered this thread .
The W&N travel set I use for all my postcards are only COTMAN - this thread oped my eyes now -
if they are only student grade - I am so sorry - I think you have to downgrade me now - if you think only the brand makes the quality .

In Prague last year Maffet and me saw ARTISTS on the Charles Bridge using the poorest colours I have ever seen - I was speachless how they did it
This is one Cotman - most of you will know it from my "stolling around " ( only postcard ,student grade colors) - hope you dont judge to hard !!!

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/24-Jul-2004/16526-DSCN0841.JPG

laudesan
07-24-2004, 11:23 AM
It is not the talent of the artist that is in question.... :D Just the quality of the Student grade paints..

An excerpt from FAQ on Paint.. (http://www.nitaleland.com/faq/paintfaq.htm)

Q. What's the difference between artist-quality and student-grade paints?


A. As a rule, the student grade will have a considerable amount of filler or extender added to the paint, which lowers the amount of actual pigment in the color. The result is a color that is weaker in tinting strength than the same color in artist's quality. It may also make the paint more opaque or chalkier than the better quality of paint. With some student colors, the original pigment has been replaced by a synthetic substitute that may not be an accurate replication of the true color, both in appearance and handling characteristics. For example, if Cobalt Blue is made with the less costly Phthalocyanine Blue, it will be much greener and have staining properties that true Cobalt Blue doesn't have. It's easy to understand why people begin painting with student colors (and there are some good ones on the market), because of the big difference in price, but it's usually advisable to upgrade as soon as possible, if you really want to get good results from your paints. One way to tell the difference between them is in the pricing structure: student paint tubes will usually be priced the same throughout the line, while artists' colors are priced according to the cost of the pigment materials and manufacturing processes that go into making the paint.

Cheers..

MsLilypond
07-24-2004, 12:44 PM
Someone wanted to see a comparison between cotman tubes and mgraham
here's one - both are prussian blue PB 27, the top is cotman the bottom is mgraham, on the same paper. My scanners not the greatest but I think you can still see the differences.

Flattwo
07-24-2004, 01:04 PM
Thanks lilypond

Yep..the top row of Cotman paints are much cleaner and fresher than the ones below, I definately prefer the top, no competition

I have just asked a non Artist to do a blind test on their favourite of the above paints.....they chose Cotman on clarity of colour, just nicer to look at they said

Flattwo

Egon
07-24-2004, 01:36 PM
Hi folks - I dont want to pull your legs

In my case - I was in Rom and dicovered this travel set only in this quality
- living in the province - you have to take what you get - without information like yours .
now they opend a new artshop in Graz (70 miles away) "boesner "and its much easyer for me now to get things .
BTW - I will leave you for a week now - I will go to the plains of Austria ;)

WTPDOSA
07-24-2004, 02:10 PM
Mz Sketch Pad,

I too started with Frank Clarke's book Simply Painting and his SIMPLE method and Cotman colors. I am very grateful that someone could make watercolor painting so simple and fun for absolute beginners. I must admit that I still watch his shows now and then. He's a gas!

In Gordon MacKenzie's book,The Watercolorist's Essential Notebook, he has a chart on pages 14-15 which shows that some of the Cotman paints have a better quality rating (ASTM standards) than some of the "artist" quality paints. I feel that its worth taking a look at, especially if one doesn't have a lot money, like myself.

Peace,

Tom

Neeman
07-24-2004, 04:14 PM
Thanks lilypond

Yep..the top row of Cotman paints are much cleaner and fresher than the ones below, I definately prefer the top, no competition

I have just asked a non Artist to do a blind test on their favourite of the above paints.....they chose Cotman on clarity of colour, just nicer to look at they said

Flattwo

And that is a test between brand and brand, where the color is different.

Try a blind test between Prussian Blue in Artist and Cotman W/N Paints!!!
The color is so close that only someone who uses watercolor paint all the time will tell the difference.


What do you need to know about Prussian Blue?
Transparent Green Blue that mixes amazing greens and purples.
Go and practice the color and its mixing.

I have earth colors and the phtalo blues and greens in both Artist and Cotman quality.

I have done parallel painting to see what the differences are.
They are very similar.
And there is a difference.
But is it a difference that makes a difference to someone that is starting?

And the superb results that Flattwo gets in his example, could well be with the specific help of Cotman not Artist quality paints.

Cotman has 20 single pigment colors, that go by different names.
Cotman Virdian Hue is a single pigment PG7 a blue green phtalo.
And Cerulean Blue Hue is a single pigment PB15 a green blue phtalo.
The person buying needs to know that.
And then learn what that pigment does.


Cotman 21 ml at $3.75 18 cent/ml
Artist 15 ml at $8.00 54 cent/ml
Artists 5 ml at $4.25 85 cent/ml

At which price will a beginner be more ready to burn through material??
And Burn thru material=the golden word, Practice.

Neeman

Flattwo
07-24-2004, 04:46 PM
Hello

I must ask a question

I have made my own watercolour paints for years with the highest quality pigment, it is a really economical way to paint

Would these be considered "student" or "artist" quality paints?

I would like to hear your thoughts

Note* to onelself...buy more pigment!

Flattwo

Neeman
07-24-2004, 06:31 PM
Hello
I would like to hear your thoughts
Flattwo

Start a new thread and tell us how!!!!
And I promise you 5 stars on the thread!!!! :evil:

Flattwo
07-24-2004, 06:52 PM
Hi Neeman

This link will give you all the infromation you need, but first buy a good quality glass pestal and glass surface to grind the pigment on http://www.handprint.com/HP/WCL/pigmt1.html#backbone

Once you get the ingredients, its a case of follow the steps shown in the link, and trial and error, you will be successful believe me

Hope his helps, it is good fun and rewarding

Flattwo

laudesan
07-24-2004, 07:25 PM
Henry that sounds like fun, and rewarding to.. Thanks for the link!!!

Flattwo
07-24-2004, 07:51 PM
Your welcome Judy

Papierboi
07-24-2004, 09:26 PM
In my opinion, using quality materials is useful for a beginner, especially when it comes to paint and brush quality.

Yes, it's necessary to have a good eye and control over the manipulation of your paints (and the surface you're painting on), but many beginners have a lot of self-doubt, and buy cheaper stuff because they don't want to "waste" money. Unfortunately, cheaper (quality, not necessarily price) stuff produces lower-quality artwork, which can be disheartening to someone who may have loads of raw talent but thinks that they will never be as good as others. I'm sure some great hobbyists give up painting before they really get into it because they don't understand the difference between quality pigments and fibers.

However, if these students know that the more expensive paints will result in richer colors and more expensive brushes will result in better control of blending, definition and depth, and manage to produce pretty good stuff anyway, that should be a major boost to the ego.

Umm, yeah, so all that rambling means that if you have the "student grade" paints, use them, and look forward to even better results once you're able to move onto professional paints. And don't forget to pay attention to the types and qualities of brushes and papers/canvases you use.

Mz_Sketch_Pad
07-25-2004, 12:08 AM
he is indeed a gas- i love that he makes painting fun and not a chore. my favortie tip is that by drawing a "carrot" you can have a person :D
Mz Sketch Pad,

I too started with Frank Clarke's book Simply Painting and his SIMPLE method and Cotman colors. I am very grateful that someone could make watercolor painting so simple and fun for absolute beginners. I must admit that I still watch his shows now and then. He's a gas!

In Gordon MacKenzie's book,The Watercolorist's Essential Notebook, he has a chart on pages 14-15 which shows that some of the Cotman paints have a better quality rating (ASTM standards) than some of the "artist" quality paints. I feel that its worth taking a look at, especially if one doesn't have a lot money, like myself.

Peace,

Tom

Regina McMullan
07-27-2004, 12:52 PM
What a thread! Obviously it's evoked responses that arise from firmly held opinions.
I'm a beginner and not a millionaire.
Still, I think we all owe it to ourselves to try at least one or two tubes of quality paint, one fine sable brush (even if small) and one pad or block of quality paper.

You may find that you want to donate your lesser quality materials to a school and go on a spending spree, or you may just plan (as I do) to use up what you now have but to buy your replacements materials in a higher quality. Or you may be happy with your less expensive materials long term. But at least you'll be making a more informed decision without much expense.

No amount of reading the opinions of others will substitute for trying different materials yourself, but it can prompt you and direct you as to what to try.

This test would be so limited that its value shouldn't be overestimated. Even in artist quality paints I've found some colors (or maybe it was specific tubes that were defective) that I did not like at all in both WN and M.Graham. And there's a difference between each brand of the artist quality paints.

For the most part I've simply enjoyed painting with the M.Graham paints more than the other paints I've used, student and artists grade. It's not that the same results couldn't be achieved with other paints, but it's been easier to achieve the results I wanted with the M.Graham.

I started painting in a class that used only 300 lb. paper so I started out spoiled with good paper. I've since bought sampler packs and think that I'll use different brands and finishes depending upon the particular painting and techniques I plan to use. Some seem more satisfying for washes and I prefer others for drybrush. I'll be experimenting with these for awhile.

The brushes are going to be more of an investment. I have a couple of sables and a few synthetics that I just find myself drawn to using. I still don't know how they'll hold up over time. I know that I really don't need but a limited selection and when I've narrowed down what I need I'll slowly start acquiring them in sable.

If you enjoy painting, then you'll paint.

coolside
09-10-2013, 03:52 PM
I think this thread needs to be looked at again due to the recent hike in w&n watercolor prices. Some of the cotman paints can substitute for the artists' grade.. Cotman pthalo colors are easier to handle than the WN artists' grade paints. They lasted as well as the artists grade pthalos in my lightfastness tests.
At the same time, Cotman "cerulean" is horrible, a mixture of pthalo and white, nothing like cerulean in any way, should be skipped entirely.

J.W.
09-11-2013, 03:36 PM
I had a palette of Cotman tube colors when I started painting seriously twenty five years ago, and I can say without reservation that I would not wish student grade watercolor paint on my greatest enemy. Once I tried professional grade paint, I couldn't get rid of the little nasty tubes fast enough. (I have no experience with the pan colors, so I won't comment on them.)

Once I switched over to pro grade paint, everything got better. I was using less paint, which made for cleaner and brighter washes. Paint without fillers or extenders is more versatile when mixing or glazing colors, as there's no junk working to dingy up the mix. And I don't remember the Cotman color rewetting very well on the palette, which meant a lot of discarded paint. How is that economical? Besides, if you learn to paint with student paint, then switch over to pro, you're going to need to readjust and relearn to compensate for the radically different paint recipes. And that readjustment will be compounded if you're also switching paper and brushes. Why not just start out with quality materials and avoid that burden?

I think the reason student grade costs less is that they don't bother to filter out anger and frustration before packaging.

Disclaimer - I realize your experience may differ. I'm not trying to stir the pot. I don't have all the answers, I just pretend I do.

JPQ
09-11-2013, 05:41 PM
Hello

I must ask a question

I have made my own watercolour paints for years with the highest quality pigment, it is a really economical way to paint

Would these be considered "student" or "artist" quality paints?

I would like to hear your thoughts

Note* to onelself...buy more pigment!

Flattwo

They are artist quality to me if you used not much filler and you used much pricey pigments.:)

JPQ
09-11-2013, 05:54 PM
I think this thread needs to be looked at again due to the recent hike in w&n watercolor prices. Some of the cotman paints can substitute for the artists' grade.. Cotman pthalo colors are easier to handle than the WN artists' grade paints. They lasted as well as the artists grade pthalos in my lightfastness tests.
At the same time, Cotman "cerulean" is horrible, a mixture of pthalo and white, nothing like cerulean in any way, should be skipped entirely.

Some cerulean mixes dont look same but hue is still useful like Talens Van Gogh version which i like actually and i talk time when is made with zinc white now is done with titanium white i think. its suitable some special uses but using it painter learns wrong hue to cerulean blue..
ps. and zinc white sometimes reduces lightfastness what i readed. and phtalos should be one pigments which should be lightfast almost any amount water or similar stuff added.

Susaleena
09-12-2013, 12:51 AM
I actually had the same set before and was completely frustrated at how much of tubes I used up to achieve bold washes. I suggest switching to artist grade paints, you save more money by using less of the paint for more intense pigments :) My absolute fav brands are M. Graham and Sennelier watercolors because the honey in them allows me to re-wet my palette consistently even without use for 3 months!

kleesin
10-04-2013, 10:18 PM
I think this thread needs to be looked at again due to the recent hike in w&n watercolor prices. Some of the cotman paints can substitute for the artists' grade.. Cotman pthalo colors are easier to handle than the WN artists' grade paints. They lasted as well as the artists grade pthalos in my lightfastness tests.

So, I have a question about this.

If you were looking at the painting I completed of the frog, would you think W&N Cotman or Artist quality?

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/04-Oct-2013/98927-first_place_with_cotman.jpg
W&N Cotman is the correct answer.

I took a university course in 2006 and we were told to use W&N Cotman, and the professor had us using Strathmore 140lb blocks to paint on. Fine and dandy. I hadn't painted anything much between 2007 and this January 2013. Began taking a class in the community, and our instructor told us to use Cotman. Great! I still have all my paints, paper, etc. The instructor was not quite my style though, so I've started taking a class with a different instructor. She believes that W&N Artist colours are the only way to go and that I need to ditch my student colours pronto, and her students are all very vocal about it. But time and time again they are shocked by the vibrancy I am achieving with the Cotman paints.

They are paying so much money for their Artist brand paints, and I just bought 21ml tubes of Cotman paint from Curry's in Toronto for 4.95$ (Canadian) a tube. I LOVE W&N Cotman paint. I know how to mix it, I can get the colour intensity that I desire, etc.

The other students in my class are so stingy with their paints, and tend to go very light with their colours. I usually lay everything on heavy when I need to, and can get the vibrancy that I want with the Cotman brand.

So. The question is. Because I'm heavy with my paints, and because I'm already familiar and in love with my Cotman paints, do I really need to make the switch? I have almost every colour in the Cotman line, but I prefer to use: Ultramarine Blue, Cobalt Blue, Prussian Blue, Permanent Rose, Cadmium Deep Red, Cadmium Yellow, Lemon Yellow, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna, Payne's Grey, Veridian.

Additionally, can anyone tell me what the difference between Cotman's Rose Madder and Alizarin Crimson is? I don't have the tubes in front of me as I am not at home, but they both have the same pigment. I remember my prof in uni HATED Alizarin Crimson, but my art instructor from the winter was in love with it and hated Cadmium Red.

I HAVE switched to better brushes and better paper, but I'm still in love with my Cotman :) From watching the other students in my class, I'm really not convinced that I should make the switch (despite my instructor telling me I'd be ordering them after the first class).

I feel like they are still the right paint for me, but perhaps I not? I guess there is the seed of doubt that has been planted...

Thanks :)
Krista Lee

hblenkle
10-04-2013, 11:31 PM
It sounds like the Cotman line is working good for you. The only way to tell if you would find the artist quality paint worth the cost is for you to order a few tubes and try them yourself. Due to how artists paint and personal preferences there is a wide range of opinion on what is the best artists paint. I am quite satisfied with Dick Blick brand, Daniel Smith, and Cheap Joes American Journey paint. I think they are cheaper than WN artists grade paint. There are several other brands that are really good and priced about the same. If money is tight, it may be best to stay with Cotman.

arvind_negi
10-05-2013, 01:13 AM
Why are you people so obsessed with artist colors. Its artist who make an artwork great masterpiece not colors. You know what colors Turner used. His watercolors are lesser in quality than student water colors available today. Just check this link...

http://milindmulick.blogspot.in/search?updated-max=2009-08-11T09:09:00-07:00&max-results=20

Now you would like to ask what colors Milind Mulik is using?? Many a times he is using Camlin watercolors and a set of 24 tubes of this is cheaper than 1 tube of Cotman watercolors.

Its all about technique of mixing colors. You can get worst results with extremely expensive watercolors. Colors are just a tool not art itself.

Hoplite
10-05-2013, 01:19 AM
I've used them and can tell the difference when using them vs. an artist's quality paint. I hauled some out just now to test that and I'd say they didn't handle as well, nor were they as bright and strong as my artist's quality paints (M Graham, Daniel Smith, W&N). On the other hand, they are not bad considering their price (though there's something of a false economy since you need to use more of them than an artist's quality to get the same density of paint). My advice would be to try a couple of tubes of artist quality paint and see if it makes a difference to you.

Hoplite
10-05-2013, 01:40 AM
Why are you people so obsessed with artist colors. Its artist who make an artwork great masterpiece not colors. You know what colors Turner used. His watercolors are lesser in quality than student water colors available today. Just check this link...

As I sit here watching the Formula 1 qualifying for the Korean Grand Prix, it's kind of like saying that it's the driver, and not the car. Well, I assure you, I'd rather be in a Ferrari than a Marussia. Similarly, I may be the exact same artist using W&N Cotman colors as I am using M Graham Artist's colors, but if the paint is more consistent, handles better, is inherently brighter and stronger, it's a better tool for the job. The question is not that Turner could get great mileage out of his Nash Rambler, but could he could accomplish even more if he had a modern Ferrari? Can Ansel Adams take a great photo with a Brownie camera? Yes! But can he take a better one with a 4x5? A paint that is inherently duller is...inherently duller!

arvind_negi
10-05-2013, 01:41 AM
I've used them and can tell the difference when using them vs. an artist's quality paint. I hauled some out just now to test that and I'd say they didn't handle as well, nor were they as bright and strong as my artist's quality paints (M Graham, Daniel Smith, W&N). On the other hand, they are not bad considering their price (though there's something of a false economy since you need to use more of them than an artist's quality to get the same density of paint). My advice would be to try a couple of tubes of artist quality paint and see if it makes a difference to you.


False economy???

1$=62 Indian Rupees

So one tube of W&N tube will cost me in India Around 1000 INR In which is very expensive. So in that case I can not even think of painting.

arvind_negi
10-05-2013, 01:56 AM
As I sit here watching the Formula 1 qualifying for the Korean Grand Prix, it's kind of like saying that it's the driver, and not the car. Well, I assure you, I'd rather be in a Ferrari than a Marussia. Similarly, I may be the exact same artist using W&N Cotman colors as I am using M Graham Artist's colors, but if the paint is more consistent, handles better, is inherently brighter and stronger, it's a better tool for the job. The question is not that Turner could get great mileage out of his Nash Rambler, but could he could accomplish even more if he had a modern Ferrari? Can Ansel Adams take a great photo with a Brownie camera? Yes! But can he take a better one with a 4x5? A paint that is inherently duller is...inherently duller!
I am not denying that fact you can do better with better materials. But only material is everything I am talking about that. There are many artists who knowingly used cheap inexpensive material because they wanted to.

And yes to become a good formula one driver you have to learn to drive Go Cart first.

Hoplite
10-05-2013, 02:02 AM
False economy???

1$=62 Indian Rupees

So one tube of W&N tube will cost me in India Around 1000 INR In which is very expensive. So in that case I can not even think of painting.

One, I said something of a false economy. You need to use more paint to achieve the same effect, thus the saving aren't directly comparable between cost vs. quantity.

As to W&N costing $16 dollars a tube in India - it isn't all that different in the US (depends on the series and whether you get it at discount store). Unless you are talking about W&N Cotman colors - in which case you guys need to throw out those Imperialists yet again! ;-)

Now, that may be less of a ding to an American's wallet than to an Indian's, but that's confusing income with quality either way. If your budget only allows for a certain price range, the best you can do is the best you can with what you can afford. I'll tell anyone if all they can afford is Cotman, they'll still be able to learn watercolor with it and get reasonable results. They'd just probably get better results with Artist quality paint. Now, whether the results are worth the price are entirely subjective.

kleesin
10-05-2013, 08:01 AM
W&N Cotman are one of the best "student" paint brands out there though, right? That's what I've always been led to believe...

arvind_negi
10-05-2013, 12:45 PM
W&N Cotman are one of the best "student" paint brands out there though, right? That's what I've always been led to believe...
Well said.

JPQ
10-05-2013, 08:53 PM
Well said.

I think same Schmincke range,Talens Van Gogh are still better maybe if i must use student paints i try get Schmincke ones (currently only 12 colour full pans available here where i live directly,and its price so high i very likely get 3-4 paints of artist quality with same price which sounds better for me if hues are correct maybe then if i talk me is yellow,two reds,and ultramarine blue). very likely brand x what i dont know what i buyed years ago (and based price,and coloured is student stuff) is very ugly takes long time make strong colour with it... i actually based colour charts i think is very likely old aquafine range form Daler Rowney.

Neeman
10-06-2013, 12:20 AM
I had a palette of Cotman tube colors when I started painting seriously twenty five years ago,

Disclaimer - I realize your experience may differ. I'm not trying to stir the pot. I don't have all the answers, I just pretend I do.

The Cotman of 25 years ago are not the same as now
Completely different pigmants and formulations so you cannot compare
Cotman now has 19 single pigment colors, so you get a purity of mixing
And so excellent earths

They are not the Artist brand, but they are very good
And you can get then in 21ml tubes
Very inexpensive............

coolside
10-06-2013, 04:57 PM
So, I have a question about this. If you were looking at the painting I completed of the frog, would you think W&N Cotman or Artist quality? <snip>
Krista Lee I agree that lots of the Cotman line is just fine! However, student grade paints are made differently and are not a 1 for 1 replacement for the artists' grade. Student grade paints may handle very differently. Also in my tests the student grade magentas and reds tend to fade or change color. But the blues and greens were lightfast. Student paints are for student work - cheap enough to experiment with, that's the idea. If you are using student paints for something you want to keep, or even more important, to sell to someone... test the paints you are using. You don't want your supporters saying "oh I bought a painting from her a few years ago but it is all faded away now."

Nice frog, BTW!

mirizar
11-11-2013, 10:51 PM
I prefer Van Gogh over Cotman any day.

JPQ
11-12-2013, 02:54 AM
Thanks I will probalby just work with these for the moment-- I've bought a few tubes of the cotman colors and will see how they work out.

Also, what is your opinion on water color pencils? I've been using some by Der Went (Aquatone) they seem pretty cool :-) Although I have noticed that at times they can also be a little 'gritty"

--Iris

watercolour pencils i recommend these (they work most watercolour way)
Caran D'ache Museum Aquarelle
and
Faber-Castell Albrecht Dürer
i know first one is very new and very pricey and maybe some hues little gritty. and i like also Caran d'ache Supracolor ii more opaque than another Caran d'ache line more colours but you dont need much colours when brand is suitable for mixing good way like first stuff what i list.
And few facts about tube vs pan. in America i understanded many users prefer tubes,and Finland where i live very likely we prefer pans they are more easily available. i dont know such thing for one places. and to me good pan is suitable often sometimes still want tubes for colours what i need big areas like sky,and some abstract works i want some super brights...

JPQ
11-12-2013, 03:03 AM
Derwent has some nice hues but almost all have totally useless lightfastness even manufacturer tests. and first two brands what i list works most paint way first one even more but very likely they are superpricey in India i say India becouse i think who asked it is form India. But even current one (dark blue core) Derwent Watercolour aquarelle pencil is fine (i really hate old ones) if lightfastness is not needed. and i think current Cotmans are fine when i compare time what my set is (what i given away) when warm yellow, warm red and warm green (mixture what i like),violet/purple is fugitive hues same. only hue what really miss is this violet/purple but i care lightfastness.
i think current best student brands are really amazing.

Cotman
11-12-2013, 04:38 PM
The Cotman of 25 years ago is not the same as now

No. No I'm not. Thanks for pointing that out. :(

On another note - A locally semi-famous, WC/Acrylic/Oils landscape artist with a precocious skill set, loudly proclaims that all he ever paints with are the cheapest pigments he can get his hands on. These all come from the $2 shop.

The results are extraordinary to say the least. You can't pick the difference. Longevity may be an issue, but in the right hands - magic happens.

parfait amour
11-13-2013, 03:42 AM
Reading Edgar Whitney, he uses student paints.

Sometimes I'll dig out my Cotman set, don't notice much difference to the artists ranges on the whole.

Cotman
11-13-2013, 02:38 PM
Just finished reading Edgar Whitney too.

Bossy as a very bossy thing, real old school, but he surely knows his onions.

Don't like his work, too much machine gun machismo, but it has been an eye opening read and I value the book greatly.

parfait amour
11-14-2013, 03:30 PM
I don't think he'd get away with his un PC treatment of women nowadays ! :lol:

I'm enjoying reading his methods, not so easy to apply them though.

indraneel
11-15-2013, 06:48 AM
False economy???

1$=62 Indian Rupees

So one tube of W&N tube will cost me in India Around 1000 INR In which is very expensive. So in that case I can not even think of painting.

What's all this talk of student vs artist paints that come in a tube, stamped with a logo!!?? :eek: :angel: shudder... :clear: shudder !

http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1328360

briantmeyer
12-04-2013, 01:45 AM
I have been reading, reviewing and studying this subject, both on this forum and on other areas. To me it's about cost, yet it's also research to select the particular pigments, then finding a tube which contains that which works. At this point I am looking at Winsor Newton, Daniel Smith, and M Graham, and avoiding the other brands as they seem like lesser quality. However the student line by Winsor Newton, for some particular colors, seems like it is of very high caliber and that it should be included with the 3 brands above. Since I am mainly focusing on Winsor Newton paints, there is some synergy as well.

The repeated phrase "paint like a millionaire" reminds me of something I learned in marketing class. When you have products which are by definition exactly the same like salt or sugar, the folks who buy the cheaper generic are the more affluent, while the ones who spend a premium on a name brand are the ones who can least afford it.

Thinking like a millionaire tends to mean you tend to think like a cheapskate, and have to have real evidence that spending more is better. That being said buy a small tube of both brands, or review comparisons, and we have a few artists who seem to be successfully using both together. Then be willing to verify what those others are saying. I see arguments that artist grade is just better, but then the opposing arguments are equally valid, and possibly as much individual preference. Yet the variations in any single line of paint, all of which have fugitive pigments is considerable. A good pigment used in the worst line of paint is going to be better than a fugitive pigment in an artist grade line of paint.

My biggest conclusion is that the "artist" grade branding is mostly hype. Obviously the paints are cheaper, which means they won't have as much invested, but at the same time, I notice name brand "artists" checking the color of their yellow to make sure it's not a mislabeled mix. To me trusting a brand means trust it's 100% guaranteed whats in the label is in the tube, that they do light fastness testing, etc. which means I don't have to concern myself with such matters, yet I am learning that we have to take control of that and do our own testing. To me that shows a complete failure on the part of the manufacturers.

I do totally get that cotman is different, but then some brands use honey which is even more different. To me the filler, dextrin, honey, etc, it just does not matter, it's my job to learn how much pigment to use, how far to thin it to get rich color, and learn how the different tubes react, and check for light fastness. The grainy vs smooth evident in cotman vs brand x, is just as apparent between artist brands when I read the descriptions on handprint.com. I am already eying 3 different brands of artist line based on various comments and descriptions, each of which has noticeable variations in color, pigment formulation, granulation. I have ruled out other brands entirely, yet still see cotman as offering a fair value.

At the end of the day I am buying pigments, either pure pigments or convenience mixes. Cotman colors which mix chinese white for example are labeled, and should be avoided ( like the current cobalt hue ), but the now discontinued cobalt is pure pigment just like the artist line. I am sure they do adjust the ratios somewhat, but when they make a given artist pigment, and the cotman is the same pigment, I can't imagine they don't lower their costs by doing a larger batch of pigment and making both brands at once. ( Economies of scale will give them a higher profit, and they can have 2 different price points because of how it's packaged )

That being said, each tube, each color as numbered ( and comparing the listed ingredients ) will need to be reviewed individually. If I need a pigment, and the cotman brand is good enough, actually has the same pigment, and it is just as lightfast ( and this can be verified ), and the end result can be made to give a pleasing result, and we critically compare each "color" they are selling us to the "artist" grade.

This is of course more complicated, and means you have to mix artist and student grade, perhaps even comparing multiple brands to get the exact properties you prefer. ( and there is less information on the cotman ) Once you are using both, perhaps using the same pigment in each brand - perhaps you want a more toned down brown, or a richer brown, more or less granulation, perhaps the feel of honey or not, pretty sure experience will sort out which you should be using to match your preference.

If I could determine the pigments in my reeves set, do lightfast testing, and know they work, except for a few colors I feel I have been doing some nice pieces with them. The only reason I am looking at pigments is that I don't have a way to know what the ingredients are, and am pretty sure it's full of extra pigments and fugitive pigments. Otherwise I'd just wait until I run out of a particular tube before I upgrade if it's the good pigment. ( and yes they tend to dry a bit chalky like black does )

At the end of the day, a millionaire is the one who understands what he is paying for, is willing to pay more, but equally willing to buy the generic and cheap if it means saving a few dollars and gets the job done.

virgil carter
12-04-2013, 08:32 AM
B, your comments seem a bit circular to me, and I'm having difficulty understanding what's truly important to you (which is the only important thing, isn't it?).

Paints are so personal, that whatever works for you is what works.

In my experience in the U.S. market, Winsor Newton paints tend to be the most expensive paints on the market. FWIW. One can't really go wrong with the artist grade paints of any recognized global manufacturer. It's all personal choice.

At the end of the day, it may be more important to paint than to not paint.

Sling paint,
Virgil

Harold Roth
12-04-2013, 09:39 AM
briantmyer, I understand what you are saying about having the confidence to buy cheap if it's just as good as a brand name. I personally haven't tried the Cotmans just because I'm not familiar with them and started off using WN Artist paints and colored pencils back in the 70s. Habit. I did try some other brands after reading Wilcox's book on color, although it is outdated, and handprint, and I treasure some of the stuff that turned up, like Old Holland's Golden Barok Red. At the same time I bought a bunch of DS stuff, swayed by their purty swatches and ingenious patter. Some of their colors are great, some are duds (same goes for WN), but I found I just like the WN better. I like the homogeneousness and transparency of the WN. Some people might find those very qualities boring, but for me transparency is what watercolor is all about, so that suits me. DS is a different critter is all. I have been meaning to try M. Graham, because they are way cheaper than WN Artist, but right now I have tons of paint. I will try them next, though, and when I get into oil painting, I will go with M. Graham on account of the low toxicity and smell. I already have a whole wishlist dedicated to that..

Re cost, if you keep your eyes peeled, you can often find WN on sale for half off. I have not price compared them, but wouldn't half off on the Artist paints put them in line with the Cotmans in terms of price? The one thing that I would think of in terms of even if they have the same pigment amount is the binder. I know from selling gum arabic that it is graded by color, and the darker color is cheaper. I noticed that DS sells gum arabic in fact in two colors and the lighter is more and the dark is substantially darker. Also there is the handprint thing where he washed the binder out of DS tube of paint and it was quite dark. Even if the only difference between an artist and student line of paint was the color of the gum arabic, that might be enough to make the artist worthwhile. There's really no way to know without trying them, though.

I did have the confidence recently to buy some Kolinsky sable brushes from Rosemary instead of WN. They are about 1/3 the price. Waiting for them to arrive. I have their miniature set for painting botanicals and they are quite nice but I have nothing to compare them to.

briantmeyer
12-04-2013, 11:49 AM
It really depends, the cheapest is at blick right now, which always has a 50% off list sale on both. Looking at 2.30 and 5-7 comparatively ( usually 7+ ), and only getting either when it's at 50% off locally. Also there are deals on free shipping and a further discount when you get $100 worth, but that is a lot of money. ( If I had that I'd get a big roll of arches paper instead, right now I am living sheet to sheet )

However at the blick store cotman is 3.50 and the tubes I am looking at ( which are series 2 or 3 usually are full size WN, at $12-20 per tube. ) It is actually cheaper to use a 50% off one item coupon and get a small tube of WN at Michaels, if the tube is actually there ( really bad selection, but since it's outdated it's like going into a time machine ). Since this is one tube at a time, it makes sense to get the WN. My first purchase is Quin Magenta for $7. My first primaries ( benz yellow, ultramarine blue ) are all going to be artist grade WN.

However the pthalo green and blue come as cotman intense blue and intense green - which are key pigments, and see a lot of positive comments, and if I can get those at 50% off, I can get 2 more tubes for $5 which is not enough to get me any WN I need. Note that I want the pigments for seeing how they mix (or to follow along a lesson here), but at the same time I tend to not use too much pthalo either, and when I do it tends to be for greenery. There are only 10 colors which are even being considered like this. The ultramarine for example is also a pure pigment, but in contrast most here have very negative comments on it, and it's something for which I want to have good washes. This is a trip where I spent $12 and having $13 in my pocket. ( the WN benz yellow was $15 with a 40% off, and WN ultramarine blue was not available, so those are going to next paycheck, probably at a better store, the choice here is between one tube of WN and one tube of WN and 2 tubes of cotman ).

I am mixing the two brands in an effort to save money, and balance what I am spending with a desire to get rid of my reeves faster, and be able to paint using actual known pigments. A year from now, and buying a tube of the good stuff twice a month, that's 24 tubes and more than enough to have an artist grade for every color I use. I see an advantage in getting, when they are also on sale, a tube of cotman if it's color is something I'd prefer having sooner, and perhaps a sheet of arches paper on my trip.

I am also looking at getting Daniel Smith earthtones, but want to get the same colors via cotman now, and via quinacridone replacements eventually. But then the Quin colors are a lot brighter. ( I am reading that you should get all the earths in a single brand because they are designed to mix together )

At the end of this, I also will have direct experience with both, probably all brands. If I prefer one over the other, I will then be able to make my own decision, but I need to actually do a lot of painting before I know which I really prefer. The goal here is to use up tubes, but also to think in terms of pigments and learn how those pigments work.

The paper I am getting is using similar logic, I have arches 90lb ($4 a full sheet), and just used up my 140lb ($6-9) sheet of the same, but I also have a 9x12 pad of strathmore ( 15 sheets @ $7) which I am using. By mixing higher quality and lesser quality, I am able to paint more, learn even more ( probably more because I am learning exactly what difference it is to have arches when I do too many glazes on the strathmore. ) and get more materials to burn thru as I figure out what I am doing. I might end up using cotman on strathmore, and artist quality on arches, or use the cheaper when I go out into the field.

This is not a blanket endorsement of cotman either. If you are not sure about a particular color, you are just better off getting artist grade. However, if you work back starting with a pigment, and the cotman color is lightfast, the same to the WN line on ingredients, and if price is an issue, I can't see it not being a valid option. I think that if you do this, you should eventually make sure to get a tube of both "cotman" and "artists" for some of your pigments, or as you can afford, upgrade these to artists grade, soas to ensure you totally understand the differences.

alansam
12-04-2013, 02:37 PM
if winsor and newton artists brands were priced cheaper by the maker would they sell as well ,..when I was working if we gave a low priced estimate for a job,,it was judged as going to be worse by the customer ,"cant be any good for that price ". so they must keep the price high to make us think they are better quality, I am not sure of out these days

virgil carter
12-04-2013, 03:03 PM
My understanding is that one of the significant differences between artist grade and student grade paints is the greater pigment load (and lesser fillers) in artist grade paints. This affects saturation when paint is applied to paper. Because of the greater pigment load, some folks say that artist grade paints last longer than student grade paints because it takes less to achieve a desired effect. I'm not sure if that's true or not, but I find that artist grade paints do have substantial saturation (assuming one likes to paint with saturation).

As far as "quality", I have found no difference in quality between Winsor Newton, Holbein, D. Smith, Da Vinci and American Journey. There is, however, a substantial difference in price.

Of course, the various manufacturers may use different pigments for the same "named" paint, but that's another story completely and is why every painter has their own individual preferences for their most preferable colors. Even paints composed of the same pigment(s) may visually appear different due to the manufacturing process and the variation in application by a painter.

As one is learning to paint, whatever is affordable is better than not painting at all. Given a choice between not painting at all and painting with economical, affordable materials one would always choose to paint!

At some point in time, however, if one is a dedicated and serious painter desiring to advance one's work, one gravitates to or deliberately chooses artist grade materials--paint, paper, brushes, etc.--simply because they allow one to perform at the highest possible levels, given one's personal knowledge and skill. Paper may be the most consequential decision. For example, painting on 90-pound cellulose pulp paper doesn't compare to painting on 140-pound or 300-pound all cotton fiber paper. The effects and results on the student grade and artist grade papers are simply not the same.

Brushes may be the least consequential decision, since one can apply paint to paper in various ways with or without brushes!

At the end of the day, it's all personal. The best choices in materials are those that allow and support one to paint the way one desires! And no two of us paint the same way.

Sling paint,
Virgil

indraneel
12-04-2013, 09:46 PM
As far as "quality", I have found no difference in quality between Winsor Newton, Holbein, D. Smith, Da Vinci and American Journey.

Brushes may be the least consequential decision, since one can apply paint to paper in various ways with or without brushes!

That should put my paints firmly in the "Masters" category. I have some AJ tubes to compare and mine are clearly better (at least for me). I always thought WN would be better than AJ, being the commonly accepted gold standard. Unfortunately WN is too expensive for me. If one can be a bit careful, I would wholeheartedly recommend dabbling in pigment powders. However, tubes are good for travelling.

Brushes become very important with bad grades of paint and paper, I've found. But with good paint and paper (especially paint), brushes don't matter so much anymore. I guess, good paint has good flow properties, and one does not need to fight the flow with a brush anymore.

Antiqueteacher
12-06-2013, 01:43 PM
I would think that after the discussion about Student Paints/Artist Paints, it might help to read this colorfast test results with these Artist Paints. HERE (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=540692&pp=40)

My early experience with Cotman was as some have discussed ^^^. I was attending a workshop and the teacher was only using AP's and I was using Cotman's. My DH came into the room and observed my paint's quality next to hers and was amazed at the difference. . .he had an untrained eye, but could see the fillers were not allowing the pure colors to radiate the way hers were, so I never looked back. :rolleyes: But, the most impressive example happened this year. A friend and I started taking lessons together a few years ago and she always wanted one of the early paintings that I had done, but I had misplaced it until this year. I found it in a folder far, far away from any light. I had a photographed picture of that painting after I had painted it and when we put them side by side. . .ohhhhh, the original was so faded that it really gave me pause. I had used student paper and student paints.

So, if you want to keep the paintings you paint for a long time, please think about these tests. . .do your own testing, too. She gives instructions on how to do it.

Have fun!! Katherine :music: :music:

briantmeyer
12-06-2013, 02:14 PM
Are you talking about all cotman colors, or ones specifically chosen by pigment to be comparable and lightfast like the artist grade line?

Aderynglas
12-06-2013, 03:41 PM
When comparing student paints with artist grade paints, I think it's good to remember that the good quality student paints of today are far better than they were even 15 years ago. Since Handprint did his studies, most manufacturers have improved their ranges and there is a huge difference to the older paints.

I suppose what I'm saying is that whilst Artist grade paints are to be aspired to, it's more important to have paints to paint with, and the top brands make student grade paints that would have impressed many of the artists of the past.

I have found that the paper makes a huge difference. I've spent a lot of time trying papers and paints and found that really good quality paper will allow even student paints to look good :wink2:

However, if using Artist watercolours is important to you, and your budget is very limited, buying just the three primaries at reduced or 'sale' prices should get you enough to keep painting.

Regarding the pigments in Cotman watercolours, here's a link to their website and colour charts, just click on the colour for info on the pigments

Cotman Colour Chart (http://www.winsornewton.com/products/water-colours/cotman-water-colour/colour-chart/)

W&N Artists Watercolour Chart (http://www.winsornewton.com/products/water-colours/artists-water-colour/colour-chart/)

virgil carter
12-06-2013, 06:43 PM
Good comments above, particularly about the importance of painting vs. not painting.

I'm one of those who think the single most important ingredient in learning to paint watercolors and in building one's watercolor knowledge and skill is...wait for it...artist grade paper, preferable cold press for early painters.

When it comes to paints, I know that there are lots of painters and teachers who advocate learning to paint with a very limited palette, say three primary paints. While there are many positive aspects to this approach, one cannot ignore the fact that the traditional three primaries are so distant from one another on the color wheel that it is inherent that mixtures will be neutralized and grayed.

Why? It's all about the gamut of one's palette. When the gamut consists of paints widely separated on the color wheel all mixtures will be grayed and neutralized. On the other hand, when paints are closely located to one another on the color wheel, the mixtures will be much more saturated and intense.

This is why a 6-color secondary color or 12-color tertiary color palette will always yield much greater saturation in mixes than any 3-color palette.

This limitation of the "traditional" 3-color palette is why Renaissance painters believed that there were 4 "primary" colors (red, yellow, blue and green)--four colors were more closely spaced together and gave mixtures with higher intensity than three colors.

The distance between colors is the bane of triad color schemes.

On the other hand, if one wants neutralized mixtures and saturation is not a concern, then limited palettes work beautifully. It's all about personal choice, which hopefully is based on knowledge, rather than simply following another's example.

Just some thoughts.

Sling paint,
Virgil

CharM
12-07-2013, 11:29 PM
Virgil, it's not necessarily true that triad mixes will be neutralized and grey despite the wide gamut range. For example, this painting was done with phthalo blue, quinacridone magenta and azo yellow.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/07-Dec-2013/20514-Grapelicious21.jpg

It is very difficult to mix certain vibrant colours, such as orange when the distance between colours is great. Violets also become softer and more neutral when mixed. Saturation can be a problem, but glazing helps to alleviate that problem.

I have found that allowing the colour to mingle wet-in-wet on the paper helps to maintain cleaner and more vibrant mixes.

I like to teach my Students to work through a series of triads, selecting different sets of "primaries" to be able to visualize how their pigments react to one another. This also helps them predict how certain mixes will look and what they can choose in the planning stage of a painting. Ultimately, they can build on what they've learned... baby steps... :)

The beauty of this process, as you've mentioned, is that it allows emerging artists to accumulate their artist grade paints slowly over a period of time without breaking the bank.

briantmeyer
12-08-2013, 01:20 AM
I think the graying is when you mix a complementary color into a mix, often hidden in a hue without your being aware of it unless you know those pigments. ( not an expert in this when it comes to water color, but I do have a lot of experience in CMYK printing which I think is relevant )

If my 100 red is actually 50 magenta mixed with 50 yellow, then mixing 100 red and 100 blue is actually mixing 50 yellow and 100 blue which is greenish, to which you are adding 100 red. What i am thinking when i hear red and blue is it should make purple, but hearing green and blue and red, that makes me think it's going to be more brownish or grayish based on how much green is involved.

Your picture is totally vibrant, however the problem I see is the orange, it's out of gamut very similar to graphic design/printing work I've done for Cingular wireless, who used orange for their logo. The CMYK best orange - 100 yellow and 50 magenta, if you put it beside a good spot orange, it looks brownish just like in the above picture since it's has to be a little less vibrant than the two original colors. The process color swatch book has no true orange as its outside the CMYK gamut. In this picture, this works and it does not need actual orange as it's got enough bright colors already. As a designer, i knew the gamut and stayed inside it, thus ensuring what i produced looked right, and if it was outside, I had to adjust things to ensure the final photo looked right. And very few in the public even realize the most common form of color printing isn't actually printing oranges in their actual color.

Generally the trick to this sort of thing is making sure people just look and see if it looks right with the given context, if they bring an actual orange for example and compare it to a CMYK printed photo of an orange, then it's very hard to make them happy. In that case the only solution is to print a 5th color, which is harder in printing than in watercolor.

Totally agree with your ideas on just working with 3 colors, there is very little you cannot do with 3 colors, and most mediums have limitations which you have to deal with. The focus should not be on what you cannot do, rather it's doing what you can do well soas to make what you cannot do irrelevant.

CharM
12-08-2013, 08:30 AM
Brian, I totally agree with the problem of trying to mix vibrant colours that are widely spaced on the colour wheel. For example, mixing naphthol red with gamboge will produce a lovely and lively orange. But, it'll never be as vibrant as my perinone orange from the tube.

In the painting above, I didn't attempt to mix homogeneously on my palette, but allowed the pigment to mingle on the paper. I should have qualified that in my post. For some reason, this reduces the neutralized appearance of colour that's been mixed on the palette.

Also, I don't believe we ALWAYS want vibrant colour. It's important to learn how to mix a variety of neutrals and where to use them. Placing well mixed neutrals alongside vibrant colour will help to make that particular colour look even brighter.

...cannot agree more... "The focus should not be on what you cannot do, rather it's doing what you can do well so as to make what you cannot do irrelevant."

briantmeyer
12-10-2013, 12:18 PM
Just doing my initial testing of the cotman that I have. ( Now I have a few tubes of various brands )

I am not totally convinced I am right, so I also have gotten a tube of Gold Ochre artist grade by Winsor Newton, to go with the Yellow Ochre. It is a different color which uses the same pigment and yes I am comparing apples and oranges, this is probably one color that I see mentioned as artists loving it more than any other when perusing these forums and I am comparing it to a simple yellow ochre. ( and i totally get why they fall in love with it, its really nice ) Still can't see always using this instead of the yellow ochre, each seems like it's something which is very useful.

I don't really see the difference in amount of pigment between the artist and student grades, some like the pthalos ( intense blue and green ) are much more intense than other artist grades. Using a single drop out of the tube, generally the same size, I get pretty intense color except for the cotman cobalt blue ( this is a pure pigment they no longer make for cotman ), and that could just be my drop I doled out was smaller. ( again hard to compare until i get a tube of artist grade cobalt ). Most of the other colors were very rich and I would not be able to tell which are student and artist grade if I couldn't see the tubes. My thought though is this varies by the tube and color more than it does by the grade of paint - if an expensive pigment that is when the cotman is going to be messed up and I'll need to get the artist grade version.

Now all that being said, comparing Daniel Smith to both "cotman" and "winsor newton artist grade", well I see much bigger drops, the paint is juicier with Daniel Smith, some of the colors are just richer, all of which seems to sound like why folks prefer artist grade over student grade. Not really sure why they are cheaper than winsor newton, as they seem like they are to a degree better.

I think as I do the next "100 paintings", I'll be able to get a few more tubes of WN artist grade just to compare apples to apples.

I am thinking of eventually getting the 4 pthalo blues and greens as artist grade as my next goal ( I think PB15:3 is the only tube on the "basic palette" I don't have yet and I am using intense blue for it temporarily ). I suspect it's not exactly red shade or green shade but a third distinct color.

( however I have a working palette with browns and primaries so my next focus is on slinging paint and perhaps spending some money on a very small sable brush, and on sheets of good paper )

virgil carter
12-10-2013, 02:12 PM
B, glad to see your painting exploration continuing. This is one of the great times of discovery and great joy for every painter.

Not sure you really need both shades of pthalo blue and of pthalo green; one shade of each is probably sufficient. On the other hand, how will you know if you don't try?

If you want to explore an interesting artist-grade paint comparison, you might want to try the same color/pigment in both a paint without honey as a wetting agent (like W-N, D. Smith, Da Vinci, etc.), compared with same color/pigment in a paint with the traditional honey as a wetting agent as was used when watercolor were first manufactured (Senneliwer, M. Graham, and others used honey). Honey in modern watercolors is like beer--an acquired taste. There are advantages and disadvantages to using honey. The folks who regularly use these paints tend to swear by them. Some of the rest of us simply swear at them. Your call!

Isn't exploring fun!

Sling the good stuff,
Virgil

briantmeyer
12-10-2013, 03:25 PM
Exactly, I feel like I'm going to a wine tasting, everyone is saying this is good or that is good, and I am just slurping up everything and not seeing why one is better, when everything is pretty good. At this point I am just trying to get my "eye" so I myself see why this is "so" or that is "so", instead of just relying on everyone else's say so.

As I get to it I'll definitely try that comparison with the honey, that is a good idea. Was actually avoiding the brands with honey just because I don't have an air tight palette yet, so really need it to dry to transport it easily. Probably try to find a pigment where handprint says there is something good about each brand and it's something I'll need a lot of ( just so I have a use for it after the fact since that is a lot of paint ). I am trying to think of a way to measure out a given amount of each tube, and measure how far the pigment goes, and compare how much pigment we actually get depending on artist or student grade.

( If it wasn't for the lightfastness consideration and the ultramarine I'd be using reeves right now as they are actually good enough to make some nice pictures. That being said, just making color swatches and color wheels and I am very happy with both student and artist grade so far )

I am actually thinking I can hide images using similar fugitive pigments on top of light fast pigments and make pictures that reveal more of themselves as they age. Basically do a painting of one thing with lightfast pigments, then cover it with fugitive paints and make it into something else entirely. Might even spook people out if I do a religious picture and after a year Jesus were to appear in it miraculously.

biscu.it
02-05-2014, 02:44 AM
I find cotman blues weak (I have only tried two though, in a set). The yellows and reds are strong. But I really hate when I first started using it -- hard rock pans urghhhh... but they got better later on.

I wonder why I hardly heard of daler rowney aquafine in this type of discussions. I think it is as transparent as cotmans and rewets nicely.

briantmeyer
02-05-2014, 03:30 PM
My criteria is knowing the pigments, so since I found this PDF they are an option -->
http://www.daler-rowney.com/sitefiles/daler-rowney/webform/pdf/Specification%20of%20Colour%20-%20Pigment%20Listing_0.pdf

The second criteria is where to get them besides online, usually I see the "simply" line which is their lowest end. I'd probably get them, but still would want to do lightfastness testing ( which some have been doing already with cotman )

The pthalo blue ( intense blue ) is very intense. The cobalt blue is very weak, but I read this is an issue with cobalt blue in artist grade paints too. I specifically read that their ultramarine is pretty bad. To me the key colors are the intense blue and green, and the browns, and probably chinese white and black which are more there for utility than for heavy use. I am just about done with the tube of burnt sienna CT, and the artist grade ultramarine which are currently my main goto colors, can't even see evidence that the cotman requires more paint to get the same load of pigment.

Frankly I am using them along with other brands and they seem to be of equal quality, this is noting that the quality within the artist grade paints seems to vary by pigment, and most issues are far more related to when I am using my canson sketch book instead of arches watercolor paper.

Undergoose
02-05-2014, 05:37 PM
Frankly I am using them along with other brands and they seem to be of equal quality, this is noting that the quality within the artist grade paints seems to vary by pigment, and most issues are far more related to when I am using my canson sketch book instead of arches watercolor paper.

This is a personal preference of course. In my experience with the paints that I've tested and chosen to use, Da Vinci, ShinHan(carefully selected after studying their pigment line) and Daniel Smith blow Cotman out of the water re: pigment load and the ability to quickly release that pigment load.

Aside from retail price ;) on the Daniel Smith line, they're all as cheap or cheaper per usable volume than Cotman, with Daniel Smith being the weakest performer as far as value of the three.

As far as vibrancy and ease of rewetting, most M. Graham equivalents put even those to shame. I don't use them due to the sticky, gooey mess even in my climate-controlled studio palettes, but they're pretty amazing paints if you can get past the clingy-ness and non-curing.

Even though Cotman is student-grade, I do appreciate that they're forthcoming about their pigment contents, though. Any paint from a company that doesn't list their pigments won't ever find a place in my palettes for serious artwork. Even extensive lightfastness testing with acceptable results doesn't assure me that five years down the road the whole line isn't going to end up as complete junk. See Prismacolor and Sanford's horrific business decisions as exhibit A.

RE: cobalts, I use them a lot specifically because they're weaker and non-staining. Comparing phthalos and cobalts is comparing apples and staplers.

briantmeyer
02-07-2014, 03:21 AM
I am comparing cotman student grade, to winsor newton artist grade. Some of what I keep noticing when I read comments about cotman, is they are very similar to how people feel about winsor newton as opposed to other brands.

The issue with rewetting for example is an issue with winsor newton, and I am rewetting my cotman and they seem to work fine. The few daniel smith, M graham and Holbein tubes I have are much different. Some of these brands seem like they are much more intense colors ( daniel smith burnt umber for example ), or are just darker, and some of them use honey, and i do understand how they are easier to rewet. ( seem to remember someone adding gum arabic to the WN to make cakes ) I don't see these as issues of student vs artist grade, but rather your preference between artist grade lines.

I personally think, that except for a few colors like burnt sienna ( we had a great thread listing the favorite WN colors ), I will end up using a lot of Daniel Smith and other brands. ( Need to try Sennelier as well )

As for pricing ( and I am just looking these up on blick to compare )...
I also only get cotman on sale, so they run about $2.69 ( at blick )-3.00 a tube ( from aaron bros today ). For an 8 ml tube that is $.33 per ml. and for a 21 ml tube at 5.69 that is .27 per ml.
WN Artist grade is 6.50 for 5 ml or $1.30, or their 14 ml is 12.73 or $.90 - which is the most expensive. ( Michaels has some at 9.99-17.00 and I can use a 50% off coupon to get it to about $1.00 per ml )
M Graham is 7.59-14.22 or $.50 per ml
Daniel smith ( on their website ) is 9.56 or $.64

I just don't see how they are cheaper, unless you can get a 15 ml tube for 5.25.

But cost per ml is not the only issue, I might not even use all of a given color. Having a lower up front cost, for example my winsor newton cost me about $5 for a 5ml tube ( on sale at 50% off ). Of course if I use up my entire tube, then it's a factor, but I just use the paint as I need it, and most of my tubes look largely unused. To get a color like a black or chinese white, which I probably won't use a lot of, that is just wasteful. Right now I am just trying to get examples of each pigment so I can play with all of them and figure out what I will end up focusing on.

From what I know now about what I've already bought, I would actually probably get less artist grade paints, just get all cotman, and have used the money saved to buy arches paper instead of the cheap strathmore tablet I started with, and also focused on fewer brushes. But then I've learned a lot in the last few months.

Undergoose
02-07-2014, 07:03 PM
Sorry, I misread "Frankly I am using them along with other brands and they seem to be of equal quality" to mean that you were comparing Cotman to other brands of artist quality.

I would agree that, aside from pigment differences between W&N artist's 'genuine' and Cotman 'hues', the W&N artist line doesn't drastically outshine the Cotman, especially after curing on the palette; rewet behavior is one of my top criteria for 'good' paint, and W&N artist's fails miserably without some added humectant stirred in at pour time. That, to me, completely debunks the high price that they enjoy getting, but they've got their hooks set pretty deep in the artist community based on the great successes they've helped pioneer in the distant past. As long as people don't like change, they'll be doing just fine for a long time, I'm sure. This is NOT saying that their paint isn't good; mostly, it's great, but it doesn't warrant the prices that you have to pay/ml, at least in the US.

As far as pricing, you've nailed the secret in your last post. Discounts (which you applied to your Cotman numbers, but not the artist grades ;) Compelling argument, but obviously skewed.) Pricing is VERY important to me and is also one of my main palette choice criteria. If I can't reasonably and consistently maintain value in a pigment, it's only a few rare gems that will find their way onto my permanent palette.

Unless I'm having some sort of palette emergency (:rolleyes: ) I never pay full price for anything, always utilizing the 20-30% sales at Daniel Smith, Dick Blick, and sometimes Jerry's for some like-priced things that are marked as 'lowest price possible' at the Blick site.

I've been tracking cost very closely on my paint buys. I have purchased a couple hundred tubes at Daniel smith in over 40 colors, and am currently averaging $5.45/15ml. Da Vinci(and American Journey) is cheaper per ml still, and ShinHan SWC even farther. Even M. Graham, whose pigment load feels much higher than anything else I've used, can be had for these prices during the sales. Buying pre-built sets and liquidating the extras that I don't want has allowed me to not only get my money back, but has also been pretty lucrative. Granted, sometimes I have to initally pay $200 for the 5 tubes that I want, and that can be pretty scary when you try to recoup the excess. Another thing to keep in mind is that artist grade paints hold their value much better. I have no trouble reselling used tubes of artist grades by weighing a full tube and a used tube on my postal scale, figuring the percentages and adjusting the price. I've had about zero luck trying the same thing with student grades, pretty much across the board.

I also keep a custom search on Ebay for watercolor paints, excluding all vendors that I've seen consistently spamming their relists of full-price single tube auctions. There have been some exciting, cheap boxes show up at my door from Ebay, for sure! :clap:

I have noticed a couple of your threads now where you've inferred that the same pigment across brands is equivalent, something that I used to think as well. While the Dick Blick tech specs per pigment are a great start to understanding your paints, and I'm extremely grateful for the quick resource they provide, you'll notice that they use the same generic blurbs across all brands.

Unfortunately, for most pigments, there are multiple sources that vary in at least some aspects. Couple that with the massive differences in binders, humectants, surfectants, fillers, anti-nasties, etc. between brands, and sometimes it's like using two completely different pigments in look, feel and performance. Of particular note is the sometimes unreal differences in lightfastness from one brand to the other in some pigments (Prussian Blue comes to mind just offhand).

To move further into understanding the differences in brands (short of conducting your own tests which gets expensive and time-consuming), the next step is Handprint. While he is very opinionated about some things, delving into his cross-brand comparisons really helped me become aware of the vast differences that occur between even artist grade brands. I highly recommend getting into it, at least for your basic palette colors. Transparency, hues, drying shift and excellent per-pigment histories and notes really get you moving forward into understanding paint brand differences. You'll start seeing consistencies between the brands across different pigments that will greatly help you be able to make informed decisions about a brand or line based on formula positing.

The step after that is to get into Bruce's CIELAN a*b* planes and read Virgil's excellent Chroma and Gamut WC lecture to really start understanding proper theory and how your colors are working together, for and/or against you.

Of course, even through all of this, there are TONS of excellent artists producing stellar works using student or even scholastic grade paints and papers.

Even I still keep a full palette of Van Gogh paints for playing around with, and all of the pigments I've chosen in that line are excellent. Even with the poster-paint smell, I like them much better than Cotman because of performance and price. They rewet very well and it's pretty hard to beat $1.74/10 ml for good quality single-pigment paint. :)

I believe it was Egon that pointed out a while ago that concerns and monkeying around with costs regarding price per painting is silly; it's just pennies regardless of brand or grade. 15 ml of watercolor goes a LONG way, even in the weaker pigments. I see the merit in his "Holy Lord, shut up and go paint already" sentiment, but I find it fascinating to learn about and discuss the history and current state of our tools.

briantmeyer
02-08-2014, 02:28 AM
I think you understand my point on cotman, my criteria does not care about the hype or brand, it's how it works and focuses on pigment and works back from that.

Those are the prices I've seen so far, cotman seems to be on sale a lot. The other brands are also on sale, but I've found they are marked up quite a bit to begin with. I'm just getting better deals locally bypassing the shipping.

I totally get the colors are different, however per handprint.com, the lightfastness is by pigment as the pigment is largely unprotected once it's on the paper. On some pigments it varies, but then I am using handprint.com to guide all my purchases, and prussian blue I have a star by M Graham as the preferred source.

I have actually been paying close attention to various comments to choose which brand for which paint, and I went thru and made 3x5 cards for each pigment I was interested in after reading on handprint.com. I included all the stats on the various options, focusing on Daniel Smith, Winsor Newton, and M Graham. Since Cotman and Winsor Newton are actually matched up ( they claim the lines are interchangeable and many of the colors are the same hue ), I chose to use cotman if possible, but only if I read comments here that specific colors are good or better than the artist grade WN. I have not gotten many M Graham or Daniel Smith yet, but I have 3x5 cards which have them marked as the best supplier for a given color, and mainly because the cadmiums and quinacridones tend to be what I have not gotten yet. ( and it's harder to get those brands )

I think that most just don't get that even if other brands are cheaper, when i go and buy paints, the size of the tube just does not matter. That 5 ml tube, since it's price is lower than the 15 ml, well it takes a LONG time to use up 5 ml, well marketing wise they manage to both be cheaper and make more money. They can target both students and artists, and they tend to offer two variations of a given color with hue angles that mark the boundaries of what is offered. Not to mention they are in all the art stores, even the craft stores, and then they have Gold Ochre and Burnt Sienna which are really cool. Its not that they are better, it's that they market and have something good enough at the right price points.

From what I've read, and how I paint, most of the issues with WN just don't apply to me. I dole out a drop of paint as need, don't use pans, and to rewet, i drop in some water about 5-10 minutes before and it performs just like it's out of the tube. I read about honey and really have just chosen to avoid it. I do have some daniel smith, and find its really cool - when the discussion describes why artist grade is better, it really seems to describe that brand. A lot about our choices derive from how we use the materials, what we can afford. I read the brand comparisons on handprint.com and settled on daniel smith and m graham and winsor newton as the main sources I am focusing on.

Andrew
02-08-2014, 04:29 AM
This thread has been an interesting read. I haven't ever tried the cotman colours.

I used to use pans, but switching to tubes, I doubt I will ever go back. My palette is a bit of a mixed bag, however. I have a limited palette of van Gogh tubes I keep in a tin for field sketches. My studio collections is a mixture of Holbein, WN, Daniel Smith, Shinhan, a tube or two of M. Graham, and ( couple of tubes of) Dick Blick (oddly enough).

I also have a good selection of WN, Turner, and Lukas gouache colours, as well has some Chinese colours and Shinhan Korean Colours, both of which are darn near opaque in and of themselves, due to the pigment load, but the former doesn't rewet well at all.

Andrew

palrakesh
02-09-2015, 07:01 PM
I have used both cotman and w/n artist's quality paints. There is a difference as said by everyone else.
But if you look into the composition of cotman paints, a few of them uses the same pigment as artist's grade but has more fillers. Eg perm rose, prussian blue, intense (pthalo) blue, dioxizine violet and light red.
I use perm rose and intense blue from cotman with w/n, daler rowney and m graham paints. I also love their turquoise.
One thing for sure, cotman is the not chalky and mixes well with other professional grade paints. They are much more vibrant and transparent than other students grade paints.

Happy painting!
Rakesh

MarialenaS
02-10-2015, 08:07 AM
It seems that I'm the only one here that keeps on painting on professional level with student grade colors and I have no issues with them.

Perhaps I'm doing something completely wrong because I can't explain why I never had any problem with Cotmans' and Van Goghs strength, lightfastness, brilliance, saturation, granulation while it is strange too ( judging by the reviews that I read here) that none of those who bought my paintings, the last five years, had any complains too.

It is really a mystery by the time that so many people here have serious problems with them.

Perhaps these companies supply Greek stores with the "good" batches of student watercolor paints and the rest of the world with the "bad" ones.

Orpheus2017
03-30-2017, 08:29 AM
If Rory and I swapped clubs.... who'd win???? :)

shadye1
03-30-2017, 09:20 AM
I have a set of Winsor & Newton Cotman Watercolors in a little wooden box, about 25 cakes....

I started looking around an noticed that some posts have mentioned that these are "student-grade"? I had no idea! I'm pretty new to Watercolor, but bought this box about 10 yrs ago to play around with. (and they seemed expensive at that time, too.) Now, I'm trying it out and I would like to know what people think about the Cotman Cake colors?

Or do most people use the tube colors? How does the cakes compare to the tubes? and what brands do you prefer? I know that this question might have been posed before, but would like to have some additional feedback....

--Iris

The Cotman paints are arguably the best student paints you can buy, there may be others, but they are what you have bought and paid for. Learn to use them they are capable of some very good results as long as you use a good paper. Once you feel you have outgrown the cotmans with your painting, buy some recommended Artist quality paints and try painting the same scenes again to compare

Minerva C
03-30-2017, 11:10 AM
Cotmans are very nice. Especially the older paints.