View Full Version : What's your favourite Tube Colour Brand?

Luis Guerreiro
05-19-2001, 02:15 PM
Hi All,
I am curious about what's your favourite oil colour brands and whether you mix different brands or stick to one alone.
Here are some of them I would like you to rate them if you tried them or still use them:
Winsor & Newton "Artists" Range
Winsor & Newton "Winton" Range
R. Talens "Rembrandt" Range
R. Talens "van Gogh" Range
Lukas "Studio" Range
Lukas "Sorte 1" Range
Schminke "Mussini" Range
Schminke "Norma Professional" Range
Your comments will be most appreciated because your experience matters to College students like myself who look forward to know what you all think of the above manufacturers. To make colours is not in the picture for the time being, so we need to stick to tube colours. Thanks alot. Luis G.

05-30-2001, 07:59 PM
you might want to consider any of these tube paints. . .worth every penny. . .these really are the best.

Robert Doak
Dan Smith
Old Holland

"Tread softly because you tread on my dreams." W B Yeats

05-31-2001, 12:06 AM
I use Utrecht paints exclusively - I like them.

Michael Georges
www.fineportraitsinoil.com (http://www.fineportraitsinoil.com)

05-31-2001, 09:40 PM
I use Winsor Newton....used Rembrandt...
and have a couple Maimeri tubes that I'm trying.

A gentleman recently highly recommended Maimeri...and I'm considering making a decent order of them. Curious if others have experience with them...especially the Maimeri "Artisti"


The "Artsmentor"

"Painting is easy when you don't know how, but very difficult when you do!" Edgar Degas

06-05-2001, 08:40 AM
Hi Larry, I use Maimeri "Classico" (the less expensive line) and find them extremely oily and sometimes disappointing in terms of covering power. I recall seeing your post where you said that you use the "Winton" line of oils (also the lesser expensive line). What has been your experience with them? Are there some standout pigments in that line that you will continue to use?
Hi Verdaccio, I am contemplating changing the brand of oils that I use and was impressed by your using Utrecht exclusively. Are there any pigments of their's that you especially like? any further comments appreciated.

When painting onto a FLAT SURFACE, think FLAT, FLAT, FLAT, don't try to paint around the object.

06-18-2001, 02:13 AM
I have been using alot of van gogh oils and rembrant that work very well i think

06-19-2001, 10:37 PM
FWIW, I just spent the last few months buying different brands of paint and trying them out. I wanted to find THE paint for me and I finally did.

I got at least 3 colors of each brand and included Titanium White for each (to have a standard comparison and because I knew that I'd use a lot of white and it wouldn't go to waste).

The reason I did this is because a few months ago I was trying a certain simple brush stroke on a painting and it just would not work like it should. It was a simple stroke of the brush to get a nice gradual blend into the color below. I first tried a bunch of different brushes and mediums thinking that was the problem. It wasn't. I was shocked by the difference that the brand of paint made!

So I got lots of brands and painted several standard simple objects with each.

I don't think I should list the brands that were really bad - the paint just would not go on right, no matter how I tried.

W&N, Grumbacher, Old Holland, Mamerei Puro, Schmenke Norma all worked pretty good.

But when I tried Schmenke Mussini, I was amazed. Paints went on so much easier in whatever manner I tried to put them on the canvas. But I found that they dried really fast - too fast for me.

I finally received my order of Blockx. It worked even nicer than Mussini. I am in love with this paint! I gave away almost all of my other tubes except some Mussini and Old Holland, and replaced them with Blockx. It feels like my skills doubled overnight, just from finding the right paint for me.

My only complaint with Blockx is that they don't make some pigments that I like to use because they only produce completely lightfast paints (level 7 of some scale - I forget at the moment), and Sap Green and Alizarin Crimson which I like to use are not that lightfast. But I ordered those from Mussini and I'm happy.

06-20-2001, 06:16 PM
Hi Robnsn, Where do you buy the Blockx paint? Is it pricey? Please list the brands wich gave you inferior results as some of us may be struggling with them and not know what the problem is...many thanks

06-20-2001, 08:46 PM
Originally posted by Mario
Hi Robnsn, Where do you buy the Blockx paint? Is it pricey? Please list the brands wich gave you inferior results as some of us may be struggling with them and not know what the problem is...many thanks

Hi Mario,

I bought the blockx paint from italianartstore.com. I found a less expensive source (aswexpress.com) after my second order, but I had such good service from italianartstore, that I ordered my third and largest order with them again. I think the prices for blockx is about the same as for all the other good brands. Let's see... at italianartstore:

Cadmium Yellow Light:
Blockx: 18.95
Old Holland: 22.90
Mussini: 21.95
W&N: 12.95
Maimeri Puro: 21.95

Burnt Umber:
Blockx: 5.50
OH: 6.30
Mussini: 5.95
W&N: 4.15
Maimeri Puro: 6.95

Oh, and also, the icing on the cake is the great colors! I still have a few misc tubes of other brands and kept my OH, so I compared the colors. BLockx Cadmium Yellow Light was really rich and beautiful, especially when compared to the OH I had. I was surprised about that because OH was my favorite before. Other colors seem much brighter and richer, and some are about the same as the other brands, of course.

Here's the brands I tried that I can recall. Rembrandt, W&N, Gamblin, Sennelier, Old Holland, Mamerei, Schmenke, Blockx, Firenze (from Florence), Grumbacher, ummm..... a couple more I don't recall - perhaps Sargent, Pre-tested. I didn't try the brands that were not generally considered "one of the best" (except the ones I already had) :)

My first test with the different brands was to paint a rose with each. Suffice it to say, that the only ones I could successfully (in the style I was trying for) paint a rose with was W&N, OH, Grumbacher, Norma and Mamerei. (I hadn't received my Mussini or Blockx yet or I would have probably ended the testing right there)

I wish I hadn't wiped off my last test which was a bunch of 3D cylinders with shadows painted with each brand that made it through the other tests. I used the same strokes, brush and canvas. I had my Blockx and Mussini by then. The W&N, Mamerei and Grumbacher looked like trash. The OH was okay but I couldn't get it to blend right. The Mussini and Blockx was just "stroke, stroke, stroke" and there was a perfect cylinder with perfect blend and edges, etc. I couldn't believe it! I showed my wife and she was amazed too. The Blockx was slightly nicer than the Mussini. Even though I knew by then that I liked the Blockx way better than the rest, I had expected this test to prove only subtle differences. After all, it was just a simple object to paint and these were all pretty good paints (I guess). I'm sure I could have ended up with a nice cylinder with the others, but it would have been a lot more work!

I'm not saying that the same paints would end up best like this for everyone, and this certainly wasn't a scientific lab comparison test, but I am 100% totally convinced that the paint makes a HUGE difference and that my painting has taken a leap because I am using a great brand of paint (for me). I would highly recommend people try some different professional brands. And definitely include Blockx and Mussini in the test!

06-26-2001, 10:22 PM
Interesting. I came to the same conclusion about Blockx, although my approach was, well not quite as scientific as yours. They're very highly pigmented, like Old Holland, but I've found you can use almost every color straight from the tube. I guess it's the poppy oil that makes the paint kind of "fluffy." Their Flake White is also quite nice and has great covering power. I'd say it falls somewhere in between W&N's sloppy consistency and Old Holland's thick Creminitz White.

The Italian Art Store does have great prices and service. They'll even special order the Blockx 200ml tubes if you're a little patient. Jerry's Artarama also carries Blockx in the large and small tubes, but their service and product availability can be a little hit-and-miss.

One suggestion about the Alizarin Crimson the next time you're running low, you might check out:

Terre Verte/Vasari (www.shopvasaricolors.com)
Daniel Smith Autograph Oils (www.danielsmith.net), or
Williamsburg (www.oilpaint.com)

All three's Alizarins have wonderful texture and good prices (especially, the 150ml tubes). Terre Verte/Vasari also sells some wonderful, sweet smelling gum turpentine at a good price if you mix your own mediums, etc.

06-27-2001, 11:42 AM
i would like to jump on the schmincke bandwagon and say that i am really fond of this brand. they add damar resin in their final process which make s the paint dry a little faster, shinier (which i really like, but isn't for everyone). blockx is certainly a high quality paint but too oily for my taste.

i also really like holbein and williamsburg. willamsburg is probably the closest to the stuff i make personally, but they grind a bunch of colors i like but would never consider making. so aside from my own, i use theirs almost exclusively. its also a little spendy, but the paints last twice as long as almost any other brand i've tried.

i've never used their alizarin, though, because mine is actually heavier and stronger! i make oil paint by hand with an electric muller and i am of course biased but i think it is the finest available. check out my website (below) if you are interested.

using great paint can take your work to the next level! i started kicking out the big bucks for quality materials when i moved to new york and i'm so much happier in the studio now. there is definitely a garbage-in-garbage-out type of system there.

06-27-2001, 08:51 PM
Larry, I never tried the Maimeri Artisti, which I believe is between the Classico and Puro both of which I've tried. I attended a promotional seminar by representatives of the line and got a sample of the Classico and Puro. I found the Classico a good student grade, but never use student grade. The Puro is loaded with pigment, but for the price I think it is overrated compared to other brands up there in price. I did buy some tubes and find they feel almost over-grinded(is that a word?). In other words, the grainier pigments, i.e. cobalt violet do not seem to have that character. I would try a small sampler pack of the primaries is they are available in Artisti. Sometimes the art magazines have coupons for Maimeri samplers at a nominal cost.
I don't know how you feel about Blockx paint, but I LOVE them:)...and the lower series are not too pricey. My favorite is their yellow ochre, cad. yellow light and a gorgeous ultramarine vilet. When I worked in the art supply store, every customer I turned onto Blockx paint walked out with at least a tube. Unfortunately they don't promote their paint at all and alot of painters never tried them. Old Holland has such a big showcase of colors, it's hard to walk by them:)

06-27-2001, 11:49 PM
Degas, Artoguy good to see other Blockx fans. As you see by my posts above, I love them too! I concur with your Cad Yellow light and yellow ochre. I didn't get their ultramarine violet though. I wanted to buy ALL their colors, but I resisted. :) I bought 24 tubes to replace most of my inferior tubes and still want more. I'd add the Golden Ochre as one of my favorites as well as the wonderful Indigo.

It's too bad Blockx doesn't promote their paints much. A lot of artists could profit from using them. Maybe they concentrate on Europe.

Thanks for the suggestion on the alizarin, artoguy. I'll try them next time (if Blockx still doesn't make it).

06-28-2001, 06:05 PM
<< blockx is certainly a high quality paint but too oily for my taste. >>

I was a little puzzled by this comment, since the only really oily one in my experience is Blockx' Viridian, which I understand is pretty uncooperative stuff to grind in oil in the first place. Their ochres and red earths are quite heavily pigmented and a pleasure to work with. I understand that David Davis paints are reputed to be some of the most heavily pigmented oils made (similar to handground), but I spent a lot of time mixing medium and/or turp with their earths just to make them workable. This is a little extreme and not the best use of my time.

BTW, the Blockx Green & Blue are also worth a look since they're not as electric as other brands of phthalo-whatever and they make such an interesting variety of warm and cool blacks when mixed with the Transparent Mars Red and Alizarin Crimson.

06-29-2001, 12:12 AM
Robinsn, All you have to do is try Blockx and fall in love with it! I don't have tube of their Alizarin Crimson Artoguy, but it is a beauty. I agree that one of the outstanding characteristics of the paint is the way it comes off the brush effortlessly without the addition of any medium at all and, yes, I would say it's the poppy does it. Capucine Yellow lt. is another beauty, but if you like violets, the ultramarine violet is the most beautiful one I've ever seen; you'll love it and it's only a series 3 which is affordable. I have my eyes on their Cadmium Red.

06-29-2001, 08:59 AM
Originally posted by tjrudd
<< blockx is certainly a high quality paint but too oily for my taste. >>

I was a little puzzled by this comment, since the only really oily one in my experience is Blockx' Viridian, which I understand is pretty uncooperative stuff to grind in oil in the first place.

i think that my reaction to the blockx paint is due to the type of oil its ground in. they grind into poppy, which is probably the most non-yellowing oil available. most finer paintmakers grind their whites into poppy, but i don't know of any others that grind their entire range into poppy oil. one reason might be: it takes forever to dry! and, yes, viridian is a pain in the ass to work with! i'm not here to rain on the blockx parade, however, they are some of the finest paints available. i just find them oily for my taste.

oils can be a huge factor in how paint acts. david davis grinds into coldpressed linseed, a very nice consistency but with a slight tendency to yellow. i really like david davis paint (it *is* really really pigmented) but have had trouble getting it, even at their own store here in nyc, they always seem to be out of stock. i tend to actully prefer their "student" grade, colonial oils, which is made with a small amout of beeswax as filler. the beeswax here seems to add flexibility and lustre which i appreciate. doak grinds into walnut, which is also pretty non-yellowing. but the consistency of walnut makes my paints feel really greasy. doaks paints are also great, though: he makes and grinds many colors you will not find anywhere else: egyptian violet, smalt, brown pink...

at sarkana, we grind colors into refined linseed oil. there is a slight tendency to yellow. i'm experimenting currently with a mixture of walnut and linseed. whites are ground into poppy.

anyway, for those of you who love the feel of blockx but can't afford to convert your entire palette: try buying a small bottle of poppy oil and mix it with some of your nicer paints. i'm not saying you will get the same results but it might add some of the qualities you like in blockx to your non-blockx paint.

06-29-2001, 05:13 PM
<< david davis paint (it *is* really really pigmented) but have had trouble getting it, even at their own store here in nyc, they always seem to be out of stock. >>

Yes, I had the same experience, as I used to buy a few of their colors (their Mars Yellow/Lead Antimony was pretty interesting) and mediums, but they did seem to be always out of stock on one thing or another. I recall phoning in an order a couple years ago and they were out of white. No lead, zinc or titanium, period. C'mon, how can you be out of white? I thought folks sold about 20x the white as other colors.

I'd read online that Richard Schmid relies on them exclusively for the two kinds of lead-primed linen he uses. The man must have incredible patience and/or that must be some linen that DD sells (and it's far from cheap).

07-03-2001, 10:07 PM
i don't blame the guy for using their linen: they gently hand-prime that stuff in their warehouse in brooklyn with their own handmade lead oil primer. its incredibly beautiful! and so pricey! if i wasn't addicted to wood i'd use that stuff too.

we do sell about 20 times the white of other colors. but also: white has to have a special run since the mill has to be totally 100% free of any color whatsoever before you can run white. some larger manufacturers even have a separate mill for whites. but if you just have one mill and are off a little in your planning (i've done it twice now!), its pretty easy to be out of white.

not to dis, david davis makes some beautiful paint for sure for sure! i bought a cobalt violet and a viridian there and they were as intense as my own. i highly recommend their metallic colors. shiny and beautiful and actually kind of subtle. i think its the beeswax. i bought a gamblin silver for comparison and couldn't use it because the smell of alkyds made me feel all queasy inside.

07-06-2001, 05:31 PM
<< david davis makes some beautiful paint for sure for sure! >>

Yes, they do. I'm down to my last couple quarts of their lead white primer.

By the way, I just got some toobs of yellow ochre and viridian from Terre Verte (www.shopvasaricolors.com) the other day. The ochre is as heavily pigmented as Blockx and the viridian even more so (and much less oily). Not bad for less $$$.

Roni Anderson
08-03-2001, 10:38 AM
Would like to jump in here and ask the same tube question for those who are using w/c.....what is your preference? [I am new to the forums so forgive me if I should be addressing this to another area...just let me know and I'll be glad to!} Thanks for your input.

08-03-2001, 11:22 AM
Roni, Welcome to WC and you I believe you posted your question to the appropriate area of this group, but I would also post in the Watercolor topic area to get even more responses.
My first choice in watercolor has always been Winsor Newton Artist Color. The granulating colors, such as various blues and earth colors and some violets do so more than any other watercolor I've ever used and you'll find these colors contrast beautifully with their staining colors. If you can find WN in your country, look at their true, handdrawn color chart and compare it with other color charts. That's the best way to judge. If you can't find WN in your country, I like Holbein as a second choice and Daler Rowney has very nice earth colors. Old Holland is said to have a fine line as well, but haven't tried them myself, so you might want to look at them too. If they're anything like their oils, they are primo. I saw their watercolor chart and they offer many, many colors.

Roni Anderson
08-03-2001, 03:39 PM
Thanks Degas5 I really appreciate your input. I will check out the watercolor area...didn't even know there was one. This is SOME great site!!! Is Bellmore in upstate?

08-03-2001, 05:55 PM
Hi Roni, a visit <A HREF=http://www.handprint.com/HP/WCL/wmap.html>here</A> would definitely be worth it. Be prepared, it will take a long time to even see the various sections much less read them all!


cobalt fingers
09-20-2002, 10:21 AM
I have a question

I've been reading how several of you say Blckx is heavily pigmented but rather oily. To my understanding all pro grade paints are made from only pigment and oil (maybe several types, ie poppy, linseed etc) but pigment and oil. Cheaper paints have fillers.

But how can a paint have lots of oil AND lots of pigment? Seems to me it has lots of pigment like Old Holland or it's oily and therefore less intense. Clear me up on this will you.

Keith Russell
10-03-2002, 12:09 PM


Yeah, I suppose that could be a problem, if one were talking about oil paints.

The title of the thread didn't specify which media...

The only tube paints I use are Windsor and Newton Finity Acrylics, and I have no problem with oily paints.


10-28-2002, 02:37 PM
I like Grumbacher watercolors but have recently tried some Dahler Rowney and Holbein colors. If you are painting poppies, permanent red and opera are very bright.

I have found a great difference in brands. For Cerulean blue and sap green, I buy only Grumbacher.

10-31-2002, 10:02 AM
Cobalt / Tim,

I think part of the answer might lie in oil viscosity. i believe blockx uses poppy oil which may just be thinner than average linseed. Then the same pigment concentration would spread easier and seem thinner. I noticed a similar effect with m. graham, which uses walnut oil.

It comes out of the tube pretty thick, but it isn't 'stiff'.....it spreads with ease and doesn't need much oil to make it useable. Still, it has a tinting strength quite above that of the WN artist's paint I have, and when mixing a light color, I have had to change my method, starting with a pile of white and adding tiny, tiny bits of other colors instead of adding white to the color - it's almost impossible to start out with a small enough patch of paint to tint.

That's probably not the whole answer, but perhaps it's a factor.


11-01-2002, 05:03 PM
my personal choice is M Graham & Co. watercolor. they have a slightly limited selection, but cover all the colors I use/need...and I do alot of mixing, so not as big a deal. I have about 9 colors total I own...(1 ea, warm and cool of the primaries...3 earth tones...neutral green). they use honey as an agent in them....and do not use any filler. the texture is VERY consistant and the color is very consentrated(due to no fillers) so you do not need much paint. I have tried most all brands, and prefer them above ALL others I have used (no matter the cost). I have not tried sennillier yet, I know they also use honey as an agent, so might compare close.


07-28-2003, 10:07 PM
I know it's an old thread but I want to add Williamsburg. I was introduced to them in school and the colors were so bright and beautiful. The colors that realy mattered---cadmiums, cobalts, viridians, quinacrodones---seemed brighter with a more richer consistency than others. The colors I took for granted---umbers, siennas, ochres, and esp. ultramarine---came alive like never before, that was huge revelation for me.

I had been using Windsor and Newton first, then Schminke, then, Holbein, Schminke was the best out of that group. But Williamsburg for me is better because of the purity of the colors, and it's different consistencies from one color to another. Williamsburg is easily in the league of the best paints, but their prices put them well within anybody's grasp.

After them I would bite the bullet and go with Old Holland, then Blockx, then Schminke Mussini. Old Holland needs no introduction. I take Blockx over Schminke just for convenience because you can get Blockx in big 200ml studio tubes, which saves me time, and they are very nice. Schminke Mussini only comes in the smaller tubes, though their color seems brighter.

http://www.williamsburgoilpaint.bizland.com/ and

You can find everything else at Jerry's Arterama


07-28-2003, 11:37 PM
My favorites are Blockx and Old Holland.


08-11-2007, 06:33 PM
Daniel Smith Paints are wonderful. They have progressive colors and offer watercolor "triads" monthly for 17.00 for a 30 oz tube. They have a good review in handprint.


Leschi Painter
08-12-2007, 01:24 PM
Old Holland oils in studio
Sennelier in my plein air french easel.

I've been v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y replacing Daniel Smiths oils with Old Hollands over several years, as my budget allows.

I like the concentration and stiffness, but also they just smell better than DS oils.

Am from Seattle, hence the Daniel Smiths. I like some of their exclusive oils, like Minnesota Pipestone and Genuine Malachite.

08-12-2007, 04:51 PM
I started with Windsor and Newton and mean to continue with W&N...for oils, that is. The quality is consistent in the Artist range and I have not encountered any problems whatsoever.
I have used these oils with and without solvents, thin or impasto and they are superb. Yes, I have experimented with other brands but I return to my favourite in the end: so I will stick.

Richard Saylor
08-14-2007, 04:42 AM
I loved Permanent Pigments oils, but they no longer exist.:crying:


08-14-2007, 09:51 AM
I've always used Winsor & Newton "Winton" Range for oil. I don't use a lot of paint and for me a little bit goes a long way.
I usually use Liquitex for acrylic. I purchased some Maimeri acrylic tubes and I may be switching to them.

illuminous art
08-14-2007, 02:26 PM
I love Old Holland. I also have some Daniel Smith, nice paint, but the company's customer service can be a pain. (They sent my package to the wrong address and it never arrived, and they gave me a run-around when I tried to contact them about fixing the problem. Finally they did replace it)

I am about to try M. Graham next. I would also love to try some of the Rublev paints, though I'll have to win the lottery first.

About oily paint: I have heard that if you store your paint tubes standing on end, cap down, the oil will diffuse back into the paint, eliminating the problem.

illuminous art
08-14-2007, 02:28 PM
Oh, I forgot to add that Dick Blick's acrylics are wonderful, cheap, and have no plasticky smell. I bought a tube for a craft project and was so impressed I'm going back for more to actually paint with, even though I'm not a big fan of acrylics in general.

09-04-2007, 10:48 AM
Anybody here working with Vasari? I've been doing the same thing, buying some of the same colors from a variety of manufacturers. I really liked Vasari, but haven't tried Blockx yet. Didn't much care for Williamsburg. Anyone using Doak's paints?

Would anyone here recommend grinding their own paints versus working with even the best paints that can be bought?

09-04-2007, 12:26 PM
Vasari is top of my list, although their selection is somewhat limited. But what they do offer is outstanding.
I like Williamsburg, but don't care for many of the paint's consistency -- too coarse or gritty, and sometimes lacking in tinting strength compared to others (some of the oxide reds, like Pompeiian Red and Venetian Red).
Blockx and Doak are also excellent.
You should also try Old Holland and Michael Harding.

09-04-2007, 04:33 PM
You should also try Old Holland and Michael Harding.

Good thing Tanya doesn't head the latter firm. The paint would be very unstable, fugitive, and you'll never know when you'll get kneecapped......;)

ArachosiA 78
09-05-2007, 10:35 PM
All I've really used is Winton (which is complete garbage...don't ever buy this crap), Utrecht, and Gamblin. I can't really tell any difference between Utrecht and Gamblin, aside from the cost. I'm currently using Gamblin, but I think I'll switch back to Utrecht because it's cheaper and seems just as good if not better. Actually, I have noticed that some Utrecht colors such as cerulean blue and cadmium red light have extremely strong tinting properties, making them even more useful.

I'd like to try out Williamsburg or Old Holland, but I think I'll have to wait until I win the lottery for that luxury.

09-06-2007, 01:55 PM
All I've really used is Winton (which is complete garbage...don't ever buy this crap), Utrecht, and Gamblin. I can't really tell any difference between Utrecht and Gamblin, aside from the cost. I'm currently using Gamblin, but I think I'll switch back to Utrecht because it's cheaper and seems just as good if not better. Actually, I have noticed that some Utrecht colors such as cerulean blue and cadmium red light have extremely strong tinting properties, making them even more useful.

I'd like to try out Williamsburg or Old Holland, but I think I'll have to wait until I win the lottery for that luxury.

You might consider M.Graham [oregon] and/or Daniel Smith [seattle].

09-06-2007, 10:20 PM
Old Holland

They might be the most expensive, but I've had problems with both brands of watercolour paints.