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paintbug
01-19-2002, 10:36 AM
I'm relativley new to oil painting and my questions are about the opacity of oil paints.
First: Is there a difference in opacity between different brands of the same color?
Second: Same question student quality versus professional quality?
Third: Is there some chart rating opacity by color? That is all the reds, all the yellows and so fourth.

I did a search and could not find a thread regarding this but if there is one please point me to it.
Thanks

Michael2
01-19-2002, 12:02 PM
Some brands have a greater "pigment load" than others. More pigment means more opaque.

Student quality has a lower pigment load so it isn't as opaque. I don't really think there's any need to by student quality, you can get good quality off-brand paints. If there is a Utrecht near you, check them out, they sell their own brand of oil paints that are a real bargain. The Art Store also has their own brand of oil paints.

The opacity of the paint is usually listed on the back of the tube, plus most manufacturers have color charts that tell you this.

In reds and yellows, cadmium colors are the most opaque. "Cadmium hues" are not cadmium at all, but contain stuff like napthol and arylide... these colors are not as opaque as cadmium.

In black, Mars Black is opaque while Ivory Black is more transparent.

Remember though, not opaque doesn't mean bad. The great masters of old used transparent paint to create great works of art.

cobalt fingers
01-19-2002, 09:16 PM
The paint makers will be able to help you. Good paintings nearly always have both trans. and opaque colors in them because reality does.

Einion
01-20-2002, 01:28 PM
Hi Paintbug, yes, yes and not really.

If you value opacity over other characteristics I would begin to learn which pigments are the best examples for a given colour. A good start is the colour charts on the <A HREF=http://www.talens.com/>Talens</A> website, the one for their Rembrandt range has symbols for transparent (25 colours), semi-transparent (20 colours), semi-opaque (35 colours) and opaque (40 colours) and most of those free leaflets with colour charts in them that you find near the racks in art stores will have similar guidelines to the paints. As Michael says, the cadmiums are generally the most opaque yellows, oranges and reds available but you will have to look a little deeper than this as, for example, the phthalo blues and greens are transparent but they are so intense that they can be used in an opaque manner.

I would give Utrecht's oils a thumbs up too, if their acrylics and watercolours are anything to go on they are pretty uniformly good and their pigment quality is well above average. Generally speaking I would agree that student paints are not a good buy, but if you check the labels carefully to see if the pigment in question is the correct one, and not a hue, some of them make acceptable buys when you are learning considering the cost of oils. Also, some ranges are available in larger tubes like 150ml and these often make for a good buy if you're sure you will use the colour in time, whites are a particularly good choice here as most people use a great deal more of it than any other colour, I certainly do, and you don't need to worry about the paint going off as oils generally last almost indefinitely in the tube (decades even).

Unfortunately you can't use price as a guide to quality, pigment load or opacity. Some ranges have a premium price attached (many of the continental European brands like Sennelier, Schminke, Old Holland and Lefranc & Bourgeois would definitely fall into this category) and in some cases at least this is definitely not warranted by the quality of the product - Sennelier is a particularly good example if prices here are reflected elsewhere. Also opacity can be augmented by additives so unfortunately in and of itself it is not a guide to pigment load.

If you have specific questions about which pigments to choose or avoid with regards opacity just shoot.

Einion

paintbug
01-20-2002, 04:36 PM
Thank you all for some very incitful comments. I have book marked the Talens website and I'm sure I'll spend a lot of time there. I also looked up the Utrecht site and they have color chart too all though it is not as informative but still useful.

This is all relatively new to me and I'm having a lot of fun learning about it.:)

Michael2
01-20-2002, 08:35 PM
Originally posted by Einion
Some ranges have a premium price attached (many of the continental European brands like Sennelier, Schminke, Old Holland and Lefranc & Bourgeois would definitely fall into this category) and in some cases at least this is definitely not warranted by the quality of the product
Lefranc and Bourgeois has been manufacturing paint since 1720, and a lot great and famous artists used their paints. Bouguereau said good things about their paints.

People will pay extra money for that mystique. But it's bogus mystique. The people manufacturing the paints in the 1800s are long since dead, and there have been much improvements in paint manufacturing technology.

The most common brand in the United States is Winsor & Newton which is based out of the United Kingdom. Their oil colors are overpriced too, compared to Grumbacher which is the biggest American manufacturer of artists paints. I definitely recommend Grumbacher Pre-Tested artists oils because they cost less than imported brands and I can't tell the difference between Grumbacher and W&N. Unfortunately Grumbacher seems to be becoming harder to find. Their marketing department isn't doing a very good job.

Some painters think the brand of paint makes a really huge difference. My opinion is that psychologically it makes a big difference to them, but the reality is that all the major brands of paint have good quality.

I've never tried Old Holland which some people say is so fabulous, but I just don't care to fork over $30 for one tube of paint.

paintbug
01-21-2002, 10:35 PM
$30 for a tube of paint, ouch! Thanks for the information I have transferred this thread in print format to what I call my art folder. I do have another question, but I will post it as a new thread.

paintbug

Einion
01-22-2002, 02:00 AM
Originally posted by Michael
People will pay extra money for that mystique. But it's bogus mystique.
Well said.

Originally posted by Michael
Some painters think the brand of paint makes a really huge difference. My opinion is that psychologically it makes a big difference to them, but the reality is that all the major brands of paint have good quality.
Ditto.

Good point about the price of W&N, I tend to forget they are more expensive over there. Still, if you buy online the prices are competitive.

Paintbug, how about an RRP of sixty-five bucks for some colours! Double ouch.

Einion