View Full Version : The worlds' best oil paint

cobalt fingers
06-12-2002, 09:31 PM
Price being not an issue, which is the best made oil paint (that you've actually used) whys are most welcome. Personal experience counts-I've read the reports and the ads. What do you say?

06-12-2002, 10:32 PM
BlockX, in my opinion. Mussini running a close second.

For a full explanation of how I came to this conclusion, see http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=2518 where I tell the whole story.

06-13-2002, 08:57 AM
Read Here,
this may help you on your quest,
Cobalt fingers

Look up - Michael Harding Artist Oil Colours.

click here -


scroll down the page to - PUBLICATIONS

Click on it.

Click on the image saying -


note carefully the Companies tested.


06-13-2002, 09:33 AM
Interesting Information Titanium - Thanks!

06-13-2002, 10:10 AM
Your welcome Guillot,

but I have been cautioned by the old heads
that oily paints does not mean poor paint.

G.L. Hoff
06-13-2002, 01:28 PM
Depends on the criteria established to call a paint "best."

My criteria are 1)handling--how does the paint go on, mix with itself and other paint, etc; 2)pigment quality--is the paint made with high quality pigments that are ground so as to maximize brilliance and chroma; 3)pigment load--how much pigment (the most important component of the paint) is in the mix, how is the mix stabilized, are there extenders used and what is the effect, to name a few; 4)price; and 5)permanence/lightfastness. I'm sure there are others, and I'd be interested to see what anybody else says.

So among the big manufacturers, taking all of the above into consideration, I think Winsor and Newton is a good buy. Daniel Smith makes a good line and are now a big manufacturer--I like the Autograph line best. Old Holland is is also good and makes quality paint. I've used all of these. I've also used Grumbacher and don't care for their line as much.

And lastly, for price, paint quality, service, and all-around fun, I like Doak & Associates, an independent in Brooklyn, NY.

Also, the "Results from Independent Tests" alluded to above is a different set of criteria and only two colors (ultramarine and yellow ochre) were tested. No indication of value for the money, and IMO not very definitive. Also, one of the criteria, particle size, may be important--some pigments lose brilliance if over-mulled and others are fine at tiny particle size.


cobalt fingers
06-13-2002, 01:48 PM
This is my point; one cad red medium or Thalo blue tube will last me a year. The very best paint cost only $7 or $8 more than the average grade...so price is not important. Clearly we all have different goals and desires for the paints.

here's a note that confuses me for instance;

I KNOW Old Holland paint is really good, lean pure paint. It's very heavy compared to others. The earth colors are so lean as to prompt me to add oil-which I don't wish to do often, this is one odd feature of this brand that only artists using the stuff would talk about. This is the sort of insider trader knowledge I'm hoping for.

06-13-2002, 03:44 PM

normally when hand mulling,

Ultramarine blue can be troublesome, you mull
as stiffly as you can and a few days later or so,
the stuff goes liquid gooey and normally your
advised to add a little wax to keep the texture
of the paint usable.

Yellow Ochre / Mars Yellow also mulls well and
ages poorly, going gooey, separating and leaving
the tube as oil, follwed by stringy pigment.

To counter this alumina stearate , alumina hydrate
, blanc fixe and other fillers are added by commercial
tubes [ shelf life ].

When I paint , my hand mulled stuff covers.
My cad.lemon yellow turns commercial ultramarine
a light green.

If you see the Mayer diagrams on page 148 of the
3rd edition of The Artist's Handbook , it will all be

This is why the older heads look at oily paints as
often being useful.

A hand muller may not have as complete dispersal
of pigment in oil, as a 3 roller mill.
Hope this helps.

G.L. Hoff
06-14-2002, 12:49 AM
Not sure what hand mulling has to do with one's preferences for a brand of oil paint...but thanks for the note. I do understand (and have done it myself) but the question was what was the best paint I've used. Haven't even seen yours.

Wayne Gaudon
06-14-2002, 06:37 AM
I have tried only 4 brands to date as I am relatively new to oils. That said, I bought Aritsan WN Water Soluible .. Liked them but found them stiff
.. Then I tried Grumbracher .. 50% of the tubes were old and dried out .. just garbage .. that, I think is more of a reflection on the seller than the manfacturer but I wasn't impressed with the paints
.. tried Van Gogh and found them too soft and oily and Van Gogh have the worst tops as they fill up after a few uses and you can't get them to screw in properly ever after.

.. tried Winton and find the paints wonderful .. the only problem is the Yellows come in hues and not colors so I would guess that is a problem. I don't know the long or short of it. Also, the Winton 200ml tubes have the best tops as they come on and off without a hitch.

06-14-2002, 07:36 AM
Best paint ever used ,

an impossible question to answer.
Highly individual responses.

One can prefer a texture similar to toothpaste
and use paint with more fillers than pigment.
[ and be ignorant of the problem of fillers]
Or an oily paint, with only pigment.

All I look for in paint is covering power.
Simply, pigment and oil, able to be used as
it comes from the tube or the muller.

Extra oil from the commercial tube can be
drawn off, but I am paying for the extra oil,
and losing on pigment.

Now what commercial company can offer filler
free, non oily paint and still have a shelf life?

I use Doak's Blue Ochre, he has a good reputation.
The tube has free oil at times, but the paste part
covers well and manipulates well.The colour is
also mulled in walnut oil , an excellent slow dry.

Wayne Gaudon
06-14-2002, 08:11 AM
[ Titanium .... and be ignorant of the problem of fillers]

OK, ignorant is not a very good explanation of my position because of it's association with being rude and obnoxious as well as it's different associations with being stupid. I do believe that is far removed from being uninformed.

I have no formal education in art so I am rather uninformed as to fillers, etc. Would you please be so kind as to fill me in. I posted a question here Asking for the short and long on hues and student paint vs good paint (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=46054)
but have had no response. Perhaps you or someone else can enlighten me.

Thank you.

06-14-2002, 09:57 AM

if you start with Mayer [ I left page and edition in
the post with Dr.Hoff ] and let it soak in , you would
have a great deal of understanding about paints.

Student paints are just that, student paints.
I would suggest you use them to practice or
better still, go to an Atelier or Studio school
and let them slowly fill you in.

If in Canada, look up John Angel Studios[ on-line].

For more concentrated information on-line see-


join and ask away.

Enion knows his stuff.

* Ignorant - lacking knowledge - The pocket Oxford Dictionary

[ We are English on this side , when not speaking in West Indian
/ Caribbean dialect - varies island to island - chuckle]

cobalt fingers
06-14-2002, 10:02 AM
I've found the info on cowdisley to be better, more well researched and most importantly more UP TO DATE than Mayers which reads to me at times like it e was written in the 50's.

Wayne Gaudon
06-14-2002, 10:19 AM
Thank you

... as for Oxford .. it's all in the context of the content .. but that's another story. It's a word, like many, that should be removed from the English language.



You ignorant B------ !
You are just a stupid ignorant idiot!

I regrett to say that I am ignorant of the facts you argue.



06-14-2002, 10:23 AM
Cobalt fingers - it probably was [ written in the 50's] -chuckle.

But Wayne needs a base to work from and there are 3 diagrams
of oil, pigment with filler in a tube .Images that he would find helpful.

Ray Smith's book is more modern, but since 1987, so a new
one is needed.

Hope to see more of you on Cowdisley.

06-14-2002, 07:10 PM
I am only painting in oil's for the second year.
I go to University, thinking I would learn more, oh boy, was I wrong, but it gives me inspiration, to see other peoples work !

As to oils:
at home I use ARTISAN, the water based, as my workplace is next to bedroom, I prefer the lesser smell.
I got to love the ease of handling, just water to thin. But I also use, what we here in ausralia call No 4 medium, to get interesing texture, as with water soluble and water resistant.

I love using brushes, spatulas, fingers anything that takes my fancy, so of course the waterbased oil is much less problematic, as you can imagine. I am learnig to use a colour wheel, that has a 'warm' and 'cold' colour each. I found that a tremendous help, as it lets me mix colours to predictable results. I worked this out, when I first tried to mix purple, I had a hard time, now with the two colours each, its a breeze.
(PS: happy to tell you more, if your interested)

At Uni I use the 'normal' oil paints, I found it makes a lot of difference, how old the tube is, when I buy it.
It really is trial and error, so I usually try and get expensive oil paints, when they are on special, buy big, 4 - 6 oz. tubes. Again working with my 2 colour chart, I don't have to get that many colours, as I can easyly mix them.

Hope this has been of some help, it will really depend how you paint, eg, thin or thick, use medium or not, what background, what you are trying to paint, on how the oil paint is suitable.
So, I don't think there is any Brand that is better than the other, specially here in Australia, if the paint has been sitting in a truck in the heat for a few hours, I am sure it changes the consistency, just to give you an example.

Keep smiling, and trying that oil's,


cobalt fingers
06-20-2002, 11:28 PM
any thoughts on these new ones that are thought to be very good?

06-21-2002, 08:00 AM
I haven't tried OH or Bloxx yet, but a few galleried pleinairists swore by Danacolors ( new enough not to show up on these lightfast tests) and I tried it and love the paint.

It stays smooth without medium and lasts and lasts. It's expensive but loaded with pigment and goes a long way. Best thing is it never dries out. Plus the company Classic Artist Oils is so helpful, it's a pleasure to do business with them.


06-21-2002, 08:55 AM
I use the Windsor Newton water soluble oils. I couldnt work with oils for years because they bothered my breathing and I got headaches.. I find these great for me. I have only been using them for the last several months. Its nice to come back to them as they are what I started with years ago as a kid.

06-22-2002, 09:13 AM
Hi Titanium - Good information as always - could not read Harding's chart on the screen so I printed it and now I can read it with a magnifier!! I like Old Holland as I have said in the past. Have bookmarked the yahoo site and will take a peak. Doesn't look like Gamblin got very good marks - but I would like to look into that further. I know that it has always been very controversial - but it's appealing because of the lack of additives. Again, thanks.

P.S. Looked at my Mayer's book - the first edition was printed in 1940 - and was revised a couple of times up to 1971.

06-23-2002, 10:44 AM
I use Old Holland and Bloxx. I like them both.

cobalt fingers
06-23-2002, 02:31 PM
does anyone who where to reach Doaks? I can't find them anywhere.

06-23-2002, 05:06 PM
You can find Robert Doak through the http://studioproducts.com forum.

G.L. Hoff
06-24-2002, 11:07 AM
Robert Doak can be reached at

Robert Doak & Associates
89 Bridge St.
Brookly, NY 11201

He doesn't use a computer or take plastic, but you can call an order in at 718-237-1210. Robert answers the phone himself and talking with him is a real hoot sometimes. He's very opinionated but has (in my experience) rock-solid integrity and won't mislead simply to make a buck. Ships anywhere. I think you can find a copy of his "catalog" (handwritten product list) at the Cennini forum...


06-24-2002, 03:11 PM
I use Rowney Georgian and Rembrant. Rembrant is wonderful.

I painted the Queen's Portrait and sent it to her and she sent it back saying it wasn't good enough but she didn't complain about the paint. (only kidding)