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View Full Version : FOCUS GROUP: Watercolor Paints/Mediums/etc.


scottb
09-03-2002, 01:48 AM
My initial thoughts:

I've loaded up a number of watercolor paints/mediums into the product review system. You can check the demo at any time to see what is there, what isn't, etc.

What we need to do is to continue compiling a solid list of the vendors and their brands If you can find vendor logos/info for vendors that don't have them yet, product images, product descriptions, etc., post 'em here and I'll incorporate them into the review system. If you can't find product images of good quality, product descriptions, etc., or don't have the time, that's okay - just post the vendor/brand name here, and I'll research it.

Also, we need to focus on the rating types for the various Watercolor-related categories. To get us started, feel free to look at the Oil Paints thread for some ideas, as well as the current list of questions for Oil Paints.

NOTE: We will do gouache separately!

The Current List

Here is the current list (which I will try to keep as up-to-date as possible):


Color Variety
Consistency/Workability
Container/Tube Quality
Pigment/Color Quality
Value for the Money


Cheers.
Scott

Rose Queen
09-03-2002, 10:25 PM
Here's logo and other info on another fine manufacturer of both watercolors, acrylics and oils: http://www.danielsmith.com/2002/about/about-manufacturing.html

BobH
09-04-2002, 12:19 PM
How about Cheap Joe's American Journey brand of watercolor? (I'd go grab a copy of the logo etc, but I'm supposed to be working ;) )

Bob

karenjh
09-04-2002, 02:35 PM
Here are a few on-line stores:

Art Xpress: www.artxpress.com

Cheap Joes: www.cheapjoescatalog.com

The Art Store: www.artstore.com (also have brick & mortar stores)

Mister Art: www.misterart.com

Hope this helps!

Rich Williams
09-06-2002, 01:15 AM
http://opusframingandartsupplies.com/
http://www.aswsale.com/arwatpap.html
http://www.artsuppliesdirect.ca/
http://www.waterbasedinks.com/about.html
http://www.artistsclub.com/ac/Lobby.asp
http://www.watercolorpassion.com/link.html
http://www.winsornewton.com/Main/Sitesections/ColorChartsAll/ColourchartsUSA/artistswatercolour.pdf

scottb
09-06-2002, 01:18 AM
Hi there, gang. Thanks for all the links. However, I think we're pretty set with regard to the initial batch of vendors and products. Subsequent, individual products and vendors, can be suggested through the actual review system itself.

What we need is a very energetic discussion of what rating questions we need to ask reviewers for watercolors, watercolors mediums, etc.

Cheers.
Scott

Rich Williams
09-06-2002, 01:24 AM
Scott a rating system like a pole of different brands, like WN, Daniel Smith, etc would help.
The same holds true for papers, Arches, Strathmore etc.
Doing a list with area to rate 1-10 would allow each person to rate the different products they have used.

Rich

scottb
09-06-2002, 09:34 AM
Rich, thanks much for the input. However, it doesn't really fit in with the model we're using. Take a look at the initial thread posted here (called Overview: Important Information), as well as the demo, to get a feel for how we're approaching it.

Almost at 1,000 products now! :D

Rich Williams
09-06-2002, 10:17 PM
Scott read the overview and now understand where you are going with this. If you need some assistance re the watercolor let me know by PM and indicate what you need.

Rich

scottb
09-06-2002, 10:57 PM
Hi there, Rich, and thanks for the offer. ;)

As you can imagine, I don't have PMs enabled for my forums account (otherwise, I'd be replying to PMs all day - lol). As I don't have them enabled, I can't send them - stupid forum software!

Basically, I'd love your thoughts relative to what we might ask a potential reviewer about things like watercolor paints and mediums. The mediums are a tough lot, because there are different types of products in that category. The paints category will be a little more detailed, I imagine.

I'm not a watercolorist, but imagine questions around the pigment quality, transparency qualities, color selection/variety in the brand, etc. would be a good starting point. The oils thread had some pretty good banter about this - I imagine a lot of it is re-usable.

It is important that we get it right the first time, as once we roll it out with the rating questions in place, we can't easily go back and add new ones to categories that already have reviews!

Cheers.
Scott

scottb
09-08-2002, 05:30 PM
I've updated the list at the top - thoughts?

Rich Williams
09-08-2002, 10:18 PM
Color comparisons of paints, (By Name), are important as each manufacture has their own particular name for colors. The color hue's are similar but the names are often different.

Watercolors have different degrees of
: transparency
: staining
: fading

Guaches should also be studied as the are opeak watercolors.

The grade of watercolor paint often indicates the amount of true pigment over fillers used in the manufacture of the paint.
This address's the workability. With good quality paint you use less to achieve the same reults but with more transparancy and brighter colors.


Just some quick thoughts

Rich

scottb
09-08-2002, 10:23 PM
Originally posted by Rich Williams
Color comparisons of paints, (By Name), are important as each manufacture has their own particular name for colors. The color hue's are similar but the names are often different.


I agree, but that isn't really the purpose of the rating system, Rich. :) Trying to devise a system to compare individual colors between brands and mediums would be an entirely different animal than what we have now.


Watercolors have different degrees of
: transparency
: staining
: fading


So would you recommend these 3 as individual rating questions? Any chance of cobbling up a quick description for each, in the form of a question, as we would present them to a reviewer? And what the 5 possible answers would be, from worst to best, for each? :)



Guaches should also be studied as the are opeak watercolors.


They are in a separate category ... we will do those separately from traditional artist's watercolors.


The grade of watercolor paint often indicates the amount of true pigment over fillers used in the manufacture of the paint.
This address's the workability. With good quality paint you use less to achieve the same reults but with more transparancy and brighter colors.


So is our "Consistency/Workability" question unnecessary for watercolors? Or is it still something we should ask, as it may vary from one brand to the next?

Cheers.
Scott

Rich Williams
09-08-2002, 10:58 PM
Watercolors have different degrees of
: transparency
: staining
: fading



So would you recommend these 3 as individual rating questions? Any chance of cobbling up a quick description for each, in the form of a question, as we would present them to a reviewer? And what the 5 possible answers would be, from worst to best, for each?
Yes these three questions should be included

Transparency the colors ability to show light from within.
opeak, muddy when mixed with one color,
somewhat transparent, clear when mixed with other colors, clear and bright when glazed over

Staining how the color affects the paper and the ability to lift out color after it has been applied.
stains quickly, slight stain, removable with some effort, light stain, no stain

Fading how the paint will react and will the color fade in time with exposure to bright light.
will fade, mild fading in sunlight, UVL added,
sunlight color fast no fading

quote:

quote

The grade of watercolor paint often indicates the amount of true pigment over fillers used in the manufacture of the paint.
This address's the work ability. With good quality paint you use less to achieve the same results but with more transparency and brighter colors.



So is our "Consistency/Work ability" question unnecessary for watercolors? Or is it still something we should ask, as it may vary from one brand to the next?
I think that the question should still be asked as it goes to the mater of how each person works their paint.


I also think that we might need to address some of the mediums used in watercolor

Gum Arabic, ox gall, etc.

Support WetCanvas!: NYOS - Cool WC! gear! - WC! Web Hosting for Artists!

scottb
09-08-2002, 11:17 PM
Thanks for the descriptive info, Rich - I'll work it in ...

Originally posted by Rich Williams

I also think that we might need to address some of the mediums used in watercolor

Gum Arabic, ox gall, etc.


Those are already in. We have a separate categories for the various types of Mediums. :)

Cheers.
Scott

Gisele
09-09-2002, 07:44 AM
Scott, there can easily be confusion where watercolor is concerned. What I like to know when discussing watercolor is:
transparency
lightfastness
granulating or not?
workability (is it overbound with gum...?)
the complete name (and number) appearing on the tube
and most importantly the pigments used in the tube

So many manufacturers identify a paint with one name when that pigment is not even present in the tube; EX. Holbein cobalt blue hue w291 which is made with: PB29 ultramarine blue and PB15 phtalocyanine blue. This is an artist quality paint but not behaving like true cobalt.

They sometimes just give a fancy name which is quite meaningless :Winsor green for example which is actually PG7 phtalocyanine green.

Gisele:)

scottb
09-09-2002, 09:42 AM
Originally posted by Gisele
Scott, there can easily be confusion where watercolor is concerned. What I like to know when discussing watercolor is:
transparency
lightfastness
granulating or not?
workability (is it overbound with gum...?)


We have the last one on your list already (workability).

Doesn't lightfastness (and permanence) vary from one color to the next? If so, it would be tough to ask this question. Of course, if it is possible to evaluate an entire brand or line of paints with regard to lightfastness, this would be a good one.

I'm not a watercolorist, so could you expand on "transparency" and "granulating"? In other words, what would I ask a reviewer (in question form) and what might the 5 possible answers be?


the complete name (and number) appearing on the tube
and most importantly the pigments used in the tube

So many manufacturers identify a paint with one name when that pigment is not even present in the tube; EX. Holbein cobalt blue hue w291 which is made with: PB29 ultramarine blue and PB15 phtalocyanine blue. This is an artist quality paint but not behaving like true cobalt.

They sometimes just give a fancy name which is quite meaningless :Winsor green for example which is actually PG7 phtalocyanine green.


Gisele, as I've pointed out before, we are not working at the "color" or "tube" level, we are working at the "brand" level. So variancies among colors in a brand is something that we will not get into. Reviewers can, of course, bring out these subtleties in the text of their review.

Cheers.
Scott

Gisele
09-09-2002, 12:37 PM
Scott, still nowadays there are paints which are used by watercolorists that are meant to be used by illustrators only: illustrators don't need their paints to be lightfast, but watercolorists do...it depends on the pigment and not on the brand.

There are 4 levels of transparency: transparent, semi-transparent, semi-opaque and opaque. Very important in my opinion. They don't behave the same on paper. But then again you wouldn't be dealing with the "brands" but with specific pigments.

Some pigments granulate naturally; that's the way they are. Cerulean blue for example. Most pigments don't. So here they do or they don't.

Since you are dealing with "brands" rather than pigments I don't know if this is of any help...

Gisele:)

Teddi
09-09-2002, 10:23 PM
Evaluating watercolors by brand will, by definition, be extremely generalized. I don't know any serious watercolorist who doesn't have favorite pigments; I'm hardly a pro, but even I have particular colors I prefer in particular brands. You can't judge transparency, lightfastness, granulation, staining or any other pigment-specific quality by brand.

"Brand" defined qualities might be:

_ texture (of the paint itself: too thick, too thin, just right? Consistent between colors?)
_ ratio of pigment to carrier (how much do you have to use to get the intensity you want?)
_ consistency from one tube to the next (same colors always identical, texture the same)
_ quality of labeling (pigment numbers given, lightfastness rating, etc)
_ quality of packaging (tubes don't pop, leak, dry out)
_ value for the money

Probably others, those are the ones that spring to mind.

pampe
09-13-2002, 06:48 PM
Scott

I like this idea...but the whole "BRAND" generalization won't work....there are good and better and best tubes within each brand...the generaliztions are pretty lame without specifics about "payne's gray"

Pam

scottb
09-13-2002, 09:56 PM
Originally posted by pampe
I like this idea...but the whole "BRAND" generalization won't work....there are good and better and best tubes within each brand...the generaliztions are pretty lame without specifics about "payne's gray"


Which is exactly why there is a plain-text review area, so that each reviewer can add their specific pros/cons, strengths/weaknesses, etc. :)

I agree in that it is very difficult to make generalizations by brand with regard to certain technical aspects, such as lightfastness. This is exactly why we need to focus on identifying things that *are* easily measurable, and leave the rest to the reviewer to expand upon in their text. :)

Cheers.
Scott

nonamac
09-17-2002, 05:39 AM
Scott,

Analysis by brand is not going to be particularly useful in watercolour, because the important characteristics of watercolour vary way too much from pigment to pigment. For example, SOME Old Holland colours are extremely overbound; some are not -- it would be highly innaccurate to say that OH colours are overbound, and insufficient to leave that very important information out.

Transparency, staining, lightfastness, granualtion, pigment strength, vary by colour, not by maker.

Every professional, and most amateur, watercolourists I know choose their colours by these characteristics alone, not by brand. My palette, too, is a wide mixture of brands, each colour carefully chosen for the above characteristics.

I suspect that the free text box would have to overflow with specific pigment information if the evaluation is by brand.

nonamac

scottb
09-17-2002, 09:29 AM
I agree. In fact, all of my posts have been supportive of this concept thus far. :)

However, it is realistically impossible for us to do this by color. We'd have 3,000 items in every category. We have to make certain generalizations - there is no way to get around this, I'm afraid.

When we say rate the "pigment quality" of this brand, or rate the "consistency", obviously certain colors would fare better than others within that brand. However, we can still make a general assessment of the brand. It is either a good brand, or it isn't. They either use quality materials (for the most part), or they don't. The colors are either generally consistent, or they are not.

If Old Holland Watercolors were fantastic, with the exception of their blues, this would be reflected in the reviewer's rating, and expanded upon in the text.

The challenge here is to focus on building a list of questions that *do* make sense to ask.

Cheers.
Scott

nonamac
09-17-2002, 06:35 PM
Originally posted by scottb
we can still make a general assessment of the brand. It is either a good brand, or it isn't. They either use quality materials (for the most part), or they don't. The colors are either generally consistent, or they are not.
In my experience, watercolours lack much consistency across a single brand. But yes, some brands do offer more acceptable colours than others.

The challenge here is to focus on building a list of questions that *do* make sense to ask.
LOL!! It's much tougher than I thought!!!

Thanks!
nonamac

CUTDAKRAPP
10-07-2002, 12:43 AM
new to the site and posts, so forgive any ingenuosity, mistake, or awkardness.

I got a copy of the book "the wilcox guide to the best watercolor paints" for whoever needs to know the info you have been discusing on almost every watercolor hue, pigment, and brand. (or at least any color/brand that has a lightfastness 1 or 2.

scottb
10-14-2002, 10:32 AM
Any more thoughts on this? As soon as we can finalize a list of questions for watercolor paints, I can roll out this category ... :)

nonamac
10-14-2002, 11:25 PM
Lots more thoughts, Scott -- and all of them that brand has almost nothing to do with why I ever choose a tube of watercolour. I honestly don't believe that brand rating will be useful to anyone. Sorry.

nonamac

scottb
10-15-2002, 12:27 AM
Originally posted by nonamac
Lots more thoughts, Scott -- and all of them that brand has almost nothing to do with why I ever choose a tube of watercolour. I honestly don't believe that brand rating will be useful to anyone. Sorry.


Yes, it will. It will be of little use to you, apparently, but will be of value to others. Again, we all know that there are pros and cons with any "brand", be it oil, watercolor, etc. This is a problem not centric to solely watercolors. However, there are "brands" that are, all in all, better than others.

If you have years of experience to fall back on, and are knowledgeable about the distinctions between brands, then the product review system isn't a tool that you would necessarily use anyway. :)

Cheers.
Scott

Carrie
10-22-2002, 11:06 AM
At this point n my painting career, My choice of paint. i.e.getting a new tube of paint is based solely on the recomendation of a workshop instructor or another painter friend. (because I get to see what it can do) I don't think a generalized description of a brand is going to influence me in any way. I must have 8 or9 different brands of paint tubes in the kit. Then I got a bunch of pan colors to take in a travel kit.
What is this list going to be good for? Sorry to be such a pain.

Carrie


PS I'm editing this because I thought of one more thing. Beginning ppainting students of mine I've noticed for the most part, are only going to buy what they can afford. It always takes some pretty powerful persuasion to get them to upgrade their brushes and buy a good quality paper. I don't push higher quality paint over student grade untill They have the a prety good paper and one natural brush. Maybe some other watercolor people agree?

Elankat
12-02-2002, 02:19 PM
Originally posted by scottb


Yes, it will. It will be of little use to you, apparently, but will be of value to others. Again, we all know that there are pros and cons with any "brand", be it oil, watercolor, etc. This is a problem not centric to solely watercolors. However, there are "brands" that are, all in all, better than others.

If you have years of experience to fall back on, and are knowledgeable about the distinctions between brands, then the product review system isn't a tool that you would necessarily use anyway. :)

Cheers.
Scott

Sorry Scott. I have to disagree and side with others here. Brand really has almost no usefullness at all to me and I am an absolute beginner with watercolors. I have bought my first paints and there is already a mix of brands. My choices were made solely upon pigments within brand lines since they can vary widely. Things like lightfastness and transparency are so varied between brands and pigments that I think it becomes important. In colored pencil, I don't see this. People pretty much stick with one or two brands and use the colors in that brand, filling in with other brands if needed. It seems that watercolorists make their buying choices based on the pigment and not the brand.

Even though I am a brand spanking new watercolor beginner with no experience to fall back on, I wouldn't have found much use for a brand rating. It's pretty apparent what the top few brands are. I used handprint's palette as my reference. It would be so nice if Wetcanvas had a simpler version of categorizing by pigment or even basic colors like blues or magentas. The handprint thing gave me headaches because it was almost too much for me to absorb.

http://www.handprint.com/HP/WCL/waterfs.html

scottb
12-02-2002, 02:20 PM
Well there seems to be no need for watercolors in the review system - moving on to the next one then ...

oleCC
12-10-2002, 07:07 PM
Scott.... are you talking about something similar to the "Wilcox Guide to the best Watercolor Paints".. ?
I use this to rate brands and colors. It is very informative and sounds to me like it is just what you are asking for. It is published by Colour School Publishers, and seem quite un-biased, about brands etc.
Carol

Nitsa
02-28-2003, 07:46 PM
Hi Scott!
I have just been reading through all of the threads related to this one and, although I feel for you (It's quite a challenge you are tackling here!) I have to agree that I can't see it being of any help evaluating just the brand names.
I have only been using watercolour for a few weeks and it is so much more complex than just brands. I have 5 different brands in my art box now and they are all excellent in different ways! Mostly I would gather that the divide isn't brand but artist and student quality. Once into the artist quality it's just a case of selecting the pallette you require, which is where pigment, transparency, luminousity etc.... come into the equation.

I think that on other forums this would be really helpful, as one usually purchases "A" box of pastels as opposed to a stick from various brands......Maybe I am wrong?

As a newcomer to watercolour I need to know more than just what brand is best for what, I need to know which "colour" paint does what and what brand name it is under. Selecting the wrong green could make my piece turn "muddy", I need to know which green is more translucent, which green compliments which red the best etc..
Paints are so expensive, I can't afford to purchase a whole brands' range and try them all out myself, I need a "taylor made" pallette and info on how to aquire that.

Sorry to dampen your effort but I think it will be alot of work for the information it will provide us with! :(

Alachua Artist
04-17-2003, 01:47 PM
A suggestion for one of the rating criteria could be AVAILABILITY.

I am a gouache artist, and find it very difficult to purchase only Windsor Newton brand in my area. And what's worse, even the vendors seem to have a limited amount of colors in stock. Of course, on-line purchases can be done, but when I run out of a specific color during a project, I would hope the local art supply store could carry what I need. I'm not talking any exotic colors, either.

Knowing which brand(s) and selection are more readily carried and where would definite influence my purchases from vendors.

laudesan
05-19-2003, 07:22 PM
Do you have any links for artisits supplies in Brisbane Australia???

pampe
09-13-2003, 11:26 PM
I'm sorry

I am trying to understand

Because Rich Williams and others state that one BRAND of watercolor paint does not do it....that they vary by the tube...you state...MOVING on


and there goes watercolor?






Have I missed a chapter?

Scott


watercolor paint VARIES


we don't make this up...it's true


you cannot generalize by BRAND



PLEASE






Pam

scottb
09-14-2003, 01:30 AM
I disagree - I still think there are certain "ratable" questions that one can ask about all brands of watercolors - whether or not we have identified (or can easily identify) them, is another story.

Nevertheless, it looks as if the watercolor group here is against it, and thats ok. Look for watercolors to be rolled out soon - probably with just a simple "overall rating" question ...

scottb
01-14-2004, 12:16 PM
Watercolors and watercolor mediums have now been activated in the review library ...