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View Full Version : Pan watercolors; Grumbacher, Pelikan, Talens?


Alex1
03-03-2010, 12:48 PM
I've use tubes exclusively until I tried my nephew's Cretacolor pan set. It was so convenient I want one too. I don't want to get WN pans at $6 a pan, so has anyone found a decent, inexpensive brand?

Locally I can get Grumbacher, Pelikan, Talens, maybe a few others.

Srishti
03-03-2010, 01:20 PM
A very good way is to make your own pans!
You can buy empty pans from daniel smith and fill them up with your tubes and let them dry. Then whenever you paint with them, just spritz them with water and they should be nice and moist in a few minutes!
PS: better yet, the cheapest way would be to get one of those empty plastic watercolor palettes (which you can find just about anywhere...) and squeeze some your your tubes in the empty sections/slots (can't find the right word...)

maca2310
03-03-2010, 01:27 PM
Hi Alex1,

From those that you mentioned I tried Talens Rembrandt watercolors, both as pans and in tubes. They are really nice watercolors and I like them very much. Also the tube paint set very nicely in the pans so you can easily make your own pan set.
I also use pans and find them quite handy. I usually make my own, and currently my palette is mix of Schmincke (most of my colors), Talens Rembrandt, few W&N, Maimeri and Lefranc & Bourgeois. I find that the pans I make from tube paints work just the same for me as pan watercolors you buy. I have them both and they are same to me. So, you might also consider making your own pans from the paints you already have.

Alma

jmb57
03-04-2010, 03:33 AM
agree with the above suggestions, buy the tube paint and put in foldup palettes....there are lots of discussion here about palette type/brands...and 1/2 or full size pans....
i also use pill boxes, they often fit comfortably in an empty tin, so that is another cheap alternative.
as for the paints you mentioned, i have used pelican and found them very good, in fact they were the brand my teacher at the time insisted we purchase for the classes. since then i use mainly m.graham and w&n
you will find heaps of info on the forum here about brands of paint as well
good luck

karenlee
03-04-2010, 05:12 PM
I use Talens Rembrandt pans and love the set. The big advantage is that Talens Rembrandt tube paints are the same formula as the pan paints, so you can refill empty pans with Talens tube paint if you live in the USA, where Rembrandt replacement pans have to be special ordered. Dick Blick carries Rembrandt Talens tubes. The other great thing is the Rembrandt tube prices--their 20ml tube of Ultramarine Blue costs $6.88 while the 15ml tube of Schmincke is $12.99, which is nearly 3 times the cost of Talens Rembrandt!
Finally (excuse me, readers who have seen me post this before) one of the most popular brands of tube watercolor, Winsor Newton, does not fill their tubes with the same formulation as their pans. This means the once the tube paints have dried out in a pan or palette, some of them are hardened for the rest of astronomical time! Yes, I know some painters have success spritzing them before starting to paint, but my experience has been, that never works.
I am happy to see that more painters are discovering how much more convenient the pans are. It's puzzling that tubes are more popular in the US, but not in Europe.

Yoolie
03-05-2010, 04:39 PM
I can't recommend the Pelikan paints. Someone in my evening class has them and they are not like watercolours at all (he does have the ones labelled as watercolours, not the school kid kind). They are opaque and dull. More like tempera or (low quality) gouache.

If you can get them where you live, the Schmincke Akadamie (student quality) are quite good.

--
julia

KarenSioson
03-05-2010, 05:37 PM
Hi,

I have tried Pelikan and Prang pan color sets while in college. While Pelikan may offer more colors in their set, the colors are not as bright as the colors you can produce with Prang. Also, my Pelikan set tended to get mold growths but Prang doesn't. Both sets I have tried have undergone daily abuse of being stored and transported while still not completely dry. Has to do with our daily renderings at school. Have no time to air them out properly.

But if you want really bright not so expensive watercolors, I've found Sakura paints to be the best. I'm not sure if they have it in pans though. I've always used the tubed ones. You can improvise though and just squirt your tubed colors into your empty pans. I've found Sakura more transparent than the others.

But student grade watercolors have a tendency to fade or change color overtime. What may seem a good cheap investment at first, you may regret later on when you witness them losing their brilliance over time.

Karen

JPQ
03-06-2010, 09:20 AM
i must say even Talens Van Gogh series is nice product.

JustinM
03-06-2010, 03:12 PM
i must say even Talens Van Gogh series is nice product.

Agreed. Depending upon what you're doing they might even be a better choice. I use Rembrandt for almost all of my studio work, but I very often turn to Van Gogh for bright (almost to the point of being non-natural) paintings. Van Gogh would be my first choice for illustrating a childrens book, for example.

JustinM
03-06-2010, 03:15 PM
I use Talens Rembrandt pans and love the set. The big advantage is that Talens Rembrandt tube paints are the same formula as the pan paints, so you can refill empty pans with Talens tube paint

Most brands use the same pigments in their tubes as well as their pans. Rembrandt does say "the same formula" in their literature, but Id be willing to be dollars for donuts that there's slightly different binders in both. I do exactly as you're describing (fill up my pans with tube rembrandt) and there is a marked difference in how they "reactivate" - its subtle and its not a bid deal (I always start off a painting session by spraying down my palette before i start) but they are not 'exactly' the same.

karenlee
03-06-2010, 07:18 PM
Hi Justin,
Regarding the Rembrandt tube and pan formulas-- I am only going by what the Talens customer service lady in Holland emailed me when I asked the question. (I'm no chemist, so I can't verify anything.)
-Karen

JPQ
03-07-2010, 12:51 PM
Agreed. Depending upon what you're doing they might even be a better choice. I use Rembrandt for almost all of my studio work, but I very often turn to Van Gogh for bright (almost to the point of being non-natural) paintings. Van Gogh would be my first choice for illustrating a childrens book, for example.

not me becouse there is not granalting pigments what i really want when if i going illustrating kids book... and at least colour chart ultramarine blue (i have painted chart) is darker than few others what i know and few other hues what i want this type works...

JustinM
03-07-2010, 01:14 PM
Hi Justin,
Regarding the Rembrandt tube and pan formulas-- I am only going by what the Talens customer service lady in Holland emailed me when I asked the question. (I'm no chemist, so I can't verify anything.)
-Karen

Well, and like i said, its not technically wrong - what they use is the same pigment & pigment amounts - the paints are, in effect, the same - but the have differing amounts of binder meaning they do react (very) slightly differently.

My bigger point was that while rembrandt says on their products "the same formulation" in fact, most professional grade watercolour manafacturers do the same. This doesnt detract from Rembrandt's excellent line (has been my choice for many many years) but they arent unique in this end. ;)

Alex1
03-07-2010, 06:07 PM
Re. Justin's comment on different binders and how they re-activate.

I also suspected tubes and pans used slightly different formulations and contacted WN about this. They confirmed it and said that pans are made to dry, be re-wet, over and over.

In my own experience, while you can make your own pans, they don't re-activate as nicely as a pan watercolor. That's why I was so impressed with my nephew's set.

So many good comments about Talens here, I'll get them.

karenlee
03-07-2010, 08:42 PM
What Winsor & Newton was saying is that their tube paint and their pan paints are not the same formulation; their tube paints are not formulated to be reactivated like their pan paints are. (I know there will be disagreements here, but please bear in mind this is Winsor Newton's statement, not my opinion). It would be interesting to find out about Schmincke. Graham I know is rewettable; the big disadvantage for me is their tube paint never dried in the pan and spills out in transit!

karenlee
03-08-2010, 10:30 AM
Out of intense curiosity, I emailed Schmincke to ask about their watercolor tube vs. pan formulation. Here is their response:

"Thank you for your email of March 8th, 2010 and your interest shown in our products.
The quality and recipe of our watercolour in pans and tubes is the same, whereas the tube colour is more liquid, but you can refill empty pans with the tube colour."

It seems Winsor Newton is still the odd man out on this issue.
-Karen

JustinM
03-08-2010, 03:41 PM
What Winsor & Newton was saying is that their tube paint and their pan paints are not the same formulation; their tube paints are not formulated to be reactivated like their pan paints are. (I know there will be disagreements here, but please bear in mind this is Winsor Newton's statement, not my opinion). It would be interesting to find out about Schmincke. Graham I know is rewettable; the big disadvantage for me is their tube paint never dried in the pan and spills out in transit!

Karen, I really think we're talking semantics here.

Rembrandt, Schminke etc are saying "our paints are formulated the same" while Winsor & Newton says theirs are not, but, the question is: Are they talking about the same thing?

I don't think so.

Remember that watercolour is essentially made of two things: Pigment and a liquid paint vehicle of some sort. This vehicle holds the pigment in suspension, lets us apply the paint with a brush, and then dutifully dries to bind it to the paper.

The vehicle does contain other substances. These substances can: change the appearance, reduces manufacturing costs, change consistency & shelf life - and - affect rewetting/reactivating once its dried.

Rembrandt & Schminke are both saying their paints are formulated the same, but his might simply mean they use the same pigment (which, to most people, is obviously the most important part of the paint) and the same grade/quality of liquid vehicle. It does not mean the liquid vehicle is exactly the same - and i can guarantee you it is not - at least with rembrandt - because a refilled pan is not exactly the same as a pre-bought one.

Winsor & Newton, on the other hand, may be being more technical in their answer that their paints are not the same formulation, when in fact, just like the other two aforementioned brands, they are simply changing part of the liquid vehicle.

In fact, if you read between the lines of what W&N and Schminke are saying, they are most likely telling you the same thing:

tube paints are not formulated to be reactivated like their pan paints are.

Doesn't mean you cant fill empty pans with tubes, it just means they dont reactivate in the same way as pans - but I have never ever found a tube that does. Schminke, below, is telling you the same thing, just in less detail:

The quality and recipe of our watercolour in pans and tubes is the same, whereas the tube colour is more liquid, but you can refill empty pans with the tube colour

They say the "quality" is the same, but tubes are more liquid - so obviously the formulation of schminke pans vs. tubes is different - otherwise one would not be more or less of anything than the other ;).

I use a number of different paints for sketching & teaching, but in-studio the two brands I almost always use are Rembrandt and W&N and I can assure you that both company's paints are exactly the same in the way that their tubes differ from their pans. Both can be refilled from tubes (as I do, constantly) and both dry and then later reactivate differently from their pan counterparts. It subtle and its certainly not a problem - but they are different.

M. Graham (like Sennelier) is a problem because they use Honey in their liquid vehicle. This takes much much longer to dry (oxidize I think is the correct term) and (according to others, not my own experience) can mold more easily. ;)


At the end of the day though, I think we're looking for a dead horse to beat! I mean it doesnt matter: Rembrandt, W&N, Schminke, M. Graham - they're all good paints. All work well, all can be used in tubes or allowed to dry & reactivate with water. Sometimes its too easy to get carried away with the technical side of the materials imho.

karenlee
03-09-2010, 03:05 PM
This is Winsor Newton's answer to my question about the difference between their tube and pan watercolors; I asked if I could refill a pan with tube color, and if not, why not?
__________________________________________________________________
Dear Karen,
Thank you for writing to us; I am sorry that you are embroiled in such a debate! I cannot speak for the other manufacturers’ formulations or recommendations for their own products, but we don’t recommend that artists rewet dried tube colour either on a palette or squeezed into a pan. In fact, this practice will degrade the paint. Winsor & Newton tube and pan water colours are formulated differently. Pan colours are formulated and dispersed to remain moist and readily usable almost indefinitely. Tube colours don't include the same volume of glycerin and other components used to ensure 'wet-ability' from the surface of the pan colours. So, once dried on your palette, the tube formulation won't fully re-wet. It will become dried and crumbly, and won't disperse again with water with the same level of clarity and brilliance that it does when moist and right out of the tube, because you wash away some of the gum Arabic binder each time you wet it. I believe that ‘dead paint’ might be an apt description.
Beautiful water colour requires a subtle but critical balance between the gum and the water in the formulation. When you add water, the paint dispersion must accept the water cleanly and consistently. That's how you get that beautiful gestural flow while keeping the jewel-like clarity of colour. Pan colours are formulated to facilitate that balance with colour lifted from a surface that remains open almost indefinitely.
Tube colours are formulated to give the artist the best shot at that critical balance using a squeezed-out 'dollop' from the tube. In short, you'll get noticeably cleaner, more brilliant colour if you squeeze out only as much as you expect to use during a particular painting session.
Because tube water colours do not have the preservatives that water colours in pans contain, they are susceptible to mold if they are applied to a palette or into empty pan. Mold can settle from the atmosphere or be unknowingly picked up from an already infected colour or container and transplanted to the unprotected colours.
The dried tube colour has another flaw when rewet as well. Because the tube colour does not contain the same level of glycerin of the half pans, which is what enables them to be easily rewet, rewetting hardened tube colour can cause wear on delicate brush hairs, such as Kolinsky sable, because of excessive friction as you repeatedly stroke the brush over the dried colour to try to rewet it.
Artists’ Water Colour Half Pans are available separately from online retailers including the following:
http://www.cheapjoes.com/art-supplies/4693_winsor-newton-artists-watercolor-halfpans.asp,
http://www.dickblick.com/products/winsor-and-newton-artists-watercolor-half-pans/,
http://www.aswexpress.com/discount-art-supplies/online/2276/art-supplies/5
Kind regards,
Lynn Pearl
Senior Manager
Product Marketing & Technical Services
Winsor & Newton
Piscataway NJ

JustinM
03-10-2010, 07:06 PM
Karen,
Thank you for getting us this info.

It is easily one of the oddest bits of information I have ever seen from a manufacturer. It goes against everything we've all been taught for years.

I am trying to figure out why they would say this - because clearly after decades - even centuries - of artists using their products in this way (squeezing out tubes & rewetting the paint once it has dry) it does work.

The only conclusive answer I can come up with is that they want us to throw away any unused portions of paint we have sitting on palettes - and buy more.


If this is what W&N is saying about their paints then my debate over W&N vs Rembrandt has just come to a screaching halt & the latter will be getting all of my business (its been going that way lately anyway) from now on...
The point about being too rough on the kolinskys is ridiculous too. If you cant vary your touch on your brushes (ie you 'scrub' anything - paint or otherwise - with your kolinskys then paint re-wetting is going to be the least of your concerns!)

Again, I do appreciate all your efforts on this, Karen - its just incredibly odd to see what they are saying about these.

Neeman
03-10-2010, 08:41 PM
Most brands use the same pigments in their tubes as well as their pans. Rembrandt does say "the same formula" in their literature, but Id be willing to be dollars for donuts that there's slightly different binders in both. I do exactly as you're describing (fill up my pans with tube rembrandt) and there is a marked difference in how they "reactivate" - its subtle and its not a bid deal (I always start off a painting session by spraying down my palette before i start) but they are not 'exactly' the same.

Rembrandt Tubes and Pans are not the same formula
Dried tubes dry and set up differently from the pans

From my experience

karenlee
03-10-2010, 08:53 PM
Justin, and others who may still be following this thread: I can't vouch for anyone's statement, I can only forward the claims. All I can say is that one full day of cleaning dried watercolors out of my plastic palettes gave me a new slant on the term "rewettable." Some of the paints were not even jackhammerable. Yet, as you say Justin, it does work--sometimes! I still have lots of tubes to use up. Thankfully, my pans will never get stuck tops or paint dried all the way down the neck like some of my favorite tubes do.

noge
03-11-2010, 03:18 AM
I've use tubes exclusively until I tried my nephew's Cretacolor pan set. It was so convenient I want one too. I don't want to get WN pans at $6 a pan, so has anyone found a decent, inexpensive brand?

Locally I can get Grumbacher, Pelikan, Talens, maybe a few others.

Ask for White Night - (Russian Paints) one set ~ € 15

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/10-Mar-2010/148675-IMG_1542.jpg

Vincent40
04-06-2010, 02:47 PM
:thumbsup: