View Full Version : Color Palette Question on Van Gogh H2Oils

04-17-2010, 06:46 PM
This is my first post on WC, although I have been reading here for years. I am just starting to play with WSO's, the Holbeins, but am interested in trying the Van Goghs, too. I am finding the Holbeins not easily spreadable, so I think I am adding too much water to them. I imagine the issue is more me than the paints, as I am really trying to teach myself art in general and the oil painting in particular. I have never tried regular oils before, so I have no comparison basis there. I have used colored pencils, pastels, and acrylics. In using acrylics, I learned to use the following as my color palette for primary mixing colors: cadmium red medium, cadmium yellow light, cadmium yellow dark, quinacridone magenta, cerulean blue and ultramarine blue. I do not see all these pigments offered among the Van Gogh H2Oils, so was wondering what those of you who use them choose for your primaries.

By the way, I was thrilled to find this subforum! Thanks for the information I have already received here, and any help you can provide with this question.


04-18-2010, 10:48 AM
Based on the price and user comments over the years, the Holbeins are a higher grade paint, whereas the van Goghs are student grade. Now this may not matter to you, especially as you have just started experimenting. However, as you mentioned, the VGs don't have the cadmiums and have many hues replacing the pricier pigments such as real cerulean, for example, and this can be a real negative.

The Blick website gives pigment information for each tube, so that may help you choose the colors you want. The cerulean, for example is a combination Pthalo blue and White. Their Ultramarine isn't even real ultramarine - it is Phthalo Blue and Dioxazine Violet! Click on the Item No. for the pigment info.

I haven't tried the Holbeins, but it is generally recommended that you use very little water to mix into the paint. Many people never use water, just the various mediums to add into the paint.

Hope this helps.


04-18-2010, 07:30 PM
The Van Gogh H2Oils were developed to be the least toxic of the WMOs. Of the colors you mentioned, cadmiums are considered to be more toxic than some of the other pigments. They are also sticky to paint with. The Lukas Berlin WMOs are more easily spread of the other WMOs, and they are known to work well with the Holbein Duo's. The Lukas Berlin WMOs are also student grade. I also use Gesso primed cardboard to practice on.

04-18-2010, 08:07 PM
You might want to try using your Holbein Duo WMOs with one of their mediums, particularly their linseed oil or M. Graham's Walnut Oil before you give up on the Holbein Duo WMOs. Either one of these mediums will make your paint more spreadable than using water.

04-21-2010, 09:10 PM
Thanks Crystal and Don for your replies. I learned about the Holbeins here on WC and I think I bought them a year ago, but never really tried to work with them until now. Maybe they stiffened up some since they have been sitting. I probably do need to give them more of a chance, with less water and maybe some of the medium, before I give up on them, as you say, Crystal. And Don, thanks for directing me to the pigment info....that will help as I decide what/whether to purchase other brands.


05-03-2010, 09:13 AM
The H2oils will be replaced by a new line-up:

05-03-2010, 12:10 PM
buzz3d: Thanks for the info on the new Talens WMO. I used to love their Rembrandt colours when I painted with regular oils. Now I might be able to love these paints. I'll definitely be watching for them.:clap:

05-03-2010, 04:37 PM
Hi Crystal,
According to a video on facebook http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=1109189187675 the paints are artist-grade (which the H2oils we're not if I'm not mistaken) and since Holbein is difficult to get here in Europe I'm looking forward to giving these paints a try.

05-08-2010, 11:22 AM
Anyone ever tried to paint with the new Cobras, any first-hand experiences? After watching their instructional video on their page I feel totally confused now. The amount of water I see them add to the paints and mediums is almost obscene, the paints behave almost like watercolors. :eek:

05-08-2010, 11:51 AM
I don't think anybody has actually worked with them yet, but hopefully soon. From what I get in their two ads, this paint can be used more like regular oils. Apparently they have overcome the 20%-30% of medium usage that the other WMO's have. You can add plenty of water and use Cobra as a thinned oil paint to mimic the water color painting style you can use with regular oils and solvents. You can add an oil based medium to Cobra and use it as a more traditional oil paint. Or, you can add an impasto medium, if you prefer to paint in an impasto style. I can hardly wait to see what people have to say myself. However, I'm going to have to keep an open mind, since I've noticed that different people like different paint. I will be getting a trial set, as soon as possible. Especially since Rembrandt Oil Colours were my favorite oils before I changed to WMO's, and both Cobra and Rembrandt are made by Royal-Talens. :clap:

05-08-2010, 01:25 PM
Well, I must admit I'm very curious, too. The more I watch their video and the website, the more I want to try them. I'll try to stop by our art supply store on Monday and get me a couple of tubes.

05-08-2010, 06:37 PM
From what I understand from the Cobra Ads, they don't have a US distributor yet. The paints are not supposed to be available until June, I believe. Otherwise, I would have tried some, too.

05-14-2010, 11:31 AM
Just got a set of cobra tubes in the mail. Hope I have time to give them a try this weekend and report the results.

05-14-2010, 12:10 PM
I can't wait to hear your results. I am a great fan of Rembrandts regular oils. Have you used them before? Maybe you could give me your opinion of the Cobra WMOs compared to the Rembrandt oils. Thanks a lot for your info.

05-16-2010, 04:58 PM
Hi Crystal, I have little experience with Rembrandt regular oils.
I did a plein air painting this afternoon with a fellow painter who used Rembrandt oil paints and I tried blending two colors with the palette knife. Their consistency seemed about the same as the Cobra colors to me, but again I'm not a regular user of Rembrandt so you may think otherwise.
I liked the Cobra paint a lot. They feel nicer and smoother than my W&N Artisan, can't judge the smell as I was outside but the medium when I open the bottle doesn't have a strong odor.
Hopefully I can say more the coming week when I've done a studio painting with it.
The transparent oxide red is really nice though a little lighter than I expected.


05-16-2010, 06:59 PM
Wow, buzzz3d. I looked at your web page and your paintings are great. The landscape you did with the Cobra WMOs is fantastic. Thanks for the info on the consistency of the Cobras versus Rembrandt. Can hardly wait for further information on the Cobras. I just received my 1 small tube of Cobra sample. I'm just recovering from pneumonia, so I think I'll wait a few days to try it. Sounds exciting.

05-17-2010, 05:24 AM
Thanks Crystal. That's nice to hear.
I'll post my update in a new thread, I feel like I've hijacked too much already :)