View Full Version : Doaks Williamsburg ...

cobalt fingers
09-28-2002, 12:34 PM
and other first rate pro paints...I like to hear what USERS think of the really top quality brands. I personally don't like oily paints. I can make paint oily.

Also who make the best Maroger medium?

09-28-2002, 02:38 PM
I'll take a moment to say to those who wish to respond, carry thyself immediately to the new WC! product review system, and put in your reviews of these paints ... :)

Sorry - couldn't resist. :)


cobalt fingers
09-28-2002, 04:20 PM
Several of the ones I most want to know about are not yet posted-ya'll jump in there.

09-28-2002, 07:34 PM
There have been any number of discussions about both Doak and, more recently, Williamsburg at Studio Products. It appears from the discussions I've read there that Williamsburg has recently undergone a quality revival, but I haven't used their paints so I can't confirm it.

I use Doak's paints, but I'm not an easel painter and am not qualified to review them for that purpose. I will say however that some of Doak's colors do have a tendency to separate in the tube. To me this is no big deal, and definitely not an indication of inferior quality. A piece of blotting paper easily removes the excess oil.

Far as I know, Doak grinds his colors in walnut oil. This may be of concern to painters who are used to colors ground in linseed oil. Doak's paints have a long open time by comparison, and a slipperier feel under the brush-- again, as a bird carver I don't use bristle brushes and can't comment about how Doak's paints behave with them.

I'd put Doak right up there with Old Holland (my other band of choice) in every respect as far as quality goes. Many of his colors are unique to him, his line of blues is the best and most extensive there is, and his prices are very reasonable, much cheaper than OH.

The worst thing I can say about Doak's paints is that the caps of the tubes are cheesy and have a tendency to crack if not treated with kid gloves. This is a nuisance, but considering how reasonable his prices are for what's inside the tubes, not a major one (another use for good ole duct tape).

Of course, there is also the matter of dealing with Doak himself. Personally I admire his refusal to touch computers, take credit cards, or spend large on fancy catalogs... but not everybody feels that way. Also, phone calls to Doak usually end up being a lot longer than you thought they would. The man does like to talk, and he has very strong opinions.

cobalt fingers
09-28-2002, 10:01 PM
sounds to me like you know quite a bit.

09-29-2002, 03:00 AM
yes, i have to agree with you, since i use both paint by williamsburg and by doak, along with others as you. i have not had the cap problems with the doak paint that i have heard mentioned before.

i think doak's BLUES are supreme. and, i have used some of the whites with mica with pleasure.

doak is not from the MAROGER crowd. he'll readily tell you this. but, when you chat with him, he certainly holds his own. i know of 2 painters OUTSIDE the USA who rely on doak paint, and order regularly, sometimes even phoning him to order (gosh, what a phone bill they must have !) he is a talker ! a critic ! but, he is a painter who makes good+ handmade paint ! not sure if the paint is better than the northwest coast (usa) paint-maker. someone else might have to field that comparison.


09-29-2002, 08:47 AM
So far I've had only two caps out of over twenty tubes of Doak's paints do the cracking routine. But it does seem to be characteristic... many Doak users at Cenini have had the same experience.

Doak is definitely not a fan of Maroger's (not that this has any relevance to the type of painting I do).

He also says flat out that using any medium made with stand oil will turn his paints yellow eventually, no matter what anybody else tells you.

This seems like a direct swipe at Rob Howard, who strongly advocates stand oil in some of the many mediums he recommends. And Rob is just as immovable on this subject as Doak, pointing out that stand oil cannot turn any yellower than it already is in the jar.

Nonetheless, Doak buys his Canada Balsam from Studio Products, and Rob admits that Doak's sun-thickened walnut oil is superbly made. They just agree to disagree about this and a number of other subjects, but neither one is out to shoot the other down because of it. They appear to have too much respect for each other for one-upmanship.

I first heard of Doak at Cenini, and I'm glad I did. Where else can you buy a 50 ml tube of outstanding cobalt blue light for less than fifteen bucks (exceeded in beauty only by Doak's proprietary Fra Angelico Blue, which is still cheaper than most cobalt based colors)? Or genuine Vermilion MS (gorgeous) for-- gasp-- all of twenty-five?

Doak may well be the only surviving artist's colorman, in the old sense of that term, in the US. He's old-fashioned NYC walking encyclopedia, a stickler for quality, similar to the somewhat crotchety and highly opinionated guys I used to buy woodfinishing supplies from thirty years ago. They never steered me wrong, and so far Doak hasn't either.

09-29-2002, 09:36 AM
Doak is correct with time the Stand Oil will turn yellow.

This is why you have to keep the mix -
Pigment Rich /oil poor .

You are however looking at 50+ years and you may not
care.Same goes for Resins.

I am told the Flemish work is the best preserved and
they used very little medium to glaze with.National
Gallery Technical Bulletin verifies this.

I have one of Doak's paints - Blue Ochre and the cap
did break in two.So I simply transferred the paint into
3 smaller ml empty tubes.
Paint works well though.Oil separation from time to
time,but not a bother.

I only buy dry pigment from Williamsburg,so I have
nothing further to say.

cobalt fingers
09-29-2002, 11:08 AM
How sad and silly to be famous for cheap and weak caps-what can that cost to fix? What does that cost not to fix.

cobalt fingers
09-29-2002, 11:12 AM
OK, Is there an address that one can send a check and by-pass the long phone call and lecture?

09-29-2002, 11:13 AM
LOL, I agree, Tim. It's quite an easy process to simply purchase a new make of tube. ;)

What is also sad is that these fantastic reviews of Doak/Williamsburg/et al will, within a week or two, most likely be pushed down into the bowels of the oil painting forum, where only a skilled and patient search will retrieve them.

Another impetus to get your thoughts into the new WC! product review system! We should capture these thoughts in a place where they can do folks the most good. :)


cobalt fingers
09-29-2002, 11:14 AM
a last remark, the Nwest paint guys mentioned are sweet, professional and reliable and they take plastic and have websites. I use those companyies when I want something for sure -on time. The companies in the Carolinas have been pretty hard to work with for me.

09-29-2002, 11:31 AM
Robert Doak & Assocs. Inc.
89 Bridge Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201

(718) 237-1210/0146

09-29-2002, 11:44 AM

Linda Ciallelo
09-29-2002, 11:45 AM
After spending a couple of years trying every oil paint available, I have settled on Doaks and Williamsburg as my favorites.
Doaks' paints stay wet longer on the pallet because they have more oil(walnut oil). Doak's has some colors that I haven't found anywhere else, like sinopia, turkey umber, lead tin yellow. He has a good vermillion(nice and warm). I love his burnt umber which makes wonderful pinky mauve color when mixed with white. His raw sienna is the way I like it, more towards the orange than the yellow. His blue ochre can be found no where else. I also like his unbleached titanium. I have about 20 of his paints and only one cap has broken. It's a pain to call him on the phone and have to send a check in the mail, but Rob Howard said that soon we will be able to order Doaks paint on his website with plastic. I am hoping too that he will have a nice color chart posted.
Williamsburg has excellent paint, not as oily as Doaks. It dries faster on the pallet. They have a wonderful website with excellent color chart . If you hold the mouse on any color for a few seconds, the pigment formula will appear. I love their Flake white and their titanium -zinc. They have many old masters colors, very earthy. The only reason I am not using Williamsburg is because I have become attached to the colors that Doaks has, that Williamsburg doesn't. I am using Williamsburg whites however.
Williamsburg Flake white is a real treat. You have to try it. It makes your white strokes look just like Velasquez.

cobalt fingers
09-29-2002, 12:08 PM
Linda, Velasquez! Then I'm buying 2 tubes!:cat:

cobalt fingers
09-29-2002, 12:08 PM
Maroger brands?

09-29-2002, 12:11 PM
Here is a nice list of some of them (most of the ones commercially available). No reviews yet, but gives you an idea of what is out there.



09-29-2002, 12:56 PM
Scott, I agree that somebody should post a review of Doak's oils, but I'm a bird carver (no, not decoys or ducks of any kind!), and really couldn't tackle a comprehensive review of the way his paints behave outside my specialized field... painting a carving is very different than painting on canvas or a panel. No impasto or anything else that might tend to obscure texture allowed, for example.

Far as those bum caps go, don't be so sure it'd be an easy matter for Doak to get better ones (from what I hear, he's working on it). Doak's tubes are 50 ml, an unusual size. He is not churning out tons of paint every week, and apparently can't just pick up the phone and order interchangeable caps in reasonably small lots without paying a good deal more for them. He operates on very small margins as it is.

09-29-2002, 05:05 PM
Originally posted by musket
Scott, I agree that somebody should post a review of Doak's oils, but I'm a bird carver (no, not decoys or ducks of any kind!), and really couldn't tackle a comprehensive review of the way his paints behave outside my specialized field... painting a carving is very different than painting on canvas or a panel. No impasto or anything else that might tend to obscure texture allowed, for example.

I dunno - your review earlier in this thread looked pretty convincing to me. :)


09-30-2002, 08:01 PM
Originally posted by cobalt fingers
Maroger brands?

Make your own, and save, and you can call it "Dedos Azul de Maroger"......L