So I went to Jerry's Artarama last Friday. Very nice and helpful staff.
I have experimented a little with some of purchases and have very mixed experiences!
I love the whites I bought - Winsor & Newton Artists' Flake White, Transparent White and Iridescent White. I can see how I will use all three, so far I'm using Flake White and love the richness of color that is retained. Finally got rid of that flate cotton-blue that was the result regardless what I mixed with Titanium.
Still have to play with Oxide of Chromium (wanted an opaque natural green) and Transparent Yellow. Those two were a lot more expensive than I thought - but now I know how the price segments work.
May buy some of that stuff from W&N that was in that demo video everyone was talking about a little while back, to stretch them...
Also found a set of 8 Robert Simmons' Signet brushes, with a pouch, for under $30. They were exactly the sizes and types I was going to get, so it was a much better deal than paying $6-8 for the individual ones. However, I absolutely hate them!
They do not render a precise line, and straggling hairs put paint 'next door' in areas I don't want it. Looking at an 8 Bright from the side, it looks like a worn-out brush that needs a serious haircut. It looks like the hairs on the outside are shorter and weaker than the ones in the core, so they sprout off to all sides and make a mess when I paint next to another color.
Not really sure what to do with them? Did I get a bad batch? Do they put the ones that got dismissed in quality control in these pouches?