I thought I'd show some of the Da Vinci "Natural Pigment" line of oil paints, since I've got several of them, and they came up in Mariposa's "Snob Paints" thread. As I mentioned there, I think Da Vinci paints are underrated paints in general. They are all nicely long and brush out well, and are willing to separate in the tube after a while (in my opinion, this indicates an appropriately small amount of stabilizer in the paint). Da Vinci are my favorite non-premium oil paints, though I admit a few of their pigment choices and color names are questionable to me. But I think their line of Natural Pigment paints is really noteworthy. Here is a pic of the ones I've got on the palette:
Each is shown from the tube, then mixed with an approximately equal amount of Winsor & Newton zinc white.
In the group of four on the top right are (from right to left): Natural Gold Ochre; Brown Ochre Geothite; Arizona Red; and Hematite Violet.
These are the four that are most impressive right out of the gate. The Natural Gold Ochre is one of the two most intense yellow ochres I've used (the other being Rublev's Lemon Ochre). I'm fairly certain it is a Blue Ridge blend of yellow ochres. The Brown Ochre Geothite should really be called Orange Ochre in my opinion, it's great for warm darks in skin tones, or for glowing highlights in hair - it's like a warmer version of raw sienna. The Arizona Red is my best dark scarlet earth, and I love that the pigment is regional here. And the Hematite Violet - well, just look at it. It's a glorious, intense dark red that steers hard toward magenta in tints. Love it - love it!
Next group of two, again right to left: Arizona Brown Ochre; and Red Iron Stone.
These are two that I was relatively unimpressed with at first, but which have proven themselves extremely useful. The Arizona Brown Ochre has been very good for underpaintings, as well as being a helpful starting point for mixing various nondescript midtones that can be tricky to get to precisely. It dries very
quickly (must be an umber of some sort, though it's opaque), which keeps it off my palette much of the time unless I have a specific use for it; and it has low tinting strength. The Red Iron Stone turns out to be a nearly perfect starting point for flesh halftones, and in contrast to the previous paint has a pretty high tinting strength (the tint here actually contains somewhat more white than red).
The last group of three: Olive Oxide; Lapis Lazuli Genuine; and Magnetite Genuine.
These last three are paints that I find pretty and interesting, but which I just haven't had much use for yet. I plan to try the Olive Oxide for underpaintings. The Lapis makes a great glazing blue, being less intense than ordinary ultramarine; I just haven't happened to need a glazing blue in any of my recent paintings. The color of the tint in this pic has been somewhat blasted out by the light source; nevertheless it is not strong in tints. The Magnetite is somewhat like a Mars black (in fact it is a natural iron oxide), but with a very low tinting strength, practically disappearing in some mixes. I'm sure this will make it useful for things like neutralizing skin tones, once I get more used to using it.
At a price range of $11 to $20 for earth colors, these might be considered slightly "snobby" paints. To me they're worth having, and I recommend trying some of them - I have found it interesting and fun (and easier!) to paint flesh with many different earth colors, rather than just a couple of cadmiums. The most expensive among those I have are the Lapis (unsurprisingly), the Gold Ochre, and the Red Iron Stone. There are a few of the line I still need to try.
The "must-have" of the bunch: Hematite Violet. Definitely.
Crossposted to Oil Painting (and my blog).