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Old 04-16-2004, 04:13 PM
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pinkbubelz pinkbubelz is offline
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Question Cotman colors?

I have a set of Winsor & Newton Cotman Watercolors in a little wooden box, about 25 cakes....

I started looking around an noticed that some posts have mentioned that these are "student-grade"? I had no idea! I'm pretty new to Watercolor, but bought this box about 10 yrs ago to play around with. (and they seemed expensive at that time, too.) Now, I'm trying it out and I would like to know what people think about the Cotman Cake colors?

Or do most people use the tube colors? How does the cakes compare to the tubes? and what brands do you prefer? I know that this question might have been posed before, but would like to have some additional feedback....

--Iris
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Old 04-16-2004, 04:20 PM
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Re: Cotman colors?

They are student grade...very weak color...you will frustrate yourself trying to paint with them...get yourself some ARTIST GRADE tube colors

SEARCH HERE for old threads about brands, look at http://handprint.com, or ask away!



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Old 04-16-2004, 04:25 PM
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Re: Cotman colors?

I've recently switched from student tubes (Academy, Cotman) to artist-quality (MaimeriBlu) - the artist grade are much better quality. Hands down - if you can get them, get them, even if you can only afford a blue, red, and a yellow.

That said, I found no problem in using the student grade. And I produced work that got compliments from people I respect. Also by using synthetic brushes, etc. So, what does this mean?

It means the materials/supplies/tools you use will not make you a good painter - practice, talent and inspiration will. Better tools will help - but it might just mean that a bad painting has brighter colors. Know what I mean?

So, my $.02 is that as soon as you can get better paints, get them. But don't expect too much out of them. After all, is Tiger Woods a great golfer because of his shoes, or his golf ball? Practice, talent and inspiration.

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Old 04-16-2004, 04:26 PM
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Helen Helen is offline
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Re: Cotman colors?

Pampe's right... student grade may be ok for your sketchbook but you really want the good stuff. And I recommend tubes -- watercolors are best when they're nice and juicy and you can't get juicy with pans.
Helen
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Old 04-16-2004, 04:37 PM
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Re: Cotman colors?

Thanks I will probalby just work with these for the moment-- I've bought a few tubes of the cotman colors and will see how they work out.

Also, what is your opinion on water color pencils? I've been using some by Der Went (Aquatone) they seem pretty cool :-) Although I have noticed that at times they can also be a little 'gritty"

--Iris
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Old 04-16-2004, 04:39 PM
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Re: Cotman colors?

Artist grade paints are better for sure. They have more pure pigment and go farther than student grade paints do. Student grade paints are augmented with more fillers, sometimes even chalk, which makes them less expensive.

If you can afford to buy some artist grade paints, it would be good to do so. Start off with the primaries and you can mix a lot of different colors with just them. I would also add a tube of Burnt Sienna because it is wonderful on its own or mixed.

I use tube paints, so have no experience with pan paints. I think you could use your Cotman's for en pleine aire or if you are traveling because they would be very convenient.

I also used student grade paints for a year (I had been given a gift of Reeves paints by my daughter) and turned out some pretty nice paintings, but, when I switched to artist grade paints I quickly saw what everyone was talking about. There IS a difference.

Your paper is probably as important, if not more, as what paint you use. Definitely get yourself 140 lb. paper because less than that can really be frustrating to work with.

Sylvia
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Old 04-16-2004, 04:47 PM
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Re: Cotman colors?

Once I realized the Pelikan paints I'd been using for 40 years were "gouache" (opaque) instead of watercolors (the transparent stuff that everyone is referring to when they say "watercolor"), I fell back on my tiny Cotman Field Kit until I could afford tubes. It didn't work for me all that well; I got the artists' quality W/N tubes, and I'm glad I did.

But.

SOME Cotman pigments are terrific (as Handprint.com will verify). Ron Hanson, (sp?) who is a very popular watercolor painter and teacher these days, writes that he ALWAYS uses the large Cotman tubes -- he says they're fine, and that since they're inexpensive, painters won't be so stingy with color using them. He also uses a restricted palette (about 7-8 pigments, including the ones that Handprint says are fine in the Cotman line; you can do a lot with just 3 colors, so check out his work!).

I was not able to learn to do what I wanted to do with the Cotman pans, but that doesn't mean that *your* style can't be expressed fully with them. SO, if the pans aren't allowing you to try things you want to try, you might be happier with either Cotman tubes (try to find Hanson's book in the library -- he's especially famous for skies), or W/N artists' quality.

I bought my pigments on eBay; waited awhile, but got what I wanted finally, at a price I could afford. Btw, don't throw out the set you got. You may well be able to use that lovely box with your new tubes (squeezing the color into empty replacement pans or half-pans).

Bottom line is, you need the tools that are right for the style of painter YOU are or want to be. (I recommend you find a library watercolor book with paintings you really like, and see what that paints that author uses, as a good start.)
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Old 04-16-2004, 04:53 PM
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Thumbs up Re: Cotman colors?

I simply adore Cotman pans... I recently compared them to some Daler-Rowney artist quality pans, and I'm not convinced by the later.

One thing I like particularly about the Cotmans is the ability of some pigments to produce grainy washes. Cotman's Payne's Grey is an excellent example. I like this capacity very much to give texture to washes - handy if you paint landscapes.

I experiment quite a lot wish washes wet-on-dry, some combinations of colour will precipitate if A is laid over B, but not when B is overlaid on A.
The D&R artist quality Payne's Grey I have produces neat, but in my eyes boring flat washes...

True you can get more intense washes, but since I find translucence one of the most important aspects of watercolour, I'm not really too pushed on obtaining high-intensity, saturating densities, so this quality of 'artist quality' paints is a bit lost on me...

Tubes tend to contain more glycerine to keep them moist, which has its own problems (dulling of washes, or flaky precipitates amongst others).

For being students quality I find Cotman pigments extremely light-stable - I've seen some artist quality pigments fade as snow in the Sun...

Experiment with your material, it's fun and you will be able to put your findings to good use in your works

P.S. I happen to know more than one professional artist that regularly uses Cotman paints.

P.P.S. having made a case pro-Cotman above, it's also permitted to mix pans/tubes and pigments from different suppliers

Hope this helps a bit...

Steven
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Last edited by steven : 04-16-2004 at 04:55 PM.
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Old 04-16-2004, 05:11 PM
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Talking Re: Cotman colors?

Quote:
Originally Posted by FriendCarol
Once I realized the Pelikan paints I'd been using for 40 years were "gouache" (opaque) instead of watercolors (the transparent stuff that everyone is referring to when they say "watercolor"),

BTW, a friend watercolour painter here in Dublin once showed me how to use poster paints in a watercolour fashion , using high dilutions of the primaries... I did a great loose watercolour floral painting with it!
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Old 04-16-2004, 05:35 PM
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Re: Cotman colors?

Iris...... som eof us would KILL to live in the land of cheap MGraham tubes

here is a WDE post I made in January....

I used ONLY the three sample tubes of MGraham paints Fagan sent me { cos she couldnt get on with them!!} for the very first time;Napthol Red, Aureolin; Ult. Blue.
I did no drawing of any kind. not even a frame
I started with the darkest shadows at the bottom
I used no masking for the white
I started by concentrating on negative shapes of light and shade only
I tried to stay loose
I tried to apply what I had been reading about wetness of paper
I painted mostly wet on dry
Brittania 300gm woodpulp Matt
Size Approx 6 x 8
Time start - finish 1 hr 35 mins

Im reasonably pleased.. especially since not yet quite over 'flu....... I acheived roughly what I set out to do........ unusual for me!!!
Attached Images


Im posting this now 'cos I lost the first post while searching for this one...........if the image aint attached I will go back and find it

I recommended that you do a search in Watercolour general in past 6 months using 'Tubes' and or 'Pans' as your keywords............but NOT while in thehmiddle of replying

PS Lets try this them - she says with little confidence

http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/show...ht=Prize+Sheep

PPS mmmmm adding IMG tags by hand doesnt make the image show........... perhaps there should be a URL in there too? lets try another way

http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/show...ht=Prize+Sheep

or just try going HERE if that doesnt work !!!

PPS well for some reason that takes you to the whole thread !!!! though I got the properties from the pic. or so I thought.............

I HAVE to get this right........ bear with mehttp://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/atta...id=79428&stc=1

PPPS.........have no idea why this wont work........... try this way by going HERE

AT LAST .... at least straight to the PIC!!! and in case youve lasted thus far and are wondering why all this demented and obsessive effort........... it was to show what can be possible with three tubes of good quality artist colours !!! I simply dont think I could have done that with pan Cotmans !!!
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Last edited by jaytee : 04-16-2004 at 05:53 PM.
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Old 04-16-2004, 05:50 PM
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Re: Cotman colors?

Quote:
Originally Posted by steven
I simply adore Cotman pans...

One other factor: Outside of the U.S. (maybe outside of North America?), pans are very popular. Inside the U.S. (maybe Canada too?), tubes sell while pan sets don't, or at least not very well. Have no idea why this is so, but it's further support for you using your pans if you're happy with them. P.S. Noticed Steven is from Ireland, which is what reminded me of this!

I was very, very happy with my lovely Pelikan opaque colors for 40 years -- right up until I decided I wanted to take watercolor seriously... At which point I discovered I couldn't perform well the exercises in any of the books primarily because I didn't have comparable tools!

I'm going to be book-taught and WC-taught at least until I have mastered the basics. After that, I may want to use gouache or poster paints or beet juice for all I know, but I'm going to start out giving myself the best possible chance of mastering the techniques with the "normal" tools first. I might do things differently if I could go to classes or something, but I'm pretty much house-bound, so that's not an option. So I'm being very conventional these days.
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Old 04-16-2004, 06:37 PM
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Thumbs up Re: Cotman colors?

Since I just started, I figured I'd go the cheaper route and use the Cotman. I haven't had any problems with them but I also am planning on buying some M. Graham paint (tubes) that are on sale at Art Supply Source (50% off last time I checked--can't beat that if you ask me!!). I also think the paper you use is as important or maybe even more important! Like the others said, PRACTICE, I think, is by far the most important thing.
I've only DONE five paintings total (just started a couple months ago) but I can really see a big difference between the first one and the last two (1st one REALLY stunk, second was alot better, third was the best, fourth one I totally screwed up--try, try again--and the fifth one, I really loosened up and did something I've never done before. I did "pours" and spatters of paint and came up with a sort of "dancer" who looks like she's at a party with confetti flying all around. COOL LOOKING! I might have even picked up my first commission today so PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE (helps to have a background in art I suppose). Have fun!
Michele
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Old 04-16-2004, 09:52 PM
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Re: Cotman colors?

Quote:
I think you could use your Cotman's for en pleine aire or if you are traveling because they would be very convenient.

Not only that, they're really good in the pans for small paintings. It's when working larger that there's a difference I think. I have both the Cotman travel set and the W/N Artists travel set (both are pans) and I always end up using the Cotman most (outdoors, sketching). Although, I always have to also bring a tube each of Cobalt Violet and one of Cobalt Blue, the two colors I most use. Then again, I love my little W/N travel set. It's ancient, a good thirty years old, metal, bottle and pallete all in one.
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Old 04-17-2004, 12:52 AM
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Re: Cotman colors?

From my own experience:-

I bought Cotmans and Art Spectrum Student Grade when I first started.

Trut me when I tell you THERE IS NO COMPARRISON between student versus Artist grade.

As you painting experience grows, you will ralise the the students grade is cheap and nasty and you have to work REAL hard to get THEM to work how you would like.

Artist Grade (I use M.Grahams) are just the bee's knee's in my books. I am no longer fighting the colour, no longer making mud, I am just really enjoying the process of learning how to paint!!!!!

I hate that students paints are full if fillers and the pigment is not very strong.. I realised as soon as I started using Artist grade, I use LESS paint with them to get an even better effect than I could ever have gotten with student grade..



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Old 04-17-2004, 03:04 AM
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Re: Cotman colors?

Quote:
Originally Posted by steven
True you can get more intense washes, but since I find translucence one of the most important aspects of watercolour, I'm not really too pushed on obtaining high-intensity, saturating densities, so this quality of 'artist quality' paints is a bit lost on me...

Higher color intensity/saturation does not mean higher opacity. The range of weak-to-strong translucent washes is much greater with transparent artist quality colors than with student grade.

That said, Cotman is one of the better student grade paints, infinitely better than Pelikan and Reeves. Cotman uses more fillers than artist quality, but it tends not to be of a chalky nature. The issues I have with student grade, including Cotman, are the limited number of colors and the use of pigment mixes to produce "hues" rather than using pure single pigments. This makes for not so spectacular results when mixing colors either on the palette or in wash layers.

Debra
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