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Old 04-22-2010, 01:16 PM
gunzorro's Avatar
gunzorro gunzorro is offline
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Richeson Oils -- Shiva Series

A few weeks ago, the topic came up of Shiva paints, their history and current status.

It turns out that the Jack Richeson Company had purchased Shiva a while back and has been working to upgrade the line.

At one time, in the distant 1950’s, Shiva was considered a quality line of American paints, but fell into a lower quality budget range in the later 60s. From that time one, the brand flirted with Student Grade status and transitioned through several owners apparently more interested in profit than quality.

According to the history of Shiva paints, a young Jack Richeson worked there as a teenager in its glory days. Eventually the opportunity for Richeson to acquire the Shiva line came about, and the rest is current history.

During the dialog on the previous thread, http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/show...Shiva+Richeson
we got a visit from a representative of Richeson, Ryan Richeson, who supplied quite a bit of detail on the current production. I contacted Ryan via PM to request samples for testing and was quickly rewarded with a package of 12 tubes.

The first sheet shows the entire selection of paints.

Ultra White was used throughout this first comparison sheet. I found the paint to be of excellent consistency and a big improvement over the earlier version of Shiva Signature Titanium Zinc, both being mainly titanium, with zinc as the secondary component. My typical mixing white (L&B Titanium/Blue Ridge Flemish) was used on the two following sheets and proved to have greater covering power and opacity than the Ultra White. That said, the Ultra White is very good in quality and offers decent coverage.

From these close-ups, you can see the improved smoothness and “peaking consistency” (peaks standing upright) of the Ultra White, compared to the agglomerations (specks or bits of pigment) and peak slumping in the Shiva Signature.

Flesh -- The tube labeled Flesh is interesting, but I wonder at its need. It is a combination of titanium and synthetic ochre PY42, and made to a very high value. It is a lovely color as a mixing white substitute for landscape, and maybe portraits, but sort of unneeded.

Burnt Sienna – listed as natural earth PR102 (which I suspect is an error, since most natural Sienna is PBr7, but that’s a minor point), and has a wonderful creamy consistency. The color is excellent and shows very well against other brands in the following sheet.

Raw Umber – A terrific near-neutral earth, very similar in color to the Vasari and Blue Ridge offerings, and distinctly different from the “normal” dark yellow more traditionally produced by Old Holland, Winsor Newton, Michael Harding and many others. Consistency is also great.

Payne’s Grey – This convenience color has never been a favorite of my personally, but I must say that this one won me over. Bone Black, Ultramarine Blue and Lamp Black make this a wonderful cool blue-black. Paired up with the Raw Umber shown above and you have a great set of warm and cool greys that are easy and quick to produce. Consistency of this paint is a little stiff, indicating too much stabilizers used, but still very good consistency.

Shiva Violet Deep – An interesting color mix, and definitely “violet”, this combination of Dioxazine Purple and Ultramarine Blue. The UMB somewhat reduces the tinting strength of the Diox, which is a good thing, and produces a violet without an exact match in my collection.

Cadmium Red Scarlet – As you’ll see in the further comparisons, this cadmium more closely matches what we think of as Cadmium Red Medium. This pigment is unfortunately the cheaper PR108.1, which is cadmium-barium, a weaker version of cadmium red. Color and consistency are good, but this can never be considered a top Artist grade paint.

Rose Red – Another interesting mix without an exact match in my collection – Quinacridone Magenta PR122 coupled with Quinacridone Rose PV19. It is very close to the main pigment PR122. A beautiful color (which could be easily matched, if you wanted to stock two Quins to do so) with excellent consistency.

Ultramarine Blue Deep – Terrific color and consistency – a top choice.

Cobalt Blue – Excellent from the tube. A bright blue with great consistency and strength for this type of pigment.

Viridian – Genuine Viridian green PG18 compared very well to other high quality brands. Excellent consistency and color.

Shiva Green – Phthalo Green PG7 is (like the Payne’s Grey) over-stabilized and stiff. This dilutes the color strength, which isn’t a bad thing for so overpowering a pigment. But the consistency is out of balance with the other types shown here.

With only the two exceptions, the Richeson consistency is excellent and far above average throughout the range tested.

Here are how the paints stack up against some other brands.

Cadmium Red – The Richeson PR108.1 is slightly less powerful than the other two, but holds its own. The color is decidedly a “Medium” not a Scarlet, with the WN closer to orange. Blue Ridge Select wins this comparison, but keep in mind that this BR is an exceptional paint in all regards. But anyone will have to admit the Richeson version is quite useable, especially as listed at Jerry’s for $7.93! (see the end of article for sources)

Rose Red – You can see how much of the tube is dominated by the Magenta PR122 in comparison to the Harding Magenta PR122. I threw in a version of the Quinacridone Violet for comparison, but is not a match to the Quinacridone Rose used in the Richeson mix.

Shiva Violet Deep – an excellent color (PV23, PB29), shown here bracketed by two Old Holland hues that are on either side of it: Bright Violet (PV15, PV19, PV23) and Blue Violet (PB15, PV23).

Viridian – Richeson does a fine job acquitting itself against the Studio Products version, although the SP Viridian has the best consistency of the bunch. The surprise is the L&B Viridian which has tinting strength slightly surpassing the other two.

Ultramarine Blue Deep -- The Richeson version matches very well to the Rembrandt brand in color, both having a brilliant blue with great tinting strength. The OH version is more violet, as I would expect the UMB Deep version to run.

Cobalt Blue – The Richeson version keeps up with both other brands and is slightly lighter and higher chroma in masstone from the tube. Excellent choice.

Burnt Sienna – Very slightly leaning toward orange compared to the other two, but stronger in tinting strength. Slightly darker from the tube than the OH and Blockx, but a great choice.

Raw Umber – If anything, the Richeson is even more neutral than the Vasari. Consistency is only slightly stiff, but very smooth. WN is added to show what is considered a more traditional color for Raw Umber – a dark yellow.

I have close-up shots of the individual Richeson paint samples from these sheets, if anyone is interested, I’ll show those as well. I didn’t want this initial posting to be excessively long and intimidating.

The paint tubes themselves are excellent – the same wide mouth design with large, sturdy caps used by Blue Ridge and Robert Doak (and now Studio Products new production). The labeling leaves something to be desired –the labels don’t reach all the way around the tube, so want to unroll, despite the adhesive backing (they really need to overlap!). The labels are also a bit too long in the other dimension, buckling on the crimped end of the tube – not lying flat. The good news is that actual paint swatches are applied to the top of the tubes – take that Winsor Newton (and even Blockx)! (I swear – companies should bring me in as a consultant to oversee such details!)

This is a brand that is on the cusp of greatness, but not completely arrived yet.

Overall, the quality of paint is excellent in the consistency, which represents careful attention to detail in the pigment selection and milling process. All paints performed well and seem to be an outstanding bargain. Almost a shocking bargain!

Richeson has not attempted to state their paints as being Premium Grade, but they are certainly firmly positioned as quality Artist Grade paint. According to the prices from the discounters below, the Richeson brand is probably the best bargain in the US for quality paint. I can easily recommend this as a better alternative to Grumbacher and other lower end Artist paints. I rank them along the lines of Daniel Smith and just below Winsor Newton (due to Richeson’s less extensive paint selection and some lower quality pigments).

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Old 04-22-2010, 03:35 PM
monkhaus monkhaus is offline
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Re: Richeson Oils -- Shiva Series

Lo and behold but I just happened to get my Richeson catalog today. While I can't give color I can provide a few more CI's for those whose interest has been piqued by Jim's charts:

Burnt Sienna -listed in catalog as PR102
Cad Yellow Medium : PY35:1 PY65 RN
Green Gold : PG17 PY65RN
Rose Madder: PR83 PY3 10G
Unbleached Titanium: PW6 PY42 PBr7 PY3 10G
Shiva Blue Light : PB15:4
Indian Yellow : PY74

59 colors total in the range. 6 Series Retails $7.25 - $21.95

All the cadmiums are a Cadmium-Barium.

Pity on the Green Gold and Unbleached Titanium, the single pigment of both of those are perfectly fine. Though I guess Green Gold doesn't really tell you anything about what the color actually is.

The earth colors look very nice. So does the Ultramarine Blue.

Thanks for continuing to be the tester extraordinaire.
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Old 04-27-2010, 10:18 AM
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gunzorro gunzorro is offline
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Re: Richeson Oils -- Shiva Series

OPG -- That's terrific news! Sorry to have to bring that minor point up, but I'm very glad you are on top of it, and my continued praise for including actual paint sample on the labeling -- that's a class act.

Correction: In my remarks about the Raw Umber comparison, I inadvertantly wrote "Vasari" when I meant to indicate the sample that is actually BLUE RIDGE. I had recently used the Vasari and Blue Ridge Raw Umbers in a comparison with RGH Raw Umber, and the Vasari and Blue Ridge are remarkedly similar.

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