Sunday 1 May 2016

Product Review: Sennelier Abstract Acrylic Paints

My local art stores only stock Daler and Rowney (which I like CRYLA and System 3 ranges of) and Pip Seymour (which I dislike - they have a nice range of earth colours but I dislike the almost jelly-like texture some of the colours have) acrylic paints - so when the local big-box store started selling Sennelier Abstract Acrylic Paints, I was intrigued. None of the colours were ones I really needed, but I don't have a neutral gold so I picked up a pack of 028 Iridescent Gold for a mere £2.00 - it was on sale and is normally £4.00 there, and on Amazon UK it is £7.63, so this was a pretty good saving! When I got to the checkout, I was given a tiny pack of 385 Primary Blue for free as a sample. When I did my test comparisons below, I had assumed this would be either a Process Blue (i.e. Cyan) or a neutral blue, like a Cobalt Blue (Hue) - so I used the latter (System 3) for comparison. When I read the package and realised it was a Phthalo Blue (PB15:3 Phthalocyanine Blue BGS), I thought that calling it "Primary Blue" was a bit stupid - every painter the world over knows Phthalo Blue would be called Phthalo Blue, right? I don't get why they didn't use the normal name. I used System 3 707 Rich Gold as the comparison for the Iridescent Gold as it was the only gold I had to hand.

Sennelier Abstract are sold in pouches rather than tubes and come in at 120mL (4 US fl. oz.; 4.2 UK fl. oz.) - so let's normalise that to a current Amazon UK price of £6.36/100mL. In comparison, System 3 707 Rich Gold is £5.52 for 150mL (5 US fl. oz.; 5.3 UK fl. oz.), which normalises to £4.60/100mL. CRYLA 707 Rich Gold is £9.25/75mL (2.5 US fl. oz.; 2.2 UK fl. oz.), which normalises to £12.33/100mL:

Normalised prices:
Sennelier Abstract 028 Iridescent Gold = £6.36/100mL.
Daler & Rowney System 3 707 Rich Gold = £4.60/100mL.
Daler & Rowney CRYLA 707 Rich Gold = £12.33/100mL.

That puts Sennelier Absract halfway between the two in terms of price. The paint coming in pouches intrigued me - not as easy to store as tubes I guess. The paint is marketed as a "heavy body" paint but to be honest, even just feeling it through the packaging, it's really not - it's a little heavier than System 3 Standard Body but nowhere near as thick as the Heavy Body or CRYLA versions.

So how do they look? I painted them onto Daler & Rowney System 3 Acrylic Paper with a dry Simply Golden Taklon 1" flat wash (one of my favourite ranges of acrylic brushes even though they are the cheapest things around!) to see how they came out. The advertised properties of the four paints are:

Sennelier Abstract 028 Iridescent Gold - PY3 + PBk7 (Hansa Yellow 10G + Lamp Black) on mica, lightfastness n.r. (not listed), transparent.
Daler & Rowney System 3 707 Rich Gold - PW6 + PR101 (Titanium White + Synthetic Iron Oxide Red) on mica, lightfastness ***, transparent.

Sennelier Abstract 385 Primary Blue - PB15:3 (Phthalocyanine Blue BGS). Lightfastness ***, semi-transparent.
Daler & Rowney System 3 110 Cobalt Blue (Hue) - PW6 + PB29 (Titanium White + Ultramarine Blue), lightfastness ***, opaque.

Top to bottom: Sennelier Abstract in Primary Blue and Iridescent Gold then Daler & Rowney System 3 in Cobalt Blue and Rich Gold.

So, my verdict on them. Firstly, the body really is not heavy body - they're very liquid and actually reminded me of Daler & Rowney Graduate Acrylic in that regard. The colour intensity is quite good and in the image above, I applied roughly equal blobs of each of the 4 paints - you can see the two blues have a similar pigment load, but the golds are a bit different - the Sennelier gold has clear patches of paper showing through - but the Daler & Rowney gold doesn't.

A close-up of Sennelier 028 Iridescent Gold - you can see clear patchiness where the pigment load just isn't as good and the tooth of the paper really shows through. It's advertised as being a transparent colour, so I would expect that to some degree, but not patchiness - that's not acceptable. The sparkle was pretty much as one would expect and the colour a nice neutral gold - I have no negatives I can say in those regards.

And now Sennelier 385 Primary Blue - the coverage is better here but it does seem thin in a few places - for a semi-transparent colour, that's kind of usual but I did feel it just didn't want to go as far on the page as the System 3 colours did.

Here is the Daler & Rowney System 3 707 Rich Gold (Imitation) for comparison - you can see much better coverage and even in a standard-body paint, there are clear brushmarks - a heavy-body paint should show those, which shows how totally not a heavy-body paint the Sennelier ones are. The coverage is good and even - there is no patchiness and whilst the texture of the tooth shows through, you can't physically see bare tooth.

And Daler & Rowney System 3 110 Cobalt Blue (Hue) - this still shows brush-marks like the above even though it's standard-body - there's a bit of thin, patchiness at the top left - where the tooth does show through - this is an opaque colour so it does fall down a bit on that regard but I think this is more a symptom of my brushwork as I threw this one down last of the 4 before getting something to eat!

Sennelier Abstract Heavy-Body Acrylic Paints
Looks: *******--- 7/10
Recyclableness: Not Known
Readability: ********** 10/10
Ease of use: ********** 10/10

Quality: ******---- 6/10 (it was pretty good in terms of the colours themselves and the pigments used, but as it wasn't heavy-body, I felt this was totally misleading - the patchy nature of the application compared to System 3 really let this paint down, too)
Value for Money: *****----- 5/10 There are better quality, true heavy-body acrylic paints with similar grade pigments available at a lower price - therefore I cannot consider this good value and the outright lie re: being heavy-body is not good at all.


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