Tuesday, 25 July 2017

QoR Watercolours by Golden - 24-colour set

I've recently obtained the 24-colour set of 5-mL QoR watercolour tube paints by Golden. Golden sells a number of paints and mediums under the QoR branding and they sell a number of sets - to be honest, I'm not convinced by some of the sets - who wants a "high chroma set" that doesn't have a proper blue? At least sell warm and cool triads, for example. You can also buy the loose paints, but they're not cheap. This 24-colour set cost me about US$80.00, which is about £60.00 or so - that's not THAT bad at £2.50 per tube, I guess, but I'm aware buying them as open stock or buying them in a lot of European countries is VERY costly. The 6-tube sets on Amazon UK sell for an equivalent of over £4 (US$5.20) per tube, which is a LOT. I got this set from Amazon USA where the price was more economical - I've not seen the 24-set for sale in the UK but on the basis of the 6-sets, I would estimate a sale price in the UK of somewhere near to £100 (US$130) for the set. You can get them fairly economically from Jackson's Art Supplies though:

Golden formulated QoR with a different binder to all other watercolours on the market. The conventional binders in most watercolours are usually gum arabic (from Vachellia seyal Delile (P.J.Hunter)) or gum senegal (from Acacia senegal L. (Willd.)). Gum arabic and gum senegal are both mostly composed of arabinogalactan, a gum polymer made up long chains that alternate between the pentose sugar arabinose and the hexose sugar galactose - so a bit like starch or glycogen, but they're both made up of the hexose sugar glucose. QoR watercolours use the binder Aquazol®, which is entirely synthetic.

Aquazols® (plural) are a range of polymers owned by Polymer Chemistry Innovations Inc. (PIC Inc.), which license the use of Aquazol® in watercolour to Golden. Instead of a mix of two sugars as the monomers of the polymer, Aquazols® use a single monomer - a derivative of the heterocycle 2-oxazoline, which is a 5-membered ring containing 3 carbons, an oxygen and a nitrogen. 2-ethyl-2-oxazoline (2E2O) is the monomer, so it has an ethyl group attached to the carbon in between the N and the O. On its own, 2E2O is a liquid at room temperature and boils at over 125° C (over 250° F or almost 400 K), where as the polymerised form is very different. Firstly, Aquazol® doesn't quite exist - it's a product family. The long chains of 2E2O molecules joined together aren't always the same length, so PIC Inc. separates the mixes into different average sizes and sells them under different names - e.g. Aquazol® 5 has a mean size of 5 kDa (kilodaltons, one Dalton is the atomic mass unit, the atomic mass of carbon-12 being 12 Da), Aquazol® 50, Aquazol® 200 and Aquazol® 500 are also sold, with mean masses of 50 kDa, 200 kDa and 500 kDa. Aquazols® are solid at room temperature and dissolve in water, making clear solutions, and this is why Golden promotes them as being "better" than gum arabic and gum senegal because those polymers are slightly yellow and thus slightly mask some pigments - specifically purples can in theory look slightly duller owing to neutralisation of the colour BUT in practice, I'm not convinced it's really an issue given how microspically thin the layer of polymer is over the pigments when painting watercolour! Aquazols® mostly find their uses for adhering metal gilt and for use as general adhesives in fine art restoration as they don't produce acid over time - and have been used this way for well over 10 years - long before Golden got hold of them.

Whilst I've not yet done a side-by-side road test for this, I have done a "first look" video of the QoR watercolours and swatched out this set:

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

So it's been a while...

As most of you know, I planned to take 4-6 weeks out to deal with some personal crap but it's ended up being more like 12 weeks really. Could not be helped but I've finally unearthed my tripod from the packing crates and hope to be back soon! Hopefully before 1st July anyway!

Sunday, 21 May 2017

A little more disruption...

Won't be long. Hoping to be back to normal service levels some time around 5th June all being well - plenty of videos all lined up ready for when I'm back!

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Service Disruption

Hello viewing millions. I'm going to need to take a break from YouTube and my website for about a month from now - so about mid-May when I resurface. I'm not going to go into details, but I will still be uploading a video or so each week on auto-drip-feed for the time being.


1) Do not email, tweet, comment asking me anything including 'just' "Are you ok?" - I'm sorry to say it but I'm hellishly busy and I honestly can't reply to that many comments/emails as it is right now - please respect my need for peace right now, as I'm up to my neck in things that need doing, so I want to take a vacation from my channel for a few weeks - I know most people will recognise that this is like Annual Leave from work and that you don't email people when they're on leave from work - but I also know from past experience of saying similar and getting 5 emails in under 24h from the same person, the first beginning "I know you said not to email you but...". I just want to avoid recurrences! 
2) Please don't speculate on or offline re: what's going on - it's no one's business but mine. It's nothing anyone needs to be concerned about, I'm just too busy to do much with my channel right now, in short, so I'm on vacation from it. The reasons don't matter to anyone but me.
3) Please don't send me anything to review/as a gift right now - I'm physically unable to DO anything with my channel right now and I have a queue a mile long of products I need to post reviews of - it's honestly not helping the backlog if people send me more stuff - I do appreciate the gesture but I would rather you gave to charity or something instead - The Albert Kennedy Trust is my pet charity.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Beginning my Daniel Smith watercolour exploration

I've started working my way through the Daniel Smith watercolours from the 238-colour spotcard that I have, after which I will also do the newer colours that are not found in that card. I have decided to cut these reviews down into the following series - you can see the first video over on YouTube already.

Standard Watercolours
I'm working through the basic colours from yellow through red, purple, blue, turquoise, green, neutrals, blacks and whites. I will break these down into a series of videos each covering about 24-36 colours.

PrimaTek Watercolours
These are the paints made from powdered minerals and which have exceptional texture and interesting granulation and depth. I have separated these out of the main series into their own videos, of which these will be 3-4 in total.

Mars Watercolours
These are granulating colours to which, effectively, black has been added or the pigments are ground course. I felt they would be more useful to my audience if separated out, so I will tackle them on their own.

Duochrome Watercolours
Each DuoChrome paint flips between two distinct, separate colours, for example, DuoChrome Saguaro can appear green-gold or copper. I will tackle all of these in one video.

Interference Watercolours
These are wonderful to have in watercolour! Usually we only get interference media in acrylic paints. They only really show up on dark backgrounds and change hue as you change position relative  to them. I will tackle all of these in one video.

Iridescent Watercolours
These paints reflect light and sparkle and shimmer like an opal. I will tackle all of them in one video.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

A mini-haul and a surprise gift!

So, whilst it is lovely when my fans send me even just complementary emails let alone anything else, I've never asked for anything and never would, but I've had a series of really nice things sent to me in the last 6 months - mostly items people are keen for me to review - and I've been left a few tips in the tip jar on my website, which all helps to keep and improve my channel of course. I did get a surprise gift this week - a set of Royal and Langnickel scrubbing brushes for removing watercolour - I've no idea  who sent them as very often vendors don't pass that information to the recipient and I would like to be able to say thank you, so if it was you, please let me know! I gave them a really quick try out in this video but will do a proper review in due course. They certainly did the job lifting some Daniel Smith Moonglow that was long-dried onto a cheap scrap of paper, with far less effort that my usual scrubbing  tool (a sawn-off £2 hog bristle flat!) in any case!

This little haul is a couple of items I ordered from Amazon USA a few weeks back, namely:

Daniel Smith Watercolour Ground (Titanium White)
Amazon USA: US$10.92
Amazon Canada: CDN$38.32 CDN$30.84
Amazon UK: £29.68
Dick Blick: US$13.94 US$7.95
Jackson's: £9.99 £8.60

Prima Marketing The Classics Watercolours

Amazon USA: US$25.00 US$17.98
Amazon Canada: CDN$32.65
Amazon UK: £48.60 £17.56

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

How much does size really matter?

No, I don't mean men's willies, I mean size as in sizing on/in watercolour paper!

When paper is manufactured, sizing is added to reduce how much water the paper will absorb. Unsized papers are basically kitchen paper and so on - very absorbent and of course useless for art. Drawing papers are slightly sized ("slack sized") and have a bit of resistance to water, but watercolour papers are much more "hard sized" to make them very resistant. Now, within watercolour papers, we often refer to some as "hard sized" to mean "very hard sized" whereas the weaker sized watercolour papers are still "hard sized" in the context of all types of paper.

When paper is being put together, sizing can be added to the pulp, which results in "internal sizing", or, onto the surface ("surface sizing" - the latter is the much more water repellent form of paper.

In this video, I compared the following - the manufacturers are indicated as follows:
[DR] = Daler and Rowney
[SCM] = St Cuthbert's Mill
[C] = Canson
Chemical Pulp:
Aquafine Hot Press. This is a fairly low-end student-grade paper, which I only use for swatching normally [DR].
Optima This is not a watercolour paper - it's a mixed-media paper that I just added for a bit of a laugh really to see how it performed [DR].
Bockingford Cold Press. This is a very good paper that I use day-to-day [SCM].
Langton Rough. This is again, a decent day-to-day paper [DR].

Cotton Rag:
Langton Prestige Rough. This is a generally good paper that is a very good entry-level-to-cotton-papers paper, for people who are moving up from chemical pulp papers [DR].
Saunders Waterford Cold Press. This is pretty hard-sized and a very high quality paper [SCM].
Arches Cold Press. This is quite hard-sized but ultimately no more so than Saunders Waterford [C].
Millford Cold Press. This is almost an "extreme sized" paper, with a very strong surface sizing. There is nothing else like this  on the market [SCM].

I did my tests using French Ultramarine by Winsor & Newton in one of their large pans - these are VERY economical and well worth having for the colours you use the most:

Amazon USA No stock at the time of writing.
Amazon UK £20.99 £15.10
Amazon Canada No stock at the time of writing.
Jackson's £20.99 £13.64

Monday, 6 March 2017

A little entertainment interlude...

I know many of you enjoy my sense of humour and my more than slightly acerbic view of the world. Tonight I have watched the latest DVD by a comedian I have loved for over 20 years, so I thought I would share her work, just in case you're interested - if not, keep walking and just ignore this. 

She writes songs that are either hysterical or heartbreaking, and, sometimes, both. Her name is Dillie Keane, and she's better known perhaps as the founding member of Fascinating Aïda. I'll give you a little taster with two songs both from her new live DVD - one funny, one serious:

"PAM" - a song of what you wish you could pluck up the nerve to say to the bit-on-the-side when you find out your better half is cheating.

"LOVE LATE" - a beautiful song she wrote in 1999 as a gift to her then new partner (who she's still with) for her first Christmas with him. It's about finding love that bit later on in life - she was almost 50 at the time.

Her latest DVD is called "Hello Dillie!" and you can buy it here in the UK, USA or Canada, respectively - you can also get the soundtrack on iTunes:
You can also get various other DVDs and CDs (and sometimes even the odd record - she has been doing this since 1983, after all!) from the following Amazon USA, UK and Canada links:

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Wallace-Seymour Vintage Watercolours

I finally completed the set of 4 different Wallace-Seymour watercolour lines and shot video reviews of all of them, which, as a reminder are:

ARTIST'S - sold only as full-pans from Turners of Manchester and aimed at general artists. They are high-quality paints with lift-off similar to brands like Schmincke. There are a wide range of colours, they are economical and some are made with unusual pigments but most are fairly mainstream. Vehicle is honey and gum senegal.

EARLY - sold only as half-pans by L. Cornelissen & Son and aimed at more experienced artists who are interested in early watercolour. They are very high quality paints but not like modern watercolour and need hot water to lift the pigments. They are a small range of under 20 colours, all of which are very traditional. Vehicle is gum tragacanth, gum senegal and honey.

18th CENTURY - sold only as sets of rounds by Turners of Manchester and again, aimed at more of a niche market. They are entirely made with 18th century pigments and even the more mainstream ones like Yellow Ochre are specially sourced natural pigments. There is an expanding range but only come as sets. Again, they don't resemble modern watercolour and need hot water to use. Vehicle is gum senegal, gum tragacanth and honey.

VINTAGE - sold only as 20mL tubes by Turners of Manchester and aimed at a more general market and those who want to make big washes with some more unusual pigments. Traditional, modern and more unusual pigments are used. They are sold individually. I don't know the composition of the vehicle but gum senegal and honey is fairly likely.

I have posted breakdowns of the pigments used in the 18th Century, Early and Vintage lines over on my Downloads Page.

The single most exciting thing about the Vintage line is the range of very rare pigments used. When deciding what paints to trial, I decided that because I had tried a warm triad (Ultramarine Blue Deep, Cadmium Yellow Mid and Cadmium Red Mid), I should try a cool triad, so I opted for Cadmium Yellow Lemon (PY35), Manganese Blue Genuine (PB33) and Rosa Magenta (PV19). A cadmium-based cool yellow and a quinacridone violet cool red are pretty bog-standard but Manganese Blue Genuine is VERY special because not only is it a beautiful, heavily-granulating cool blue, it's also not been manufactured in YEARS, and Wallace-Seymour use pigment made over 30 years ago to produce this paint. 

I wanted another triad and I spotted they had a Naples Yellow Deep Genuine (PY41), Indigo Genuine (NB1) and Sepia Genuine (NBr9) - these 3 paints in genuine form - Naples Yellows are normally made with PBr24 Chrome Antimony Titanate Buff Rutile, with varying amounts of white - but the real NY41 Lead Antimonate Yellow Pyrochlore is seldom used now owing to the toxicity of lead and antimony. True indigo is expensive (it's made from fermented plant material, which is not cheap and a bad crop can make it REALLY expensive in any given year) and true sepia is an animal product (but a byproduct of the food industry, much like cuttlebones are - and you can buy cuttlefish ink for food use, as well as cuttlefish, should you wish - I personally find it very tasty but if you overcook it, it turns into rubber - and don't worry about how much it smells raw, it's fine once cooked!) - so you won't see either in paints very often.

As you'll see in the video (below), the generous 20mL tubes are hand-filled and did find 3/6 of the paints had separated a lot from a watery vehicle, which I poured off and saved. I now think this was just excess water as the paint underneath is totally fine and not at all unusual in consistency. As is often the case, I would bet these paints have hung around in the shop/store room at Turners in the same position for a long while, so just shaking them and massaging them a bit will be enough to resolve this issue within a few days.

The colours are amazing and the yellow, red and blue are almost a CMY(K) triad - though the yellow is not close enough to a Process Yellow for this to really work, if you do mix them, you get something similar to a CMY triad - incidentally, if you do ever fancy painting the CMY universe in watercolour, I would recommend you use Cerulean Blue (PB35), Quinacridone Magenta (PR202) and Cobalt Yellow (PY40) - though you could equally use Diarylide Yellow FGL (PY97), Quinacridone Red (PR122) and Cobalt Blue (PB28).

Manganese Blue is so pretty that I will do a Colour Chemistry episode focusing on this colour, but if you like it, get it while you can: Wallace-Seymour are using up vintage stocks to manufacture this and once it's gone, it's gone - I'm going to stockpile whilst I can!

If you want to buy these paints...
...then you need to visit Turners Art Materials (who WILL ship outside of the UK but you will need to contact them by EMAIL and NOT place an order on the website - if you run into issues, you can tell them that The Spin Doctor had confirmation from them on Twitter 21st February 2017 - if need be, you can show them their own tweet which I've linked.

Thursday, 2 March 2017

You Heard It Here First...

So, I have a few little mini-announcements to make. I've got over 2,500 subs on YouTube now, which is beyond anything I ever expected, and this month is my one year anniversary of this iteration of my YouTube presence :) I will be doing some anniversary giveaways - watch this space.

If you've not already seen it, I looked at the 35 new Schmincke colours yesterday - this (below this post) video's already been really popular and I think a lot of people are enamoured by Phthalo Sapphire (PB15:6 - the same as the Phthalo Sapphire that Winsor and Newton had in their Desert Collection) - but were struggling to find it in their area or at a good price - I've seen today that you can buy that at Jackson's as they have plenty of stock, AND they ship worldwide for reasonable prices - plus these are some killer reductions for a brand new release, right?!:

Full Pan (RRP £8.00, £6.30)
Half Pan (RRP £6.00, £4.24)
5mL Tube (RRP £6.00, £4.42)
15mL Tube (RRP £11.00, £8.74)

I wanted to let you all know about a few NEW THINGS I'm trialling to help my audience even more! I was going to do a Spin Doctor Speaks video but I decided to write it instead - I wanted to watch TV at the same time ;) I often have the TV on in the background when painting just for not having silence, or I listen to music sometimes - I did see in the comments on one of The Frugal Crafter's videos last week that a few of you like to listen to audiobooks when you're painting, which sounds like a great idea and one I am going to be trying. I noticed Amazon USA has a deal on right now for 2 free audiobooks if you sign up for a FREE 30 day trial of Audible, which I thought would be worth sharing with you all? It seems Amazon UK has a similar deal with 1 free audiobook if you sign up for a FREE 30 day trial of Audible.

The Spin Doctor's Emporium
Sadly, this is only really of use to my Amazon.com-using (USA, mostly) peeps, but it will help y'all a lot! I've set up an online store with Amazon (you can see an embryonic version - totally unformatted - under "Emporium" on my navigation bar at the top of my website) which allows me to annotate products and help direct you to things that might be useful. For example, for those who follow my Surgery series of watercolour lessons, each week's supplies will have a store page to help you grab them really quick with no effort, if you need to restock your colours. I'm going to use this to help guide you through things like which colours you need in palettes for different uses - once it goes live properly, I'll make a formal announcement on YouTube.

Postmortems with The Spin Doctor
Yeah, yeah, it's morbid, but we all have those paintings from time to time where we just don't know why it went wrong, right? You can get professional 1:1 feedback on your paintings from some online sources for up to £30 per session (US$50), but sometimes you only need to hear "you used too much water", and then it's not worth paying it. So in this new series, you will be able to submit your paintings to me online and I will show them (without names/etc!!!) on screen and talk through my thoughts for maybe 1-2 minutes on each one, once a month and only one painting per person per month. I'm going to do it to see how it goes - but if I get 500 paintings in the first month, I'm quitting right away!

The Spin Doctor's Atelier
I have a thing for flowery English and I call rooms in my appartment my "front parlour", "bedchamber" and so on, because it makes me laugh - so my studio can be an "atelier", right? (Ah TELL ee ay) In this series I'll be letting you watch me create - a little like The Spin Doctor Sits, but that's more about trying other peoples' methods/ideas to see how they work for me - but this is more about original material.

The Spin Doctor's Clinic
This is going to be a LIVE Q&A/quick-tips-demo where you ask questions and I answer them/show you things quickly - anything can happen! It'll only be once or twice a month at most until I get a feel for how useful folk are finding it.

Schmincke Horadam - New 2017 releases!

I'm a very lucky boy, because Schmincke have VERY kindly sent me a very large number of watercolour paints to try out and review (a very large number of similar magnitude is formally known as "one f*cktonne", FYI).

I've recorded a video (embedded at the end of this post) of me swatching out all 35 colours in the sampler they sent to me, but I've got ACTUAL TUBES AND PANS so I will be doing some proper paintings with them in due course to try them out which will be in Part 2 of the review later in March. I will also be doing reviews of Schmincke's other watercolours as they sent me the entire series in various formats, which will be a joy! 140 colours!!! If you're not au fait with Schmincke, they're a fantastic company with beautiful paints that lift-off onto your brush SO easily and which are very easy to control because they carefully optimise the vehicle for each and every colour - so they all behave optimally - they also physically cram the maximum amount of pigment into every paint, so you're getting a lot for your money and they really last a long time. You can see them in action in my previous review of their really cute 12-half-pan set, which has a lovely selection of colours. 

It's worth noting this video was the first proper outing of that Size 10 Prolene Plus travel brush I featured previously - it's SO good - nothing but praise for it and it worked great on the paints that are more stubborn to re-wet.

You can buy these 35 new paints from Jackson's where they are very reasonably priced and ship worldwide - they are selling almost all of them at up to 30% off of the RRP, which represents a fantastic saving. I use Jackson's all the time and they always give prompt service and are great at customer care - I can honestly say that they're one of my favourite retailers of art materials and they always have great prices. If you want any of the original Schmincke watercolours, you can also buy those from Jackson's too. I also noticed they had some great deals on sets of Schmincke paints too - from as little as £39.60 (reduced from £59.00) - which is US$48.00 down from US$72.50.

You can also get Schmincke 12-pan sets from various vendors worldwide (all prices correct at time of posting):
Amazon USA: US$191.31, or US$62.74 if you don't mind a long lead time!
Amazon UK: £59.76 reduced to £54.01
Amazon Canada: CDN$170.92 reduced to CND$142.96
DickBlick U$227.55 reduced to US$155.59 [NB: this is the set of FULL pans, not half pans, which means this is one KILLER deal - not only 31% off of the list-price but even cheaper than the half pan set usually is and TWICE the amount of paint!]
JACKSON'S ART SUPPLIES: £63.19 reduced to £49.50.
[don't forget, if you're using Amazon USA or UK, you can make major savings on shipment using Amazon Prime, which you can try for FREE for one month right now - sign up (USA) or sign up (UK)]

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Little Tuesday Art Haul

...oops? Well, ok, I ordered this last week so that's ok, right? I couldn't resist - Ken Bromley Art Supplies had a great sale on and I found they still stocked some of the elusive Winsor & Newton Desert Collection watercolours. I did balls up in the video (at the end of this post) and mis-read the tube on INDIAN RED DEEP as PBk25 (it's PBr25!). Oh and I said I would link to Jane Blundell's fantastic website - so here that is!

This time I procured the following - if you're planning to buy from Amazon UK or Amazon USA, don't forget you can get 30 days of Amazon Prime (free shipping and a LOT of free TV/movies!) for FREE right now via these links (USA left, UK right):

KEN BROMLEY (£12.95 £10.36) 
JACKSON'S (£11.95 £9.60) [ships worldwide]
AMAZON USA (US$39.94 in a set with Filbert and One Stroke)
AMAZON UK (£22.99 in a set with Filbert and One Stroke)
AMAZON CANADA (CDN$127.28 in a set with Filbert and One Stroke)

(PO107 Pigment Orange 107 aka Irgazin® DPP Cosmoray Orange)
The vivid nature of this paint is amazing - it catches fire when you add it to water - I wasn't expecting to love it this much!
Ken Bromley Art Supplies (£6.70 £5.02)

(PBr25 Benzimidazolone Brown)
This is a beautiful transparent red-brown - I can see myself using this a lot on Millford paper which will show off the transparent pigments really well.
Ken Bromley Art Supplies (£6.70 £5.02)

Monday, 27 February 2017

Little Monday Art Haul!

Aren't Mondays shit? I hate Mondays at best and more so when it's poured with rain all night - but getting a NICE PARCEL makes all the difference! 

This little haul (video below) contained the following and was from The Society for All Artists (The SAA), which I have just joined as they have a really cool deal that ends tomorrow for a FREE SCHMINCKE TRIAL SET for all new members, which is worth about 30 quid and contains TURNERS'S YELLOW, QUINACRIDONE GOLD (HUE), POTTER'S PINK, COBALT VIOLET (HUE), FRENCH ULTRAMARINE and PERYLENE GREEN, which is an interesting mix! Oh btw, I've renamed "haul" videos as "Doctor's Orders" - cute huh?

Good news for non-members and those in the USA/Canada - The SAA sells via Amazon websites worldwide, so I've curated links to the items I procured in case you're interested in trying them - and a really cool thing about The SAA - they charge the EXACT SAME for 1 full Imperial or 2 half Imperial or 4 quarter Imperial sheets i.e. no cutting fee on papers! That's a really good saving. Incidentally, Amazon delivery savings can be made by getting an Amazon Prime account, which gives you free shipping and access to a LOT of TV and movies for one annual fee -  you can trial it for 30 days free of charge at the moment - just click the appropriate image for your regional Amazon site (from left they are USA, UK - unfortunately there are no trials in Canada right now, sorry :( ):

I've also included Jackson's where available - they do ship worldwide!

MILLFORD WATERCOLOUR PAPER 1/4 Imperial, CP, 140lb - 20 sheets
This is a very special paper - as you may know from my review of it - but I've not used it in a few months so I decided it was high time for a re-stock! 
BUY FROM SAA VIA AMAZON.COM - US$33.54 for 20 sheets.
BUY FROM SAA VIA AMAZON.CO.UK - £30.28 for 20 sheets.
BUY FROM SAA VIA AMAZON.CA - CDN$13.95 for 4 sheets.
BUY FROM JACKSONS (UK) - £18.80 for 5 full Imperial sheets.

SAUNDERS WATERFORD PAPER, 1/4 Imperial, Rough, 300lb - 4 sheets
This is a very heavy paper - you can see The Frugal Crafter using this exact paper in a recent video - and I love the Rough texture option. It's 100% cotton and lovely to paint on.
BUY FROM SAA VIA AMAZON.COM - US$15.16 for 4 sheets.
BUY FROM SAA VIA AMAZON.CO.UK - £13.08 for 4 sheets.
BUY FROM SAA VIA AMAZON.CA - CDN$20.23 for 4 sheets.
BUY FROM JACKSONS (UK) - £7.80 for 1 full Imperial sheet.

WINSOR AND NEWTON "Desert Collection" watercolours
349 Yellow Titanate (PBr24) 5mL (discontinued)

DANIEL SMITH "PrimaTek" series:
190 Serpentine Genuine (N/A) 5mL 

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Wallace-Seymour Extra Fine Acrylics

Ok so this was a BIT of an impromptu one! I've had a small selection of some of the more unique colours from this range, like the specially sourced minerals that you just can't get in any of the commercial, mass-market artists' acrylic ranges, so I wasn't going to post a review of them owing to a slight lack of things to show you really...however, my three Wallace-Seymour Watercolour Videos (Early, Artist and 18th Century - and I do hope to do the Vintage range very soon too!) have been SO popular this week that I couldn't not get something up on these paints too! I popped out at lunchtime and picked up a few more tubs of paint so I had enough to run this video. My local art shop is The Art Side in Plymouth and the owner first got me into Wallace-Seymour (then Pip Seymour) Extra Fine Acrylics some years ago - and they stock many colours in the range.

First of all, I need to point out, Wallace-Seymour products are an absolute labour of love - no other way to put it. Many are literally handmade, and a lot of the pigments are dug up by the owners and milled in small batches - so you get a lot of very novel and unique colours - and pigments you will literally never see in another brand ever ever ever. Cool huh? The acrylics are sold in jars of 125mL as standard - but you can get 250mL, 500mL and larger too - or for the benefit of my readers in the USA, 125mL is a half cup, or about 4.25 US fluid ounces.

Let's consider prices a bit - the paints come in 4 series, as often the case and here are the prices from Turner's for 125mL jars: 

£9.00 - Series 1 - this is mostly phthalocyanines, quinacridones and so on, and ultramarines.
£9.75 - Series 2 - mostly earth colours etc.
£10.95 - Series 3 - metallic colours, dioxazines etc.
£34.50 - Series 4 - this is where it gets special - genuine cadmiums, cobalts, unusual and unique earths etc.

Let's do a decent comparison of pricing first of all - I've taken a common colour from each series, and compared them with the CRYLA professional acrylic line from Daler and Rowney and the Heavy Body line from Golden. I've considered pigment just to see if we're paying like-for-like. The RRPs I have quoted are - for Wallace-Seymour - from Turner's - and for CRYLA and Golden, from Jackson's (who sell most of them at far below the RRP and have great sales too!).

Series 1
Phthalocyanine Blue (£9.00, 125mL), 
PB 15:1 Phthalocyanine Blue RS (Copper Phthalocyanine)
Normalised price, 7.2p/mL.
Compare with CRYLA:
Phthalocyanine Blue Red Shade (£8.25, 75mL), 
PB 15:1 Phthalocyanine Blue RS (Copper Phthalocyanine)
Normalised price, 11.0p/mL. 
Compare with GOLDEN:
Phthalocyanine Blue Red Shade (£19.95, 150mL), 
PB 15:1 Phthalocyanine Blue RS (Copper Phthalocyanine)
Normalised price, 13.3p/mL.
So, Wallace-Seymour is the most economical, with Golden being the most expensive. Structurally, they all have the same single-pigment, but obviously differ in their vehicle.

Series 2
Payne's Grey (£9.75, 125mL), 
PB29 Ultramarine Blue
PBk7 Lamp Black
PR101 Red Iron Oxide (Synthetic)
Normalised price, 7.8p/mL.
Compare with CRYLA:
Payne's Grey (£7.25, 75mL),
PB29 Ultramarine Blue
PBk11 Mars Black
Normalised price, 9.7p/mL.
Compare with GOLDEN:
Payne's Grey (£16.45, 150mL),
PB29 Ultramarine Blue
PBk7 Lamp Black
Normalised price, 10.9p/mL.
So, Wallace-Seymour is again the most economical, similar to Series 1. W-S's composition adds PR101, but is otherwise the same as Golden's but there is a big difference in price. 

Series 3
Dioxazine Purple (£10.95, 125mL)
PV23 Dioxazine Violet
PR122 Quinacridone Red
Normalised price, 8.8p/mL.
Compare with CRYLA:
Deep Violet (Dioxazine Purple, £11.25, 75mL)
PV23 Dioxazine Violet
Normalised price, 15.0p/mL.
Compare with GOLDEN:
Dioxazine Violet (£26.50, 150mL)
PV23 Dioxazine Violet
Normalised price, 17.6p/mL.
Ok, so this time Wallace-Seymour is cheapest again, but I am going to assume this is because they've adulterated the paint with Quin. Red to save money (Dioxazine Violet is very costly) - though it is possibly added to enrich the tone, though I doubt it - when one buys Dioxazine Violet, one WANTS the classic black-purple like an aubergine, right?

Series 4
Cobalt Blue Genuine (£34.50, 125mL)
PB28 Cobalt Blue
Normalised price, 27.6p/mL.
Compare with CRYLA:
Cobalt Blue (£11.25, 75mL)
PB28 Cobalt Blue
Normalised price, 15.0p/mL.
Compare with GOLDEN:
Cobalt Blue (£32.95, 150mL)
PB28 Cobalt Blue
Normalised price, 22.0p/mL.
Now in this case, the Wallace-Seymour version s the most costly, but it is not much different to Golden. They all use single pigment true Cobalt Blue and there is no adulteration with cheaper pigments.

In my accompanying video (below), I make consideration of the properties of these paints versus other lines - I LOVE the very unique Series 4 Oxford Bluestone and so on paints - the textures are amazing. The Part 2 review (in a few weeks) will show what they're like in use and when dried down. If you like what you see and want to buy these beautiful Wallace-Seymour Extra Fine Acrylics, you can buy them from lots of independent art stores around the United Kingdom. If you are from outside of the UK, you can by them from Turners Art Supplies - BUT YOU MUST READ the information on my previous posts about how to order from Turners if you live outside of the UK.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Wallace-Seymour 18th Century Watercolours 'Four Humors' life drawing set

Well, I was kind of blown away by these and I've found myself playing with them 3-4 times since I recorded my review 24h ago! 

Wallace-Seymour created these paints in a facsimile of an 18th century watercolour vehicle - viz. gum tragacanth, gum senegal and honey. If you want to know more about these gums, look at my post on their Early Watercolours line. They are hand-formed into rounds and a depression is made in the top for one's water to go into - which retains the thumbprint of the person who made them- and then left to air dry. I refer to these as "watercolour rounds" since they're not like pans or even in pans! Wallace-Seymour calls them 'discs' but I don't like that tbh as they're much less regular or industrial, which is what 'disc' implies to me.

They sell these in 3 sets and they are not available as open stock. You can only get them from Turners Art Supplies - I've added pigment information where I know it, and you can download a full breakdown of this pigment information with detailed annotations and lightfastness of the pigments and so on, as a convenient PDF reference list.
The Turner Palette (£96.00, 12 rounds). This set is designed to replicate Turner's palette, and comprises:
Gamboge Natural (NY24 Gamboge); Burgundy Yellow Ochre (PY43 Natural Yellow Iron Oxide); Burgundy Apricot Ochre; Burgundy Red Ochre; Madder Lake Natural (NR8 Alizarin Crimson); Blue Verditer; Oxford Mudstone (Davy's Grey); Azurite (PB30 Copper Carbonate (Basic), Natural); Ultramarine Ashes (PB29 Ultramarine, from lapis lazuli); Indigo Natural (NB1 Indigo); Green Earth (natural clay from Oxfordshire, UK); Malachite (PG39 Copper Carbonate (Basic), Natural).
The Grand Tour Palette (£120.00, 12 rounds). This set is inspired by colours one might see on the traditional 'grand tour' of Europe that many 18th century artists took:
Gamboge Natural (NY24 Gamboge); Oxford Ochre (natural clay collected in Oxfordshire, UK); Oxford Bluestone; Oxford Mudstone (Davy's Grey); Madder Lake Natural (NR8 Alizarin Crimson); Cinnabar Natural (from Tuscany); Vermillion Genuine (PR106 Vermillion, Genuine); Bloodstone Grey (mix of Oxford Mudstone, Hematite (PR102) and Lapis Lazuli (PB29), essentially a mimic of Payne's Grey); Indigo Natural (NB1 Indigo); Malachite (PG39 Copper Carbonate (Basic), Natural); Azurite (PB30 Copper Carbonate (Basic), Natural); Lapis Lazuli (PB29 Ultramarine, natural).
The Four Humors Set (£24.00, 4 rounds). This set is inspired by body fluids! Back in the day, medics believed that the emotions were caused by the specific volumes of four liquids (humors) in the body - and having too much of any lead to an affliction: Blood, Yellow Bile, Black Bile and Phlegm - which we still hear today in the form of four personality types: Sanguine, Choleric, Melancholic and Phlegmatic! This set is really intended for life-drawing and it invokes the 3 colours (sanguine, black and white) of the en trois crayons style, popular with the Old Masters in their studies [one draws in sanguine then adds high and lowlights with the white and black, respectively], with the addition of an ochre.
Sarti White (PW18 Chalk), Vine Black (PBk8), Burgundy Yellow Ochre (PY43 Natural Yellow Iron Oxide), Cumbrian Red Hematite (PR102 Natural Red Iron Oxide).

I bought the 'Four Humours' set out of my (well, my business!) own pocket for this review - Turners Of Manchester and Wallace-Seymour have no affiliation to me and I don't get any commission on sales - so this review is totally impartial, believe me! 

If you want to buy them, use the links on the prices in the descriptions above - if you are outside the UK, please make sure you read the buying information at the end of this post.

Like the Early Watercolours line, you need to activate them with hot water by adding a little to the depression on the top. I recommend you do that with a pipette or a synthetic brush you know is ok with hot water (squirrel mops and anything with goat hair WILL shed if you put them in hot water!). After about 5-10 minutes, the paint softens and a bit of gentle mixing in the well with a synthetic brush (don't ruin a sable one!) will loosen the paint and form a strong wash. As you use this up, just keep adding more warm water, though to be honest, after a while, cold water is just fine.

The colours - oh my! It's not often I get excited by a yellow ochre but this one has amazing texture and is more like a Gold Ochre really - it has an inner light and warmth. The white is very pale but don't be fooled - it dries more opaque by far - and it makes lovely mixes with the other colours. The sanguine red is a beautiful granulating and very red colour - less brown than many sanguines and again, SO much depth! The vine black - this was a shock to me - it's a deep, dark indigo blue and has a lot of texture. You can actually use them as three earth primaries!!! The earth yellow and earth red make a good, Burnt Sienna-type earth orange; the earth yellow and earth blue make a Terre Verte-like earth green and the earth red and the earth blue make a beautiful soft lavender-grey. So much experimenting still to do though!!! The pigment load is REALLY high and these are going to last me a very long time, which at £6 per round, which I think each is equivalent to 2-3 full-pans, they are amazing value. Pip and Rebecca have put a lot of work into some beautiful products that I've honestly loved using and they feel like a labour of love: they only sell through small businesses like Turners Art Supplies or L. Cornelissen & Son, and they don't hike the price up without reason - they seem to have a small but very loyal following and I count myself amongst that.

You can find out more and see me doodling with them in my video review, which is at the bottom of this post.

If you want to buy these paints...
...then you need to visit the Cornelissen website and buy them from there. If you wanted the 18th Century, Vintage or Artists' lines, you will need to visit Turners Art Materials (who WILL ship outside of the UK but you will need to contact them by EMAIL and NOT place an order on the website - if you run into issues, you can tell them that The Spin Doctor had confirmation from them on Twitter 21st February 2017 - if need be, you can show them their own tweet which I've linked.).
Alternatively, if you're interested in any of the Wallace-Seymour mediums for oil painting, you can buy them from Jackson's in the UK, which ship worldwide, I believe.

You can also buy Pip Seymour's fantastic book The Artist's Handbook from Amazons UK, USA or Canada - but don't worry if these widgets show crazy prices, there are usually more reasonable ones once you get to the website.