Monday, 14 October 2013

Daniel Smith Special Pigments

Jacksons advise they now have some `special' pigment paints from Daniel Smith, previously unavailable in the UK. They are  Azurite Genuine, Kingman Green Turquoise Genuine, Malachite Genuine, Yavapai Genuine and Purpurite Genuine. These paints arise from Daniel Smith sourcing the original rock from a variety of mines throughout the USA and elsewhere.  They are part of the PrimaTek range as opposed to the normal watercolours. Daniel Smith make some great watercolours. That is a fact but amongst the huge range are some that might be regarded as gimmicky. I have done several earlier posts on Daniel Smith which can be referred to. I regret it is difficult to find older posts as there doesn't seem to be a way of including an index which would simplify searching. If anybody knows how to do this I'd be pleased to hear from them. One of the posts was on the PrimaTeks heavily based on the one by Bruce McEvoy on Handprint. My post includes a link. Bruce was somewhat sceptical and picked out only a few paints as being really interesting.  Most he thought were unnecessary and they don't all handle exactly like normal watercolours. Prices are very high, really eye watering in some cases and I personally am very sceptical about investing in them - with the odd exception see below.

Malachite Genuine

Azurite Genuine
Kingman Green Turquoise Genuine


Yavapai Genuine

Purpurite Genuine

Green Apatite Genuine

Interesting? Pause for a moment. These paints cost from £10.90p for Yavapai Genuine (from a mine in Arizona) to an astonishing £28.00p for Azurite Genuine, with the others in between!!! This is for a 15ml tube. I have included Green Apatite Genuine, which has been available for a while, as this has become a favourite of Yvonne Harry. I also have it. You pay your money......

Unfortunately for UK and European artists Daniel Smith are more expensive here than in America, nor do we have access to the frequent `specials'. This is a shame because they are excellent paints, even if the range is somewhat bloated. I have several and would buy more but for the prices. www.danielsmith.com/content--id-658








18 comments:

Mick Carney said...

I love the selection of Smith paints that I've dabbled with, the only one from this bunch being the Apatite Green that delivers some interesting granulation effects. Agree with you on price. Once again a thanks for your investigations.

Peter Ward said...

Thanks Mick. I'm afraid you have to select the wheat from the chaff in many things and this applies to watercolour.

Ray Maclachlan said...

You are very generous in your surveys of the paints available, Peter. Thank you. Am afraid paints are dearer in Australia than Europe and the US.

Peter Ward said...

Thanks for comments Ray. Have you considered sourcing your paints from the UK? As a non-EU country the 20% Vat we pay is deducted. I also understand Jacksons and Bromley for example only charge carriage at cost so the final price is not much different from that of the UK.

Zvonimir said...

These natural special pigments are separating Daniel Smith from other manufacturers — at least at this very moment.

In my opinion, if it weren't for those, other manufacturers in many respects may be more economical and not necessarily any worse choice for many enthusiast and artists. However, DS adds in extras such as these to keep enthusiasts on board (despite high prices), and to attract newcomers.

Although I'm not a big fan of Daniel Smith watercolours (too flat, too saturated, too finely acrylic-like ground pigment), I like these series because, it seems, Daniel Smith doesn't grind them to death, or, down to an ultra small particle size like they do with other pigments to achieve flat colour that appears "stronger".

These are ground in more traditional way, it seems, with larger particles, and that is why they granulate more readily and show texture in almost all these pigments. Pity we don't have mainstream w/c paint manufacturer to make us paints in such a way, as it seems trend in commercial watercolours is to suppress pigment textures in favour of homogeneous, flat looking colour.

Thanks for the article Peter, much appreciated.

Zvonimir, Melbourne, Australia

Peter Ward said...

Wwelcome back Zvonomir - not heard from you for a while. Bruce McEvoy of Handprint highlighted the trend by manufacturers towards more homogeneous colours, probably accelerated by the introduction of more synthetic pigments. I agree that granulation is a valuable feature, although not everyone likes it. When the Primateks came out there was a lot on Wetcanvas but this seems to have died down. Handprints review of them was not especially positive though. I must confess I am unenthusiastic about watercolours that cost so much.

Zvonimir said...

I don't bother much with Bruce McEvoy's opinions; sometimes they're far and away from life's realities and the very nature of art, which is to be playful and accept all the consequences of it.

But yes, some of these minerals are quite hard to get, and that is why they are expensive. Perhaps too expensive and DS is definitely overpricing them outside the US.

However, take a look at Malachite, Peter. That pigment you will find in Medieval and Renaissance palettes (and later) and is particularly good in substituting today's nasty Turquoise hues. In Renaissance art is was used in underpainting in mixes for flesh tones, as an ingredient to create greens and particularly beautiful (autumn) skies close to horizon.

Zvonimir, Melbourne, Australia

Peter Ward said...

I know what you mean about Bruce McEvoy but I disagree that his opinions can be mostly dismissed. Following Wilcox I don't know of anyone who has influenced the manufacturers to improve the quality of their watercolour paints. Non Americans might argue he is biased towards American makers but in general I respect his views. Unfortunately Handprint is now stagnant and I can see backsliding by the makers happening. If this site were to disappear it would be a very retrograde step for watercolour enthusiasts.

Malachite is £14.70p from Jacksons and as an amateur I won't pay such prices. If I was a professional selling at high prices I might. Actually Turquoise from the German company Lukas is one of my favourite colours. Am I a philistine ()grin).

Deborah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Deborah said...

Hi Peter,

I can help out with some ideas on how you can index your posts if you like.

~Deborah

Peter Ward said...

Hi Deborah. I would be interested in any index information. My e-mail is peterandjenny@blueyonder.co.uk

Zvonimir said...

"Malachite is £14.70p from Jacksons and as an amateur I won't pay such prices. If I was a professional selling at high prices I might. Actually Turquoise from the German company Lukas is one of my favourite colours. Am I a philistine ()grin)."

Actually I think very good amateurs spend on their equipment most dearly because the are very passionate about exploration and learning. It is their sincerity that leads them to it.

Thus to your credit, I think you are disheartened only by manufacturers' ever rising prices; for they rather exploit the uprise of the watercolour communities and enthusiasts around the globe since the Social Networks have bloomed.

Peter Ward said...

Hi Zvonomir. Perhaps I'm just not a very good amateur. I have spent a fortune on art materials (good job the wife doesn't know how much) but I do have my limits. I just wonder how some of these prices are arrived at and what the profit margins are.

Peter Ward said...

I was asked about the Italian hand-made paper I bought in Amalfi a few years ago. I seem to have lost the post. I have written about it in an earlier year. 2010 (?) or 2011. It is a lovely paper to work on. The paper takes the paint superbly. However one snag. It is very light no more than 90lbs. The largest size she had was 16" x 12" and all were the same weight. If I ever go to Amalfi again I'll certainly buy more - assuming the shop is still there.

Zvonimir said...

Ah, here's you answer about Amalfi paper. Fantastic.
I have a chance to get some, so thank you, I'll try it.

I do love light weight papers; if you don't for any reason, and have some extra good (handmade) sheets around the house, always feel free to write me.

You see, I have a different problem — many stockists around have 140lb and heavier paper, for it seems people like those more, which gives me a hard time.

Zvonimir,
pixart.com.au@gmail.com

Jayelle said...
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Peter Ward said...

Wow Jayelle. You certainly go for it!.Daniel Smith make great paints but the prices in the Uk... and as for some of the Primateks.

Jayelle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.