Monday, 3 November 2014

Maimeri Watercolours

"A well regarded art materials manufacturer in Milan (Italy)" So says Handprint of this still family owned company started by Gianni and Carlo Maimeri in 1923.


Maimeri Blu the Artist quality range from Maimeri

The artist quality range shown above comprises 72 colours of which 52 are single pigment paints. There is also a second range - I hesitate to call them student quality - called Venezia with 36 colours. Maimeri were one of the first paints I bought and the reason was good quality combined with an excellent price. I discovered a small discount art materials company called if I recall right `Framework Art & Craft'. They are on the Cheney Industrial Estate in Swindon in one of the units. I believe they still are but unfortunately discontinued Maimeri due to poor sales - they said -so I've not been there for some years.

The verdict of Handprint, albeit with a few quibbles , was :- 

"In most cases the color appearance, pigment quality, lightfastness and handling characteristics rival the watercolors from Daniel Smith, M Graham or Winsor & Newton".....Overall, Maimeri Blu paints are bright, sweet and beautifully formulated...."  

 Not a bad endorsement although he does have a few quibbles and I have one myself. Bruce says the Cobalt Violet is mislabelled and certainly Golden Lake has been for years.  I've never had Cobalt Violet but the Golden Lake was supposedly Quinacridone Gold. However the label said PV49 which is obviously wrong and according to Bruce the pigment is now PY42 `a similar pigment' according to Maimeri, as the only current source of PO49 is Daniel Smith. I contacted Maimeri querying this but received no reply - typical of many companies that don't like awkward questions.  Handprint however has or had considerable clout and he received an e-mail from them with the above information. Incidentally I didn't like the original Golden Lake, not nearly as good as the Winsor & Newton single pigment PO49, now unfortunately a three pigment mix.

Apart from Golden Lake I am happy with most of the Maimeri paints I have with Avignon Orange (PR206) a particular favourite. I also tried a few Venezia paints and found them pretty similar to the main range But don't buy the `Flesh Colour' - horrible. If you check them out many of the colours have the same name and pigment. Unfortunately Venezia is not readily found in the UK.

We now come to the question of pricing and availability. In North America all the main discount specialists seem to sell them often including Venezia and at excellent prices. I do have a problem with the way Maimeri price the paints. They operate four series and series 1 and 2 are quite competitive. 58 of the 72 colours are either series 1 or 2, the majority series 1. The problem arises with those that are series 3 and 4. Why for example is Rose Lake, the red form of PV19, in series 3 when Primary Magenta, the rose form of PV19 is in series 1? The Cobalts, Cadmiums and Cerulean are in series 4, a hefty £15.20p in Jacksons latest catalogue. Winsor & Newtons Cerulean, albeit 14ml as opposed to 15ml, is shown as £12.85p. No contest buy W & N and this applies to the Cobalts and Cadmiums. You really have to look at the pricing in the various makes and compare pigments - not names - to see where the best buys are.


8 comments:

Oscar Solis said...

Glad to see that you have reviewed MaimeriBlu. When I decided to move up to the "Artists" level of paints I had to admit that I chose these paints strictly because I felt they offered more value with a 15oz tube than W&N with their measly 5oz when comparing prices. 've never been disappointed. I love the richness and smoothness of the paints and they work on any kind of paper. I also appreciate the fact that they mix well with student brands such as Cotman and Van Gogh. It is these three brands that comprise my palette.

I've not tried Venezia. The prices of the main brand are so reasonable here in the USA that I wonder if it would be worth it. Still...

Anyhow, a nice informative post as always.

Peter Ward said...

Thanks for usual perceptive comments Oscar. You mention Van Gogh - terrific value for money. The prices of artists quality are really reaching `can I really afford or justify paying such prices?' territory.

Oscar Solis said...

"The prices of artists quality are really reaching `can I really afford or justify paying such prices?' territory."

Very true. And the companies depend on this. I often wonder if all "artists" quality paints were to disappear, how many people would keep painting or stop because the "quality" of their work would suffer.

Yeah, those Van Gogh paints are great. I'd recommend them to anyone. They do crack a bit when dry as do the Cotman's but if that's the biggest problem then I can live with it.

Peter Ward said...

The cave painters didn't have artists quality paints did they!

Oscar Solis said...

I forgot to mention that I'd made a lightfastness test of the primary MaimeriBlu paints: Cyan, Magenta and Primary Yellow. For over two years those colors have been exposed to some of the most intense heat/light that you can get in sunny/hot as hell central California. The results: no discernable change in color or value. Those paints were made to last.

One of these days I'll have to take that test strip down.

Peter Ward said...

Thanks Oscar. Very useful information. Maimeri aren't in Jacksons latest catalogue nor in Ken Bromleys. I shall have to check if they are still available in the online stores.

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

Thanks for comments Jayelle. Glad you found it helpful.