Friday, 12 April 2013

This and That

Just received the latest e-mail from Ken Bromley. Bromley have taken on Maimeri watercolours and also have Daniel Smith, as well as the long-standing Winsor & Newton and Daler Rowney artist watercolours. They also sell St Petersburg which they describe as `artist quality', as do the other mail order specialists. Maimeri are excellent paints with one or two reservations.  A very good French professional artist who I met on a Charles Reid course said, when I mentioned them, that they were `too bright'. I think I know what he meant but others may like that. I've used them for some years and they are mostly pretty good, but avoid `Quinacridone Gold' (called Golden Lake) which isn't. They are well priced but watch out for the more expensive series. Maimeri Cerulean is more expensive than the excellent Winsor & Newton paint. Series 1 & 2 are reasonably priced but 3 and 4 are expensive and you might prefer Daler Rowney or Lukas. Interestingly Bromley stocked Schminke a year or more ago and soon decided to drop them. Richard Bromley said this was due to `lack of demand'  but it seemed a very hasty decision to me. They are selling off what they have left. Bromley continue to prosper and each edition of the twice yearly catalogue contains a photograph of the staff, who seem to increase each time. I had an issue with  them a while ago when the wrong surface paper was supplied. They offered to replace it but required me to send it back at my own expense. I still have it and contrast this with Jacksons, who if they make an error, send a freepost label for  returning the incorrect items. Bromley have an excellent well-designed website and many loyal customers.


Great Art have    just redesigned their website and I placed my first order on the new one last week. I didn't like it at all and found it much less user friendly than previous. When I placed an order by post recently I complained but have had no response except an e-mail has now arrived with `your step by step guide' to the new website. I don't imagine this has just gone out solely to me but perhaps they have had other complaints. A lot of the problems with these things are they are designed by computer `geeks' who seem to assume everyone has their level of expertise. When I bought my first PC - a long time ago - the lady who owned the shop in Bath told me  a popular seller was a series of simple `how to' computer books, actually designed for children. In this respect the series of `Dummy' books are pretty good.

I've found Great Art very efficient, although they won't keep out of stock items on backorder and are a little inflexible. They don't accept the order.  However they stock Lukas at excellent prices as well as many other makes, a large range of different papers and brushes. Currently Winsor & Newton watercolours are on offer at excellent prices and the first order on the new website qualifies for an extra 10%. Saunders Waterford blocks are also very well priced but only the original as they don't appear to stock the newish `High White' version.

Great Art have a very large range of products including many not stocked elsewhere, even by Jacksons.

I am also awaiting another order from Jacksons ordered late yesterday. An e-mail has just informed me it has been despatched today. I find their service excellent and mistakes (infrequent) are rectified with a freepost label supplied for returned items. I noted that Winsor & Newton watercolours are being offered at well below the current catalogue prices.  This may be in response to the Great Art offer or Bromley. The same thing seems to be happening as occurred last year. We had quite a hike in W & N prices in January but they were soon being discounted. I thought at the time that this was due to the threat from Daniel Smith, not because they were cheaper but due to the vast range and many unusual and unique colours. The reason for so many orders is I order for Avon Valley Artists so we can avoid carriage charges. With the price of paints, paper and much else so high it is very easy to exceed the amount needed for free carriage. This also applies to Bromley and Great Art. I've ordered a Mijello palette for myself with 24 paint wells.

 Added 13/04/2013. Jacksons have just announced they have the exclusive UK rights for the well-regarded American Strathmore range of art papers.

Added 18/04/2013 Jacksons have also announced they are now selling the Frank Herring designed palettes comprising five units. Two are half and full pan plastic versions of the Roberson, two versions of the Liz Deacon and the Dorchester. All sturdy palettes made from hard plastic.


Another pigment bites the dust! Apparently PY153 Nickel Dioxide Yellow has been discontinued so the hunt is on for existing supplies or a suitable replacement. There are many yellows so this isn't a major problem BUT this was the pigment used in the very popular Winsor & Newton New Gamboge.  Daniel Smith also call it the same name but others usually list it as `Indian Yellow' including Rowney one of my staples. Well okay I have too many staples but this is an excellent paint praised by Bruce McEvoy, even if  less than enthusiastic about Rowney generally. Winsor & Newton have been quick to replace it with a two pigment mix of PY150 and PR209, another yellow and a red. When asked why they seem to do this quicker than everyone else - Daniel Smith still list the genuine Quinacridone Gold PO49 - the reply was their usage is so large that stocks are exhausted very soon! I may return to this pigment in a separate piece including suggested replacements.

Finally yet another Craig Young `lookalike' has emerged in a new website calling itself  `The Watercolor Paintbox Prototipes Company'. I assume they mean `prototypes' . Is this Chinese (?) as no indication is given and the English used contains several basic mistakes. They also have some Holbein palettes, the Spanish Pierra  as well as the Craig Young `lookalikes', claiming to having been making them for some years. Hmmmm! If you are interested the website is but I suggest proceed with caution before ordering anything. 


Unknown said...

Up to your usual standard of research and comment on our behalf. Lots to think about.

I've found all the suppliers you talk of excellent in terms of service and they have differing emphases in their offering. All have given me prompt efficient and value driven service but it is always worth the time to check them all out before buying.

Buying another palette Peter?

Thanks for your work on our behalf.

Peter Ward said...

Thanks for comments Mick. I had some Jacksons vouchers at Xmas so I thought I'd give the Mijello a`test' as they have a large range and I have no great hangup regarding plastic versus metal.

artist said...

Hi Peter,
I bought and returned a Mijello. It was the bullet proof glass model - it beaded up so badly that I couldn't stand it and it was so clumsy looking. I've been spoiled with enameled palettes for so long that I can't work with bad imitations.

I truly hope you found a great Mijello and enjoy using it.

Peter Ward said...

Thanks for comments Delilah. I intend to test the Mijello and will report on it in due time. They have quite a large range, even though some are listed in the `toy' section. My curiosity has been roused!

Judith Farnworth Art said...

Very informativ has blog Peter... I agree about the Shminkcke colours at Bromleys... didn't really give them chance and not sure they really advertised them well enough... I love all the colours I've tried from the range so disappointed with that. They have been on offer at Jacksons recently so have got the from there. Interesting about the pigments, did you hear that PO49 has limited supplies... the car manufacturer who supplied the pigment went under so DS bought all the remaining pigment so still have a good supply... I do actually prefer the 2 pigment mix of Quin gold from W&N so doesn't affect me...

Bromley's have a starter pack of Maimeri paints on offer which I may get to try them out, not too expensive and if as you say they are bright, am sure I will like them.

Peter Ward said...

Thanks for comments Judith. Quin Gold pigment has been discontinued for years according to Handprint and only Daniel Smith still has the genuine article PO49. For how much longer? The Maimeri version Golden Lake is now PY43 although nothing has changed on the labelling, which in any event has always been wrong `PV49'. I liked the original W & N QG but haven't tried the `hue' version because it is composed of three pigments.

I'm sure you'll like Maimeri. They have some lovely colours (Avignon Orange is one) but avoid the series 4 Cobalts and Cerulean because prices are steep. Series 1.2 & 3 are good and Jacksons also sell them. Prices are similar.

Yvonne Harry said...

A very interesting read, Peter. Thanks. I think I might need to invest in a bit of DS Quinachridone Gold. Have you any idea of the shelf life of a tube of their paint? Will be at a bit of a loss if it disappears!

Peter Ward said...

Thanks Yvonne. According to the Daler Rowney chemist, when we went to DR some years ago,they are viable for ten years (or more). I would avoid paints with white in them, like many Naples Yellows, as they seem to harden up quite quickly. If paints are really old and harden up some artists cut the tubes open and use them like pans. I'm considering buying some more Quin Gold because Daniel Smith must run out eventually.

Peter Garrett said...

PY153 is in the new Sennelier L'Aquarelle line, under the name "Yellow Light", for some inexplicable reason. Single pigment.

I haven't tried it, but it looks like this:

Dick Blick swatch info for Sennelier Yellow Light

Should be available from Jackson's in full pans and tubes. I assume Sennelier either have stocks or are not expecting PY153's imminent demise.

Peter Ward said...

Thanks for commenting Peter. I imagine the makers will change the pigment when they run out IF it has been completely dropped from production. We shall see.