M Graham and Co, one of the three principal American manufacturers, the others are Daniel Smith and Da Vinci, are one of the favourites of Bruce McEvoy of Handprint (well they would be wouldn't they - just kidding Bruce).
The company are family run and have only been in existence since 1992 so are very much a newcomer to the world of paint makers. In that time the watercolours have gained a good reputation, certainly in America where they are well-priced and widely available, according to Bruce mainly through independent retailers. In England the only source is Lawrence of Hove who seem to have a monopoly, incidentally also with Da Vinci. In the rest of Europe they are available from Denmark www.gefa-art.dk The only other source outside the USA is in Australia.
The initial offering was only 36 colours but a few years ago, following prodding I feel sure from Handprint, the range increased to 70 colours, 80% of them single pigment paints. I have quite a few Graham paints and a particular favourite is Quinacridone Rust (PO48). All the standard (high quality) pigments are there along with a few exotic ones like Ultramarine Pink (PR259).
This was the best I could find. Look on the Graham site.
As already said Bruce McEvoy of Handprint was effusive in his praise of Graham, probably the best review of any maker `..all in all, these paints reflect great care and craftsmanship.....one of the most satisfactory brands of watercolour paints'... because of the high pigment load all the paints dilute out to glowing tints' and so on although he does say due to the way they are formulated several paints stain aggressively. See what he says in full on the Handprint site under `watercolour brands'.www.handprint.com/HP/WCL/pigmt2.html . Is this American bias? Try them and make your own mind up. While Bruce praises the American brands generally I think he is sufficiently professional not to let national pride influence his judgement - well not much anyway! Graham have an excellent website where you can see details of the individual colours with pigment details and good colour swatches. www.mgraham.com
We now come to a few caveats based on my own experience. Graham paints are made using a honey humectant which gives them a thick honey like consistency. I have read comments by American artists that Graham paints don't travel well, as in high temperatures they remain very liquid. This is a problem if you are travelling with a filled paintbox. Schminke, the long-standing German paint maker are against the use of honey although the French firm Sennelier certainly add honey. In earlier posts I related the problems I had with the Mineral Violet (PV16). After a few months the paints resembled a thick brown sludge. Complaints to Lawrence brought a prompt response and Graham supplied a replacement, blaming the pigment supplier which they said had now been changed. The second tube went the same way and the third tube, supposedly problem solved, did the same thing although it took longer to do so. I then gave up and Mineral Violet is no longer on my radar. It does seem as PV16 might be a problem pigment, although I haven't heard anything about other makes so don't really know. The other problem is slightly puzzling. I noticed some tubes were sticky and it appeared that something (honey?) was leaking notably from the yellow ochre. Not all were affected so it may have been only one or two but I can only wonder if pin holes are responsible as it didn't seem to come from the cap.
Am I knocking Graham? No I am not but nobody is perfect. Overall the paints are excellent and the only problem in the UK is having to buy them from a single source, who don't offer free postage whatever the amount you buy, although they have had an offer recently at £75. Basic prices are high but Lawrence offer a 20% discount if you buy 6. However postage adds £4.99p which on 6 tubes is an extra 83p per tube. Even with this they are cheaper than Daniel Smith. I think they are proving quite popular. www.lawrence.co.uk