Friday 25 October 2019

This Weeks Paintings

Here are my latest efforts. A couple of others have been scrapped.

Asian Peasant Farmer 16" x 12"

"What are you looking at? 16" x 12"

"Sports: 16 x 12"

I've actually scrapped this already and it's in the recycle bin. I tear them up! I like the colours but not much else.

Tuesday 22 October 2019

Trying the new Van Gogh range.

I've finally got around to trying the new Van Gogh watercolours. In general I'm quite impressed considering how cheap these paints are. I tried the original 40 colour set some years ago and found them perfectly adequate.

Wild Dog Sketch

The colours are in descending order : Permanent Lemon Yellow,  Azomethine Green (PY129 usually called Green-Gold), Rose, Carmine, Quinacridone Rose, Ultramarine Deep, Pyrrol Orange, Quinacridone Purple Blue, Quinacridone Purple Red, Yellow Ochre, Light Oxide Red, Hookers Green, Sap Green, Dusk Pink, Dusk Green, Gold. 

A few observations and bear in mind this is only my preliminary view. The Lemon Yellow seemed on the weak side as is the Gold. Possibly the Ultramarine is a little weak leading to more pigment being used, so with only a 10ml tube this might be exhausted very quickly. I liked the Pyrrol Orange, both the 'Dusk' colours, Lt Oxide Red, the two greens, the reds, most of them if fact. I think I need to buy a few more colours.Sticking to single pigment paints we have  the choice of Transparent Yellow Medium (PY128), Indian Yellow (PY83), Permanent Blue-Violet (PV23), Prussian Blue (PB27), Phthalo Blue (PB15), RawSienna (PY42), Burnt Sienna (PR101 and Burnt Umber (PBr7). Four or five of these to fill the holes in the original batch I purchased of this brand. If you want  Cerulean and/or Cobalt Blue then you have to go to makes that offer the correct pigments not a 'hue' version combining Ultramarine or Phthalo Blue with white. My suggestion is Lukas, Sennelier or even Jacksons own brand (UK artists). In America there are several excellent housebrands with Cheap Joes particularly favoured.

If price is an issue these paints are an excellent choice for the hobby painter and the once a week artist. Don't be seduced into paying a fortune for the leading artists quality paints, indeed some are now calling theirs 'professional quality' with 'artists quality' a lower level! Yes if price is no object but some artists of my acquaintance aren't in this category.

Friday 18 October 2019

St Petersburg White Knights Watercolours

White Knights, manufactured at St Petersburg in  Russia,  are an inexpensive range of watercolours popular with many artists, especially those on a budget or amateurs who paint occasionally. A professional artist, whose studio by the River Avon I painted at some years ago, there was no tuition as such, majored on acrylics but used the original White Knights when  sometimes painting in watercolour. At that time the range was 40 colours only available in full pans. The number available has gradually increased and 10ml tubes have since been introduced with 77 colours now available.

When Handprint reviewed this range in 2003 they were pretty much damned with many fugitive pigments and other criticisms. His final damning comment was "Overall  ........these paints do not compare even to the best "student quality paints". That was 13 years ago however and things change. I might add you can't take much notice what the suppliers say as all along these paints have been promoted as "Artist Quality". At the time of Handprints review - who didn't take prisoners - there were  55 colours  available in full pans only. This is a Russian company though and with typical Russian practice they don't give  much away.  Have they reformulated the range and are the additives now different ? Gum arabic is mentioned. Was this in the original paints?

A more recent analysis has been made by the Australian artist Jane Blundell Jane has done a huge amount of work looking at most makes of watercolours and her views  are undoubtedly well worth reading. Her verdict is that " These are very reasonably priced watercolours that perform well". This from September 2016. I've had some small contact with her. A charming lady. The main downside which Jane highlighted is that several fugitive pigments still remain PV1, PV3, PR2, PR4, PO13, PG8 and a few others. The suspect colours are Golden, Venetian (Hue) , Scarlet, Claret, Violet - Rose, Violet, Russian Green. This is a pity as they have - according to the information - introduced many good pigments in the more recent colours so you have to be selective and I suggest somewhat wary. Jane Blundell gives pigment details of all the range on her review of them. If you are interested her blog is a good place to start.  As far as pigments are concerned just "google" the "The :Pigment Database". Prior to this I couldn't find any pigment information on the new colours and have not yet received a reply from the UK distributor requesting they supply me with full pigment details. I have to say since Handprint went into cold storage I see signs of manufacturers backsliding, either not giving pigment details at all or incorrect ones, having changed the formulations but not the tube information.  We had the recent example of Winsor & Newton refusing to say what the pigments were in the new "Cadmium Free" range. How widespread is this becoming? Finally I checked Jacksons prices and they are currently either £3.10p or £4.10p as there are two series. 

Thursday 17 October 2019

Latest Paintings

These are two painted in the last week. I'm reasonably happy with both, particularly the Cody one which is my second attempt at him but using a different reference photo.

Navaho Chief  "Kia - e - te - nita" 1908 16" x 12"

"Buffalo Bill" Cody Famous frontier scout and Showman. 16" x 12"

Sunday 6 October 2019

Latest Portrait Paintings and Autumn subject

These are my latest attempts at portraits. Three Indians and one famous figure from the same mid- to late 1800s era. All 16" x 12"

A Lakota Sioux Chief circa 1870s

A Pawnee Warrior circa 1870s

" Buffalo Bill" Cody

Famous Frontiersman and Wild West showman.

"Fun" - Member of Geronimo and Naiches band, the last hostile Apaches to surrender in 1886, officially bringing 200 years of strife with the Apaches to an end.  Almost an end to the strife with all the Indian tribes. The Apaches were the last holdouts.There were still small scale incidents for many years but nothing of any size.

Autumn Berries - 16" x 12"

Autumn Leaves 16" x 12"

The above two paintings were done at my most recent AVA session last week. The leaves were painted from a number I collected where I live. There are a lot of trees. 

Friday 4 October 2019

SAA Watercolours

The SAA - the Society for All Artists - is a one-off in that. as well as being  an artists society,  originally The Society of Amateur Artists,  it's a large mail order artists supplies operation rivalling Jacksons, Bromley and others.  It has a large well illustrated catalogue as well as regular updates and special offers throughout the year. I don't know if it will supply outside the UK. It publishes a magazine 'Paint' for members who pay an annual subscription and get special 'member only " offers. Originally most of the cut prices were members only but this seems to have changed with a larger number available to non members.

Annual Catalogue 169 pages!

 The non member prices were not competitive in most cases. Members enjoy the benefit of free postage even on one item. Artists societies can join on an affiliated basis, get members prices and also purchase things like public liability insurance when they hold exhibitions. My group Avon Valley Artists is affiliated and it is very useful in buying small quantities of supplies. At the moment they seem to be the sole mail order group who have the new Van Gogh watercolour range, and at very keen prices. They are also involved in various other associated activities and have a number of  artists linked with them.

My principal interest here is to examine the range of SAA  watercolours, which have gradually increased in number since being introduced some years ago, as an alternative to the increasingly expensive leading makes. I don't know who currently makes them but was told, not long after their introduction, that someone who had previously worked for Daler Rowney was the producer.

When first introduced there were 40 colours but this has gradually increased to 68 of which 33 are single pigment paints and 10 include white. As in all 'budget' makes the percentage of single pigment paints is lower than that of the majors. Price is a single very competitive £5.40p including Cerulean, the Cadmiums and Cobalts. One thing that did concern me when originally launched was that no pigment details appeared on the tubes. Approaches to them did bring a single A4 sheet with pigment details. When I decided to do this piece I approached them again and was very promptly supplied with an up to date A4 sheet. Due to the larger  number the details are very small so the magnifying glass came into play. You have to do this with many of the majors, although pigment details are normally on the websites as the details on tubes are so small.

Now to the individual colours. I stress I've not yet bought any from the expanded range but certainly am considering doing so. I as always consulted the Pigment Database (Artists Creation) the most comprehensive source of pigment details on the internet. Handprint has still much excellent information on pigments.

Scarlet Lake - PR12/PO31 .This is used with the addition of PO31. PR12 is described by the database as "Permanent Bordeaux - a bluish red synthetic organic. No other information. PO31 is "Bright Red Orange" NR (not rated)
Vermillion Hue - PR112. Napthol Red. Intense bright yellowish red, A synthetic organic "fair lightfastness" . When discussing red pigments Handprint suggested most reds should be treated with caution in this respect.
Poppy Red - PR4/PO13.  PR4 is described as "Bright Yellowish Red, Reddish Orange" - "The classic lipstick red". Now comes the catch "Not recommended for permanent art work". PO13 Benzidine Orange `'bright Yellow Orange"-" impermanent , might be a pigment to avoid". I must admit to surprise and concern when I read this, I stress this is the respected databases words not mine.
Cerulean Blue - PB35 Cerulean Blue.
Permanent Rose -PR48:2. Permanent Red, Yellow to bluish synthetic organic. There are 4 versions of PR48 varying in shade from bright to mid-red.
Cobalt Green : PB50. I suspect this is a misprint and it should be PG50? B is blue, G is green.
Rather than detail every individual paint a general summary: 
I can find no information on Cobalt Blue PB26. I suspect these may be a misprint. Could be PB36?
PBr7 appears in a lot of paints, Burnt Umber, Burnt Sienna, Raw Umber as single pigment paints. This is the same as many majors. PBr7 has many versions ranging from Yellow Brown to brown to dull red.
PR101 Caput Mortem, Light Red, as well as one constituent of several mixed ;paints. Again a standard pigment, a synthetic iron oxide red in various versions with shades from brownish yellow to orange to red shades with yellow or violet undertones.
Prussian Blue is PB27, Tropical Phalo Blue and Phalo Blue Red shade PB15:1,
There appears to be 19 two pigment mixes, many with excellent pigments, and 14 three pigment mixes, again many with excellent pigments, which I'm not so keen on if used for mixing.  Although the majors have a higher single pigment number  they do still have some multi-pigment paints, apart from the Maimeri new range which  offers all 90 as single pigments. At a price naturally.
You could certainly try the Cadmiums, Yellow PY37, Orange PO20. Lemon PY37, Red PR108, Primrose Yellow PY83, Phalo Green PG7, Quinacridone Magenta PR122, Intense Violet PV23, Raw Sienna PY43, Yellow Ochre PY42, Lamp black PBr7, 

The lack of pigment details on the tubes is a problem as far as I'm concerned but may not be to some artists. I've found even many professional artists talk about colours rather than pigments. You can always ask the SAA to send you the pigment details. I did. You could certainly put together a reasonable palette of Yellows, Reds, Blues, Greens and earth colours from what is offered.

Some of the artists associated with the SAA have tested these paints and given them fulsome praise. I haven't as  yet but will try some in due course. Poppy Red? Surprised about this one. Overall there are one or two issues but remember prices are one half to one third of the majors. I recently purchased two 14ml tubes of Winsor & Newton Mars Black and Aureolin for two members of my group. Even at the discounted prices the total still came to just over £25! This is the reality we watercolour artists face.

Wednesday 2 October 2019

Watercolour Paintings 59

This months batch are outstanding ( in my opinion) including many new to me.  Some stunning stuff here. It never ceases to amaze me at the wealth of talent spread across the World. I don't comment on every one and this is no reflection on those artists.  Several have featured before. I just comment off the cuff. Hope you like them. After looking at this lot I'm off to trash my paintings! Back to the drawing board. You may notice a few have 'copyright'  or the artists names emblazoned across them. I'm assuming it's alright to feature them as I have no profit or other motives. If objections were received I'll delete them as there are thousands more with no such restrictions.

Dean Crouser -
 I've always liked this American artists work and this is superb,.

Eginta Tarasevich -Wonderful!

Karl Martens.
I like this artists studies of birds very much. He actually paints very large.

Konstantin Sterkhov

Igor Sava

Adisom Pornsirikavn -Wow!

Lian Quan Zhen 
What a stunner this is!

Rick Huang

Charles Reid
Look at the simplicity of this. It's probably a half sheet painting.

Darren Woodhead - Lovely

Claude Buckle - Group of refugees, very effective

Pol Ledent

Chien Chung-Wei

Hitesh Durgani

Arthur Melville

Another from Dean Crouser - I love this one too.

Annemiek Grouenhout

Jen Buckley

Jem Bowden

Eiginta Tarasevich

Just had to put this in.