New paints, new (old) blog posts, and an apology

First of all, I spent the morning transferring some posts from my old blog to this blog, not realising that back-dated posts would still be sent out to subscribers. For those of you who received many blog updates this morning, my apologies! It was made even worse by them not having the pictures included, which is now fixed. None of that should happen again as I have no more old blog posts to add.

On to better news. Today I received 8 new tubes of M. Graham watercolours. It seemed a shame to have an 18-well watercolour palette when I only owned 10 colours! But also, now I’ve had the time to work with the 10 colours I already had, I had a good feel for which colours I’d struggle to mix from those 10.

The new paints I chose were;

  • Hansa Yellow – brighter and cooler than Azo (Aureolin) Yellow
  • Scarlet Pyrrol – warmer and much more orange than Pyrrol Red
  • Ultramarine Pink – a soft bluish pink that I can imagine all over flower paintings but also for flesh tones
  • Quinacridone Violet – a glorious red-violet that I can also imagine in flowers and flesh tones
  • Manganese Blue Hue – a greenish-blue that I can imagine using in water and skies
  • Cobalt Teal – I don’t think I’ve ever mixed a convincing teal, might as well own one! It will definitely be useful when painting the ocean.
  • Burnt Umber – so I don’t have to keep mixing my own browns!
  • Neutral Tint – because I’m sometimes too lazy to grey off colours properly!

Below you can see the swatches I’ve painted in my sketchbook so I’ve got a quick reference to how the colours look full-strength (left of swatch) and diluted (right of swatch), plus it also shows me the extent to which they granulate – it seems than only Quinacridone Violet  does so strongly. I’ve put an asterisk next to the colours that came in my original set of 10.


I’ve been asked more than once – They’re not cheap, are they worth the money? My word, yes. I’m still using the paints I squeezed into my (airtight) palette a month ago, and they rewet almost magically. The colours are beautiful and the way the paint flows is almost magical.

Bear in mind that as a relentless experimenter, I’ve tried a lot of brands – Art Spectrum, Cotman, Winsor & Newton, Maimeri, QoR, and probably others I’ve forgotten – and the M. Graham paints are by far the best I’ve used. That said, I’m not an expert. They are just the paints that seem to suit me, and you can see the results from recent paintings posted here. Your experience may be completely different! There is no such thing as the “best” paints, brushes, paper, whatever – only the best for you. It’s always interesting to learn what other people use, but using the same materials as them isn’t going to make you a better artist any more than putting me behind the wheel of a Formula 1 car will automatically make me the next Lewis Hamilton. The only thing that will make you a better artist is practice. Sorry, but it’s true.

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