Agapanthus Flowers on the Île de Bréhat, Williamsburg Handmade Oil Colours, (50x50cm)
Haidee-Jo Summers reviews the unique colours of Williamsburg Handmade Oil Colours.
I jumped at the opportunity to try Williamsburg Handmade Oil Colours for the first time, although truthfully I didn’t expect them to be very different from the oil paints that I am familiar with using.
After all, how different could a tube of artists’ quality paint made by a reputable brand, using high pigment content with a quality oil binder and untainted by cheap fillers or extenders, be from another? So I popped the new tubes in my pochade box and off I went about my business.
Field with Daisies, Williamsburg Handmade Oil Colours, (20.5x25.5cm). My first try with my new Williamsburg oils.
Italian earth colours
I was concerned at first by the grittiness of some of the earth colours, as I am used to much smoother paint, but I discovered that with handmade paints different pigments are ground to different levels of coarseness.
The reason some of the earth colours have a consistency that reminds me of fine sugar granules is that the makers believe that each pigment has it’s own ‘personal best’ with regards to the way light bounces off the paint, revealing its truest colour. Hence some pigments look better in the paint if they are less finely milled.
There are 13 Italian earth colours; all are authentic and come from the regions in Italy made famous by these pigments. They are said to be the very same as those used by the great Sienese and Florentine masters.
Of those, I have tried Pompeii red, Italian black Roman earth and Italian lemon ochre, which has a soft, sugary texture and resembles wet sand in appearance.
All the earth colours will appeal to those painters who want to explore their unique texture and enjoy using natural materials with historical origins.
Personally I love the idea of buying some new colours, particularly for travelling to a country or region that the pigment originates from.
ORDER A SET OF ITALIAN EARTH COLOURS HERE
There are also 13 French earth colours, which Haidee-Jo explored. You can read her findings by
Incoming Tide and Bather, Bréhat, Williamsburg Handmade Oil Colours, (25.5x30.5cm) I painted this on the beach, en plein air.
Agapanthus Flowers on the Île de Bréhat, Williamsburg Handmade Oil Colours, (50x50cm) This was painted en plein air.
The founder of Williamsburg, artist Carl Plansky, obtained his first mill from fellow artist Milton Resnick. The mill was in the Williamsburg area of Brooklyn, and Plansky proceeded to make paint for himself, Resnick and other artist friends, experimenting with making an oil paint that was richly pigmented and dense.
Eventually the paints became so popular that he started to sell to the American public, with great success.
Carl Plansky died in 2009 but the company continues to source the finest raw materials from around the world. It is now owned by Golden, makers of premium quality acrylics.
Where to buy
Williamsburg Handmade Oil Colours can be purchased from Jackson's Art Supplies by clicking here and from art shops and other online retailers.
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