Are you in the market for a quality watercolour? US Artists’ paint manufacturer, Golden claims to have produced a range of paints that are unmatched in the history of watercolours. According to its promotional information, the new QoR line of paints (Quality of Results, pronounced ‘core’) ‘retain the best qualities of traditional watercolours, while their exclusive binder provides more pigment in every brushstroke. This unique QoR formulation accentuates the luminosity and brilliance of pigments even after drying, with vibrant colours to rival the best acrylics or oils’. This is all based on the science behind the use of an ingredient, called aquazol. Originally used in conservation, Golden saw its potential as a binder for watercolour. It states that aquazol can hold more pigment than the same amount of gum arabic whilst retaining the blending, glazing and lifting properties so important to a watercolour. It should also be noted that aquazol will readily intermix with other watercolour brands so QoR can be added to your usual palette with no problem. So how did the paint actually match up to their claims?

The Tests

I associate Golden with its excellent range of acrylics so I couldn’t wait to get started. I had been sent two sample palettes to work with, offering a small selection of their extensive 83-colour range. The watercolour usually comes in tubes, but the samples I tried came as dried pigment rather like that found in a pan.

The taster palettes come with a good range of small samples of QoR paints

The colours I tested were rich and easy to work with, and the dioxine purple was particularly strong. Golden rightly states that the colours are vibrant and intense, and this is true. Much is said about the luminosity and brilliance of the QoR pigments even after drying, but they did dry a little lighter even after two glazes in the test I carried out. I would recommend that when you are trying out new paints to run tests on a sheet of paper to see how well they perform for you. Also look at how they mix with other colours, making darkest darks, washes, glazes and general responses to mark making.

I liked the selection of greens I tried, and would certainly add them to my palette for plein air studies

The Colours

The colours handled well and, like other pans I have used, their intensity was dependent on the build-up of layers. The reds and yellows were particularly vibrant and did well in comparison to my usual paints.

The future of your finished paintings regarding fading and preservation has been well examined by Golden’s experts. Regarding lightfastness, Golden has extensive research on its side and notes that the binder only changed its colour slightly under accelerated light exposure. As regards the paints having greater resistance to cracking and peeling, it’s not yet a problem I’ve ever encountered with other watercolours so like lightfastness, it’s beyond the remit of such a short test.

One of the important criteria when adding quality paint to your palette has to be value for money. The QoR paints come in 11ml tubes and are a little pricier compared to their competitors. The value for money can only be measured in how long a tube lasts in a like-for-like comparison to those you’ve used before. Perhaps one reason for the more expensive smaller tubes is due to Golden’s statement that the binder holds more pigment than the traditional gum arabic.

Pomegranate and Grapes, QoR watercolour, (15x20cm). The QoR paints handled well; they were easy to blend and gave nice translucent glazes

There were no unexpected results that arose from using QoR paints and I found they held their own as an Artists’ quality watercolour. There were colours I found particularly interesting, especially a few of the greens for plein air work, and some of the ‘power’ colours, such as a purple for flower painting.

I think you have to live with any paint for a while to see how it really performs. Although Golden is aware of the science behind its product, it also realises, it’s you, the watercolour artist, who will determine how well it performs. Anecdotal evidence from myself and other artists I have spoken to suggest a liking for a selection of different paint brands on the same palette. Different colours gain a place there based on how we feel they perform.

All paints come with their own pros and cons, and it’s up to the artist to find the ones that suit their needs. QoR has a large range of colours to tempt you so why not try a few on your own palette, because ultimately the only review that really matters is yours.

Formby, QoR watercolour, (15x25cm)

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This product report is taken form the May 2018 issue of Leisure Painter

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