Comparison Color Tests

June 20, 2011

Golden Open Acrylics: Artisan WS Oils: Traditional Oils.
Colors & ranges mixed only with primary colors and the addition of white.

This past spring I began having major health complications.  My throat was always sore and raw. My tonsils & adenoids were inflamed but had no contributing sinus drainage accompanied by regular ear and headaches.  After a battery of strep and allergy tests the doctors concluded that I was suffering from Chronic Rhinitis.  The determined that extended exposure to the medium and turp I was using.   I need to switch from the caustic oil paint solvents & turps to a less volatile paint medium that is safe for me to breath, even with significant air flow.  Breather masks have little positive effect on the denser particulates associated with paint solvents used in oil painting, it can in fact only concentrate the particulates in the filter of the breather masks.  But rather than jump ship into the blind I wanted to find a comparable safe solution to avoid any back pedaling in my paint process.  I especially wanted to maintain the integrity of my preferred paint palette as much as possible.

All paints vary in consistency, color saturation and pigment gradations.  They vary even more between different manufactures much like any other  pharmaceuticals or food products. So I determined that I needed to try a couple of different options and test them.  The tests are comparisons between 3 different paint formulas: Winsor Newton traditional oils, new Golden OPEN acrylics and new Winsor Newton water soluble oils (cleans with water) no solvents required.

Winsor Newton traditional Oils.

Winsor Newton traditional oils: color swatch gradations.

Winsor Newton Artisan water soluble Oils.  *mixed without added medium.

Artisan water soluble Oils. Color samples.

Golden Open acrylics. *mixed without added medium.

Golden Open acrylics Color samples.

The gradients help determine the pigment saturation levels for each paint sample. Some manufacturers use more binder and oils to suspend the ground pigments resulting in a weaker pigment a weeker true color.  Others add stuff and that can often yield muddy colors if you don’t know what you are working with.  Here I selected only the R Y B Primary pigments and mixed all Secondary and Neutral color mixtures + 5 gradations.

Still life comparison between Artisan Oils (left) and Open acrylics (right).

Still life: WN ws oils (left) vs Golden Open acrylics (right).

Thus, far I am really liking the results from the water soluble oils.  Still researching for any posted health effects with the new formulated oils. The Artisan water soluble oils are pigments suspended in a modified linseed oil base that became available in the past few years. They clean with soap & water rather than solvents.  They offer a rich thicker consistency even without added mediums and decent working time, but cleaner.  Plus the added benefit of painting on top of traditional oil under paintings.

The Acrylics tend to dry too fast even with the suggested extenders. The acrylics also dry thinner and still change 2 values darker after dry. So you end up with a thinner darker painting as it drys and ages.  Could work for under painting or if you really want to maintain the canvas texture in you work. But I found it more frustrating to come back to a darker paintings than I started.  Not always good when you start out in the field and return to the studio to finish a painting.

A significant part of Art is science, the other half is psychology and a bit of practiced skill. Testing is what gets consistent results. Sometimes even artists need to do diligent testing and research to determine the logistics of our preferred medium.  For my preferred style of painting, the Artisan paints offer  what I’m looking for, a thicker creamier body to the paints.  Each individual has a different need and preference, so remember to really test for effectiveness.  I have started further explorations to see if the paint holds true in value and range over the next few weeks.  All 4 paintings from this past week are ws oils.  Stay tuned for other tests and updates.

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