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Art Supply Review: M Graham Artist's Gouache

When I ran out of some colors in my Winsor and Newton gouache set I decided to try some different brands. At the top of my list was M Graham gouache. I am really happy that I decided to try these since they have definitely lived up to the artist grade gouache claims that I have heard about.

Stats

Quality Where Does it Stand?
Lightfastness 31 out of 35 colors in the line have an LF I rating of Excellent, and 4 out of 82 colors in the line have an LF II rating of Very Good. All of the colors in the line have a very high permanence rating.
Where Is It Made? USA
Identification (Color Labeling and Accuracy) The tubes have color swatches on the front that are fairly accurate. They also have the name in English, French, and German. The tubes also include the series number, like fastness rating, pigment number along with the pigment name, vehicle, and ASTM D – 4236 confirmation.
Tube size 15 mL (.5 ounces)
Price Around $5-$8 per tube

Colors Reviewed

  • Quinacridone rose – lightfastness I, PV 19
  • Hansa yellow (primary) – lightfastness II, PY3
  • Pthalocyanine blue (primary) – lightfastness I, PB 15:3
  • Raw Sienna – lightfastness I, PBr7
  • Burnt Sienna – lightfastness I, PBr7
  • Lamp Black – lightfastness I, PBk6

Swatches

There is so much pigment in these paints. It’s just totally vibrant. It’s also very clear that they do not add a new pacifiers to the payments because classically transparent pigments like Quinacridone rose and Phthalocyanine blue are not opaque unless they are applied extraordinarily thickly. That’s fine with me because you can always add white to make your pigment more opaque if you want to.

The opaque paints like raw sienna, burnt sienna, and lamp black are completely and totally opaque.

All of the colors water down very nicely and they are not chalky at all. They have a velvety matte finish that is just wonderful to look at.

Mixing

There is absolutely no problem mixing these colors. The all mixed very cleanly. Actually, there is so much pigment in some of the colors that you may need to water them down to get the shade that you desire.

Re-wetting

M Graham gouache re-wets very easily. There is no problem and the colors are not diluted. You do not need to scrub of your brush, and you can get very opaque colors with little difficulty. This is totally different from the Winsor and Newton gouache.

Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
Lightfast Colors Not easily available outside of the United States of America
Re-wets very well Product line is not as large as some other brands, although that is probably because they focus on lightfast pigments and single pigment colors
Artist grade gouache Not all paints are completely opaque without adding white
Does not contain chalk or pacifiers
All the colors dilute extremely well
Great price

Who is it for?

Anyone and everyone who is interested in learning to paint with gouache! The colors mix beautifully. It takes a lot of the frustration that I felt with the Winsor and Newton gouache out of the painting process.

The M Graham paints are even slightly cheaper than the Windsor and Newton paints, so it seems like there are no downsides.

The Last Word

  • Price: ★★★★★
  • Quality: ★★★★★
  • Overall: ★★★★★

I love these paints. They’re the best gouache that I have ever used. I would recommend them to anyone.

The only potential downside is that it is a little more difficult to acquire these paints over here in Europe. There are only two places that I know of where they can be bought in Europe, and that’s at a more expensive price than available in the United States.

Outside of that, I don’t see any reason why anyone would be upset with these paints unless they really do not want to modify the opacity of their own paints with white.

Just Go Buy Them Already!

Availability

In Europe

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Art Supply Review: Winsor & Newton Designers' Gouache Introductory 10-Tube Paint Set

I needed to refresh my palette of gouache paint, so I decided to do this review before I mix ox gall, glycerin, and honey into my paints.

I’ll be honest, and say that I have not really enjoyed this Winsor and Newton gouache set. The warm and cool colors are not the ones that I would have chosen. Also, if I do not add other ingredients, the paints will be almost unusable and dry hard as a rock.

Still, I haven’t painted with them in their raw form in quite a while, so I tried to look at them with fresh eyes.

Stats

Quality Where Does it Stand?
Lightfastness 15 out of 82 colors in the line have an AA rating of extremely permanent, and 52 out of 82 colors in the line have an A rating of permanent. So 67 of the 82 colors in the line have a permanent or extremely permanent rating.
Where Is It Made? France
Identification (Color Labeling and Accuracy) The tubes of paint have small swatches of color on the front which are not very accurate to the color that is inside the tube. They also include the lightfastness, the color series, the color name in three languages, the pigment name, the opacity, and ASTM D4236 information.
Tube size 14 mL (.47 ounces)
Price Around $5 per tube

Colors In the 10 Tube Set

  • Zinc White – permanence A , PW5, opaque
  • Yellow Ochre – permanence AA, PY 42, opaque
  • Ultramarine – Permanence A, PB 29, opaque
  • Spectrum Red – permanence A, PBR 25+ PR 170, opaque
  • Primary Yellow – permanence A, PY 74+ PY 138, semi opaque
  • Primary Red – permanence B, PR170, semi-opaque
  • Primary Blue – permanence A, PB 15, opaque
  • Permanent Yellow Deep – permanence of A, PY 65, semi opaque
  • Ivory Black – permanence AA, PBK9, opaque
  • Permanent Green Medium – permanence A, PY3 + PY 74+ PG7, opaque

Swatches

As you can see in my swatches, the colors are all very opaque. Even the yellow can be made opaque on a black surface if enough pigment is applied.
The colors are also pretty bright and vibrant. The one problem I had is that they do not they were very prettily. It just kind of looks like sludge. That is probably because of the high level of chalk that is probably in this paint in order to make it so opaque. It also gives the paints over all a fairly chalky look.

Mixing

There are no problems mixing Winsor and Newton Designer Gouache colors. Even though there are some multi-pigment colors, these also makes cleanly.

Re-wetting

These colors did not re-wet well at all. They dry to a hard lump and even when water is applied, they only become a sort of watery slurry. If you want to use these colors, I would recommend using them fresh or adding things like honey or glycerin to keep them workable.

Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
Lightfast Colors High Level of Chalk
Easily Available Does not re-wet well
One of the few higher quality gouache brands Low price to quality ratio
Opaque The colors do not dilute well

Who is it for?

These pigments are best for the person who is looking to step up in their gouache paint quality, but doesn’t have access to other brands of higher-quality paint like Holbein, M Graham, or Schmincke.
If you have access to these other brands, I would recommend that you go with them over these because they are too expensive for the quality that you receive.
On the other hand, if you are looking for paint that is definitely going to be opaque, then these might be good. Since they have additional talk added, the majority of the colors are very opaque. Brands like M Graham and Schmincke do not have talk added, and so can be more opaque until white is added to the colors.

The Last Word

  • Price: ★★☆☆☆
  • Quality: ★★★☆☆
  • Overall: ★★★☆☆

Personally, I did not enjoy these paints, and would not recommend them if other high-quality brands are available. However they are not a low quality paint and I think that many artists could enjoy working with them.

Availability

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Images Painted With This Gouache

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