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Matteo Grilli Watercolor

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Matteo Grilli

Maker Matteo
Location Brisbane, Australia
Website Matteo Grilli Wildlife Art: Handmade Watercolour Paints
Etsy? Wildlife Watercolour Art Handmade Watercolour by MatteoGrilliArt
Average Price per Pan $10.52
Specialization Simply high quality watercolors for the professional watercolor artist
Number of Colors 10
Opacity? transparent colors are very transparent, and opaque colors are appropriately opaque
Special or Exclusive Colors An Indian Yellow with PY153
Pigment Information? Yes
Ingredients Schmincke pigment, Gum Arabic, Honey and Essential Oil of Clove
Vegan? No

Note from the Maker

I have been painting with watercolours for 23 years and I have been making watercolour paints for the last four years. Every batch of paint is hand-mixed on the glass slab for no less than one hour non-stop. These handmade watercolour paints feel very smooth on the brush and on the paper. All paints are very lightfast.

Swatches

Overview

A talented professional artist himself, Matteo makes these paints for his own use and eventually decided to share them with others.

In a sense they are very simple. Only 10 colors. Single pigment. Nothing fancy.

But there is something to be said for a line that simply focuses on quality and utility. You can see in the way these paints shine in his own paintings come out where his focus is. The end result. Beautiful paintings.

You can see how careful he is in the creation of his watercolors in videos he has produced and blog posts explaining the topic.

Pros

  • Extremely well made paints
  • Color payoff is great even from dot cards
  • Includes all colors necessary for nearly all paintings in the range
  • Perfect for the painter who simply wants their paints to do their job well

Cons

  • Packaging is not fancy or cute
  • Line does not include a very wide range, and is very orthodox

Who is it for?

These pains are best suited to the painter who simply wants to get their job done with very high-quality paint. There are no glitter paints. There are no multi pigment colors. Just a few single pigment colors.

Mateo is an artist himself, and you can see that in the colors that he has made here. These are colors for a working artist. You didn’t have to worry about the pigments that he has chosen fading on you or ever worry about low pigment load. They are reliable and dependable. And of course, beautiful!

Links

Reviews

Art Supply Review: Eventually Everything Mixes

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I wanted to share with you this amazing handcrafted watercolor brand called Eventually Everything Mixes!

Recently I got to meet Amé on a trip to Berlin. She is a wonderfully sweet and kind person, and she obviously put a lot of thought into the processes she uses to make her watercolor paints.

Her paints are all vegan and cruelty free. That might sound my distance distinction, but the majority of watercolor paints have either honey or ox gall (which comes from the gallbladder of cows) in them, which makes them not vegan. Instead, Amé uses sugar syrup and synthetic ox gall as the humectant and wetting agent in her paints.

Personally, I am not vegan, but I do believe in trying to make the products that we use as free from cruelty and as gentle on the environment as possible. This is obviously something that Amé cares about. Not only are her products free of animal byproducts, but she also even notes when the pigment might be dangerous to the water supply and aquatic life. This is something that’s almost never noted and is really important since watercolors are often flushed down the drain.

In addition to all of this, her paints are beautiful, moody, and inspire me to be more creative.

Stats

Quality Where Does it Stand?
Lightfastness depends on the pigment, but the colors are sourced from Kremer Pigments
Where Is It Made? Berlin, Germany
Identification (Color Labeling and Accuracy) Name and pigment number on the pans, but other information only available on the website
Tube size Available in half pans, full pans, and bottle tops
Price around $5 per half pan

Colors Reviewed

  • LAUSITZER OCHRE - PY 43
  • PYRELENE MAROON - PR 179
  • WATER BY THE PIER - PB 71, PR 101
  • FREE- HE WANTED TO BE - PB 71, PBK 11, COPPER BLUE

Amé gave me a full pan of Pyrelene maroon, a bottle top of Lausitzer Ochre, and a dot sheet with Water By The Pier and Free He Wanted To Be. The dot sheets were very generous, and I’ve done several paintings and all of my swatches with these alone!

Swatches

eemswatch.jpg
p>You can see in the slots is that all of these colors are pretty granulating. Even though purely maroon, which is not actually a granulating color, has a more textural quality than in other brands.

The colors are all extremely highly pigmented, and they have a medium level of dispersion.

Even though I am a stickler for single pigment colors, I am absolutely in love with “Water by the Pier” and “Free – He Wanted to Be.” Normally I don’t see any reason to have a great color on my palette, but that granulation and the different colors in ”Free – He Wanted to Be" entrance me every time I use it.

Mixing

This is the part that I was worried about. I have never used handmade watercolors before, but I know that watercolors which are not correctly formulated or not correctly mulled can be very difficult to mix and glaze. But this is not the case with these pains.

They paint and makes just like I would expect them to and it’s easy to get a wide range of colors from just the four paints that I have.

Obviously, this is not a high intensity palette, but I was still able to get some version of basically each color.

Re-wetting

These colors rewet pretty easily, although there is a bit more difficult re-wetting the Lausitzer Ochre. It’s pretty common for first colors across brands to be more difficult to rewet.

“Free – He Wanted to be" was also a bit more difficult to rewet, and clearly had a bit more binders and the other paints. It had a sort of a gummy texture. It’s also more muted in intensity.

The easiest color to work with was the Pyrelene maroon, which is crazily intense as soon as you put a brush into it.

Glazing and Layering

No problems here either. I painted a portrait, which normally includes a lot of layering and glazing. The collars had no trouble staying on the paper and did not lift off inadvertently.

One thing that I did notice is that the colors seem to stay wet on the page longer than with my conventionally made paints.

Vibrancy

These pains are very vibrant and have very deep color. However did notice that, depending on the paper you use, they may be a fairly large color shift. The colors are much darker when they are wet than when they are dry. However the saturation level seems to stay about the same, and the colors do not become pale and washed out after drying.

Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
Cruelty free, vegan, and environmentally friendly paint Large color shift
Unique colors The rewet ability of the paint might vary by pigment
Supports an independent artist
Smells of Cloves
Pigment is sourced from a reputable supplier, and no fillers are added

Who is it for?

If you want to dip your toe into the world of handmade watercolors, I would definitely start with this brand.
I don’t often add new colors to my palette now that I’ve decided on a set of colors, but I find myself often wanting to play with these paints. I’m not sure if it’s the moody colors, the scent of cloves, or the memory of meeting Amé, but using these payments is very freeing. If you like deep, dark, moody paints with a lot of texture and the smell of clothes, then these are the perfect paint for you. If you are looking for a high-quality, vegan watercolor brand, this is absolutely perfect.

Of course we can’t forget that every purchase helps the support an independent artist who also organizes workshops to help get people acquainted with making art!

The Last Word

This is a great first experience with handmade watercolors, I really want to try out some more colors in her line, and see how they compare with other handmade watercolors!

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

Official Website

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Art Supply Review: Old Holland Watercolors

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Old Holland is kind of a strange brand. There are not a lot of reviews of it because of its expensive price in many parts of the world. I’m lucky enough that my local art store has a full collection of this brand at fairly reasonable prices.

Handprint.com doesn’t think very much of this brand because of its lightfastness issues and its odd labeling practices. That’s totally understandable. I don’t think I would ever recommend this brand to a beginner.

The pigments are definitely pure. They claimed that they include twice as much pigment as other brands, and that might be true. However, the binder for these paints is what makes it different from all other paints, and calm cause problems for a new or experienced watercolor artist. The binder has been described as gummy and sticky. And the paints lift extremely easily.

Not normally something that you’d associate with a high-grade artist quality watercolor brand.

Despite all of that, I love these paints!

Background

Many artists don’t like Old Holland watercolors. They say that they are too gummy , too thick, and too difficult to rewet. And all of these things are true to a certain extent. The colors do not stay still on the page, and lift extremely easily. All of these things can easily be considered negative points.

But there is one thing that I think is important to realize about these watercolors. They are really gansai.

Pseudo-Gansai

Okay, or at least they are basically gansai or very similar to gansai.

At my local art store, I picked up this pamphlet talking about Old Holland watercolors that comes directly from the company. Here is what it says.

Old Holland Classic watercolour
These watercolours combine the best qualities of the original colours as used by the Chinese masters. All 168 colours are lightfast. The old fashioned Chinese binder accepts more pigment. This binder is based on distilled water, bleeched cristal arable gums, pure glycerine 99.9% with various mixtures of different natural sugar syrups,special selected honey, rabbit skin glue, rosin varnish (made from roots), seaweed extract, mhyr, etc. The colours tend to be considerably stronger than normal artist’s watercolours, while retaining the transparency required to produce the most delicate hues. Due to the higher level of pigmentation the intensity and brilliance is superior, while less quantity of paint is required to make the artwork.

Pamphlet

Okay, so what does that sound like? If you have read my blog post about Gansai, this will all sound very familiar.

And it makes sense. The Dutch were one of the few countries that were able to trade with the Chinese and the Japanese in the 17th century. You have probably heard of the Dutch East India Company, haven’t you?

Gansai is a Japanese art medium, but many of Japanese traditional arts have their roots Chinese culture. I don’t know what the Chinese word for gansai is, but I’m pretty sure that is what is going on here with these Old Holland watercolors.

So the characteristics fit. They lift easily, they are extremely vibrant, and extremely pigmented. The only thing that seems to be different is that the colors also mix with absolutely no problems.

Also, it is important to note that this binder is the main reason why old Holland colors have a bit of a lightfastness problem in some formulations. Some of the binder combinations that Old Holland uses yellow over time.

Stats

Quality Where Does it Stand?
Lightfastness varying lightfastness, I would not trust the lightfastness rating given by Old Holland
Where Is It Made? Holland
Identification (Color Labeling and Accuracy) No pigment number or other information on the tube, also the label does not match the color inside at all
Tube size 6 mL
Price US$6 - US$22

Colors Reviewed

  • GOLDEN BAROK RED – PO 65
  • SCHEVENINGEN YELLOW LIGHT – PY 174
  • ULTRAMARINE BLUE DEEP – PB 29

Swatches

These colors are all extremely vibrant. They are surprisingly transparent, and every single one of them is extremely lifting. I have never seen colors that lifted as easily as this. You could put a drop of water on the paint and it would completely come off the page.

This can actually be really frustrating when you’re painting because you can basically erase the entire thing depending on what paper you are using.

This Ultramarine Blue Deep is my favorite ultramarine. The granulation is absolutely gorgeous and unlike the granulation I have seen in any other brand. I will definitely be buying more of this.

Scheveningen Yellow Light is now my favorite warm yellow. It’s transparent, and just glows.

Mixing

The colors mixed together extremely well. They harmonize and have a lot of movement when used wet in wet. The painting that I did using these colors has a sort of gentle harmony to it.

Re-wetting

This is where these colors fall down. Because of the binder, it’s extremely difficult to rewet these pains in comparison to other artistry paints. You have to add water to them before the pigment will come off of the pan.

Glazing and Layering

I don’t use these paints when I am planning to do a lot of layers. Or at least I don’t use them on the bottom layers, particularly because of that issue with listing. These colors don’t stay down very well. They always want to come off the page if there is any sort of agitation on top.

So I normally only use these paints if I am going to be doing a painting that doesn’t require a lot of layers, or if I want to use them on top of already painted layers.

They glaze well, and are very vibrant.

Vibrancy

Extremely vibrant, obviously full of pigment. Beautiful. There are variations of tone within each color.

Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
Extremely High Pigment Load No pigment information on the tube
The Most Beautiful Granulation Difficult to Rewet
Very Vibrant Lifts easily
Unique Pigments Extremely Expensive
Questionable Lightfastness
Strange Names
The line is full of overly complicated convenience mixes

Who is it for?

Obviously not a reasonable person.

Not for anyone who is a stickler about single pigment paints or lightfastness.

I will probably continue buying these pains, but I will attempt to be aware of the limitations of the paint and careful about the lightfastness.

This brand is definitely a “luxury” brand if you think about the price and the lack of functionality. This isn’t really a brand that you go to for consistency or predictable quality. This is a brand that you go to because there’s just something about it that you love, despite all of the negative aspects.

So this is for somebody who has already tried artist grade watercolors, and is already very comfortable with them, and wants to be a little silly with their paints.

The Last Word

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

Official Website

Availability

In Europe

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Zirconium Cerulean Blue PB71

Normally I'm not too excited about specific pigments, but I’m really excited about this one!

Cerulean is a really beautiful color to paint with. It has nice granulation, a light blue color that is perfect for skies, and it’s cool and non-staining.

It's not really a color that you can replicate with any other pigment, although some manufacturers make a cerulean blue cube by mixing phthalo blue with white. I really try to avoid white in my watercolors because it adds a chalky look that I don't really like.

I used to have Caribbean in my palate, but once I realized that it includes cobalt, which is a toxic chemical, I removed it from my palette.

Then one day, I learned about zirconium cerulean blue!

As far as I'm aware that this pigment is only available from Kremer pigments. They sell it in a powder form as well as watercolor half and full pans. I got a full pan of the watercolor and I’m so happy that I did!

cerulean

Versus Cerulean Blue PB 35

The color is not exactly a match for traditional cerulean blue which is made out of PB35 or PB36, but it's a close. It's slightly cooler, and it granulates a bit more.

In terms of granulation, zirconium cerulean actually seems pretty close to manganese blue genuine, which is the very toxic pigment. You could add a little bit of phthalo blue or phthalo turquoise to get an almost exact match. Also, adding a little bit of phthalo green gives you something close to cobalt blue turquoise or cobalt teal.

Also, it's a lot heavier, and doesn't move in water as freely as cerulean blue does. I think that you could probably add ox gall to this color to make it flow a bit more.

Despite these differences, I think that it's a very good substitute and has most of the characteristics that I loved about cerulean blue without the toxicity.

Mixing

mixing zirconium

I did a couple of tests mixing PP 71 with other colors.

With Potter's pink, it makes a series of beautiful grays and the old granulating purples. With PY 175, it makes amazingly vibrant granulating spring greens. With PR 122 makes saturated purples as well as lavenders, which is something that is difficult to achieve with other blues. Finally, with Indian or Venetian red, it makes deep dark browns and cool grays, similar to the way that burnt sienna mixes with ultramarine blue.

Check it out!

If you're interesting in trying out an unusual pigment, or you're looking to substitute the really improve on your palette, order one of these from Kremer pigments and I think you won't be disappointed !

Links

Kremer Watercolor - Zirconium Cerulean Blue

Zirconium Blue and Cerulean Comparison | Too Much White Paper

Artist AEE Miller - unSpooky Laughter Studio

#Mixing

Art Supply Review : KUM Automatic Long Point Pencil Sharpener

The KUM Automatic Long Point Sharpener was, until very recently, my favorite pencil sharpener. Even though I have some trouble sharpening with it consistently, is still miles above your standard pencil sharpener.

Facts Where Does it Stand?
Name KUM Automatic Long Point Sharpener (AS2)
Type Handheld with 28 mm holes, it also has two lead pointers at the side
Point Type Long point
Size 6.5 x 2.5 x 3 cm
Body Material plastic with the wedge body made up of light magnesium alloy
Blade Material steel
Made In Germany
Price $4.39- 7.73

The KUM Automatic Long Point Sharpener is marketed under several different names in the United States. There is a Palomino version that is marketed by California Republic Stationers in orange and gold. There is also the Palomino Blackwing version in black and gold. The one I have is blue and is the version that comes with two lead pointers on the side.

The sharpener comes with two extra replacement blades, which are very welcome because it seems that the blades wear out very quickly if you use harder lead pencils. If you’re only using writing pencils within the 2B to HB range, then there is probably no problem. But if you use 10H or 6H pencils, you may find yourself changing the blade very often.

I have also heard about sharpeners coming with dull blades straight from the factory, so if you’re having trouble sharpening with this pencil, consider changing the blade.

The KUM Long Point sharpens in two steps. The first step simply strips away the wood from the graphite core. You end up with a long cylindrical type of graphite which looks a little odd.

The automatic part of the name comes from the auto stop of this first section. There is a big sign that says stop which doesn’t allow you to over sharpen the pencil. don’t be disappointed if he thought there was some kind of electric component. That’s all it is.

The second step actually sharpens the lead. It doesn’t take away any of the wood, but only sharpens the graphite. This is useful, because you can also re-sharpen the pencil without having to strip away any more of the wood.

This is also where you can run into trouble. Depending on the size of the pencil and how well the lead is centered, I often had problems with lead of the pencil breaking before I was finished sharpening. Then I had to start the whole sharpening process all over again.

In order to be successful with the second step, you must be very gentle and very slow.

I also had problems with consistency and sharpening. At its best, the KUM Long Point makes a needlelike point which is so sharp that it can prick you. But this is very inconsistent. Sometimes it cannot get this sharp. Sometimes it is very blunt. Sometimes it basically can’t sharpen the pencil at all.

Despite this, overall it is still an upgrade over most handheld pencil sharpeners. But I’ll be saving it for when I am sketching outside, and use a hand crank sharpener at my desk.

Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
Can produce a very very sharp point Inconsistent sharpening
Small and lightweight Blades dull very quickly
Has a sharpening receptacle Sharpening receptacle is very small
Able to sharpen lead points

Who is it for?

The person who would get the most use out of a very long point is probably an artist, but there are also regular pencil users who like the look of a long point. The point can be extremely sharp and give a very fine line.

However, the sharpener is not for someone who is not willing to deal with the inconsistency that can occur depending on the pencil your sharpening.

I would recommend the sharpener for someone who requires a pencil sharpener on the go, or someone who wants a pencil sharpener at their desk but does not want to give up the be necessary for a hand crank pencil sharpener.

The Last Word

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

In the end, despite its problems, it’s still probably the best (or at least one of the best) portable pencil sharpeners available for those who like long points on their pencils.

Official Website

Availability

In USA

In Europe

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Art Supply Review : Mitsubishi KH20 Pencil Sharpener

This is my new favorite pencil sharpener. It’s easy. Quick. Light. Quiet. Efficient.

What else could you want?

I got this pencil sharpener specifically because I was tired of being frightened to sharpen my Caran d’Ache Museum watercolor pencils. I also thought it was probably time to upgrade since I was doing more work with graphite.

This was definitely an awesome upgrade.

Facts Where Does it Stand?
Name Mitsubishi KH 20 Handheld Pencil Sharpener
Color Black, red, blue
Type Handcrank desktop sharpener with autostop, rubber grips, blunt and long point modes
Point Type Blunt and Long point
Size 13 x 8.5 x 8 cm
Body Material Plastic
Blade Material Metal
Made In China
Price

It’s pretty surprising that this pencil sharpener is made in China, that’s not exactly what you would expect from Mitsubishi. Despite that, there’s no reason to assume that there is any kind of deficiency in quality. The sharpener is sturdy and works very smoothly.

Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
Stabilizes pencil while sharpening Too large to travel with
Autostop Can shorten pencils a great deal
Can sharpen (slightly) larger pencils Not metal, so maybe not super sturdy?
Both long and blunt tips Sometimes sharpens a bit off center
Huge waste receptacle, with viewing hole Does not include desk clamp, must be purchased separately
Fairly quiet
Includes a hole for a desk clamp
Easy disassembly for repairs or troubleshooting
Rubberized base for stability
Rubberized clamps do not damage pencils

Who is it for?

This sharpener is ideal for anybody who just wants to get a good tip every time with no fuss. They are sharpeners that give a sharper point, but not much sharper. If you don’t want to spend time fussing around with those, this is perfect. You could go through an entire collection of pencils in a few minutes and have consistent results.

Since the cutting mechanism is not entirely made out of metal, I wonder just how long the blades will remain sharp. I’m not sure if there is a replacement available.

The blunt tip is an interesting added feature. It’s probably not interesting for most pencil users, but for artists who use colored pencils, it can be helpful to have a broader tip sometimes.

I have seen it recommended that after sharpening several colored pencils, it’s a good idea to sharpen a graphite pencil to make sure that the blades are not excessively dulled.

The Last Word

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

I don’t think anybody could go wrong with this sharpener. It’s a good price, good quality, and it doesn’t mar your expensive pencils!

Official Website

Availability

In USA

In Europe

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