PROSPECTOUS: Extra-Fine Gold Our range of 208 extra-fine oil colours offers the most extensive palette of colours in the world, with poppy oil being the principal binder of all our colours. This gives the paste a brilliant appearance, plus a creamy texture, and most importantly prevents your colours from yellowing with age.

However, it also provides opacity in certain colours, intensity, plus enduring resistance to light and aging.
The Charvin range of extra-fine oil colours may be used for traditional and Flemish-style painting techniques with the addition of various mediums. What is more, due to their rich texture they are suitable for raised, somewhat thickened painting, and above all for Plein Air painting.

The manufacturing process for Charvin oil colours is based on ancient recipes (established in 1830) that made it possible to make oil colours for such artists as Cezanne, Bonnard, and Ambrogiani.

Charvin Fine Silver Artists oils represent an excellent compromise between a quality oil and a good price-quality ratio. It should be noted that the difference between the Charvin ranges of fine and extra-fine oils is the grinding time – extra-fine oil is ground for twice as long as fine oil, while the process is adapted to suit each pigment. Each formula is adapted to suit the properties of each pigment, thus allowing you to use a wide range of textures: some creamy and opaque, others transparent and drier. Our fine oils are available in a single packaging option: 150ml tubes in 161 colours.

  • SELECTION EXTRA FINE_208 colors provide the largest selection of any manufacturer. 20ml, 60ml, and 150ml tubes
  • SELECTION FINE_161 colors in 150ml tubes
  • PROPRIETARY COLORS_More than anyone else
  • CONSISTENCY AND TEXTURE_Creamy texture in most colors but varies. Extra-Fine similar to Rembrandt, Fine similar to Williamsburg or Vasari
  • BINDERS_A mixture of Poppy Oil and Non-yellowing Linseed oil. 
  • ADDITIVES_All manufacturers use minimal amounts of drying oils, binders, stabilizers, and other additives depending on the chemistry of individual pigments.
  • PACKAGING_ is good; tubes are heavyweight.
  • TOXICITY_The Extra-Fine line has the usual suspects, i.e., Cadmiums, the Fine Line has none.
  • TRANSLUCENCY_A ton of glazing potential. 
  • OPACITY/COVERAGE_Once again, similar to Rembrandt, which is excellent.
  • MIXABILITY/TINTING STRENGTH_Excellent with single pigments… many of the multiple pigment mixtures take some getting used to. Many convenience colors eliminate much of the mixing; if one purchases the colors, they mix a lot.
  • INTENSITY_Poppy Oil produces more intense, brighter, cleaner colors like Safflower oil.
  • LIGHTFASTNESS_ This is a question mark for all of the brands tested. Most of them seem to push the envelope on lightfastness.
  • DRYING TIME_Poppy oil dries slower than Linseed oil which is a plus or a minus depending on how one works. Of course, one can use alkyds.
  • AVAILABILITY_ Limited… Jerry’s Artarama exclusive. (they recently stopped carrying the Extra-Fine at retail.) Both are available from Jerry’s online.
  • CONS_They need to relabel for the US market because the names are highly confusing, and the French translations do not play well.
  • SYNOPSIS_ ARTIST GRADE_Our analysis of the Prospectus for Charvin Artist Oils is pretty accurate. We do not know much about their history other than it has existed for some time. The advantage of Poppy Oil is that it produces more vivid, cleaner, non-yellowing colors. (They dry way too slowly for many painters) The Extra-Fine Oil Colours are certainly ARTIST Grade, and so are Charvin’s Fine Oil Colours. Both perform as ARTIST-Grade paints and because of their vast selection of 150ml tubes, many professionals use them.
  • Our analysis only noticed that the Fine Oil Colours were not as buttery because they are milled less; most are still smooth and creamy right out of tubes. The only difference between the two lines is that the Charvin Fine Colours eliminated the expensive minerals, i.e., Cadmiums, Cobalts, Ceruleans, et al., and Modern Organics. The Charvin is undoubtedly a player among artist-grade pigment manufacturers. The Extra-Fine and Fine pigment load is the same, which seems to be the case. Of course, modern organic pigments weigh less than traditional inorganics, so Cerulean Blue and Cerulean Blue hue will not weigh the same. We will update this article once we have a chemical analysis. The Charvin Fine (Silver) comes in 150ml tubes and 161 colors; it is artist-grade paint superior to the Winton’s of the world. If one paints large and uses much paint, Charvin would be worth experimenting with.
  • OVERVIEW:_The purpose of The Society of Figurative Arts Testing Reviews is the examination of the characteristics of artists and professional-grade artists’ materials. The determination of which is better or best depends on the needs and preferences of the individual. Our mission is the support of professional-grade artist materials manufacturers and retailers and supplying Artists with the best information possible. We think this is particularly important at a time when hedge fund conglomerates are buying up brands by the dozens and reformulating products to maximize profits. A good deal of misinformation afloat also requires righting the ship. Painters need to know the characteristics of the products they purchase and use. 
  • We have found very little that separates top-tier artists and professional brands. The perceived differences in quality are based mainly on marketing hype. They are differences between brands, some subtle and some distinct. Some brands share specific characteristics, and some do not. We will explain the industry standard Extra-Fine refers to and the merits of single binders instead of binder recipes tuned to each color. 
  • Determining what is ‘best’ is the province of the Painter. They need to decide what works best for them. 

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