PROSPECTUS:_In the Blockx tradition, paint is still hand-ground using a slowly rotating three roll stone mill. Only pure pigment is used. All colors have a minimum lightfastness rating of 7 out of 8 on the blue wool scale, so the entire line can be considered perfectly lightfast.
Iron oxides, earth pigments, and blacks are ground with linseed oil. All other pigments are ground with poppyseed oil, which prevents yellowing and dries without wrinkling or mottling. Each pigment is used at its best saturation, and no additives or fillers are used, whatsoever.
- SELECTION_84 colors provide a solid selection, more than half are single pigment.
- PROPRIETARY COLORS_Anything that is not single pigment is somewhat proprietary_we like their Capucines.
- PIGMENT LOAD_High
- CONSISTENCY AND TEXTURE_workable consistency right out of the tube. Mixable on the canvas not as buttery as Rembrandt and not as dense as Old Holland more in the range of Sennelier or Lukas. Outstanding (responsive) brush stroke and texture.
- BINDERS_Linseed in Blacks and Earths Poppyseed in the rest.
- ADDITIVES_ All oil paints have Additives. Only their chemist know the details.
- FINISH OR SHEEN_They claim a Matte Glaze Finish when combined with their Amber Vanish which has some unique properties and is worth looking into.
- PACKAGING_Openings seen a little small but other than that its fine.
- TOXICITY_Few Leads and a very limited number of Cadmiums.
- TRANSLUCENCY_Well balanced selection
- OPACITY/COVERAGE_Very Good
- MIXABILITY/TINTING STRENGTH_Excellent
- INTENSITY_Poppyseed Oil produces noticeably more intense, brighter cleaner colors than Linseed as does the Walnut Oil used by M. Graham, the Sunflower Oil used in Lukas 1862 or Safflower Oil used in Sennelier, Le Franc, and many other brands. (Most brands use non-yellowing oils in some of their colors.)
- LIGHTFASTNESS_ This is a question mark for all of the brands tested. But Blockx is the real deal, most consistent lightfastness of brands tested so far.
- DRYING TIME_ The drying time of Poppyseed Oil is about double that of Linseed.
- AVAILABILITY_ On-line but limited at retail.
SYNOPSIS_Blockx is has been consistently professional-grade since its inception in the 1860s their prospectus is accurate and the product claims test out. They have not followed trends or fads and have stayed true to their core principles. They are more expensive partially because of their countries currency exchange rate.
NOTE:_Heritage is a great thing but one needs to be aware that the metal paint tube was not invented until the 1840s and not widely manufactured until a couple of decades after that. Prior to that Colormen and Guilds only delivered raw pigments that painters or their assistants mulled and mixed with oils and stored in pigs bladders or glass tubes. When talking about the Heritage of paint manufacturing as it relates to current practices is irrelevant prior to the 1840s. Certainly, Old Holland, Blockx, Old Holland, Sennelier, Lukas and others that began manufacturing in the mid to late 1800s have impressive resumes. That said, the pigments available in earlier centuries were small in number so the time-honored recipes handed down only amounts to a hand full. all brands change over time because factors beyond their control shift, availability of pigments, chemistry, new and better pigments become available.
The invention of the metal tube changed everything without it we would have never had the Impressionists.
NOTE:_We eliminated some brands from our tests that have been absorbed by conglomerates. With few exceptions, there are noticeable shifts in the quality of the products. Blockx since our initial review has been absorbed by Clairefontaine a very large conglomerate which puts a Hugh question make by its name.
NOTE:_As we proceeded through these tests we became more aware of differences and similarities between brands. We have concluded that understanding these different properties is extremely important in putting together one’s palette. Some brands are compatible with others and some are not. We will elaborate on this as we go along. For now, let us just say that the indiscriminate practice of taking different colors from different brands regardless of the brand’s characteristics is not wise.