THE BRANDS OF OIL PAINT WE USE AND WHY
In alphabetical order, our go-to oil paint brands are M. Graham, Michael Harding, Rembrandt, Schmincke Mussini, and Sennelier.
We have used M. Graham for over two decades and have found them to be a top-tier brand that rivals the best. Since they are only a few decades old and have embraced synthetic organic pigments, i.e., Azo’s, Hansa’s, Quinacridone’s, Phthalo’s, Anthraquinone’s, etc., they also use the correct names on their labels. We wish other manufacturers would follow suit.
We like the Walnut Oil concept as well as the solvent-free painting system.
There Walnut Oil Alkyd medium is one we have used a great deal. One negative was their smallish array of pigments but they added 25 new colours in 1917, which brought the number up to 75, which is respectable.
Michael Harding is a premium brand; we do not use it much because we do not have much of it. However, we love his Alizarin Claret PR177-Anthraquinone Red, (our replacement for the fugitive Alizarin Crimson) plus Pale Violet and Amethyst, are beautiful proprietary mixtures.
Rembrandt by Royal-Talens is our go-to for all of our more sizable works because of the brush-able consistency and excellent coverage. It is also the best-organized array of pigments of top-tier brands. Rembrandt was way ahead of the curve in providing alternatives to Cadmiums with their large selection of Permanent Reds, Yellows, and Greens. Their Permanents are cadmium replacements which are superior in several areas. The choice of 120 pigments covers all the bases. We also find they merge well with M. Graham with a compatible brush-able consistency.
For in-direct works requiring glazing, one cannot beat Schmincke Mussini. The number of transparent pigments and the addition of damar creates luminous glazes. Their Flake White Substitute is are go to white and always on our palette.
Sennelier has more proprietary mixtures any any brand. The reason for this is that they have been around longer and have a large number of historically significant colours. Cezanne’s palette, for example, contained eighteen Sennelier pigments. Therefore their chemists have been task with integrating modern synthetic organics into their lineup, matching historical colors in mass tone, but are far more brilliant in tints. They are very proud of their Chinese Orange, three Vermillion variations, and their Mars mixtures, all in all they did a masterful job. The brilliance of the colors is enhanced by the use of Safflower oil as the principle binder. They also dry to what they call a French Satin Sheen. Not as buttery as Rembrandt but very workable out of the tube. The best thing about Sennelier is that their mixtures and very unique, an aspect some do not consider a benefit.
Full disclosure we have a close relationships with most of these companies but we have those relationships because we think the make superior products. We have left out many of the usual suspects because they do not meet our criteria. We do not like stiff paints nor do we like gritty paints.