MICHAEL HARDING ARTIST’ OIL COLOR REVIEW

This is a professional line of oil paint formulated to the highest standards. These oils feature high pigment load and excellent mixing power. Color intensities replicate those of handcrafted, limited edition oils produced prior to the invention of the collapsible tube in the 1840s. The consistency is silky, not oily. This enables the artist to paint the thinnest layers or thick impasto brush-strokes with ease.

Using techniques dating back to the days of the Old Masters, Michael Harding creates powerful, intense colors of paint that are both beautiful and durable. No fillers or extenders are used, and no driers are added. This prevents brittleness, cracking, and wrinkling. Because there are no driers, these oils may take longer to cure, particularly in thick applications. To optimize curing time, set your painting in a warm room with good sunlight. All colors but one in the line are ground in a grade of refined cold-pressed linseed oil that is chosen for its neutral acidity to ensure permanence. Titanium White No. 1 is ground in safflower oil.

  • SELECTION_Over 80 colors provide more than a professional range.
  • PROPRIETARY COLORS_Once again any color containing more that one pigment is technically proprietary. We tested Amethyst, Pale Violet, and the Carribean Turquoise which were very unique
  • PIGMENT LOAD_High
  • CONSISTENCY AND TEXTURE_’The consistency is silky, not oily. This enables the artist to paint the thinnest layers or thick impasto brush-strokes with ease.’ We find his description to be accurate, the consistency falls somewhere between Rembrandt and Sennelier. MH paints all not milled Extra-Fine by industry standards so the texture varies some between pigments. Not as much as Williamsburg or Vasari but it is noticeable. The traditionalist sees this as a positive characteristic.
  • BINDERS_’All colors but one in the line are ground in a grade of refined cold-pressed linseed oil that is chosen for its neutral acidity to ensure permanence. Titanium White No. 1 is ground in safflower oil.’
  • ADDITIVES_There is a great deal of confusion between Binders, Vehicles, Additives, Extenders, Stabilizers, Waxes, and Dryers. Some pigments like Ultramarine need some additional friends in the tube to make it a useable Hue. Harding appears to use some form of mineral of beeswax in varying ‘small’ amounts depending on the pigment. Pigments like ultramarine and others would separate from the oil if some form of stabilizer is not used. MH paints were the most consistent out of the tube of and the brands we tested which indicates the use of the aforementioned wax stabilizer. Taking Michael at his word, he does not use additives and or extenders to increase profit. MH does not use driers so drying time naturally varies a great deal between pigments.
  • FINISH OR SHEEN_Semi-Gloss, the wax tends to cuts down the gloss. Not a muted satin finish like Sennelier but not as glossy as Schmincke Mussini.
  • PACKAGING_Substantial packaging with good information and actual color on the label.
  • TOXICITY_Harding produces a number of Lead whites and offers a stack-white. They have the other usual suspects, i.e., Cadmiums, Cobalts, et al.
  • TRANSLUCENCY_Linseed is not as translucent as Walnut, Safflower, or Poppyseed.
  • OPACITY/COVERAGE_Excellent
  • MIXABILITY/TINTING STRENGTH_Very strong because of pigment load. This is professional paint manufactured for professionals.
  • INTENSITY_More brilliant than one expects from Linseed Oil binder. On par with Safflower and Poppyseed.
  • LIGHTFASTNESS_Very Good
  • DRYING TIME_ Varies depending on the pigment.
  • AVAILABILITY_ On-line_limited at retail but getting better

SYNOPSIS:_Professional Artist Grade paint line. A lot to like about this paint. This would be a good choice for a professional painter who does not have an issue with longer unequal drying times. Of course one can always add their own driers. Driers take up zip space btw. so it is not a consideration that affects pigment load in any way.

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