Peace, everyone! If you’ve been following my blog posts you probably already know that I have started a mini-series of blog entries called “To PAINT or NOT to Paint?: The SHOPPING EXPERIENCE!” Hopefully my own personal experiences in the art supply shopping world will arm anyone who happens to come across this series with useful information AND inspire to create and try new things!
In my previous entry, I gave you all the basic run-down of paint and a few of the common terms used in identifying and categorizing different types of paint (don’t forget, I’m talking only about ACRYLIC paint here).
But since we’ve learned some nice new terms last time, NOW we can get a little more specific. Today in Part II, we will cover BRANDS of PAINT! 😀
So, like I’ve already explained before, when I went to the Art Institute my desire to paint was reignited…despite the DRAMA that came with it in the form of my evil, old, obnoxious Color Theory professor breathing down all of our necks.
(Oh, and you should know by now…MOST of what I tell you will almost ALWAYS come with a story attached to it! 😀 ❤ )
My first time being exposed to the importance of using certain brands of paint was when I started my Color Theory class. Even though our school art kits came with paint, there were still colors missing that we had to buy from either the school store or someplace else like Blick or Utrecht (both of which weren’t far from the school at all).
The art kit came with a few paints from Grumbacher Academy Acrylic line, but our professor wanted us to get specific colors from Liquitex HEAVY BODY series. She emphasized OVER and OVER and OVER again how NO OTHER brand of paint would be acceptable, even if it WAS the right color. She was this strict over our ENTIRE supply list as we all went over the syllabus together. The old hag! (The colors we needed, in case you were wondering, were Vivid Red Orange, Light Green Permanent, and that crazy Dioxazine Purple). At this point in time, I didn’t see what the big deal was. PAINT was PAINT, after all….right?? 😮
Well, to say the least when I went down to the school store to see what the fuss was all about over this so-called Liquitex HEAVY BODY paint…I was NOT impressed with what I saw when I got there. Not only was the tube SMALLER than my damn HAND…it COST just as much as one would expect a GIANT CAN of paint to cost! (Ok…maybe I exaggerate a LITTLE…but as a Broke College Student….that was quite ACCURATE to me).
So I got the Godforsaken paints and went back up to the classroom where our torture could REALLY begin. Long story short, when I was in school, I only used those two brands of paint: the Grumbacher Academy Acrylic that came with my school kit and the Liquitex HEAVY BODY I had to break my already broken pockets for.
But anyway I came, I saw, I painted, I passed the class, I had paint left over from my art kit the school gave me, and I ran out to buy some MORE paint and other art supplies! I was ELATED once I passed that class! I could go to the art supply store of MY CHOICE and get WHATEVER kind of paint I wanted to! HA, HA, HAAA! VICTORY was MINE! 😀
So around this time, one of my co-workers at my old job, who was also an artist, was telling me all about Michaels and how I need to go there. She was surprised I wasn’t shopping there ALREADY! So in celebration of my new-found freedom, I looked up the closest Michaels to me and off I went! Once there, I was immediately BLOWN AWAY at how HUGE the store was! I thought my co-worker was just hyping the place up…but NOW I could see she was ON POINT! Let’s just say that I wanted to buy the ENTIRE STORE and take the actual building home with me–it was THAT DEEP! ❤ 😉 Anyway, I went over to the paint section and was once again dazzled by ALL the different paints lining the shelves all around me. The colors were almost limitless! The Liquitex section caught my eye because I was already familiar with it from school. I saw the HEAVY BODY line….but I KNEW better. The prices here were no kinder than the ones at the school store. I got frustrated SO FAST! I mean, HOW could a tube of paint so SMALL cost so MUCH?! I’d used that paint up in NO TIME at all! I thought to myself. Luckily, my eyes continued to browse the shelves until I found my very own SAVIOR in the form of paint: Liquitex BASICS. I looked at the tube, looked at the price…and I KNEW….I was SAVED.
Or so I thought.
And THAT is how my painting adventures on my own TRULY began! Once I bought my own paints, I was sure that I was absolutely unstoppable! I bought red, yellow, blue, black, white, gold and silver to start off with, and I’ve been sticking to Liquitex BASICS ever since…
Until the frustrations kicked in. At first, I was all “Happy, Happy–Joy, Joy!” with my paints until I noticed some issues popping up:
“Dammit, how come THIS paint is thicker than THAT paint?”
“How come THAT paint dries faster than THIS paint?”
“Wait…wait…what color is THIS?”
“WHAT THE FXCQ?? How come no matter HOW MANY layers I paint onto this canvas, it’s STILL so see-through?!”
“WHY WON’T IT BLEND?!”
Once again, I would ask the above questions plus a million MORE to every artist-friend of mine, artist-strangers I met AND let’s not forget those art supply store employees. LONG STORY SHORT(ER)…my Color Theory professor really DID have a method to her madness when it came to what BRAND of paint she wanted us to buy. Sigh.
What you need to understand about me is…brands NEVER really mattered to me. I mean, I USED to get caught up in that “Name-Brand-Automatically-Equals-Quality” Mindset when I was younger when it came to clothes and shoes, etc….but as I grew up, I broke out of that mentality because I realized how utterly INSANE it was. Thank GOD. So the same “It doesn’t matter” Mindset applied when it came to paints for me. But I found out that this is NOT the case. In the art world…the supplies you use DO eventually begin to matter as you progress in your skill and talent of creation. ❤
So with that being said, let’s talk about BRANDS!
Starting with Grumbacher Academy Acrylic. Speaking only of my personal experience, this paint has a smooth, somewhat buttery texture to it. It’s never let me down in general, but I’ve only ever heard of this or saw this paint in school. No one has ever mentioned it to me when I went around asking what was the best paint to use for someone who was starting out in painting on a budget, or even what was the best paint to use for quality overall. I guess that’s why I never paid much attention to it even as I used it or intended to even replace them with more from this line once a color was all used up. I finished my white off from this line FOREVER ago, and I just opted to buy more white from Liquitex BASICS because like I said, back then….paint was paint to me. So NOW that I know better, and I analyze the texture again for myself, I’d say that this is is a nice in-between for me. What do I mean by in-between? Well, it’s a nice step above Liquitex BASICS texture-wise, but nowhere NEAR as dense as the Liquitex HEAVY BODY. Next–
Liquitex BASICS. I jumped for joy only because of the prices and all the money I would be saving for unknowingly cutting corners on quality paint. Compared to Grumbacher and the Liquitex HEAVY BODY line, this paint is so THIN and PALES in comparison. Yes, I make it work for me, because that’s what artists do…but the frustration at times sometimes isn’t even worth it. I even asked if this line would be good in general to an art supply store sales associate because this was the only paint I’d buy so far. This line and a seemingly-similar brand called Amsterdam (Standard Series Acrylic). But the sales associate IMMEDIATELY dismissed them both as not being worth ANYBODY’S time, whether you’re a beginner OR an advanced artist. In my honest opinion, I was a bit torn because on the ONE HAND, I could see what he meant seeing as I was actually using these paints, so it wasn’t like he was lying. But on the OTHER hand, I felt like maybe he was exaggerating the quality of the paint JUST A LITTLE just to get me to opt for the more expensive brands in the store. But on the OTHER HAND (yes….I manage to have more than two hands here), I was afraid that if I went for my skeptical thoughts, I would regret it because I actually DID do just that once upon a time when I went to Blick for some paint brushes.
What happened was, I was looking for some nice quality brushes, but to myself I said, “I’ll be DAMNED if they think I’m paying $35 for this ONE paint brush!” So I went to find someone who worked there to help me. I had already picked out this nice, inexpensive set of brushes in a pack that cost less than $15 I think. It came with a HUGE selection of the FLAT brushes AND the ROUND brushes (I’ll tell you MORE about these brushes later in this series), but the sales associate IMMEDIATELY tried to dissuade me from buying the brushes. He said how poor the quality was, they wouldn’t last long, blah blah blaaahhhh…..And YES! NATURALLY, he DID tried to persuade me back over to those fancy, expensive ass brushes! NOPE! Not THIS time, buddy! I bought my pack of inexpensive brushes and rode off into the sunset, a sunset in which I would later go home and paint. ❤
And as of TODAY….of those 20-something brushes…. I am down to less than HALF because the FIRST half of my brushes all fell apart and I lost the brush heads from continuously falling off…and the OTHER half of my brushes are still funtional…but there are still a few that keep falling apart AS I use them…but I manage. So….the old sales associate was RIGHT. 😦
Because of THAT experience, I didn’t want that to happen AGAIN with these paints! 😮
So, with the Liquitex BASICS dismissed, I was easing on over the HEAVY BODY line, remembering how lovely it was to use that paint. Liquitex HEAVY BODY is TRULY HEAVY BODY! It’s the creamiest paint I’ve ever used. I mean, I’m sure there are FAR thicker and creamier paints out there but again, I’m only telling you about MY experience and opinion of the paints I’ve actually used. I love this line, but the prices keep me at bay for now, so I’ve never bought any more HEAVY BODY ever since I was in school. For this line, it’s easy to form texture on a canvas by using your brush strokes, also known as impasto. This is what I mean:
So the heavier the body of the paint, the more you can create textures like the one right up there. Now, for the FINAL brand I’ll be covering. From EVERY SINGLE ARTIST I’ve ever spoken to, or from every single article I saw online written by other artists…EVERYONE hypes THIS brand up to no end. It’s the ONE, the ONLY:
GOLDEN! YUP. GOLDEN. Just the name alone is inspiring! What can I tell you about this brand? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! You see, my awe and admiration for this paint began and ended in the aisle of the art supply store as soon as I saw the PRICES. I thought Liquitex HEAVY BODY was bad? 😮 Oh HAAAYYYL NO! It’s got NOTHING on the price of GOLDEN paint! So with all that being said, I left that paint right where it was, scurried away to my Liquitex BASICS and called it a day. So you see, I’ve never actually used GOLDEN myself, but based on literally EVERY person who knew anything about paint, GOLDEN is the place to be. From quality to colors…GOLDEN is the REAL hero here. For all the hyping up of this paint everyone did, they were ALSO very honest about the fact that GOLDEN is on the EXPENSIVE side. But for an artist who wants MORE from his or her creations, GOLDEN brand paint would be well worth the investment. Er…that’s just not the case for ME yet. Well, YES I want more from my creations…but let’s not have to make life decisions about whether I eat or paint out here! Sheesh!
To sum it all up, I say this: If you’re only starting out in the world of acrylic paints, Liquitex BASICS are just fine for the ABSOLUTE beginner. Why waste so much money on high-quality, expensive paints that you don’t even really know how to use yet? To feel your way through the fundamentals of painting, Liquitex BASICS is good. ❤ (It’s ESPECIALLY fun when it comes to mixing and experimenting with colors! Ask me how I know 😉 ). Grumbacher Academy Acrylic is one step higher in quality of the body than the Liquitex BASICS, but because I never actually bought this paint on my own, I couldn’t tell you the price. If you check out the website in the link I gave you earlier in this post, you can take a look around for yourself.
As of right now, Liquitex HEAVY BODY is my favorite paint. The feel of it is Heaven to me. But for the price….eh. I guess that’s up to you. If anything, you could even buy starter kits of these paints. I know for a fact that Liquitex has a BASICS starter set that comes with red, yellow, blue, black and white. I think there’s a HEAVY BODY set too. ❤
As for GOLDEN…well, the best thing I was told to do as far as starting out in this brand, is to buy a few of the tiny bottles of paints in a few colors just so I can get the feel of the paint itself before I jump and buy an $85,000 jar of GOLDEN paint. Just saying.
And THAT, my friends, is the end of the SECOND installment in my new mini-series! I would love to say that all of what you read is factual, but again, this is a mix of fact AND opinion from experience. The only way to see whether what I say is true to YOU or not, is to RUN OUT and get some paint and try for yourself! Don’t stress out about it, and don’t forget to have FUN!
So since we’ve already seen how the issue of MONEY has constantly sprung up during this entry, my NEXT entry will be all about SERIES of paint AND how to find your favorite paints for the best prices. Stay tuned! 😉 ❤
~SOULar Lioness XOXO