I call it a quest. It is not that grand in the scheme of things, but as an artist it is right up there. This search for the ideal oil paint is one most passionate artists share. Paint is after all the critical substance for a painting. The better the paint the better the painting? Well it helps a lot.
In this article I have a set of Van Gogh oil paints to review. Made by Royal Talens, a Dutch company, which is also the homeland of Vincent Van Gogh. I call those big shoes to fill Royal Talens. Have they done justice to the great artist's name? Lets find out.
Oil Paints Are Not the Same Anymore
To expect oil paints made these days to be the same as in Vincent's time is naive. Especially coming out of the European Union. What with all it's health and safety fixation. But to be fair a dose of lead poisoning is something to avoid. Most of the toxic stuff is no longer in the paint tubes. Things like lead, cadmiums and other traditional paint ingredients that are very toxic.
For the purists there are paints like Vasari and Rublev.
These paint makers use traditional methods and materials. Caution is required, but you are getting the real thing. If the arkane lore of paint making tickles your fancy then visit their websites. Interesting to say the least.
Observe the Spirit of High Pigment Paint
Back to modern reality most artists are looking for good paint and a reasonable price. When a 40ml genuine cadmium yellow tube can set you back $50 (R700.00) you tend to look elsewhere. With this in mind you are looking for a very good student quality paint. Poor quality oil paint does make for a terrible painting experience. Sadly many cheap and nasty brands are out there and they actually hinder your painting development. There is truth in the mantra: buy the best you can afford.
What are the characteristics of good student paint?
Where Do Van Gogh Paints Fit In?
To the credit of Royal Talens they do suggest that Van Gogh is a student paint range. The Van Gogh brand has been around since 1963 and is popular. By comparison Royal Talens do have an artist's range called Rembrandt which are much pricier, but are professional quality. What I want to know is whether Van Gogh paints are excellent student quality for the serious and aspiring painter?
Impressive Paint Box
I recently purchased a Van Gogh paint box set from the Art Savings Club online. You can see the set in the video below. I am impressed with the paint set. It is attractive, well made and will make a lovely present for most artists. Make a note of that.
The fourteen paints included are more than enough to cover any landscape scene. Of course there will be a few unnecessary colors, but that is to be expected.
First Paint Impression
The paints are very buttery. Perhaps too buttery? You decide, but I was a little worried that they were all soft and weak. Thankfully the paints display a strong color and good tinting strength. I was especially happy with the Azo Yellow Medium and Azo Red Light. What is Azo? A transparent chemical color as opposed to cadmiums that are more opaque. The Azo colors mix better and are lovely and bright with a little white added too.
The blues, ultramarine and cerulean are typical. Solid and consistent. I would have liked a burnt sienna and alizarin in the set, but no mind.
Use it or Pass?
From the video you will see the paint mixes compared to Maimeri Classico. I found the two paints very similar. Given a choice? I think Maimeri may be a little better value for money since you get an extra 20ml per tube compared to Van Gogh for the same price.
I do believe that Van Gogh oils are very good student paints. Currently priced at about R119.00 per 40ml tube they are a solid choice in this competitive sector. If you are a keen artist then you can safely try our Van Gogh oils to learn with. You will not be disappointed.
Watch the full review: