Sat 3/3/2018 Schmincke Watercolor

My most favorite set of paints! So far…

It fits on my outstretched hand, and slips perfectly into the front pocket of the small bag I use for my travel art kit. And, ooooh, the colors.

The travel paint brush is a “Joe Miller” Signature Series #6, from Cheap Joes, and fits right inside. I’ve only used it three times but like it very much, so far. And it was affordable!

The paints were not, particularly, but they WERE on sale, so that’s something. 🙂


20 thoughts on “Sat 3/3/2018 Schmincke Watercolor

  1. I’m with you — Schmincke watercolors rock!

    I just got back into watercoloring after a 25-year break and am discovering big changes in the art materials world. I had previously been a Winsor & Newton fan; when I left the art scene, Daniel Smith was just starting up their watercolor line, M. Graham didn’t exist, Da Vinci was just beginning to make a name for themselves, American Journey was figment in Cheap Joe’s imagination, etc.

    Now I discover that W&N is produced in China (their Cotman line has fallen off a cliff in quality as a result — the HORROR) and that several big names (Sennelier, Blockx, Daler Rowney, Grumbacher, etc.) have been muscled aside by the newcomers, while other makers — like Schmincke — have been able to benefit and grow.

    While I had previously used just a couple of Schmincke offerings in the dim distant past, I’ve now fully embraced them and have the same palette box that you do, complete with 21 different pans of lucious color. Gorgeous stuff!


    1. That’s interesting!! I keep trying to like w&n and just really don’t. It makes me feel steangely guilty because people rave so about them. I really despise their cotman line of pans, I don’t know about tubes. I’m loving Schmincke, Daniel Smith, and QoR the best… I keep trying to choose one as my favorite but actually I love them all for different reasons, and I think I need them all. 🙂 M Grahams are nice too, but not my favorites. I keep trying new-to-me brands.

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      1. How do you like QoR? Does it mix at all with the other brands? I’ve read mixed reviews from various sources… some like the line and some don’t. That’s another that I’ve never tried and was surprised to read about.

        W&N used to be the crème de la crème of artist pigments for decades — in particular, they are renown for their production of genuine Rose Madder since 1835, which takes some 13 weeks to produce and has not been duplicated by any other watercolor maker (it’s a gorgeous natural pink that’s light-fast). However, their quality control began to slide in the 1970’s and artists began seeking out better alternatives. Their Cotman line — both pans and tubes — used to be excellent for student grade colors, but not with all the fillers and extenders that the Chinese factory is putting into them now.

        Daniel Smith is superb; the founder of the company (Daniel Smith, of course) got his start making highly acclaimed printmaking pigments, so they as a company have always had serious chops when it comes to making good colors.

        Having a full palette of Schmincke is new to me, so I don’t know how they’ll work with me just yet. Same for M. Graham colors, some of which are still en route to me via Amazon. I’ve also heard good things about Da Vinci and American Journey (made for Cheap Joe’s by Da Vinci using different recipes from their own color line) — though I don’t have any of their paints yet.

        What do you not like about the paints from M. Graham?

        When my last color purchase arrives, I’ll begin swatch testing for transparency and fillers, then see how well they all play together in a color chart. Eventually I’ll work the list down to a dual-primary, plus earth tones (usually 12 colors or so) — then add special colors I can’t mix like Opera and Cobalt Violet, which will drive the final number up to around 20 colors or so.

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  2. Oh, I might have to buy the w&n genuine rose madder then… I keep chucking pinks with low lightfast ratings out of my sets. I’m really just figuring everything out.

    I’ve kind of hoped NOT to like QoR because of things I read about them, other people’s opinions, but I still like them. It seems like they have fewer single pigment paints (I haven’t decided how much that matters to me yet) and more of their paints seems to have slightly lower lf ratings as well. This is just my FEELING, I haven’t charted all of my brands. But I do have a handful of QoRs with lf ratings of 2 instead of 1, and most of my daniel smiths and schmnckes seem to be the highest rating. (Does that matter, if they all have their own rating system?? I’ve read that both 1 and 2 are fine for longevity anyway… but I think it was QoR that told me that….)
    M Grahams are really nice and I always like playing with them, but I like to make pans, and I just don’t like the sticky feel. Plus there’s something else… i can’t pinpoint it yet, they just don’t feel the best to me! (FOR me)
    QoR are FUN. Some of the colors flow like crazy when they touch water, spidery tendrils spreading everywhere. The colors are fun and bright. I’ve read that they don’t combine too well with other brands and haven’t really tried much.
    Daniel Smith are gorgeous and granulating, with so many unique colors., and I trust them. You don’t always want granulating colors but they do add interest!!
    Schmincke are decadent. I just love the way they feel. And potters pink is one of my favorite colors ever.

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    1. I have a tube of the WN Genuine Rose Madder and it’s a gorgeous color… very light fast, too.

      I find light fast ratings to be simply indicative of what would happen if you left a painting exposed to sunlight or bright interior lighting for extended periods, which most people do not. The majority of the truly fugitive colors were rotated out of the color offerings long ago, so now the remainder are still pretty solid when exposed to light, even when rated at a low level. The truly fugitive colors are good for making a painting, then taking a photo of it and using that instead (truly fugitive colors will either fade to nothing or turn muddy within a few weeks of exposure to bright light).

      I have used Holbein Opera on some paintings from 20-years ago, and even though it’s considered a fugitive color (super bright pink, approaching Day-Glo intensity) it has survived perfectly fine when mounted on an interior wall away from bright lights and sunlight. However, your mileage may vary, and it’s best to test by making a color swatch, cutting it in half, putting the test side in the sun for several weeks and keeping the control hidden in a draw for the same period. Then compare.

      Based upon what you and others have said, I think I’ll stay away from the QoR line; however, the M. Graham colors still have my interest piqued.


      1. QoR are kind of costly, and fun, but if I had to choose one, they wouldn’t be it. Honestly if I could only have one brand it would probably be Daniel Smith. But… we don’t have to just have one! I think you’ll like m grahams. They are high quality. I love their prussian blue. I’ll be interested to hear what you think of them if you try them. I have several basic colors and can send you some tiny samples if you like. (Someone sent me some tiny samples once, so I’d be paying back the favor. )


      2. I’ve got quite a few number of paints already: Schmincke (love+infinity), Daniel Smith (a close second), W&N (used to be my gold standard, but no longer; distant third at best), Holbein (some colors are gorgeous, but not all — and only for those specific colors), and Sennelier (meh; I just haven’t been able to get excited about them). I do have a good selection of different M. Graham colors on the way; however, if I find them to be to my liking, I may take you up on your kind offer.

        Someday I hope to try Da Vinci and American Journey, but not until I use my current cache up — and that’ll be years down the road.

        Have you discovered color dot cards yet? You can get them from several different sources, and they’re superior to the printed color swatches that are typically given out by paint vendors. I’ve got current dot cards for Schmincke (entire line) and Daniel Smith (entire line), plus I have 30-year-old hand-colored swatch books for W&N Artist colors, W&N Cotman colors, W&N Designer’s Gouache, Blockx, and Holbein (none of these consist of their current colors, and there have been many changes over the past three decades in terms of colors being offered and the pigments used in them). I used to have a huge wall-mounted Daler Rowney hand-colored swatch chart, but their colors border on being student grade (chalky and muted), so I never bought any and tossed the chart eventually.

        Color dot cards have the benefit of giving you just enough color to create your own swatches, and maybe have enough left over to use in a couple 4×6 paintings. They’re wonderful, though not all paint makers offer them.


  3. Haha, I felt the same way about sennelier!! I was prepared to love them… but not really wowed by them. Schmincke makes me drool. But DS has all those special granulating colors and mixes. I haven’t tried the dot cards, except DaVinci, which I haven’t really played with. They come in a fun little case though… almost like those paper egg cartons, nicer than just a sheet. And that’s a great thing about watercolor… a tiny bit can go pretty far!

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    1. Sorry for the delay in responding; we’ve got a lot happening around here at the moment. I’m going to have to try the Da Vinci paints at some point, I just haven’t reached it yet. DS makes some serious paint, I’ll give them that.

      I always found watercolor to be a lot more affordable than the other painting media, specifically because so little can be stretched so far.

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  4. ( Also, thank you for adding your opinion and experiences regarding today’s fugitive colors. I keep wondering about that myself, since it seems like so many student sets include alizarin crimson in their palettes. I’ll keep your advice in mind, and maybe I can stress a little less at least about the second tier of those darn lf ratings!)

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      1. Wow!!! I drew a picture for my sister one year for Christmas (decades ago) and within about 3 or 4 years it was GONE. Ugh. Embarrassing. More embarrassing was that two or three similar things had gone out into the world to live with strangers. (Well, to die, I suppose!!) This was pre internet so that’s who I blame. The Internet, for not being there. I’ve learned everything from blogs and youtube.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I like her videos; we share a lot of the same analytical processes.

        From her review, it’s obvious that the paints cannot be lifted after drying; that’s an absolute showstopper for me, as I use lifting extensively when painting. Also, the dispersion characteristics are nuts; I expect dispersion to a certain point with all paints, but not to the end of the wet area each and every time. That’s crazy.

        What I would have liked to have seen her do is mix the QoR paints with those of other manufacturers, as my palette has paints from at least three different companies and they behave well with one another. I’ve read that QoR paints don’t play well with all others because of the Aquazol binder they use, compared to the gum arabic and/or honey that is standard for the rest of the industry.

        However, some of the colors look real nice and they are certainly punchy! I’d give them a whirl just to see how they perform, but suspect I’d revert back to other traditional paints afterward.

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