Which Paints Are The Best For You?
To decide which paints are the best for you is not easy. All manufacturer’ will tell you that their paints are the best. There are some artists who will tell you to buy the best paint you can afford. However, that is not necessarily correct. Some paints are of a thicker consistency and therefore more suited to impasto or knife techniques, while others are thinner and may make glazing or the painting of delicate thin lines easier.
Please note that I am not necessarily endorsing any of the paints shown here.
Oil paint is a typically a slow to dry paint that is made up of particles of pigment that have been suspended in a drying oil. This is usually, linseed oil. Varnish may be added to increase the glossiness of the final dried paint. There are various mediums that can be added to the paints to thin or thicken the paint. Other mediums can be used to alter the working time of the paint. Water soluble oil paints are available. These are gaining popularity as it dispenses with the need for solvents. Plus it still has a large range of mediums available to alter the way the paint acts.
Watercolour, also known as aquarelle, is a type of paint that is made of pigments suspended in a water-based solution and contained in tubes. Solid blocks of watercolour are available in pans. Paint is then picked up with a wet brush. The watercolourist can travel very light indeed.
Acrylic paints make a very good alternative to oil paints. This type of paint is normally a fast-drying paint made of pigments that have been suspended in an acrylic polymer resin. These paints are also water-soluble, but different to watercolours paints in that they are water-resistant when dry.
Gouache (pronounced gwash) is a type of water-based paint made of particles of pigment suspended thickly in a solution of gum arabic, with added chalk to increase the bulk and the finished opacity. Paints come in tubes and they come out of the tube like a thick gel. Gouache is also used sometimes in watercolour paintings.
While not used in a liquid form, we paint with pastels so I have included them here. There are two types of pastels, soft pastels and oil pastels. Soft pastels are a dry medium laid down with short fragile square or round sticks. There are also a selection of hard sticks for sharp detail work. They are made of powdered pigment that has been combined with a nongreasy binder. Oil pastels are very similar to wax crayons in appearance. Oil pastels are made of pigments that have been mixed with non-drying oil and wax binders.
I tried many different brands when trying to decide which paints are the best suited to how I paint. Personally, I prefer to use the Weber wOil water solubles oils, Winsor and Newton watercolours, and Schmincke pastels.
How to find the best paint for you? The only answer to that is experiment, trial and error, just make sure you read the fact sheet on the brand, talk to the professionals in the shop, I use Jacksons mostly, and buy small tubes to begin with.