Saturday, September 11, 2010

Sad Changes for Williamsburg

In June of this year, Golden Artists Colors, Inc. bought out the much loved Williamburg Oil Paint company. Finding out about this I feared Golden would make changes to Williamsburg's great paint line. Golden promised that no changes would be made and that they would continue Carl Plansky's legacy by not compromising the quality and integrity of the paint brand. Changes do happen no matter how much the opposite was promised. I just got word that Golden has discontinued production of four colors from Williamsburg's color line. The colors are Permanent Red Orange, Permanent Yellow Green, Cobalt Green Pale, and Indanthrone Blue. This has come a few short months after Golden discontinued Intense Black. The discontinuation of the these five colors does not hinder my working process, but I'm sure that there are other artists who might depend on these colors for their work. The biggest offense to me is that Golden is tampering with a high quality product that needed to be left untouched. What's next for the future of Williamsburg? I am not a Debby downer, but I'm starting to see grey skies and, hopefully not, poorly made paint. Oh, FYI, according to Golden, Williamsburg's Sun Thickened Linseed Oil is "temporarily" unavailable.


markgolden said...

Dear Luis, Carl's passing was a tremendous loss to the entire art community. I can assure you that his paint and legacy is in good hands.
Please take a look at the website to review the changes in the colors and the reasons for those changes. Some of the discontinued products were discontinued before our purchase of Williamsburg, that includes the intense black and indanthrone, (which we are actually bringing back as it's an absolutely beautiful color and we do have a good pigment supply.
Other changes were because of availability of the pigments to make these colors. As a small industry, we are still subject to the changes and discontinuations from our suppliers. We've also made some changes where it was clear we could move the color to a more consistent product.
We love Carl's colors and want to honor his passion for beautiful colors and the expectations of so many of his customers and friends. The manager of our technical support services was Williamsburg's operations and technical support from 1995 to 2000. All of the staff from the Williamsburg facility have come over to our shop to make the paint. I hope you have a chance to come visit and have a look for yourself. I think you'd be pleased. We've also continued the tradition of making artists custom formulations as they've requested. So if you have some requests that you feel have not been met, please don't hesitate to give us a call.

Tomorrow, (this Saturday) we have a show of Carl's work and many of his friends. I hope you have a chance to come see it. It will also be up on the website I think this Monday.

I love making paint Luis. This legacy we've earned over 3 generations, working with artists directly to make our materials. I hope you at least give us the benefit of the doubt, and contact us directly for any of your concerns.

(Carl's and our maker of Sunthickened has been on vacation, so we're awaiting the sun and the next batch... more to come!)

Best, Mark

Luis Colan said...

Dear Mr. Golden,

First I would like to thank you for taking the time to look at and respond to the blog post about Williamsburg Paints. I appreciate the comment, and thought it was the best way for readers to get your point of view.
I hope you have taken the time to view previous post, if you haven't I would like to explain a little about what this blog is about. I moved to New York City six years ago as a wide eyed young man looking for the fuel that would continue to keep the fire in my belly alive. Since then, experiences, both personal and professional, continue to shape me as an artist. The original idea behind the blog was to display my art and my process to a broader audience, but as this project developed it became an online journal of an artist living and enjoying life in the big city. I have talked about many things in the past, most have been positive, about places like Strand, The Met, The Art Student’s League, and so on. These are a few examples of the places and things that move me, places and things I hold very dear. One of those special things is Williamsburg paint.
I was introduced to Williamsburg in college when I heard it mentioned by a teacher and a fellow student as being one of the best paints. In my senior year, while preparing the required Senior Show I purchased my first tubes of Williamsburg Oil Paint. I can still remember the way they felt in my hand, the weight of large heavily pigmented tubes of artists’ colors. I fell in love with the brand, everything about it felt right, the feel of paint with full body, the smell of linseed oil, and tinting strength of the colors. I was hooked. My first three colors were Titanium White, Burnt Sienna, and Naples Yellow. Since then my collection of colors have grown to include almost every single color made by Williamsburg. My love and interest in Williamsburg does not stop there. After moving to New York I met people who knew Carl Plansky and his sister Beverly, some who have even shared their dinner table. I found out about the history of the company, about its humble beginnings and about Carl’s passion to deliver great paint. My respect grew even more when I started working for Kremer Pigments. I was submerged in the world of raw materials, and I learned about pigments and their behavior in different binders, about the texture and particle size of each color. I forced myself to learn as much as I could, not only was I selling a certain product, but I was also applying it to my work. I began making paint at some point, using a glass muller and a slab of marble, but I always went back to Williamsburg. I admired them for the fact that out of all the different paint makers out there, Williamsburg remained true to the physical aspects of their pigments. Some colors are more grainy than others, some thick and some loose. Nothing was standardized.
Carl’s passing was a huge loss to the art community, I agree. He was a great energetic painter and the idea that the world would not get to enjoy more of his work is sad. As a loyal follower of Williamsburg paint, you would understand that a new company merging with it might scare those who love the product. The blog post about the discontinuation of colors was not done out of malice, frankly I have nothing negative to say about either company. Fear took over and that’s the bottom line. Once again, I appreciate your response and setting at ease those fears. I will look forward to more paint from Williamsburg, since I still hold it with high regards.


Luis Colan

Anne Russinof said...

Hello Luis and Mark. I happen to be looking for Indanthrone Blue at the moment and am not seeing it sold at the website. Is this color coming back?
Best, Anne Russinof