Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Sap Green Test

A little down time at the shop causes us to test a lot of paint; today was one of those days. I was looking at some Holbein paint swatches earlier and I almost bought four different greens, not that I needed them since I have a ton of greens at home by Williamsburg, Old Holland, and Graham. To justify my probable spending I decided to compare Sap Green, a color find very useful in my landscape paintings. To be honest I don't know what I would do without it. I have been using Old Holland's Sap Green and I find it beautiful, there is not other like it. Unfortunately Old Holland's prices keep soaring each year, this made me find an alternative, and through some small tests I found Graham's Sap Green to be most similar to O.H.
Today's test will be between Holbein, which I had been eying all day, and Graham. Since I already own a large tube of by Graham I needed to know if Holbein's would be worth the purchase. I was expecting a different shade, but to my surprise they are both the same hue. Both brands are a mixture of Phthalo Green and Azo Green, but Graham also contains Ivory Black.
I squeezed out the same amount of paint on to a glass palette, the first noticeable difference is that Graham's paint is loose and wet, Holbein's stiff. I took a small amount of Titanium White and mixed it with Graham's Sap Green. I was amazed at the intensity of this paint, it always gets me! I mixed the the same amount of white with Holbein's and there was no punch at all. I had to mix more green to get it close to Graham's paint. Even after using up all the Holbein paint I had laid out on the palette it still didn't equal to the intensity of Graham. This means I have to stick with the large tube I already own, no new paint for me today.
I think it's good for artists to be inquisitive and run tests of the materials they are using, surprises, good and bad, can come out of these random yet significant samplings.
To the paint makers, I am not knocking your product down if I don't find it to be exceptional, you know what you put out and it's my right as a consumer to compare and contrast all brands and to voice my opinion. 

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