After spending a while playing around with my various oil paint sticks, I decided it was time to have a go at traditional oil painting. Though I usually go straight into artist grade products so I don’t have to worry about weak pigment concentration, the high cost of oil paints compared to other mediums made me reluctant to so this, so I figured I’d start with a student grade line from one of the big art supply manufacturers (since these are often nearly as good as their artist grade lines). By far the most readily available around me was Winsor & Newton’s Winton range, so I bought myself a set of the same colours as I generally use in other mediums.
Here’s my chart for the Winton colours I have, with pure colour on the left and with white added on the right.
Aside from the oil sticks, these are the first oil paints I’ve used since I was in my early teens, as sensitivities to the solvents and thinners meant I’d get a migraine any time I tried oil painting. The Zest-It citrus-based solvent luckily allowed me to take up oils again without getting ill.
The student grade Winton oils have a thick, stiff consistency and feel similar to artist grade oils, allowing it to hold the shape of brush strokes (I tested it against a few tubes of artist grade oil paints in various brands my Nan dug out of her cupboard). Though I wouldn’t expect them to stand up to artist grade, the pigment concentration is still solid, so I was able to get bright, clear colours even when I diluted the paints with Zest-It. I also used Winsor & Newton’s Liquin medium for some sections of my sample painting below, which allows the paint to flow more smoothly across the canvas without compromising the strength of the colour (it also helps it dry a little faster). The paints do have a faint odor, but this is to be expected from oil paints.
I only made my colour charts today and it will take a few days (at least) for them to dry properly. Once they have dried I will put them up in my window with half of each swatch covered so I can test their lightfastness. Most colours use the same pigment as the artist grade paints, and those that are hues consisting of multiple pigments still look and behave very similar to the real thing; I would expect most colours to have at least very good lightfastness. Available in 37ml and 200ml tubes, they are slightly dearer than most of the other student grade oils from other manufacturers, but the price difference is generally less than a dollar or two. Australian retailers sell the 37ml tubes for about $9 or $10 AUD but you can buy them online from the UK for as low as $3.50.
Here’s a vegetable still life I painted with the Winton oil paints.
Winsor & Newton’s Winton oil paints are an excellent choice for an artist just getting started with oils. They’re cheap enough that you can buy a decent set of colours without having to sell a vital organ, yet still rich with pigment, and they’re readily available in most art supply stores.
If you are sensitive to solvents, you should not be using Liquin. It is not solvent free. If you use it, you should have generous air flow and ventilation.