Acrylic Comparison

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Liquitex Basics, Artists Loft, Masters Touch, Americana DecoArt, Winsor Newton Galeria, and Grumbacher Academy

I have insomnia. Most nights I am awake from 2 to 4 in the morning. Around 2ish I wake up, head for the bathroom and if I can make it back to bed without opening my eyes I’m good. More often than not, my rising from the bed creates a mass exodus of animals from under the blankets. The cat wants out, the dogs want snacks and long after they are back under the covers, I am wide awake.

I don’t turn the TV on as its too noisy and more stimulation than I need. So, I sit in my chair and watch YouTube videos on my phone. I’d never paid much attention to YouTube before. I never really understood what it was about. I thought it was just a bunch of people’s home videos and I can barely watch my own.

With a better phone and unlimited data, I started to find myself turning more and more to YouTube. I like the fact that most of it is 20 minutes or less. I’m not into commitments. Especially at 2 in the morning.

YouTube, better than Ambien

Hercules’s Pretzels

I have become totally obsessed with the Hercules Candy videos. There is something so soothing and relaxing about watching pretzels go through the enrober. As a Rochester transplant, it’s nice to hear an Upstate New York accent again. It was fun watching the video of their trip to Buffalo. They literally passed by my old house just off of 90.

Mayim Bialik is another favorite. I love her on Big Bang and her videos are always fun. I forgot that she played a young Bette Midler in Beaches. (Was trapped on an airplane once with Beaches as the in-flight movie. The girl in front of me was actually wailing at one point. Fun flight.)

Which brings me finally to the point. I find the best way to go back to sleep is to watch paint dry. So I troll YouTube looking for “How to Paint” videos. A couple of those and I’m ready for bed.

Who Can Sleep When an Australian is Talking?

How to Paint Tropical Water

A few nights ago I came across Mark Waller’s “How to Paint Tropical Water” video. His tutorial is easy to follow and his Australian accent is easy on the ears. Come for the art, stay for the accent!

I wanted to immediately start painting waves, not conducive to sleeping but good for thinking up projects. That got me thinking about my last projects, Create an Abstract Acrylic Ocean and Paint a Beautiful Galaxy. Both times I mentioned that I use a variety of Acrylic paints. Mostly because I’m cheap. I buy nothing at full price. Both Michaels and Hobby Lobby have lovely coupons and/or sales all.the.time! If you are too impatient to wait a week for the sale, you really need to take up yoga or something.

A Beautiful Galaxy

I would love Oil Painting more if the paints were cheaper. (and less messy, and less mineral spirity…but I digress) When I first started Oil Painting I would buy 1 tube every paycheck, depending on the sale at the time. (If no sale, then a nice juicy 40% off coupon) It took a long time but I eventually bought all my colors. With Acrylics, I can buy 3 or 4 for the price of one Oil. I am getting a little lazy though. Instead of having my base colors and mixing what I need, the inexpensiveness of acrylics encourages me to just buy the colors I need. Though if I’m honest, I must admit I like the colors I generate with my mixes better than the pre-mixed.

These are a Few of My Favorite Paints

Just to let you know, I’m not being sponsored by any of these paints. If someone would like to sponsor me that would be nice but this is all me.

My favorites, in no particular order, are Liquitex Basics, Masters Touch, Artists Loft and when I have extra money to spend, Golden. I find myself leaning towards Liquitex Basics for some reason. I don’t know why. So I want to do an experiment. Using Mark’s Video as my guide (who am I kidding, it’s the accent) I will paint and compare 4 wave paintings. 1 each using Basics, Masterstouch, Artists Loft and just for fun Folk Art Paint (Anita’s and Americana)

I will use the same white with all of them, Master’s Touch Titanium White, for mixing and use as close to the same colors as possible. (mostly what I have on hand, I’m too cheap to go buy more if I don’t have to.)

The Mission, should I choose to accept it

This is what I’ll be looking for in comparison. Ease of use, is it too thick or too runny? Coverage, how many coats does it need? The vibrancy, good colors or dull? And whatever else pops up in the process. Maybe I’ll even do a group using the Professional versions and see what happens.

All the canvases will be the basic cotton canvas from Michael’s (I stock up with the sales) Perhaps I’ll do a comparison with some of the other fun canvases later. Here is what I’m using for brushes: #12 Royal & Langnickel Flat, #8 Liquitex Basics Filbert, #10 Royal & Langnickel Filbert, and an 8/0 White Sable Robert Simmons Round.

I checked the prices against Amazon, Hobby Lobby, Michael’s and Walmart. Amazon does run higher due to no coupons but has all the colors you need, all the time. Walmart doesn’t carry them, so it’s down to Michael’s and Hobby Lobby. All the paints run between 3.99 and 4.99, so they’re all pretty equal in that respect. (The Folk Art paints are somewhat cheaper, though)

As I finish each painting, I’ll post the results here. Let’s see what happens!

First Up: Liquitex Basics

I do like Basics. It has good coverage, even on the first coat. It mixes well and its colors are bright and pretty. ( Yes, pretty is a technical term ). I plan on doing this one again after trying a few of the others as I don’t have a comparison at the moment. But so far I like what I see. I can’t wait to try the next one.

Liquitex after 1 layer of Paint
Finished Result

Next is Artist’s Loft.

It’s the least expensive which I like. The first coat was a little funky and showed the brush strokes more than Liquitex. But it was easily fixed and as you can see, turned out just fine.

Artist’s Loft after 1st layer
Finished result

Master’s Touch is the Next One Up

I tried Master’s Touch next and I must admit it fought me all the way, which surprised me. I had never noticed that before, but then again, I wasn’t really paying attention. Perhaps they just need a little more water added to make it less sticky. It left streaks which took 2 coats to cover and just didn’t spread the way I like. The end result was very nice though, lots of color that really popped. So I guess that’s what’s really important, right?

Okay, so I tried Master’s Touch again, but this time adding just a bit of water to my brush before painting. It applied much better and didn’t fight me at all (but still took 2 good coats to cover) The colors are still quite good.

First Layer
Finished Result (First Time kinda sticky)
Finished Result (2nd time used more water and worked great)

So, craft paint is still paint, right?

The next one I tried is the Folk Art Paint, Americana Deco Art paint. I have to admit I was actually planning on being very snooty and condescending with the Folk Art paints. Oddly enough, they cover really well. They didn’t fight me at all and they didn’t leave white streaks after the first coat. They blend really easy, too. Maybe it’s because of their thinner consistency than the other brands.

If I have any criticism, though, its that the colors are not as vivid as the other more “Artist” brands. They mix up more subdued and tend to look more pastel which is fine if that’s what you are going for. I was pleasantly surprised at their ease of use, shocked even.

I think they would make great practice paints though. Just had a thought. This might be a case of buying the colors you need instead of mixing them yourself. There are dozens to choose from and when Hobby Lobby and Michaels have sales they can be purchased quite cheaply. This might explain their use for craft projects, no mixing necessary. I will try that and see what happens.

So, I decided to try my idea about using the paints straight out of the bottle with no mixing. Wow, what a difference. They looked good, mixed great and covered on the first layer. Very nice.

Americana First Layer
Americana Mixing the colors
Americana Using the Colors out of the Bottle)

Winsor Newton Galeria, oh my

So my daughter and I were at Jerry’s Artarama in Knoxville spending some birthday gift cards and I thought, let’s see what’s on Sale. And lo and behold, Winsor Newton Galeria was having a 50% off sale. Technically, these paints are twice the price of the others on my list, but when you do the math, they are equal. (So, be patient and wait for the sales.)

So heck yeah I bought them. I have to admit I understand why they are more expensive. The coverage is excellent, the first layer covered very well. The colors are amazing and pop even when mixed. I may have found my new favorite paints. (When they’re on sale, of course, I’m cheap not crazy. My mother had me tested.)

In the interest of full disclosure I do have one small complaint. I know this is nit picky, but the paints smell funny. Funny weird, not funny haha. It’s hard to describe, like they’ve left in an old sweaty gym bag. The smell goes away when it dries, but it took me by surprise. One of the reasons I don’t oil paint indoors is the smell. So far this summer I’ve been painting on the porch because I have room to spread out, but I’m a little concerned about using them inside this Winter. I’ll let you know what happens.

Now, when’s the next sale ‘cuz I’ve got some more gift cards to spend.

Winsor Newton Galeria : Two Words…Oh my!

Last but not least, Grumbacher Academy

Grumbacher Academy went on sale and I swooped in and got some colors. Right now I have enough blues and yellows to last me years. I’m going to have to come up with a lot of tropically paintings I think.

So, Academy was nice. It’s a thinner consistency than the others so it flows quite well. The coverage is okay, but it does take a couple coats for complete coverage. The colors are quite good and mixed well. Perhaps if I had used it before the Galeria I would have enjoyed it more. But in a pinch, it is an excellent choice.

Grumbacher Academy

in conclusion

I had a lot of fun trying out the different brands. They all had their good points and would work well for many different projects. When you find one you like, just keep working with it until it does what you want. As you can see below they all produced very good results. Thank you for following along with me. Now, what else should I try?

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