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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was chosen to create a mural for my highschool. It's a super tall order for me personally. Not only will the painting be larger than myself, I'm creating it from concept to finish alone, with "full artistic freedom." The man commissioning me is paying for the necessary supplies in full. Because of this, my art teacher is pushing me to use a different, real brand of paint. And like everything else, I have to make this decision alone, and before I even have a sketch done. But you guys can help! What do you all use?

Right now, (when I'm not stealing the school's Crayola paint) I use Studio 71 paints. They come in 200 mL plastic tubes with plastic lids for something between $2.50 and $3.50 in a wide variety of colors. Before that, I used Walmart paints, and they are no doubt better (except maybe in price). For the most part, they have good coverage. They mix well. Some colors are more transparent than others and require a few layers, but that's not always a bad thing. I painted my African children (who are currently not uploaded into any of my galleries but are featured on another thread I started) using those paints, and my bear, too. My biggest issue that I remember was that I could put layer after layer on Timbukoo's lips and they would not be any more vibrant. Aside from that, I had no real problem.
Cheap, decent quality, and available at my favorite art store... They're perfect for students and beginners. The only problem: they're perfect for students and beginners. I'm being told that it's time for me to grow up.
I need to use something more professional and archival.

Though I'm biased towards what I know, I'm open to trying new things in such situations. My art teacher let me play around with some of her "real" paint in the metal tubes with plastic lids. The only brands that stuck out to me were a Liquitex (I think heavy-body) and Grumbacher (possibly because of the name), and aside from that, I remember nothing about them. For a higher price per mL, they didn't feel very different. I would love to know what you guys trust and use. I want something vibrant that will last. I may not be personally paying for this paint, but I would rather it not cost a small fortune. I'll buy small tubes of whatever you guys suggest if and when I can.

Thanks for the read and any suggestions at all.
 

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Congratulations on the mural! A thread here, showing your progress would be greatly appreciated.
I strarted with Wal-mart acrylics also, running into some of the same problems you did, transparency, dullness and they are quite runny. I have done a lot of trials and studying on the subject since. It seems that cheaper paints use lower quality pigments, fillers, and thinners, making high quality paintings hard to attain. For brush work, I do use Liquitex heavy body paints, thinned with three parts fluid matte medium to one part water. For pallet kinife painting, I like Hobby Lobby's Master's Touch Acrylic paints in 250 ml tubes. It is the consistency I prefer, and doesn't cost too much.
All that said, my painting that sold for by far the highest amount (Legends of the Hunt ) was done with cheaper paints, but covered in acrylic semi-gloss varnish to gain vibrancy.
In general, professional quality paints look better, and when properly thinned don't carry such a high price tag.
Good luck!
 

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My belief is that yes artist quality paints give a good result but do not make one an artist. I use the cheap Acrylic paints and find I can get whatever effect I want. I have found it appears to be the quality of the brush you use that makes the biggest difference. Cheap paints do not have the same amount of pigment but the cheap paints from china are what we get in Australia and are sold by the bucket load bringing their cost down. One such company supplier told me their quality is not much lower that the best.

For a Mural I am guessing about 2 to 4 feet wide and 1 to 2 feet high I would use the cheaper paint for the under painting and if necessary better quality to highlight a few areas. Don't use a small Brush start with a 4inch using edges and sides. Get the paint on fast and even. Once the dark's are establish you can go down in Brush size to start establishing tonal qualities.
That is only if it is not going to be just decorative art in that case Just go for it with the big brush.

Best of luck with it
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
DonH -

Thank you! I'm honored to have been asked to do this. :) And I'll certainly have a progress thread once I get past the sketches. I have virtually nothing done yet, but I think I'll be doing them in charcoal. If they'll be in that thread or not is beyond me.

Wonderful food for thought... Though I tried an orange Liquitex, I didn't think to thin it with water... I think I'll buy two or three of my own tubes the next time I'm out and paint something on a baby canvas just to see. Hobby Lobby paints I'll look into whenever I can get there, and maybe even Utrecht too.
I too have had success with the cheap paints but sometimes it just feels like they could be brighter. I can't say that I've ever used a gloss or varnish on my paintings though. I'll have to add that to the list as well. Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Terry -

Thank you for your input! :) I very much agree. I remember reading a quote (in a brush section of a catalog, of course) that said something along the lines of "Whenever you see a brush you like, buy it. A paintbrush is the only thing between and artist and the work they produce." A little too lazy to pull out the catalog and get it exactly though. I will agree and say that my Studio 71 paint wasn't drastically less quality than the others I've tried (only when comparing some colors, like black) and yet I've still managed to do good work with them.

I've actually thought of having the under-layers as cheap paint and then using the good paint whenever I can't seem to achieve the color I need. Part of me worries about what effects mixing the two would have in the long-run, but all of me knows that I'm just being paranoid. The only thing that initially strayed me from that route (or just using my paint in general) is my art teacher's opinion of getting what I can out of it.
 

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I looked at your Album, Love the Bear magnificent work of art, the type I like as realistic as possible to me anything else misses the mark. Still we are all individuals and there is many different favourites
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks, Terry. I've always been one for realism too, but I do appreciate who can see differently. The bear I did with my Studio 71 paints.

With any luck, I'll be able to get to the store tomorrow morning to begin my experimentation with these other paints... still no drawings done for the mural though.
 

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Remember the old adage a bad tradesman always blames his tools. It is true for Art also.
If you used cheaper paints for the bear. Dearer paints will only cost more.

I believe after I sell a painting the next will be done with artist quality paints. I do not like to tell them but a couple in my society rubbish my work and say I scimp on paints. Well you should see what they do with expensive paints. They believe by toting paint quality that by some miracle the paintings will suddenly appear great.
You have no idea when I am told by one "See the extra vibrancy they get" It is hard to keep ones cool especially as they point to a painting with crazy aspect ratio or strange tonal qualities but perhaps I cannot see. Nah! I can see alright.

That is why I congratulated you on your Bear. I think you captured it beautifully well.
 
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