It seems like not too long ago fluorescent colors were a big no-no in the art world and art materials industry. There was no way you could make those colors be eye-popping and archival at the same time. But now, the concern over light-fastness seems to have been beat out by the popularity of hot fluorescents. Nearly every country participating in this year’s Winter Olympics donned fluorescent accented gear. In these grey days of the never ending winter, joggers along Summit Avenue light up my day not just with their athletic determination to weather the weather, but their fuchsia and chartreuse shoes, mittens and ear warmers. It seems that there is life out there and it isn’t all bleak.
With the need for some sun scorching color, let’s throw archival concerns into its own corner for the moment. Let’s embrace Golden’s High Flow Acrylics in fluorescents (duly noted “Lightfastness Poor” on the label), and Sakura’s new Gelly Roll Moonlight fine point pens, and Faber Castell’s soon to be released fluorescent Pitt Pens and Speedball’s new fluorescent & Night Glo screen and block printing inks. And let’s not forget the fluorescent paint markers from Montana and Molotow, the neon Sharpies and the Bistro Chalk Ink markers as well as the UV-reactive, professional grade, Irojiten colored pencils from Tombow. With all these neon marks, we could generate enough heat to melt this ice jam and have art spring us into the next season.
“If I could say it in words there would be no reason to paint.” Edward Hopper
This quote from painter Edward Hopper encapsulates the ongoing dilemma of describing your paintings with words. No matter what you say about your subject matter, your colors, the texture of your paint, you come up short. Talking about the paint itself is a little easier but tends to draw upon descriptors that may sound foreign to the untrained painter. There are artists who view paint as mere pigment to extend with water and get some color on their image. Then there are painters who can sense the difference in paint lines, from the way it comes out of the tube, to how it grabs onto a brush and then how it releases onto the canvas. And how colors mix varies from one manufacturer to another, how much elbow grease it takes to blend yellow and red into orange.
When companies come to Wet Paint and offer a new acrylic line, we shuffle and make excuses like we don’t have the space. What it really comes down to there often isn’t that much difference from one brand to another. So along comes Holbein, a favorite manufacturer partner of Wet Paint’s with a newly formulated line of acrylics. We were very pleased to find out that they have developed a line of color that is not a “me too” replicant of the category leader. The Holbein Heavy Body Artist Acrylic has some unique properties to claim a position of their own.
Greg Graham, painter and Wet Paint Floor Manager, got the opportunity to play with these new acrylics. He felt the paint’s consistency is softer, even silky, under the brush, but not slippery, compared to other acrylic lines. “It reminds me of Lascaux which, unfortunately, is out of many acrylic painters’ price range.” It feels a little more like oil paint and does seem to have a longer working time. It didn’t tack up as quickly as many of the other acrylics. If you like to paint directly from the tube rather than using additives, gels and mediums, the Holbein acrylic has a great feel under the brush. Virginia McBride, another Wet Paint staffer who is more of a drawer than a painter, found the silkiness when mixing colors very enticing.
Holbein is offering a range of 113 colors in acrylics. Their color selection contains many pigments you find in their oils and watercolors. Manufactured in Japan, the Holbein palette not only contains traditional Western palettes from the Renaissance through the Impressionists to the Moderns but includes colors friendlier to an Asian esthetic. Some favorites from other mediums that are unique to Holbein are their classic mixed colors like the Compose Blue series and the Luminous colors of Violet, Rose and Opera. Like their oil paint, Holbein’s acrylics have a consistent body and sheen from one color to another.
The new Holbein Heavy Body Artist Acrylic is a painter’s paint. We are happy to add this color line to our selection at Wet Paint. This fall is a great time to try them out. They are on sale and there is a free tube of Titanium White with a purchase of 5 tubes of color.