Thursday, November 14, 2013

Poll results: Your favourite artists' paint manufacturer is Winsor & Newton

Winsor & Newton is the favourite artists' paint manufacturer by a mile - according to the 228 artists who responded to the October Making A Mark Poll - POLL: Who is your favourite artists' paint manufacturer? They're more than three times more popular than the next most popular paint.
Making A Mark Poll (October 2013): Who's your favourite paint manufacturer?
228 responses
Winsor & Newton Watercolour Paints
in Green & Stone, Kings Road, Chelsea

The top five favourite artists paints

  1. Winsor & Newton - 29%
  2. Daniel Smith - 9.2%
  3. Golden - 7%
  4. (Joint) M. Graham and Schminke 6.1%
The poll was specific to manufacturer rather than paint and consequently those who make oil, acrylic and watercolour paints were bound to do better.

However it came as a surprise to me that a manufacturer who specialises in acrylic paint alone should take 3rd place.  Golden appears to have a distinct lead over Liquitex.  This was also very much supported in the comments on the original post.

Links to the websites of the most popular paints are included in their name above.

Links to more specific paint products from the top five manufacturers can be found below.

Winsor & Newton

M Graham


The best of the rest

I'm not surprised that Michael Harding Handmade Artists Oil Colours did well as they have a terrific reputation to go with the terrific price!  However he does do just one thing - oil colours....

Vasari was a surprise for me.  It's a paint I don't know well at all and yet it's beating a number of better known names.  Again this is a manufacturer who does just one thing - make oil paint.


  1. I am not surprised by the results. I choose Windsor and Newton, a good quality brand, in part because their availability. Some on the list are not always available in art stores and when I need it now online ordering simply won't do.

    I have heard of Michael Harding as being a top quality brand but had no idea of their "terrific price". Maybe it is time to give them a try.

    Vasari I read about all the time online as a top quality brand. Posts have been written on Charley Parkers Lines and Colors as well as Matthew Innes' Underpaintings, among others. Their high price probably means more limited usage. Students for instance probably reach for the more affordable brands, at least until they are out of school and earning money.

    I would also be curious to know how many out there tube, and or make, their own paints as a poll of it's own. And then who their suppliers are for the raw materials.

    I have read on Stapleton Kearns blog of this (He likes to tube his own special mixes tailored to his own palette to save mixing time out in the field) and know a couple other artists who do the same, if only to save money.
    Some, I think, even enjoy the process or craftsmanship idea behind tubing their own paint, preparing substrates like the old masters did etc.

  2. Hi Katherine
    I read this with interest, and even though I use Winsor and Newton for water colour myself, I don't use it exclusively in oils. I agree with David when he says they may win the poll as they are more affordable and accessible. It would be interesting to separate the mediums, so we knew what brand people prefer for oils, what brand for water colour etc. I visited the Vasari offices in New York in the summer (I was glad to see them featuring on your list at all - I suspect many people will not have head of them, as I don't think they ship to many countries) - such passion for their craft was a joy to behold, with enthusiasm and care for their product very evident. This is a small family run company and the paint is WONDERFUL. I worked with several master painters at the Grand Central Academy, and they loved Old Holland - I've not tried this, but will make an effort. The difference in brands for Oils goes beyond colour and pigment preferences, it includes consistency and blending qualities. Some brands are greasy (I'm naming no names :D) and in fact with the W&N oils, each colour has a very different consistency to the next which is... inconsistent, shall we say (grr....). I'd recommend that every artist, pro or not, gets one tube of hand made paint for Christmas - they'll really feel the difference. It's like painting with velvet, instead of cardboard.!!
    Thanks for raising this interesting topic.


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