Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Gamblin FastMatte Alkyd Colors

"Red Cliffs" 9x12, oil

Over the winter, I've had the pleasure of being a "beta tester" for Gamblin Artists Colors. I've been testing a new line of alkyd oil paints, which Gamblin will be releasing in the next few weeks under the FastMatte brand. Studio painters will like them because underpaintings and glazes dry quickly, allowing the painter to get back to work sooner. As a plein air painter, I like them because the paint "sets" quickly, letting me put down paint on top of paint without worrying about stirring up those first layers. This is especially useful when layering complementary colors or applying impressionist techniques. And of course, if you're travelling, the paintings will dry in a day.

Anytime I've referred to alkyds, I've been talking about the FastMatte paints. The palette I was given is somewhat different from my usual split-primary. It's close, but you'll note a few changes. I've enjoyed working with these colors, and found this palette worked well in the landscape. The painting above was done with them. The colors are:

Hansa Yellow Medium
Napthol Scarlet
Quinacridone Red
Transparent Earth Red
Ultramarine Blue
Phthalo Green
Titanium White
Chromatic Black


Dennis Dame said...

Nicely done Michael!

George Perdue said...

OK Michael, so why not use an alkyd medium with regular oils? Do Gamblin alkyds behave differently? Tell me what advantages there are other than drying to travel. Other alkyds are not too well loaded with pigment from my experience. You must have other likes and dislikes for them. I am interested.



Michael Chesley Johnson, Artist / Writer said...

Thanks, Dennis. George - I use little or no medium with my paints, so these are good for me in that respect. I don't have to dilute the pigment with an alkyd medium, giving me a richer pigment load.

Steve PP said...

I love using Alkyds too!
The speed of drying and use straight from the tube is great!
Colour pigments are strong .
Nice painting!

Robin d'A said...

Hello Michael, I'm just wondering if an underpainting with alkyds that hasn't dried thru & thru is a stable enough layer for oils. I'm not sure. I know alkyds are oil modified, but wouldn't want to take the risk seeing that alkyds take longer to dry than acrylics (not good as an underpainting) or tempera.
If you're interested, have a look at robin-darcy-shillcock.com.

Regards and keep up the good work,

Robin d'Arcy Shillcock

Michael Chesley Johnson, Artist / Writer said...

Good question, Robin, and I don't have an answer for you. Gamblin recommends the alkyds for underpainting (for studio artists), and as they have a long background in paint chemistry, my guess would be that they have thought about it and it is OK to follow up alkyds with traditional oils. You'd want to check with them to be sure, though. I personally don't use them this way. I just use them for plein air painting.

cathy said...

I have also been a beta tester for the Gamblin Fast Matte paints, and they say "they are appropriate for under painting when painting "fat over lean". So when you paint fat oils over the lean alkyds it is ok. Don't paint lean alkyds over fat oils. So if you used a lot of medium, that would not be a good under painted surface, but straight from the tube or mixed with Gamsol or a little Galkyd is OK. I use them this way and think they work great. Another point in their favor, they say they make an excellent base layer for oil painting. The chemical bond is better than acrylics as an underpainting.

Michael Chesley Johnson, Artist / Writer said...

I use them the same way, Cathy. Good information, and thanks!

Deborah Elmquist said...

I am a still-life painter and was sent three of the Gamblin alkyds to test (red oxide, ult.blue, and titanium white. I used the red and blue,as my underpainting for the darks and was very please with not only the drying time but the color it produced. Mixed together, I got a dark that leaned toward the green. I compared it to my standard oils of red oxide and ult.blue which was a muddy dark. I LOVE the Gamblin alkyds and will recommend them in the workshops I teach.

Daniel said...

Michael, Thanks for this post, I just ordered the Fastmatte paints to try for a new commission.

Michael Chesley Johnson, Artist / Writer said...

Great, Daniel and Deborah! Glad they worked for you.

Karen Whitworth said...

Can't wait to try mine!! Nice work, thanks for sharing!

Sandra Nunes said...

Hi Michael,
Sometimes I use alkyds (Griffin)to start a plein air painting or in the studio when time is a concern. I´ve noticed that the pigment load is weaker than traditional professional oils.
How do you compare the FastMatte paints pigment load?
Beautiful work, as usual!

Michael Chesley Johnson, Artist / Writer said...

Hi Sandra - I think the Gamblin FastMatte paints have just as much pigment load as the regular paints. And thanks for your kind words!