My first try out with Michael Harding Watercolour paints

Michael harding watercolour paints

As many of you will know from recent posts, after much deliberation, I finally succumbed to temptation and ordered myself some new watercolour paints from Michael Harding. These arrived a short while ago but I didn’t want to start to use them until I’d run down the existing paints that I already had in my palette.

While I’d been waiting for this to happen, I was pleased to receive my regular newsletter from Jackson’s Art Supplies (where I’d ordered my paints from) that featured this video of Michael Harding talking about and demonstrating some of his new range of colours.

After watching this video, I was excited to try out them out for myself!

I’d ordered the colours that form the core of my palette: French ultramarine; cobalt blue; cerulean blue; yellow ochre; alizarin crimson; burnt sienna and neutral tint:

My box fresh tubes of Michael Harding Artists Watercolours

Here’s a quick video of how I got on with them:

My first play around with the new range of Michael Harding watercolours

As much as I enjoyed experimenting with some little colour swatches – it still felt all felt quite abstract and I was really keen to get stuck into a painting to see how I fared! Here’s how I got on:

I can’t deny that I really enjoyed painting this and am pleased with the results. Some of the figures still leave a little to be desired, but they’re ok. What I really liked was how the central area of the two statues on either side of the sunlit steps turned out. So much so, I thought it merited a little close-up, partly so there’s a little more detail on the colours too.

A little bit of detail

In Summary

These are undoubtedly high-quality paints. The intensity of colour and saturation of pigment is wonderfully rich. I also really like the consistency of the pigments straight from the tube. The colours seem very pure and mix really well together on the paper and in the palette.

Does it mean I’ll be throwing away or selling all of my other paints? I think it’s too early to get carried away! They are great paints and so far I’m really enjoying using them. If I were more patient, I really ought to do some side-by-side colour tests with these paints and my usual Winsor and Newton range to see if I can more specifically isolate any differences between them. Maybe this could be something for next week!?

On the one hand, I’m relieved that I haven’t wasted my money on paints that I just don’t like or don’t feel confident using, while on other hand, I would have liked to have experienced a more radical form of epiphany – but perhaps this was expecting far too much!

Ultimately I do know that new paints are unlikely to transform my paintings but I’m already looking forward to using these colours a lot more over the coming weeks when my experiences and opinions may change. If you’re already delighted with the brand of paint that you already use, then I wouldn’t suggest you change for the sake of change. If however, like me, you’re feeling a little curious to see what other brands might offer – then I’d certainly recommend giving these a try.

Thoughts on My first try out with Michael Harding Watercolour paints

4 thoughts on “My first try out with Michael Harding Watercolour paints”

    1. Hi Liza – first of all my profuse apologies for such a tardy response – I’ve been feeling a tad sorry for myself of late and have neglected to respond to some of my messages! I’m really sorry, especially when your comment was so wonderfully kind and generous. I hope that you’re managing to have a wonderful festive season and wish you all the best for the New Year and all that lies ahead in 2023!

  1. I’m impressed by your one-handed cap removal; that’s really excellent! The other irrelevant point I’d like to make is this: why do new paint brands with names attached always have the blandest names ever? Who’s going to know whether they’re using Michael Harding, Daniel Smith or M. Graham paints? Zoot Horn Rollo! Now you’re talking!
    As for the painting, it’s a lovely example of an early 20s John Haywood – nothing wrong with the name but don’t bring out a range of paints – and I particularly like the bit of detail around the statues, too. It really gives the viewer something to home in on.
    By the way, I may have said this before but have a read of PR83 on this page: https://www.handprint.com/HP/WCL/waterfs.html, especially where it says “AVOID”!!

    1. Ahah, I’m so pleased you noticed the dexterity of my camp removal – I’m sure it’ll come as no surprise to learn that I did have to use two hands to loosen those caps first! I’m sure you’ll also be pleased to hear that despite my name being sufficiently bland to fit seamlessly with this list of manufacturers, I have no intention or ambition to introduce my own brand of paints!
      I do recall you pointing out that PR83 article before (which did lead me to introducing quinacridone magenta on your recommendation to my palette for some time), I’ve just gone back and had another read though and was tickled by how accurate this description was of me – especially the parts I’ve put in bold:
      “Many paint companies still offer alizarin crimson, especially those paint companies with an entrenched and backward looking customer base; and some published watercolor tutorials continue to advocate it, simply because a dwindling number of “old master” (age 50 and above) workshop and bistro gallery artists continue to use it.
      After re-reading this, I might try out the recommended alternative of perylene maroon. In the meantime, it’s probably fortunate that most of my paintings end up a dark cupboard!

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