I have been using Robert Doak oils for years and I would highly recommend them to anyone knowing that they will get a high quality, high pigment load, artist grade paint for the price of student grade. But unfortunately he has a minimum order for shipments and since they’re in New York and I’m in California, buying that one tube of paint that’s desperately needed presents a problem. So I went on a search for a comparable paint that could be ordered in small quantities.
After asking for advice on Facebook, seemingly endless googling, and thoroughly reading many different manufacturers websites (keep in mind that I live in the Sierra Mountains so I’m not exactly surrounded by artistic input), I finally looked to rationalpainting.org for some experienced advise.
Note: rationalpainting.org is an exceptional forum occupied and administrated by some of the worlds finest talent with the primary focus of discussing the science of representational painting.
So, after reading multiple raving reviews by some of the Rational Painting contributors, I decided to give Michael Harding Oils a try and, as luck would have it, Dick Blick carries their line of oil paints.
On first inspection, the tubes looked to be of high quality, but wait…they used actual paint on the label to identify the color of contents in the tube…nice touch Michael!!! It bugs me when I open a tube with the color printed on the label that’s far from the color of the actual paint.
Now to open one: My first thought was that the opening of the tube was a bit small and that this could be an issue for the colors that require a higher pigment load, but after squeezing a little out I realized that the paint has a near perfect consistency - not too buttery, not too grainy, not too chalky or stiff. Some of the smaller paint manufacturers tend to have a big variance in consistency from color-to-color. Although their paints are usually of the highest quality, adding medium to the paint nuts while preparing your palette is required to make the paint ”longer” and more manageable. This is not the case with MH oils and reducing additional steps = more painting time.
I was surprised to find that all of the colors were very close in consistency without sacrificing opacity. The covering strength is excellent which proves all of the claims of MH’s high pigment load.
I’m now a true fan of Michael Harding Oil Paints! The colors are beautiful and vibrant, the pigment load is high and the covering strength is excellent. The consistency is so perfect that it seems to have been tailor-made for my needs. Although I am a loyal user of Robert Doaks ‘flake and titanium white’ and I don’t plan on using any other whites anytime soon, the seven MH colors that I now have are going to be staples in my painting palette and I would highly recommend them to anyone who paints in a similar style.
"Duet" by Slade Wheeler
Painted with Michael Harding Oils and Robert Doak's Flake and Titanium White.