DOODLEWASH REVIEW: Grumbacher Finest Artists’ Watercolor

Grumbacher Finest Artists’ Watercolor

Grumbacher Finest Artists’ Watercolor is one of our sponsors for World Watercolor Month and they sent a set of tubes for review.  Today I present a little bit about the company, a couple of different swatches, and a couple simple sample paintings, with helpful links along the way.

First a little about Grumbacher:

“Since 1905, Grumbacher has been a brand trusted by students, professors, art conservationists, and professional artists throughout the US.  Max Grumbacher established his company’s humble beginnings by hand making brushes at his kitchen table in New York City.  By the 1960s Grumbacher became an art materials empire offering artists nearly every supply imaginable. Today, the Grumbacher brand is owned by Chartpak, Inc., a creative products company committed to adhering to the impeccable standards set by Max Grumbacher.  Chartpak Inc. welcomes the responsibility for ensuring Grumbacher’s continued legacy as an American tradition. We lead the way by setting strict standards of exemplary quality and consistent performance for our materials. Our standards of quality and excellence have resulted in the Grumbacher brand becoming an American tradition.”

 Grumbacher Finest Artists’ Watercolor

I believe this brand is sold in tubes only- 14 ml and I came across a set of 7.5ml.

“63 professional watercolors developed for the demanding artist. Formulated with premium grade pigments uniformly combined in a balanced medium ensures fluid, even washes and make Finest® the signature line of this traditional medium.  Made in the USA.”

This page links to a color chart page where you can look up the pigments and light fast ratings. There is also a store locator, I found four stores in my area that carry this brand.

They sell a student grade line also- Academy, which comes in 7.5ml tubes.

Both swatch examples of there Finest artist quality line on Arches 90lb cold press watercolor paper.

 Grumbacher Finest Artists’ Watercolor

Cadmium Yellow Light, Cadmium Red Light, Alizarin Crimson, Cerulean Blue, Thalo Blue, French Ultramarine, Hooker’s Green, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna, Burnt Umber, Payne’s Gray, Ivory Black.

In this swatch- dry paper on the left, wet in wet on the right.

 Grumbacher Finest Artists’ Watercolor swatch

With the exception of Yellow Ochre, and the two convenience colors- Hooker’s Green and Payne’s Gray, they are all single pigment paints.  So good to mix clean colors with.  They are vibrant with good tinting strength.   If you are someone that likes more control over your paint, this would be a brand to consider.  This might seem like a small thing, but I like how the lids worked with the tubes, they were easy to get off and back on.  I found them to be a little less transparent and not as fine a consistency as a brand like Schmincke.

Both examples are done on Arches 140lb cold press watercolor paper.  For this first one, I took inspiration from one of my favorite 20th century Expressionist artists Emil Nolde.

 Grumbacher Finest Artists’ Watercolor painting by jessica seacrest

Alizarin Crimson- Anthraquinone PR83, has a light fast rating of IV fugitive, like all Alizarin Crimson are no matter the brand, unless they are of the permanent variety- which this brand also sells. An interesting tidbit about Alizarin Crimson-

“Alizarin Crimson was the first synthetic organic color. Invented in 1869, it has the exact masstone and chemical formula of the original Madder Lake derived from the root of the Madder plant.”

It certainly is a pretty color and I used it here along with a couple other colors.  Since this is in an art journal, I’m not too worried about lightfastness. These flowers remind me of red and white Starlight Mints.  To get the “puff” look, I dropped rubbing alcohol into the wet paint using a pipette dropper.  Thanks for the inspiration Bekki!  If you are interested in this technique, here is a demo video by Sumiyo Toribe.

 Grumbacher Finest Artists’ Watercolor painting by jessica seacrest

I didn’t find a lot of info out there on this brand.  This is my first experience with it.  One of our World Watercolor Month sponsors- Cheap Joe’s, sells the 14 ml tubes from about $9-$15 per tube.  From the product ratings and reviews that I’ve gone over, people that use Grumbacher’s Finest love it.

My friends over at Wet Paint art store in Minnesota also sell this brand.

I found this 7.5 ml eight tube set on Amazon – Alizarin Crimson, Burnt Sienna, Cerulean Blue, French Ultramarine (Light), Grumbacher Red Light, Lemon Yellow, Viridian, Yellow Ochre.

Jerry’s Artarama announced this past Thursday, that they are having a sale on Grumbacher.

Here’s a link to a short 4:47 minute video of a guy painting with this brand.

Thank you Grumbacher, for the opportunity to try your watercolors.

I’ll be back next week with another watercolor review! 🙂

Join in and celebrate World Watercolor Month with us in July! Click here for more info.

World Watercolor Month July 2017 Header

Hi I'm the Doodlewash Supply Blogger and offer reviews of various types of art supplies, watercolors, and helpful tips. I approach artistic expression with a light-hearted point of view. I love to see, and support others opening up to, and embracing their creative process with any medium or creative expression. Follow me on Instagram!
Recommended2 recommendationsPublished in Art Supply Reviews
13 Comments
  1. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 3 months ago

    Love this , Jessica – I learned so much. Your color swatches show a lot of detail about the paint quality. When you dropped the rubbing alcohol on the flower painting, how wet was the background? I imagine it would have to be quite wet to work. I noticed one of the comments on the video was that someone who tried the technique couldn’t get the paint to disperse. You provided so much info, I’m going to try these techniques. And when I can, invest in some Grumbacher Finest watercolor paints – I’ve always used their oils.

    • Author
      Jessica Seacrest 3 months ago

      I confess that I didn’t really watch much of the video. The technique should work with any or most watercolors. I did wet in wet and then dropped the alcohol right in. I have another example on IG with yellow and green flowers and used Schmincke. Both brands worked great. Sharon I don’t I’ve ever realized that you don’t use watercolors. Oils make such beautiful paintings!

      • Sharon Bonin-Pratt 3 months ago

        Actually, I do watercolor as well but it’s fairly new as a serious medium for me. I painted an animal alphabet chart in watercolors for my youngest grandson and was very pleased with the result. Started to work on a bird number tree for his little sister and had such a bad elbow injury that I had to put it – and all artwork – aside for most of a year. Just getting back to it and hoping to have the painting done for her second birthday.

        This site has been inspiring for me, your reviews have steered me to excellent products, and I’m hoping to be able to take a few local watercolor classes.

      • Author
        Jessica Seacrest 3 months ago

        Thanks Sharon 🙂 Watercolor classes sound wonderful. I bet your grand kids love getting those gifts from you! Treasures for sure!

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  3. Shannon 3 months ago

    This has been a wonderful month. I’m a newbie. (self thought for six months) I’ve learned so much from this months challenge about other artist, products and tools. I’ve even learn about myself. I found the information about Alizarin Crimson very interesting. (Thank you) This will be a yearly event for me. Thank you so much!

    • Author
      Jessica Seacrest 3 months ago

      So wonderful Shannon! The biggest gift I’ve experienced from learning to paint is learning about myself- I’m happy that you mentioned that. Yay you! Have fun 🙂 Thanks so much for leaving your comment.

  4. Ellie 3 months ago

    Thanks for the review, Jessica. I haven’t tried these – my palette is filled with Daniel Smiths – but as I’m adding colors here and there, I’ll try one of these. Hope you are enjoying your Arizona summer – and finding some heat relief with WWC Month!

    • Author
      Jessica Seacrest 3 months ago

      Hi Ellie! Since monsoon season has started, it’s cooled of a little bit- yay :). Daniel Smith is the brand that is my go to too 😉

  5. Prashant Maru 1 month ago

    Awesome
    May I know that how can we get those watercolor for review purpose?

    • Author
      Jessica Seacrest 4 weeks ago

      I’ve purchased most of the items I’ve reviewed. On occasion a company will send something for review. Because Grumbacher was a sponsor for World Watercolor Month, they sent these for review. You would have to contact them.

  6. Elizabeth Metz 1 week ago

    I tried a couple of these once, and had a really hard time getting them to rewet on some papers. Sometimes, it was fine (not fabulous, but I’ve been spoiled by brands with really reactivate-able paints, I think.), but on stuff with tooth to the paper — nada. I might retry them as detail stuff after this, though. Thanks for the review!

    • Author
      Jessica Seacrest 1 week ago

      Hi Elizabeth, these weren’t my favorites, they seemed like they could have been milled to a finer constancy. I rewet them, and didn’t notice anything annoying, but I had only squirted out a little bit onto a paper plate- fancy right 😉

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