Today we take a look at a couple of Royal Talens products- Rembrandt Professional Deluxe Watercolor Box Set– 24 half pans with red sable size 6 brush, tube watercolors, and Ecoline liquid watercolors. This post is heavy on the pan set, with a quick look at the tubes and Ecoline. I started off just writing about the box set, but then the other stuff showed up, so I added those in- it’s not a short post. I’ve used Rembrandt soft pastels, which are lovely, this is my first experience with their watercolors. Rembrandt is one of our sponsors for World Watercolor Month, and they provided really nice prizes. Today we start off with a little about the company and then move on to the paints.
Sometimes reviewing art supplies is like going on a virtual trip around the world. Some people find that part interesting. If that’s not you, skip down to the paint part.
Royal Talens was founded in the Dutch city of Apeldoorn in 1899.
“Royal Talens is a household name among artists. We are the team behind the well-known brands Rembrandt and Van Gogh, as well as new innovations such as Cobra. Our company has been manufacturing professional-grade artist’s materials since 1899. But did you know that we weren’t always Royal?
That’s right! It wasn’t until 1949, thanks to The Netherlands’ Queen Wilhelmina, that we became Royal Talens. So what exactly does that mean? In order for a Dutch company or manufacturer to receive the Royal designation, it must be at least 100 years old and hold a position of importance in its field and in the nation.
Queen Wilhelmina, monarch of The Netherlands from 1890-1948, was an artist and a known fan of Talens, and used our products on a daily basis. This made her feel closely connected to Talens, a company that represented her two greatest joys: art and her nation.
She wanted to share this love with the rest of the world. So, in 1949, she made Talens Royal, because Royal Talens has the same passion artists have… not to create the most beautiful work, but to produce and develop the best paint and artists’ materials. Thanks to this great Queen, we are proudly known around the world as Royal Talens.”
Bravo- this is a smart set! The packaging the set came in is simple and elegant. The whole set has a quality feel to it. It came with a real red sable size 6 pointed round brush. It’s a nice brush. A common complaint of many a watercolorist is that most sets include a white and a black- which most of us don’t use. No white or black in this set- all usable colors! There are a lot of bright cadmiums. Every color in the box has their highest lightfast rating. The inside tray is removable.
Both swatch samples done on 90lb Arches cold press paper.
Cadmium Yellow Lemon (207), Cadmium Yellow (208), Gamboge (238), Cadmium Yellow Dark (210), Cadmium Orange (211), Cadmium Red Light (303), Cadmium Red (306), Permanent Madder Lake (336), Mauve (532), Ultramarine Dark (506), Cobalt Blue (511), Cerulean Blue (534), Prussian Blue (508), Permanent Green (662), Viridian (616), Hooker Green Dark (645), Sap Green (623), Yellow Ochre (227), Burnt Sienna (411), Burnt Umber (409), Raw Umber (408), Sepia (416), and Payne’s Grey (708).
Odd little swatch- dry paper on the left wet in wet on the right. The Cadmium pigments are rated as semi- transparent, along with the Cobalt and Cerulean Blues and Payne’s Grey.
Pigments are listed- tiny like, on the half pan wax paper wrappers. I wrote the color names on the half pans with a Sharpie. The three +++ signs on the wrappers are the lightfast rating. There are 80 colors in the Rembrandt line, and all but two have the highest lightfast rating. Those two are the usual culprits- Madder Lake Deep and Alizarin Crimson.
“For a binder, we use only the best, purified natural gum arabic dissolved in water. This binder gives the colors a creamy feel and superb color release. It also provides a slow, easy flow which deters backwash, penetrating the fibers of paper slowly and evenly. A fluent transition from full-bodied color is virtually guaranteed.
Our color palette is known for a wide range of saturated earth oxides, which provide a striking warmth and are superior for building tones in transparent washes. Also remarkable are the strong, robust true cadmium and cobalt colors, as well as a breadth of greens which will cover all of what is seen in nature, or that inspires your imagination.”
At first I thought the Viridian PG18 a little on the weak side, maybe because I’ve heard/read other people make that comment. Many pan sets that I’ve come across have Viridian Hue, which I don’t like- it often looks synthetic. PG18 is the same pigment used by Daniel Smith and Winsor & Newton for their Viridian. Below I did a comparison with Daniel Smith and couldn’t tell difference between the two. I found the Viridian to be lovely. Viridian is a slightly granulating pigment.
I’ve read comments where some people consider the Raw Umber to be on the weak side. I also did a comparison between Rembrandt, Daniel Smith and Schmincke. They all use the same PBr7 pigment. The Rembrandt has a more golden tone.
One quick example on Arches 140 lb cold press. The Sepia is an intense lovely color. I used that in the mountains. Because the Sepia is an intense brown, I appreciated that the Raw Umber has a golden tone, they seem to balance each other out in the set. The five earth tones in this set are distinct from one another and all very usable. I used some gold in the sample painting that was not included in this set.
I found this brand to be vibrant and transparent, and very nice to paint with. The fact that it has 24 usable colors- no black or white, is a plus. I really like this set. I feel like I finally have a travel palette that I like, and can grab and go and not worry about fiddling with and switching things out. It also minimizes the need for mixing for some colors, which I consider a plus. I’d rather spend my time painting than mixing for colors, I also like to let them mix on the page.
The Rembrandt watercolor line comes in 5 ml, and 20 ml tubes (that’s a lot of paint), individual half pans, and tube sets. Half pan sets come in 12, 24 and 48, in tins and some lovely wooden boxed sets. I’ve seen the pan sets range from $54 for the set of 12 up to $376 for the set of 48. Do an internet search to find the best deals- you know how it is, some retailers are better at pricing than others. I found some stellar deals in the UK, as well as some of the really nice wooden box sets. If you are not in the UK, it might still be worth ordering from there, depending on the conversion rate. Shipping is so expensive in the US these days, that I haven’t paid much more, if at all, ordering from the UK. Here is a link to all the Rembrandt sets and products.
In the photo below I filled a little tin with their tube watercolors.
The tiny swatch is 16 of their colors. Click to enlarge and eyeball. In order of appearance on swatch:
Permanent Lemon Yellow, Gamboge, Azo Yellow Deep, Quinacridone Rose, Perm Madder Lake, Permanent Red Light, Permanent Red Deep, Cerulean Blue, Cobalt Blue, Prussian Blue, Ultramarine Deep, Permanent Green, Hooker’s Green Deep, Transparent Oxide Red, Yellow Ochre, Vandyke Brown.
A quick exploration of Ecoline– super vibrant dye based liquid watercolors that come in jars and brush pens. A blender brush pen is sold. They can also be blended or diluted with water. The brush pens are juicy with springy pointed tips. Because they aren’t lightfast, they are marketed to be used in product design, illustrations, fashion design, and calligraphy- so basically things that will be reproduced and not hanging on a wall. Ecoline comes in brush pens in 29 colors, and 30 ml bottles in 48 colors. Click here to see the line and here to see a color chart.
The three primaries- lemon yellow (205), magenta (337) and sky blue cyan (578) from this line would be great to have. This color triad is often referred to as CMY.
I shared this article from the John Muir Laws site some time back and it’s worth sharing again: Reinventing the Wheel: Why Red is not a primary color. Here is another article that looks further into the same theory- from Handprint.com. Doodlewash Guest Artist Jane Blundell has a bunch of watercolor triad examples here.
Sometimes the muse just isn’t there, so I’ve got these quickies on a few varieties of paper- Strathmore mixed media paper. I wet the paper first, they blended beautifully.
Tomoe River paper, and Arches cold press watercolor paper in the next examples. I will continue to use these in my art journals because they look super vibrant and lovely, and lightfastness in a journal isn’t an issue. If you have a Hobonichi…these are great in that and are much more vibrant than how they showed up in that photo on the left. If you like to sketch and then wash the lines out, the brush pens work for that.
This is printed on the bottom of the pan set box:
“Looking at the world behind the reality. Feeling how the elements adapt to a single will. Working with colours and techniques that give shape to this deepest of inspiration. That is art.”
Click the photo to enlarge.
I want to thank Royal Talens for the opportunity to review their watercolors.
July has been an incredible month of celebrating watercolor! This will be my last review for a few weeks. My plan is to be back at the end of August with one more review. I usually have sneak peeks, or additional photos on my Instagram account- @jessicaseacrest.
One thought I’d like to sign off with- if you are new to painting, new to watercolor- you can so do this!!! Just get in there and start painting 🙂