Prima Watercolor Confections (and Travel Palette)

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  • Prima Watercolors has a great little tin, and I bought them for the tin.

    I have seen many of the student grade paint colors because I also bought them for others and made gift tins as presents using my own paints.  The paints are not as good as Cotman — some are grainy.  They have no ingredients listing (a hint they are  not much more than for-kids paint) and who knows if they are light-fast — but then, if in a closed sketchbook that is not too much of an issue.

    Most I gave to kids to use, but some were fine for fun (the shimmer colors and the Tropical I kept, cramming a tin to loan when I paint with someone else…) Can I recommend the paints?  No.  Buying cheap paints when you are learning is worse than using them when you are a better watercolorist — you don’t get that good color and effect and so you end up being disappointed.

    Snobby people have said that tins are not good, but I am sorry, unless you are going to pay for a GOOD tin, these are Great little tins.  They’ve been traveling around with me for a year and are just fine, as good as my Sennelier tin.  But these fit in the palm of your hand.  I show you how many half-pans you cna fit at the bottom of this post.

    My Review of the Prima Paints.

    The paints I’ve tried, in the order that I liked their colors:
    Prima Tropical
    Prima Classics
    Prima Decadent Pies (I have no idea why they named this color grouping by that name…)

    Prima Shimmering Lights would probably be as good as most student grade shimmer paints.  Prima Pastel I didn’t try, and I am sure they would be chalky, as most of their other paint colors with some white in them are chalky.

    Prima Decadent Pies

    I fit 21 half pans into this little tin — WOW!

    Many half pans

    I bought these for the tin, but was kind of surprised by the lack of suck factor on the paints.  I thought for that price, they’d be like Crayola washables or something, but for what they are, they’re really not eye-twitch inducing.

    (Not that this has stopped me from gutting most of the tins and turning them into my own thang, mind you.)

    There’s a color in that Decadent Pies set that’s probably gouache (the caucasian skin colored one) that I use kind of often for, well, caucasian skin, too.

    I thought they should be a bit better too… but loved the tins.  Cheap and I can organize into a couple palettes for travel.  You know, Vegas colors versus the Great forests….

    Sounds like a plan, for sure.  I love the idea of travel palettes.

    (Of course, in practice, I get ready to go somewhere and it takes me longer to pack all the colors I want to take with me than it does everything else.  I’ve really got to start applying some minimalist philosophy up in here, before I develop Paint Schlepper’s Back, which, if it’s not A Thing, it should be.)  😀

    So, I got The Classics, Tropicals and Decadent Pies for Christmas and I am pleased as punch with these paints for the price. You get the nifty tins like you ladies mentioned which is a steal when you look at the price of tins even minus paint.

    Maybe I like them so much because this is my first step up from the cheapest of the cheaps. I feel the colors are vibrant and fun. My favorite is the Tropicals. The only color I struggle with is the silver from the Decadent Pies. It is grainy but if you look at my Sledding Squirrels in my gallery that is the color I used and I think it looks fab.

    All in all I think if you are on a budget and you want to step up from Daler-Rowney student sets these sets are perfect. I am probably going to purchase the other 2 sets soon just so I can have them ALL!

    Lori, if you want great student paint you might want to consider Van Gough. I did a head to head test of my professional paints against the Van Gough paints and I was shocked how well the held up. Many people said they couldn’t see a difference between the two, they’re really great paint. You can get 12 tubes (10 ml each tube, which will fill several half pans) for about $30. If you can get your hands on some half pans you might want to see if you can fit some colors down the centers of your prima sets. Here’s a link so you can see the deal.

    Here’s the two pieces of art I made comparing professional paint (right) with Van Gough…

    Thank you Jennifer for your examples. I will check out the Van Gough’s. I bought the Prima’s on Amazon and maybe I will have to add the Van Gough’s to my wish list for a later purchase. I know that most artists probably think I’m crazy for liking the Prima’s but I’m just having so much fun! Here is an ATC I made tonight using the Classics and Tropicals.


    Grosbeak ATC


    I love your bird, Lori! I don’t think many artists would think you are crazy.  Primas aren’t bad for their price range.  They’re a bit more opaque than many watercolor artists like, but everyone has a different style and a different preference. If you are happy with what you can do with them, they are perfect for you!

    Thanks Sandra for your encouragement. The ATC is for a lady in Slovakia who wanted something that represents where I live. We have so many of these black headed grosbeaks in the summer time at the feeders I thought it made a good subject.

    I am sure at some point I will want to graduate to more professional paints but for now I am enjoying what I have!

    Lori, are you on Instragram? There is a giveaway going (I think you can enter at two different places) for the Prima Watercolor Decadent Pies.

    There is also a giveaway for Jane Blundell’s watercolor sets, which I’ve heard are very like the Prima sets.

    No Excuses Art Jane Davenport

    Sandra, you mention a Jane Blundell giveaway, but I think you mean Jane Davenport, right?

    Yes, I did mean Jane Davenport, lol. I was just having myself a senior moment.

    Lori, I think whatever you actually paint with is good for YOU. If you don’t use something what’s the point of having it. I think it’s great that you’re loving your prima paints and when you decide to upgrade you’ll have some great tins to fill with professional paints instead of having to purchase a set.

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