Joseph Turner - San Giorgio Maggiore at Dawn

The Art Shop – Student vs. Artist Paint

Have you ever been in an art shop and just stood there wondering which paint to buy? There’s not only a choice to make about should it be oils, acrylics, watercolours or other mediums but you also have to choose between Student and Artist paints. So you stand there going from paint to paint’ brand-to-brand scratching your head.

Well all paint looks pretty good – oozing beautiful intense pigments almost like being in a lolly shop – but underneath that fantastic gold, silver or transparent packaging lies a very varied & different fluid.

Student paint it’s got to be the best on cost – all the colours are the same price and you seem to get so much more for your money. Consider this though – what will you be using this student paint for? Will it be for indoor or outside purposes, will the light be directly shining on it or will the finished painting be kept in a stable indoor environment with minimum exposure to daylight or will this piece be sold. Also do you intend on mixing the student paint colours together to make a range of secondary & tertiary colours – if so read on this may help you make that decision

Price: Winner – student paint for size versus the dollar! You can buy more colours for less and in bulk – student paint is always available in larger quantities and at a great price – so it would appear to be the obvious choice in many circumstances and for varied applications large and small.

Lightfast: Now this is the difficult one – Artist paints are always listed with an ASTM rating – which shows you how lightfast they are – An ASTM rating 1 – generally means it has the greatest permanency and therefore better resistance to colour fading. However generally speaking most student paint does not carry an ASTM rating and therefore have no guarantee to the amount it will fade and believe me – student paints in many colours will fade pretty quick in direct UV light

Pigment: Artist paint is made from a high level of pigment taken from various sources and does not contain the huge amount of fillers that are present in Student paints – thereby when colour mixing you will be able to mix the colours you really want rather than struggling to mix a colour that just doesn’t seem right. Student paints are wasted on many occasions due to the frustration of colour mixing.

Colours: Artist paints offer a greater colour range than student paint and so gives a wider spectrum to the painter – just one little tip in this regard – if you require the greatest amount of pigment intensity – always mix your own colours from the primaries – thereby you will save money and your colours should pop.

So Student vs. artist paints – who’s the winner – well hands down I’ve got to say it’s the Artist Paint – but Student paint definitely wins on price!! Use the paint that makes sense for you and the one that suits the task at hand..

Article by Jacqui Doran

Visual Artist in Australia currently painting for her upcoming solo show “Wild Things” ( Website / Facebook )

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