What makes the perfect tube of paint?

MaimeriBlu watercolours
A selection of MaimeriBlu watercolour paints, showing the Italian pigment name and, underneath it, the English one in, unfortunately, very small type.

Yes, what indeed does make the perfect tube of watercolour paint? Is it the consistency, with lots of juicy pigment? Is it the ease with which the colours mix and flow? Or, is it the colours themselves, that ‘must have’ shade of red, for example?

Well, all these things are important of course. Lately, I’ve been testing a range of Italian watercolour paints – MaimeriBlu. Some of you may know the name, they’ve been around for a long time, but lately they have not had much presence in the UK. Now the SAA (Society for all Artists) are going to distribute them and several of the Society’s PAs (Professional Associates) have been asked to take a look at the Maimeri range, myself included.

So, how did I find them and have they got that perfect tube of watercolour paint?  They certainly have plenty of pigment, and the colours flow out nicely. Some of the colours in the range may not be particularly familiar to UK painters, but that is no disadvantage as all the ‘staple diet’ colours are here, Ultramarine Blue, Burnt Sienna and so forth. Without a doubt these MaimeriBlu watercolours are every bit as good in quality as any other range I’ve tried and I’ve tried quite a few.

But, they have only one little problem. I can’t read the name of the colour on the tube! And actually, Maimeri are not the only ones guilty of this sin, the colours in the latest range of Winsor & Newton Professional Watercolours are equally as difficult to identify quickly. Don’t they know that all watercolour artists are old codgers like me who can’t read tiny print on a tube of paint! So I’m on the look out for a range of paints with nice clear marking on the tube, so that I know straight away whether I’m going to use Ultramarine Blue or Cobalt Blue, or whatever. At the moment, Daler Rowney are in the lead, but I was actually very happy with Winsor & Newton – before they decided to ‘update’ their packaging. I don’t know, grumpy old man!