Thursday, December 2, 2010

pastels, pastels, pastels! (Margaret Evans workshop and the final instalment of our pastel sets description)

Margaret Evans has just been from one end of Australia to the other - sharing her knowledge of pastels. It's been a great opportunity for pastellists to extend their technique and understanding. It's also given us the pleasure of seeing artists enjoying Art Spectrum Pastels, Colourfix and Colourfix Suede! There have been some glowing reports on the workshops and a rumour that Margaret may return in 2012.

The photo was kindly provided by Nina Poulton of the South Coast Pastel Society, NSW.
Find out more about Margaret Evans at

And to complete the final instalment of our pastel sets information... Our Deluxe Pastel box includes no less than 154 colours (our complete range of standard pastels). The pastels are protected by six foam trays in an elegant, dark wooden box with sliding lid. If you are very serious about your pastels, this may just be the set for you. 

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Margaret Cowling on a favourite AS watercolour: Tasman Blue

Tasman Blue - some say it's opaque, but so what? It can be, but it depends what you do with it. It's bold as a saturated colour, a sweet, joyous mid and a warm blue. It can dilute down to the finest suggestion, in fact a veil. I love to glaze a Tas Blue veil across an area - figure, still life, land or seascape - that mood change is magic.

Margaret Cowling.

Margaret Cowling is an Australian artist who has had a long and wonderful association with the Art Spectrum company.  
You can find out more about Margaret here
And view one of her painting galleries here

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

guide to Art Spectrum pastel sets part two of three!

We have so many sets we've had to break them up. Please click on images to see photos full-size. The site has decided to be extra colourful and put this text in blue ... 

Of course, many artists prefer to make up their own collections of colours, but if you are not sure where to start, or would like the convenience of a lovely range of colours already selected for you, you will really enjoy these sets.

Sets of thirty pastels: 'Assorted', 'Darks' (a collection of our darkest colours - N's and D's with some vibrant P's amongst them - please see link to our pastel page for tint names), 'Flowers' (as vibrant as you would expect), 'Landscape', 'Portrait' and 'Seascape' (a lovely seascape set, dominated by blues and greens, while not forgetting some very useful sand colours).

Set of thirty Jumbo pastels: An assorted set of our large, studio pastels (below). Popular with those who really churn through their pastels in the studio - but also for very discerning street artists.

Set of sixty in a wooden box (increasingly luxurious).

Set of 120 in a wooden box - an absolutely beautiful colour range (surpassed only by our Deluxe set - but that's for the next post).

If you are interested in any of these sets, please contact your nearest retail stockist of Art Spectrum products. You can find your nearest stockist by speaking to the distributor for your country or state.

Our full pastel colour chart is provided here. You can also find a list of our pastel pigments here.
Please note that individual colours in sets may change due to availability.

Monday, November 22, 2010

guide to Art Spectrum pastel sets part one of three!

Complimenting our Colourfix papers (and vice versa) is the Art Spectrum pastel range. Every pastel in our range is available individually but we also have a useful series of pastel sets - wonderful as a Christmas gift for the keen pastellist (or simply as a gift to yourself!).

6ix Packs - sets of six related colours: 'Lightest Lights', 'Fiery Warms', 'Red Wine 'n' Roses', 'Blues 'n' Violets', 'Moody Blues', 'Winter Greens', 'Summer Greens', 'Autumn Earths', 'Rich Earths', 'Stone Tones', 'Darkest Darks', 'Extra Soft Cool Tints', 'Extra Soft Warm Tints' and 'Black, White and Between' (excellent for life drawing).

Boxed Sets of 12: set of 12 'Life Drawing' (a wonderful life drawing set including white, black, greys and some earths - pictured below - someone's been using this set!) or a set of 12 'Grey Tonal' (a range of cool and warm greys, plus black and white).

Boxed Sets of 15: 'Assorted' (a great range of colours to start with), 'Landscape' (a lovely range of violets, blues, greens, earths and red and grey), 'Portrait' and 'Darks'.

Next post: Sets of 30, 60 and 120. And later: our wonderful Deluxe Pastel Set.

Please note that individual colours in sets may change due to availability.

If you are interested in any of these sets, please contact your nearest retail stockist of Art Spectrum products. You can find your nearest stockist by speaking to the distributor for your country or state.
Our full pastel colour chart is provided here. You can also find a list of our pastel pigments here.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

the colourfix suede colour range

For those who were wondering about this picture in our first Suede post, the colours from left to right are Tasman Sky, Outback Blush, Brown Paper Bag (a neutral brown, by popular request), Jacaranda, Kalangadoo (it's a South Australian town!), White Suede, Black Suede and Kangaroo Grey.

Friday, November 5, 2010

art spectrum painting knives

Art Spectrum Painting Knives are sensitive, flexible steel blades designed for applying paint directly to the canvas. The cranked handles keep your hand well clear of wet paint. Three out of the full range of eighteen are shown below: 1087, 1006 (left-handed) and 1081.

If you're feeling experimental you might like to try our new Steel Brushes line of ten painting knives (pictured below is knife 1201). There's an intriguing range of shapes in very flexible carbon steel with bubinga handles.

If you'd like to find out more, please ask your nearest stockist of Art Spectrum products for more details.

Happy painting!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

mixed media with art spectrum

One of the joys of being an artist comes from experimenting!  Here are some mixed media experiments by artist John Burge, using Art Spectrum products (click to see larger images).

A mixture of Art Spectrum Watercolour, Colourfix, sand and eggshells.

Watercolour with gladwrap and watercolour with rock salt on Colourfix paper.

Please note that adding different media may have an impact on the longevity of your artwork.
Happy painting!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

NEW! Gouache Primary Mixing Set

The colours in this set have been chosen for use in colour mixing theory and practice. The three primary colours (sometimes referred to as 'process colours') are made from pigments that produce a range of clean, bright secondary colours. For example, Primary Blue and Primary Yellow can produce beautiful greens ranging from cool and dark to warm and light. The Black and White in the set can be used to mix a range of greys for tonal values, as well as to modify the primary colours. This set contains one 15ml tube each of Primary Blue, Primary Yellow, Primary Red, Black and White.

For more information on our Gouache, please visit our website.

Monday, August 30, 2010

september - special offer!

Purchase any three 40ml tubes of Art Spectrum Oil Colours and receive a free 40ml tube of quick-drying Glazing Gel. Glazing Gel increases the transparency of oil paints. It is thicker and more gel-like than Liquol (also an alkyd resin medium), allowing the artist to paint with a light impasto while retaining textural brush strokes.  It may also be used (like Liquol) for thin, transparent glazes.

Apologies to international artists - this particular offer is only valid at participating retailers within Australia (ask at your local art store!).
This offer will continue throughout September, or until stocks run out.
For more details please go to: september offer

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Congratulations to our winners!

Congratulations to our lucky competition winners! They have each won an Art Spectrum Artists' Watercolour Pad.
Be sure to check back here on September 1 to see our next special offer to artists (within Australia).

The competition winners are as follows:
B. Heiss of Orbost, VIC
D. Drilling of Coromandel Valley, SA
A. Timbs of Brightwaters, NSW
Y. Court of Terang, VIC
M. MacPherson of Belconnen, ACT,
A. Read of Cawarral, QLD
J. Hyland of Geelong, VIC
S. Cusack of Tarragindi, QLD
P. Liosatos of Shailer Park, QLD
P. and J. Edwards
L. McDermott of Bundoora, VIC
V. Riggs of Bathurst, NSW
L. Corbett of Goonellabah, NSW
F. Wallace of Palmerston, NT
L. Jupp of Perth, WA
M. Mitton of Keith, SA
R. Warman of St Andrews Beach, VIC
B. Whiteley of Wattle Grove, TAS
E. Diprose of Carters Ridge, QLD
D. Harris of Duncraig, WA

Your prizes will be sent out to you as soon as possible. We hope you enjoy using your lovely new watercolour paper.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Liquid Spectrum - label artwork

You may have noticed the wonderful labels for our Liquid Spectrum Inks. They are by Australian artist John Burge. We thought you might enjoy a closer look at them. And, of course, John used Liquid Spectrum to create these images ...

You can find out more about Liquid Spectrum Artists' Ink here

Thursday, July 22, 2010

NEW! Colourfix Suede

A new, softer version of Colourfix paper. Like the orginal Colourfix, Colourfix Suede is an archival quality surface suitable for use with pastels, charcoal, pencils, inks, acrylics, gouache and watercolours. Silverpoint artists might also like to experiment with white Colourfix Suede.

The paper's surface is less abrasive than regular Colourfix but is still able to hold multiple layers of pastel with its softer tooth. The base paper is a 500gsm hot press watercolour paper that provides a rigid support for painting.

Available in 8 colours and two sizes: White Suede, Black Suede, Jacaranda, Kangaroo Grey, Brown Paper Bag, Tasman Sky, Kalangadoo and Outback Blush. Assorted packs also available. Sizes: 19" x 27" and 14" by 18".

Monday, July 12, 2010

shoes for the moscow circus

paint mill art spectrum
What book about Australian craftsmanship would be complete without a chapter on Art Spectrum paints??

"Shoes for the Moscow Circus is an atmospheric, lyrical look behind the scenes of a number of Australian trades and industries, many of which are fast disappearing in the modern world. Arts writer Leta Keens, with photographer Oliver Strewe, visited more than 25 factories and workshops - including an umbrella maker and a cricket ball factory, a taxidermist and a bicycle maker, a tannery and a doll's hospital - and discovered far more than simply the history and processes involved in these trades."

Above is one of the beautiful photos Oliver Strewe took at our factory. It shows our oil paint after the milling process - ready to go into tubes and onto your canvas!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

thoughts about art

'I know that to paint the sea really well, you need to look at it every hour of every day in the same place so that you can understand its way in that particular spot.' (Monet)

'Painting is easy when you don't know how but very difficult when you do.' (Degas)

'Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.' (Picasso)

Monday, July 5, 2010

replacements for 'fugitive' colours - watercolour

permanent crimson alizarin hue
The Art Spectrum watercolour range consists largely of beautiful traditional pigments, but we have also included lightfast, permanent replacements for fugitive colours such as Alizarin Crimson - now called 'Permanent Crimson, Alizarin Hue'. ('Fugitive' colours may look fine at first, but will gradually fade to dullness over time).

Here's a small extract from Pip Seymour's review of Art Spectrum colours, where he discusses these 'hues' (from the English magazine The Artist).

'We often dismiss this pigment group simply because they are modern and "synthetic". However, I would urge you to think again, especially when working with the Art Spectrum watercolours. I found that I could make all the colour mixing and dilutions into subtle washes required but noticed that the colour strength is superior and the colour brilliance exceptional. Their Rose Madder (permanent hue) has the same soft edge as the traditional pigment, but as a paint it seems to carry the colour a long, long way, making large scale washes with minimal paint. The fact that their version of Rose Madder is durable and lightfast is another plus and a significant improvement to natural rose madder pigment. In a similar fashion, Art Spectrum have provided a permanent replacement for Alizarin Crimson, the bete noir of watercolour painters! The whole range begs exploration ...'

P. Seymour (author of The Artist's Handbook)

Please see our watercolour page at for details on the lightfastness and permanence ratings of our watercolour range. Please note that improved (formerly fugitive) colours are all clearly marked with the term 'hue'.
Happy painting!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Donna's tips on using Colourfix Papers

You will find some wonderful resources for artists (especially for pastels and oils) at Donna Aldridge Studios

Here are Donna's thoughts on Art Spectrum Colourfix Papers:

'These papers take a tremendous amount of punishment from artists who like to work their painting heavily or for those experimenting with their imagery or technique, making constant minor or major changes. For artists who paint gently and/or flow directly through the painting process with few changes or "surprises", the paper provides an enduring, trustworthy support that you can count on for consistency time after time. '

Donna has some special tips on removing pastel from textured paper such as Colourfix, and on using Colourfix Primer to repair errors:

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

watercolour paper competition!

Art Spectrum Watercolour Paper has been extensively tested by many leading watercolourists. The paper is made by an old, established European artists' paper mill to Art Spectrum's exacting specifications. The paper is 100% cotton, both internally and surface sized, cylinder mould made and pH neutral, thus meeting the most stringent archival standards. It is available in rolls, single sheets or pads.

This month, twenty lucky readers of Australian Artist magazine will win a beautiful Art Spectrum Watercolour Pad. To enter the competition pick up your copy of Australian Artist magazine (July issue) and follow the competition entry guidelines.

Best of luck!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

NEW watercolour paper

art spectrum watercolour paper
A beautiful paper! Art Spectrum Watercolour paper is made to our specifications and has been extensively tested by many leading watercolourists. Available in Sheets, Pads and Rolls.

- Cold Pressed
- 300gsm
- 100% cotton
- pH neutral
- Internally and surfaced sized
- Mould Made
- Deckle Edges

All Art Spectrum Watercolour Pads contain 15 sheets - 25 % more than many competitive brands.

*Pads available in Cold Pressed or Rough

Monday, May 10, 2010

NEW watercolour range

art spectrum art prism watercolours
Art Spectrum Art Prism Watercolours offer artists a quality yet straightforward and uncomplicated range of colours at a uniformly low price. Manufactured in the classic tradition on a granite triple mill, these colours are made to the highest standards and are all artist quality. Art Prism Watercolours do not however, contain the more expensive traditional pigments. Instead, modern, lightfast, non-toxic and lower cost pigments have been chosen. Our testing has led us to believe that Art Prism colours compare favourably with many competitive ‘Professional Artist Quality’ brands.

The range of thirty colours provides a balanced palette capable of producing almost unlimited clean colour mixes. Art Prism Watercolours are completely compatible with Art Spectrum Professional Quality Watercolours, and it is an easy progression to expand into the full range of beautiful traditional colours.

Art Prism Watercolours are proudly made in Australia