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July 29, 2023

Cobra water-mixable paints

I got a few tubes of Cobra water mixable oil paint:

  • Titanium white buff
  • Naples yellow light
  • Naples yellow red
  • Persian rose

There is absolutely a difference from what I’m used to. These are much more buttery and rich than Winsor & Newton. The cobra paint is less viscous than W+N, and behaves more like acrylic paint. It does not spread the same as W+N. It takes thicker applications of paint, and more frequently too. The paint is textured, displaying the brushwork as if the hand had just lifted the brush off the canvas. I love the dynamic, lifelike movement of traditional art.

Left to right: W+N cerulean blue hue; W+N zinc white; Cobra naples yellow light

Because of Cobra’s paint properties, it encourages a more loose and expressive painting style. It also made me understand the importance of brushwork. Every single decision must be intentional and coordinated, for you cannot undo. If you keep going, you risk overworking it. So make sure that stroke counts.

For the ruins, I mixed Cobra’s Persian Rose with W+N’s phthalo green, and it produced a lovely range of colors. The use of a tone map made it much easier to place colors effectively. I am hoping to use these colors as bases to be mixed with other colors, or glazed over. These are nice paints and should be treated as such. 

Under the cut is a practice painting of a nude figure.

My main takeaway from this experiment is that the paint's coverage behaves differently from what I'm used to. You can almost see a film of oil that the pigment slides around on. Once this dries, I am going to glaze it with darker transparent colors. But even as it is, I think this came out really cool. I haven't done much figurative or portrait painting, so I am excited to do more.

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