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Artists' Acrylic

More information about our new Artists' Acrylic with unrivalled colour brilliance

Further Information

This section gives you some additional information and useful facts about our new Artists' Acrylic. 

New Colours - Detail
Recommended Basic & Primary Colour Palettes
Cadmium Alternatives
Clear Label Information

What to Use now - Chart

New colours - Detail
When William Winsor and Henry Newton set up in business more than 175 years ago their main concerns were to provide more choice without forfeiting permanence.  These remain our guiding principles today and are absolutely applicable to Artists Acrylics.

Our research chemists have spent the last few years investigating every possible pigment and its potential for acrylic painters.  The result is the introduction of 17 new unique colours for acrylic artists.  Here is some extra information on the new colours we have introduced.

Click here to see the new colours in our Artists’ Acrylic colour chart.

New Cobalt Colours in Artists Acrylic
Cobalts are traditional semi-opaque pigments with moderate tinting strength, making them easy to control over a wide spectrum.  Well-loved by painters wishing to represent images in a natural light or realistic colouring.  It is essential to have a balanced palette of strong and weaker tinting colours.  These hues could not be achieved with stronger colours unless white was used.

Cerulean Blue Chromium
This is a stronger variant of Cerulean Blue in comparison to the traditional.  It is redder in top tone and altogether a denser colour.  It is more opaque than Cerulean Blue and is lower in cost.  There are very few true pale blues available so this is a great addition to the palette.

Cobalt Turquoise Light
Also in the pale blue part of the palette, this ultra bright turquoise really extends the spectrum.  Not overly strong compared to the synthetic organic alternatives.

Cobalt Green
This is an exquisite pale green.  Traditionally available to water colourists it will be a joy to use in acrylics.

Other new inorganic colours
Inorganics include all the traditional pigments; cadmiums, cobalts, Titanium, Ultramarine and are generally based on metals.  It is unusual for new inorganic pigments to become available as most of the raw materials have already been discovered.

Potter’s Pink
This pigment is highly popular in water colour.  Like cobalts it is a semi-opaque, low tinting strength, single pigment colour, which cannot be mixed for reds or whites.

Ultramarine Violet
The bluest end of the violet spectrum is also short of colours and therefore Ultramarine Violet can be useful.  It is lower in tinting strength than Dioxazine Purple which can make it less dominant.

New Earth Colours
Umbers, Siennas and Ochres are the oldest pigments known to man.  Cleaner and brighter than mixtures made from primaries, earths are excellent for toning in shadows and underpainting. 
The challenge of earth colours in acrylics is to choose those which are not naturally ‘muddy’ and to be skilful enough to formulate stable colours.  We are pleased to be able to introduce some new earths:

Light Red
This is a single pigment natural earth with a beautiful bright undertone.  The natural earths have moderate tinting strength which makes them easy to control.

Raw Umber Light
Another new natural earth, a lovely light yellow shade alternative to Raw Umber.

Violet Iron Oxide
A synthetic iron oxide, more opaque and higher tinting strength than a natural earth.  Provides excellent coverage.

Yellow Iron Oxide
A more opaque yellow earth in comparison to yellow ochre and a higher tinting strength which will give more coverage.

New Perylene Colours

This family group has been expanded and we are delighted to be able to introduce three totally unique colours:

Perylene Green
This is one of the most exciting pigments in recent history.  A near black, this area of the spectrum rarely ever gets a new colour.  As it is a transparent single pigment it is great for mixing without muddying.

Perylene Maroon
This is a highly dense yet transparent maroon which would be impossible to mix.  Its single pigment status makes it a great mixing colour.

Perylene Violet
This is a deep violet single pigment which replaces the less lightfast traditional purple lakes and madders.  A completely new part of the spectrum!

Other new synthetic organic colours
Modern organic pigments offer lightfast colours of relative transparency over a broad area of the spectrum.  Made from complex chemical compositions, they include Phthalocyanine, Pyrrole, Perylene and Quinacridone pigments.  Organics are excellent for bright, clean colour mixtures and are favoured by painters for bright light, flowers and abstract images.

We have further expanded the spectrum available by introducing the following:

Green Gold
Here is yet another absolutely new spectrum area.  Using a single pigment only we have produced this very bright transparent yellow green.  Many new mixtures are now possible for landscape painters.

Pyrrole Orange
Oranges are very often mixed by the artist so it is even more important that individual oranges should be unique and single pigment.  Pyrrole Orange is very bright and fully deserves its space on the palette.

Azo Yellow Deep
This is a mid yellow of excellent lightfastness.  It is semi-opaque and a good alternative to Cadmium Yellow.

Nickel Azo Yellow
This is  the most transparent pigment in existence.  The traditional Gamboge was not lightfast but prized for glazing and mixing.  Now we have a lightfast option – wonderful.

New metallics
Artists’ Acrylic Colour metallics outshine all others, quite literally.  Dense, opaque and highly metallic with a beautiful lustre, these colours do not tarnish.

Silver No. 2 is a new darker silver which is even more metallic than any mica pigments we’ve seen before.  It is brighter and more opaque which gives it excellent covering power.  The texture of the colour is also less slippery.  Silver has been improved to make it brighter and more opaque too.

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Recommended basic and primary palette
In addition to the spread across the spectrum, a general palette should also have a mixture of stronger and weaker colours and variations in opacity. Here is our recommended basic palette for Artists’ Acrylic:

Lemon Yellow, Azo Yellow Medium, Cadmium Red Light, Permanent Rose, Permanent Alizarin Crimson, Ultramarine Blue, Phthalo Blue Green Shade, Phthalo Green Blue Shade, Raw Umber, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna and Titanium White.

If you want to use just three primary colours we suggest Azo Yellow Medium, Phthalo Blue Red Shade and Permanent Rose.

If you want a wider spread of primaries for cleaner mixing, try two of each; Lemon Yellow, Azo Yellow Deep, Phthalo Blue Green Shade, Ultramarine Blue, Pyrrole Red and Quinacridone Magenta.

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Cadmium alternatives
Cadmiums are the most opaque reds and yellows available and are some of the most popular colours. In normal use they do not present a health hazard to the user and for the environment we use only insoluble cadmiums.

However some artists may prefer to avoid cadmiums and Artists’ Acrylic contains alternatives which are closer than other acrylic colours.

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Clear Label information
Providing good information for artists remains as important today as it was in 1892. Our label clearly shows what you need to know about each Artists’ Acrylic colour including its colour composition and permanence.

One of the added benefits of the label on the Artists’ Acrylic tube is that it has a hand painted colour swatch on the front face.  This swatch shows the true hue of the colour in the tube as well as its opacity/transparency, brush stroke retention and the level of sheen.

Clear Label Information

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Summary of key information on label

  • Colour name (eg; NAPHTHOL RED MEDIUM)
  • Product Code & Colour Code (eg; 2320423 – the last 3 digits = colour code)
    Series number:
  • The Series No. of a colour indicates the relative price of the colour and is determined mainly by the cost of the pigment. Series 1 is the least expensive and Series 5 is the most expensive.
  • Permanence Rating:
    The Winsor & Newton classification of permanence measures not only lightfastness but also film stability of the finished paint and chemical stability. 
    AA – Extremely Permanent   
    o A – Permanent
    o B – Moderately Durable
  • ASTM Rating:
    The ASTM abbreviation stands for the American Society for Testing and Materials. This organisation has set standards for the performance of art materials including a colour’s lightfastness.  In this system I is the highest lightfastness available though both ratings I and II are considered permanent for artists' use.
  • Opacity Rating:
    Winsor & Newton use symbols to represent the transparency/opacity of colours of a colour. The transparent colours are marked with  or T, the semi-transparent colours are marked  or ST. The relatively semiopaque colours are marked with  or SO and the opaque colours are marked with  or O.
  • Pigment Content
  • Vehicle (Binder) Used

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What to use now
We have put together a table for artists needing to know any equivalent Artists’ Acrylic colours to Winsor & Newton Finity Artists’ Acrylic Colours.  Any changes are in brackets after the new colour name.  Two or more colours listed indicate a mixture will be required.
Old colours marked in italics have been discontinued.

Click here to view and download the table.

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