Daniel Smith Original Oil Paints & Pan Pastels

I'm delighted to be working with Premium Art Brands Ltd as a product ambassador for Daniel Smith Original Oil Paints and Pan Pastels.

These are two excellent products and I'm really pleased to be associated with them.

Daniel Smith Original Oils


The Daniel Smith story is an interesting one. An artist himself, Daniel Smith started to manufacture high quality paints for serious artists in the late 1970s. The first to exploit the use of the new Quinacridone pigments for artists, and being at the forefront of formulating powerful paints without the use of heavy metals (such as the cadmiums), Daniel Smith has a worldwide reputation for very high pigment loading and consistency. The original Oils have been produced since 1989. The current owner and CEO, John Cogley, started with the company over 30 years ago and has owned it since 2008.


For many years, I've only bought the best quality artists' oil paints and had become aware that DS Watercolours had an extremely good reputation with both professionals and amateur artsist alike. So - I was very happy to be asked to try the DS range of Original Oils. The best way for me to do this was to move over completely to using them very early in 2019. I haven't stopped using them since! Aside from one or two minor adjustments to my habits due to differing pigment loading and "out of the tube" paint consistency, the transition to these excellent paints has been entirely painless. In fact, I'm convinced that my paintings have become cleaner and brighter as a result.


All Daniel Smith Oil Paints are highly pigmented, balanced with maximum pigment load with minimum oil (the vehicle) to give the best possible color strength. You can see this when painting as it takes a lot of white paint to lighten the tube color. This strong tinting gives artists good value because they are not paying for fillers and extenders that lesser quality oil paints have. The vehicle [medium] Daniel Smith uses for mixing the Original Oils is a high grade of alkali-refined linseed oil, except Mixed White, Titanium White and Zinc White which are mixed with non-yellowing safflower oil. This alkali-refined linseed oil is uniformly light in color, low yellowing, with low acid value and good adhesion. There is a very small proportion of additives (less the 1% by weight) to improve brushability, modify drying time and improve the grind.  Visitors to the factory in Seattle, Washington USA, are often surprised to see just how simple and traditional the process is, and how closely involved the paintmakers are with every step of production. Batches are small, allowing close control of every factor involved.

A while ago, John Cogley made a very informative video with the SAA. I you have half an hour to spare, I recommend that you follow this link to Youtube to learn more about the manufacturing and ethical background to these paints. 

I was very happy to demonstrate with the paints in the Premium Art Brands workshop tent at Patchings Art Festival 2019 and will be doing a number of demonstrations in workshops and art shops during the coming months.

Pan Pastels

A truly innovative art product, Pan Pastels are a very modern development of the classic dry pastel medium. Traditionally sold in stick or pencil form, and unchanged for centuries, the highly pigmented Pan Pastels are uniquely compressed into a shallow tub (a little like a cosmetic make-up pan) and applied with a range of tools.  The very high pigment strength means that application of the medium is considerably thinner than usual - creating far less dust and being altogether more efficient. This also means that the pastel can be applied to a very wide range of supports (not just confined to "pastel" papers of other surfaces). 

To date, I am concentrating on the use of Pan Pastels with life drawing and portrait painting. In fact, it is true to say that the product has re-envigorated my approach to drawing and painting figures and faces (something I've already always enjoyed!). Pan Pastels enable me to draw and paint at the same time! Working with the Sofft tools, and starting with a limited palette of colours, they are great for "mass" drawing (i.e. looking at value shapes rather than contour lines) and are really valuable for both quick sketching from figures or faces. And you also have all the control to finesse a detailed picture if time allows. 

Here is a link to the Pan Pastels website. 

Over the coming months, I'll be uploading images (and video clips) which show the techniques and results I'm achieving with these terrific products. In the meanwhile, if you get a chance, give them a go! I hope to see you at a demonstration or workshop soon where I can show you exactly how good they are.