Either download your report HERE or read it below. 

The Big Paint Rip-off.

HOW YOU CAN SAVE hundreds of dollars on your
watercolour paint purchases.

Want to pay .73c per ml, or $3.19 per ml???

**Please don't skip to the bottom of this.  It's important you understand HOW you are getting ripped off and why AND what you can do about it.  It's simple!

 

Did you know that the price of your paint is solely dependent on your willingness to shop around AND a bit of research....(lucky I did that for you.)

Today I'm talking about Winsor & Newton, however I imagine this is the case with most artist quality, internationally known, brands of paint...such as Daniel Smith,Schmincke, Holbein, etc.   I'll concentrate on W & N for this article though. 

While doing a little research in early November, I found that most art supply retail outlets charged DOUBLE the price of some others for Winsor & Newton paint, which originates, of course, in the UK.  It's the world's most popular paint, with Daniel Smith hot on it's heels.   More on that another time.

 

 Now, of course, there's a few things to take into consideration when researching watercolour paint.

 

SERIES: Firstly, Paint comes in "series", ...most brands have this pricing system where they divide their pigments into series (cost).  Series 1 is the cheapest group of pigments and dyes and includes such beauties as Burnt Sienna, the 'Winsors', Raw Sienna, Indigo...et al.  These are cheaper pigments to make, and the cheapest to buy.    Ranking goes up to Series 4 - the most rare elements, metals, and pigments, and are hard to make or difficult to obtain, and subsequently the most expensive to buy. Series 4 contains such indispensibles such as Cobalt Blue and Cadmium red (both expensive metal elements).  So there's the first variable.  It would be nice to be able to buy ONLY Series 1, but painting doesn't work that way.

 

SIZES:  Then there's the sizes.  Winsor & Newton make 3 sizes, from the massive 37ml which costs a bomb, to 14ml medium sized which costs a medium bomb,  to the regular 5ml tube...a teeny little thing that blows a big hole in your wallet ..but - fair's fair, it DOES go a long way, as W & N pigment is brilliant and unbelievably potent. (but 5ml?  that's a teaspoon  aaaagh!)

 

RETAIL POINT:  It's no wonder that  PRICING can be tricky.  Especially when there are THOUSANDS of places to buy paint, AND retail outlets and online sites prey on the emotions of the sensitive artist...
"I have to have that colour "  -  "Oh, look it's on sale".   mmmmmm, sound familiar?   
Of course every art store or online outlet has the ability to price their paint at whatever they want.  They employ such tactics as 'the sale', 'the lazy buyer', 'the easy purchase' and 'the bulk purchase' to lure you in and get you to 'just do it', while you're there.  If you GET onto their websites, or INTO their stores, they're waaaaay ahead of you.  (This is not just for paint, BTW, paper is also a commodity that we buy a lot of - and for ease's sake, we often 'just buy it' WHILE we're in the shop, right? Because it's easier to do while we're there, for whatever price they're charging.)

 

So what's the problem?? It's your choice, right? No one is FORCING you to buy it.
 

True.   And that's what they're hoping.  The Lazy buyer syndrome.  You need it to keep up your lovely hobby, (and you need THAT COLOUR NOW!) 

 

But think about it...
Imagine not paying $189.28 for 7 tubes of cobalt blue over a space of time,
...and instead paying $46.79 for the same amount of paint (actually, a little more.)

 

 Huh??? Yep. A saving of about $140.00 Imagine how much paper that could purchase (yes, and you're going to be careful how you buy that too!!)

Check out the rort!

Let's take W&N SERIES 1 BURNT SIENNA:  One of it's cheapest pigments It's price varied from a massive  
$3.19 PER MILLILITRE!! to a measly .73c per millilitre (which is how much I pay.)

 

Want to find out how to pay .73c?? - no, I'm not selling it... it's easy and cheap to buy at this price.
 

Try not to bring up your lunch when you see the price difference for a Series 4 (the most expensive series) Cobalt Blue....  It varied from a reasonable $1.20 per ml to a horrendous, arrhythmia inducing  $5.40 per ml.  Almost 5 x the price at some places!  Amend that....almost ALL places.
That's for ONE MILLILITRE!!!  It's bad enough that the 5ml tubes are exactly ONE TEASPOON full. 
Yes folks, 5mls = 1 teaspoon.  But one fifth of that one teaspoon costing $5.40? It's enough to have me take up yachting...I might save some money!

$1.20 per ml   V     $5.40 per ml.     (think about how much cobalt blue you've tipped down the sink....oh my....)

Rule 1.
The economy of buying in bulk. 

I realise that many people would prefer not to buy in bulk.  But truly, how many tubes of your favourite colour have you bought by now???  3?.....6?......10?.....WOW.  That's a lot of paint.  You could have saved $100,000,000's. 

 

Winsor & Newton paint comes in 3 sizes, as mentioned previously. 5ml, 14ml, and 37ml.   

  • All colours come in the small 5ml.

  • Most come in the 14ml (I think, I haven't checked this),

  • and a select few come in the 37ml.   

It's important to know this as only THE MOST POPULAR colours come in the 37ml tube.  So - there's your burnt sienna, cobalt, french ultra, aureolin, raw sienna, permanent rose....and many others.

 

There's the first tip.  Buy the big one.
Let's check out the price difference of one colour, per ml, at one leading art supplies retail shop, Eckersley's.

1)   5ml of Series 1 Burnt Sienna at Eckersleys costs $19.95
https://www.eckersleys.com.au/winsor-newton-professional-water-colour-paints-5ml that's $3.99 per ml. 


2)  37ml of Series 1 Burnt Sienna at Eckersleys costs $78.50.
That's  $2.12 per ml.  That's a huge difference.  

For every teeny little millilitre you are paying $1.87 more per ml if you buy the small tube.  (from Eckersleys.)  as opposed to the 37ml tube. 

Yes....you have to have a big tube.  BUT IT'S 7 x the Quantity!!! and 2mls more!
7 x5ml tubes =35 +2ml  extra.
This is not a problem if you choose to buy ONLY the colours you use the MOST OF!

BUT THAT'S NOT ALL.

 

Rule 2.

Know your average prices - retail.


OK, so NOW we know that it's very economical to buy the large size compared to the small. 
Let's now compare VARIOUS STORE PRICES.  I'll take a selection (x4) of well known and popular art stores both online and bricks and mortar. 
I've chosen : Senior Art Melbourne, Sydney Art Store, Art Supplies Australia, and Eckersley's.
These prices are what I found these stores charges as at  Nove 9th, 2020.  
For accuracy, as we already discussed that paint comes in 4 Series, I've also given prices of each of the 4 x series.

 

Series 1  - eg: Winsor and Newton Burnt Sienna 37ml. 

$63.96 (on sale) Senior Art Melbourne online

$72.90 Sydney Art Store

$65.80 Art Supplies Australia.

$78.50 Eckersleys the most expensive, unsurprisingly.

 

Series 2 eg Winsor and Newton French Ultramarine 37ml. 

$63.96 (on sale) Senior Art Melbourne online

$72.90 Sydney Art Store

$65.80 Art Supplies Australia.

$85.25 Eckersleys

 

Series 3 eg Winsor and Newton Permanent Rose 37ml. 

$75.92 (on sale) Senior Art Melbourne online

$86.22 Sydney Art Store

$77.85 Art Supplies Australia.

$97.85 Eckersleys more than $20 more than the normal price.

 

Series 4 eg Winsor and Newton Cobalt blue 37ml. 

$115 .68(on sale) Senior Art Melbourne online

$131.44  sydney Art Store

$118.67  Art Supplies Australia.

$149.10 a cardiac inducing price from Eckersleys 

 

That's quite a difference.  $34 on a tube of cobalt blue from least expensive to most expensive?
Wow.   Senior Art is looking pretty good right now, but of course this reflects only 4 stores.  This is just a basic browse.  OK, not basic, it's taking me hours but I WILL SAVE YOU!! 

So, if you must go to an online or bricks and mortar store, at LEAST find out how much the 'average' should be.  

AND THAT'S STILL NOT ALL!!! keep reading.   (I'm still feeling a little sick from seeing what Eckersley's charges for Cobalt blue!) 

I'm hearing your objections:   
"BUT"...you say, "I don't want a big tube, I won't use that much, AND I haven't got $115 to spend on ONE TUBE of paint!!"

 

Mmmm.  Just before you dismiss this out of hand, check out that ML V ML comparison in RULE 1. 
Now remember how much ONE MILLILITRE IS.  

Let's do it with this Cobalt Blue...a very commonly used pigment AND a very expensive one.
We'll stick to our 'best' (cheapest) option of retail stores - Senior art.

37ml Cobalt Blue From Senior Art - $115.68   (= $3.12 per ml. + 2mls extra.) 
OR

SEVEN x 5ml Cobalt Blue tubes from Senior Art @27.48  $192.36   (= $5.49 per ml. )
Wow.  that's $76.69 difference - FOR JUST ONE COLOUR. 
 I don't know about you, but I'm willing to have a BIG tube .... 
I can buy another ENTIRE BIG 37ml tube of burnt sienna with the money I saved on the difference. 

RULE 3.
Remember way back at the start I said this paint comes from the UK?


I did.  Didn't I. 
In a world vying for your business, Australia has the WORST track record for the price of imports...think Cars, electrical goods. In fact, we have rather inflated prices of lots of things, annoying - given we're sitting in the middle of the Asia Pacific Region where prices are low low low!

Sooo.......

Don't buy it from here. 

 

So far, you have learned
1) BUY BIG. 37mls, or at the least 14mls, is way cheaper.
2) CHECK - compare stores in Australia, know what we charge.

and NOW......

3) BUY OVERSEAS.

eg:  amazon.au, OR any retail store from the UK, where this paint is MADE!!! (eg: Jacksons Art, and many more.)



Amazon - Cobalt Blue 37ml
Amazon Australia has the most amazing prices because your paint is still actually coming from the UK.  Behind them they have international courier systems, sensible courier prices (You'll still save HEAPS) and pretty good delivery times. 
Amazon Australia is charging $48.14 for the 37ml Series 4 Cobalt Blue.
Whaaaaaat? (Remember, our cheapest, Senior Art, charged...$115.68)

 

Jacksons Art - Cobalt blue 37ml.
Jackson's Art in UK - they have an 'Australian website' which will have the correct postage etc.  They are a giant art company with an international reputation.  Make sure you choose correctly, it will be a long way to return. 

Jacksons Art is charging $46.42 for the 37ml Series 4 Cobalt Blue. v $115.68 from Senior Art (the cheapest in our research.)
Unbelievable.

 

I can't resist SPELLING THIS OUT.....
In the first column I'm comparing the costs of the 37ml tubes....
either from home (Senior art was my best option) v buying overseas.

*Remember, Senior Art was my best option so far....


37ml Tube price comparison.
Series 1s
$63.96 from Senior Art.
$27.28 from Amazon Au.
Series 2s
$68.60 from Senior Art.
$34.82 from Jacksons.
Series 3s
$75.92 from Senior Art.
$38.24 from Amazon Au.
Series 4s
$115.68  from Senior art 
$46.79 from Jacksons.

 

Millilitre price comparison - IE:

In this example I'm going to assume you're not stupid, and you do, at least, shop around at home.
In this example 'you've' chosen Senior art which was our research's cheapest option for paint.
And as you 'normally do', you've chosen to buy the 5ml tube. (you DO do that, correct?)
I'm comparing it with what you would pay PER millilitre, if you followed this guide, and bought
a) overseas b) large tube.

Series 1s

5ml tube Sen Art =3.19 per ml.
37ml tube Amazo = .73c per ml.

 

Series 2s
5ml tube Sen Art = 3.42 perml
37ml tube Amaz = .94c per ml

 

Series 3s
5ml tube Sen Art =4.44 per ml
37ml tube Amaz = $1.03 per ml.

 

Series 4s
5ml tube Sen Art = 5.49per ml
37ml tube  Amaz=$1.30 per ml.

Unbelievable.

SO AT THIS POINT - I'm going to remind you what YOU normally do.
YOU normally buy those 5ml tubes from home....at approximately the price I have calculated on the right, per ml for the 5ml tubes. I've highlighted them so you can see. (except sometimes you don't. Sometimes you rock up to Eckersley's or some other retail point whose prices are stratospheric because you couldn't be bothered to shop around....am I right?)

And Remember.....you're getting 2ml EXTRA in those 37ml tubes too. (If that was at the 5ml price for cobalt blue, it would be $10.50 worth!

SHIPPING:  The price you pay for Shipping is negligable when you compare prices in this way. You pay shipping if you buy from an online store anyway.  Look to see if your Overseas store has free shipping over a certain $ amount.  I don't think Jacksons or Amazon has, but it's worth looking.  

Shipping Jacksons.  Jacksons prices for shipping are cheap.  6 pounds <250g, 7 pounds <500g and 12 pounds for <1kg.   You're probably not going over 500g.

Amazon prices are great too.  So I pay around $12 AUD for postage.
(I'm thinking that's about the same postage if you got it posted within Australia!!!!)  Of course you may have to wait a few weeks. But you're willing to wait if you save $200!!

 

ACCOUNT: Always, always make an account with an overseas outlet.  An Amazon account or a Jacksons account is sensible, and free, and easy, even if you don't ever use it again.  It will mean you can track or discuss your order if something goes haywire.
 

 

1) BUY BIG. 37mls, or at the least 14mls
2) CHECK -  know what we charge.

3) BUY OVERSEAS - and suck up the shipping.

 

$3.19 per teeny weeny ml for burnt sienna? or .73c?
I know which I choose.
This makes this Winsor & Newton paint MUCH cheaper than Daniel Smith, or any of the major brands, but if you prefer those brands instead, you should also look at what Amazon offer,  or one of those American websites.

 

Which colours to buy....in what size.

Analyse your palette, the colours your tutor wants you to have, or your most used.
Divide them into:

  1. Use a LOT of .   (for example, I use TONS of French Ultra, Cobalt, Burnt Sienna.)

  2. Use quite a lot, but not as much as #1, these will be colours you need in your palette but don't use as much of.

  3. Rarely use - these will be colours you want, but hardly use, or they may be Test colours.  

    #1's - 37ml. (I'm saving a BUNDLE on every tube I buy.)
    #2's - 14ml (I'm still saving a lot,  not as much as the 37, but I would NEVER get through a 37ml.)
    #3 - 5mls  (I'm not saving much, except to buy it overseas, but I'm unsure if I'm ever going to need this again.)

     

BIG TUBE TIPS.

  • Squeeze out your paint into your palette and let it dry, and reserve some in tube.

  • You only need to squeeze out 1/3 of a big tube.  

  • If you want fresh paint, instead, you'll always have plenty.

  • Start from the bottom of the tube, never squeeze in the middle.

  • always cap tightly, wiping off the screw thread on top of the tube.

  • watch for paint sales for those 5ml odd colours.   REAL ones, not fake ones. Know your prices.

  • Keep your big tubes in a ziplock plastic bag, easy find, and air and waterproof.  Easy to see when you want more. 

  • Only buy HUGE tubes in the colours you use a lot of.

  • Buy 14ml in the colours you don't use so much of, and

  • reserve the 5ml ones for colours you're testing, or better, as a friend to try some of theirs.  

  • Make lots of 'pans' and give them to your art friends for a gift. (simply squeeze tube colours into the empty pan, smooth out, and dry.

  • Share the price with a mate, and squeeze out half each. 

  • Check your paint early, so you don't HAVE to buy it locally.  Calculate shipping time into your considereation.

 

I'm elated with my recent finds and calculations.
I've been buying large tubes for a decade, but only a year or two ago found out the Jackson's secret and just NOW found out about Amazon.  Lucky us!!!! 
Remember.   Shipping can take AGES!  so ensure you have a good stock and buy it early so you don't fall into the "I'd better buy this now, locally" trap.   

Good luck. Happy Painting. 

Are you interested in Watercolour Painting?
The author, Jenny Gilchrist, teaches watercolour both ONLINE ANYTIME, and LIVE ON ZOOM (and Face to Face when Covid isn't around.)   From Absolute Beginners to Intermediate painters, you'll find the courses sensible, structured and step by step, with EVERYTHING explained.  
Check out the classes by visiting our home page first. (Link Here.)

Want to see some of these  great product prices in action?

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