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Passion for Paint: Handmade Watercolors From A. Gallo

“What kind of paints do you use?” The quest to find the perfect paint seems to be endless and always the most frequently ask question in any painting class or demo. The thrill of swatching a new color on thick cotton paper is like trying a new type of chocolate or new blend of coffee…will it be everything you hoped for? Experimentation is definitely part of the fun.

Located in Assisi, Italy, A. Gallo makes small batches of environmentally friendly watercolor paints created from raw pigments, gum arabic, honey and essential rosemary oil. Just reading the company story, (Hint: Just mentioning illuminated manuscripts and Giotto will get my attention) as well as hearing good things from a few users, I took the plunge and ordered two 12-pan palettes, the Signature and the Classic.

Acquiring the paints takes a bit of patience. First, get on the company mailing list to be notified when the paints are scheduled to be stocked/available. Next, set your alarm clock for the given date/time and make a cappuccino. Don’t be late, things sell out very quickly. Now comes the hard part, waiting for the shipment from Italy to California.

While the anticipation nearly killed me, the paints arrive beautifully boxed with each tin wrapped in marbled paper. After unwrapping the tins and each colorful cube, it was showtime...testing out the colors with the very conveniently provided swatch cards. Fantastico! The colors are all wonderfully pigmented and blend beautifully. I've enjoyed experimenting and mixing colors in my sketchbooks (see images below). The travel tins/palettes work well and the Tintoretto travel brush included with each set is a definite bonus.

Bottom Line: I will be buying more from A. Gallo...These 2 sets are the Gucci and Armani of handmade watercolor paints, just gorgeous, and are certainly worth the splurge. Ciao!

Cost: 90-100 Euros/12 pan set with Tintoretto travel brush

Sketchbook samples using A. Gallo paints

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