M Graham Watercolor Paint Review Color Chart Swatch Cards Lightfast Tests
M Graham Paint Co. is an American company making oil, acrylic, gouache and watercolor. While this page will focus on watercolor, I will say that I overall prefer their gouache and acrylic paints, both being some of the best paints I've ever used of those mediums.
M. Graham's watercolors are made with honey, which they claim also helps them avoid the use of chemical preservatives and humectants (for re-wettability). This unfortunately also means that their watercolor is prone to a strong smell, unusual texture issues (and reactions in tap water which I solved by using purified water instead). They often remain so sticky in the pan that they aren't as convenient for travel palettes as other watercolor brands. They have a relatively small collection of about 70 colors, very little in the way of unique / unusual, focusing instead on single pigments and lightfastness.
For a professional quality paint, they have the high pigment load you'd expect at a reasonable price (often being cheaper than Daniel Smith, but not always as cheap as Da Vinci). There are some colors that they do particularly well, and it appears that their pigment source is different than other American companies on the west coast such as Daniel Smith and Da Vinci.
Why seek them out? While all of their colors are quite strong, their Viridian really stands out against the crowd. This normally hard to re-wet problem pigment seems to benefit from the extra honey humectant.
If I could recommend only one color to try from M.Graham it would be their Viridian PG18. It's the easiest to re-wet, heavily granulating, deep valued emerald green version of this color I've found.
Lightfast testing - I have not yet run into many fading issues with M.Graham paints, as they are quite careful about offering a limited selection of stable colors. I will update this page in the future as I try more colors. I currently own over 25 colors and have mainly found issues with only PR112. I will update this brand review section in the future once I return to further test this brand. I will be prioritizing their gouache and acrylics, which I feel are superior examples of their paint products.
Rare pigments: This company does not offer much in the way of rare, unusual, uncommon or granulating pigments - limiting their uniqueness vs competitors. They used to offer PR259 Ultramarine Pink - a fairly uncommon pigment, being only available from a handful of brands world wide. Unfortunately sometime in the last couple years it appears this "Pink" color has changed to be listed as ingredient PV15 (Ultramarine Violet). It's possible that it has always been PV15 and PR259 was a typo on my older tube (since these pigments are related, you have to specially treat PV15 with hydrochloric acid for several hours to achieve the red-pink tones transforming it into PR259). I have emailed the company to clarify, but it looks like genuine Ultra Pink PR259 is now better sought out from Roman Szmal.
Swatch cards that serve as a color chart with pigment info, lightfast ratings, masstone to diluted value range, flow, salt react and gradient wash:
Where do I shop for M Graham watercolors?
My favorite American art supply chain store is Blick. They have a massive catalog and competitive prices, with quick shipping options here in the USA.
One of my favorite places to shop for a world-wide selection watercolor paint and brushes is Jackson's. They have affordable shipping to the USA and a lovely selection of items not easily found in American stores.
Amazon USA continues to offer more and more art and craft supplies as well:
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Note: this page contains affiliate links. All product opinions are my own. I am committed to honest reviews showcasing both the pros and cons of each product. I have not received payment from any brand for a review. I earn a commission from sales made through this web page's clickable banners or links to Amazon, Arteza, Scrapbook, Jackson's or Blick Art Materials websites.