Utrecht Watercolor Review (carried by Dick Blick USA but different from Blick and Grumbacher)
Utrecht is a paint company operated in Brooklyn, NY that makes professional watercolor, gouache, acrylic and oil paints. They have been making paints since 1949 and in 2013 Blick Art Materials store purchased the company. Utrecht has remained in their same factory making paints the way they always have. Not to be confused with Blick brand paints, Utrecht is a much nicer quality.
If you're already shopping at Blick Art Materials
store for other things (like Arches or Winsor and Newton's cotton watercolor papers or paint brushes) and considering picking up a tube or two from Utrecht, Blick or Grumbacher - I would definitely pick Utrecht of the three. Sometimes their sale price is reasonable for those looking for a specific color within the USA. Often their price is similar to Da Vinci or M. Graham paints. Those living outside of the USA who don't already shop with Blick, these may no longer be affordable when you also pay international shipping.
Instead, you may have better luck with a brand like White Nights which happens to also carry the rare PG8 Hooker's Green. This color is only moderately lightfast, LFII in masstone and roughly LFIII in diluted range (like many borderline fugitive colors, it suffers from being watered down and getting repeat sunlight exposure). It is however one of the most beautiful single-pigment deep forest green pigments available. It's a much more natural green than Phthalo PG7 or PG36. Utrecht is the only other easy to get watercolor brand I could find, after MaimeriBlu discontinued theirs. However, Maimeri Gouache has a lovely version of PG8 available as "Sap Green" which can be diluted to work similarly to watercolor. This gouache is also available on Blick's website:
They are roughly middle-of-the-road as far as ranking best and worst watercolors. Their selection is not as vast as companies like Daniel Smith, Schmincke or Da Vinci. Their overall quality is nicer than the lower end pro grades like Lukas or Turner. There are a few colors I will recommend from this brand and show my swatch card color chart below.
There has been some general confusion in the art community regarding if Utrecht is Blick's store brand. It is not, it's just another brand they carry and happened to buy out. Blick already has a "store brand" paint called Blick Artists' Watercolor, which has been made for them by the Grumbacher company for many years.
I'll be making a separate review page for Blick Artists' Watercolor + Grumbacher Finest Watercolors (which are the same paints just re-labeled). Those paints are gritty, sludgy, much like working with dirt in a tube. They dry with odd speckle texture and are not at all the same quality of Utrecht watercolors.
Like all brands of watercolor, Utrecht has certain pigments they do well and some that are just OK. I particularly enjoyed their high quality versions of PY150 Burnt Yellow (Nickel Azo Yellow), PY216 English Yellow, PY37 Cadmium Yellow Light Pure, PG50 Cobalt Teal and PB29 French Ultramarine. Most of which are fairly uncommon colors found in only a few of the highest quality pro grade watercolors (with the exception of the more common PB29).
Utrecht watercolor and Maimeri gouache are available at Blick:
If you'd like to see how each color compares to the same color in another brand, check out the pigment database
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