Thursday, February 25, 2016

Product Review - Loew-Cornell Simply Art Watercolors

Loew Cornell WATERCOLOR CAKES Simply Art 36 Paint 1021095 Preview Image

Disclaimer - I bought these paints with my own money and I'm not being compensated in any way to talk about these products.  I'm sorry if you don't like my opinion but hey, photos speak louder than words.  You be the judge.

It's not very often that I review a product and tell you not to buy something but I think this is going to be one of those reviews.  I keep seeing people talk about these paints proclaiming how great they are for watercoloring.  Well, I needed a few $'s to get free shipping on my last order at Amazon so I bought a set to try.

So mostly when I see these paints they are being used to make the popular swishes of color or very similar techniques where they are being used for single layers of color. Yep, as you can see in the example they look very pretty.  The wide selection of colors allow you to make just about any color "swish" you want.  Really nice for basic techniques.

But wait...I had noticed when I first opened the paints that the cake looked a bit chalky but when you let a drop of water sit on the cake it looks like wet chalk - it's got the same consistency too?!?  I've never seen a watercolor paint react like this before... It's more than a little strange. I go ahead and paint my stamped image....I noticed right away that it takes quite a bit of paint to even cover the image.  I'm sure this is because the paints have way less pigment than some of the better brands of watercolor out there.  

When the paint started to dry it looked VERY chalky over the stamped lines.  It's so opaque unlike normal watercolors - it literally looks like a layer of chalk.  So much so that when you add a second layer it totally obliterates most of the finer detail stamped lines.  I also noticed that the colors are very matte...not vibrant at all.  Again, it looks just like chalk.

After the paint had dried I wanted to give it a smudge test because it looked so chalky. Sure enough, with the simple swipe of my finger across the painted surface the paints smeared across the paper and a chalky residue was also left on my finger tip.  

So I go to move the panel after it's dry and I "thought" I dropped a flake of something on the panel - but then I realized what actually happened....  A flake of the paint actually popped right off the paper!!  You can see in the photo where it came from the center of the flower on the right.  

O.k.. that's really odd - so my first thought is that it might be the paper.  So I switched to a different brand of watercolor paper and the same thing happened.  Definitely not normal!  Can you imagine painting a card then trying to send it through the postal system?  

This photo shows the two examples painted with the LC paints and the top image was painted with my Kuretake Gansai Tambi watercolor.  Quite a noticeable difference I'd say.

My conclusion:

I can without a doubt say if you want to make wispy swishes of color or very basic single layer techniques these paints are wonderful. I am going to keep these paints just for that purpose.  I can use these instead of my nice (a.k.a. expensive) watercolor paints for simple watercolor techniques.  I'm all for saving $'s which is what I can do with these.

Now, if you actually wanted to "paint" an image (stamped or otherwise) with these watercolor paints - run the other direction.

So I guess what it comes down to is what you wanted to do with them....if you just want something quick, cheap and easy for a splash of color - perfect.  If you wanted to do something more in depth then forget it...not worth your time or $.

Also, I must note that these paints are being sold under several different brand names so use caution when purchasing any similar looking paints.

Again, remember, these are just my own unbiased opinions...I'm not being paid to talk about this stuff and I bought it with my own $'s.   You don't have to agree with me but again, the photos show it all.


  1. Good to know, Roni! I have seen these at my local craft store too, and I wondered about them. Thanks for giving your review!

  2. Thanks for an honest, unbiased review, Roni. :)

  3. I don't know the cost but I imagine you mostly got what you probably paid for them. I find in my work it doesn't pay to skimp on my main products such as paints, pencils, markers, etc. I appreciate your honest opinion & the samples prove the point. I always like hearing your takes on various items....I often have not heard of something you talk about & will go buy it.

  4. I agree wholeheartedly with your review as I have this product in my stash. For backgrounds, splashes of color, etc. they are OK if you want a nearly-opaque, matte look. Otherwise, let the kids play with them.

  5. I so agree. Trouble is that when beginning to do water color folks don't want to invest much money. But then when they try out water color techniques, they are so disappointed with the results that they give up. To do these techniques you need decent water color paper and decent paints. I've loved water color since I learned about paper and paint!

  6. This is EXACTLY the experience I had with these. I'm looking for a kid to give them this case you def. get what you pay for.

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  8. Roni, when it comes to a product review, no one does it better than you! Your photographs are clear and concise, and you always test the product utilizing a diverse sampling of multi-media scenarios. Roni, you have so many years experience in the industry that your opinion is considered the gold standard among your followers. I so appreciate your feedback and prodiuct reviews because I can count on them to be truly unbiased and professional! Thank you for always going the extra mile!

  9. Always happy to hear non-biased opinions! Actually always happy to hear any of your opinions Roni- they hold great weight!
    Thanks for this!

  10. That's funny I wrote a review about these too and came to the same findings I treat hem as watercolour chalks lol paint dry blend seal them up with a spray they are the saddest watercolours I've ever used and I love to use my watercolours


Thanks for your thoughts and comments!