Discover our fantastic range of paints from the leading brands at affordable prices. From acrylics to oils to watercolours, shop our products now!
  • Acrylic Paints

    We offer acrylic paints in individual tubes and sets, supplied by leading paint brands like Winsor & Newton, Liquitex and Daler-Rowney. For beginners, it might be best to opt for a smaller acrylic paint set, but we also have large acrylic paint sets (up to 48 pcs) in a range of acrylic colours and shades for professional and amateur artists alike. Choose that perfect colour missing from your palette, or purchase an acrylic paint set as a special gift for the artist in your life. 

    Acrylic paints are a fast-drying art medium that doesn’t require any chemicals. They’re a popular choice amongst those new to painting, like hobbyists or students, and are ideal for use in craft projects. We also offer a wide range of brushes for acrylic painting, as well as an extensive range of System 3 Acrylic paint, one of the leading lines of acrylic paints, popular with artists from all walks of life. 

    Is Acrylic Paint Waterproof?

    No, acrylic paint is not waterproof and you will need to apply a sealer to your project if you want to make sure it is waterproof. Acrylic paint is water-resistant though so you don’t need to worry about a few drops of water on your painting.

    Is Acrylic Paint Washable?

    Yes, you can wash acrylic paint off clothing and surfaces while it is still wet, but it becomes much harder to clean once it has dried. The paint soaks into clothing and will stain, becoming very difficult to remove once dried.


    What is Acrylic Paint?

    As a mid-century invention, acrylic paint medium can still be considered a fairly young medium. However, this has not stopped acrylic paints from becoming one of the most popular types of paint to use amongst artists of all ability levels. Acrylic paint sets allow artists to create diverse art which can be manipulated with the use of mediums and other substances to create amazing and unusual art. 

    There are a variety of acrylic painting techniques to experiment with, and many acrylic artists enjoy incorporating pouring mediums with their paintings. You can find out more about how to use acrylic pouring mediums when painting with acrylics in our blog. There, you can also discover infinite intermixability with Liquitex Acrylic.

    Acrylic paints are created by suspending dense pigments within an acrylic polymer emulsion along with other chemicals. Acrylic is known for being a dynamic and versatile artist medium. Depending on how much you dilute your acrylic paints with water, or even modify with acrylic gels and mediums, you can manipulate the consistency of your acrylic paints so that they resemble other mediums. With different manipulation methods, you can achieve the look of oils, watercolours, gouache and more.

    For this reason, many artists enjoy working with acrylic paints because they find so much freedom in working with them and are not limited to any one style.


    How do you paint with acrylics?

    Painting with acrylics is brilliant because it’s so easy. As already stated, you won’t need to mix acrylics with any varnishes or chemicals, as you do with oil. This means that they are ready to paint with straight from the tube, which significantly cuts down on your preparation time. All you really need to get started is a surface like canvas, your favourite brushes, a cup of water, your selected acrylic colours and a palette

    In most cases, you won’t need to prime a canvas you purchased from a shop. If you stretch and mount your own canvas however, you will need to prime the canvas before beginning to apply your acrylic paints. If you opt to paint on something like a thick watercolour paper, this will need to be primed. But you can also paint on a number of other surfaces with acrylics, including wood. You can find out how to paint on wood with acrylics on our blog. 

    Our blog is full of tips on painting techniques. For acrylic paints, check out our list of Amazing Acrylic Painting Techniques.

    How do you use acrylic mediums and varnishes? 

    Although it’s not necessary to use acrylic mediums or varnishes when painting with acrylics. If you choose to do so, you can achieve some wonderful techniques and styles that the paint alone wouldn’t allow for. Some of the most common mediums and varnishes used by acrylic artists include:

    • Pouring Medium: For artists who are keen to master the art of pouring art, this medium is a must-have. Combining a pouring medium with your acrylic paint creates a fluid effect and prevents cracking when it dries. Acrylic paint on its own does not have the necessary fluidity to achieve this effect.

    • Gesso: Acrylic gesso is the compound used to prime your canvas before painting with acrylic paints. Again, most shop bought canvas will already be primed with gesso, so this is more important if you tend to prep your own canvas. 

    • Gloss Medium: Achieve a glossy finish for your acrylic artworks with a quality gloss medium. This works by increasing transparency and enhances the depth and intensity of your colours. 

    • Slo-Dri Fluid Additive: Due to the fact that acrylic paint dries so quickly, it can make it difficult to achieve certain effects. A medium such as this allows for smoother blending and allows artists longer to work.

    • Matte Medium: Artists can add a matte medium to their acrylics if they want to achieve a non-reflective and matte finish. 

    Leading Acrylic Paint Brands

    You’ll find that we stock many brands of acrylic paints, some from niche brands and some from famous brands you’ll no doubt have heard of. This means that we stock paint for every experience level, from student level acrylic paints to professional level acrylics. See below for some of the acrylic paint brands we stock at Cowling & Wilcox. 

  • Gouache Paints

    If you’re looking for gouache paint, then we have a great range of products. Many artists newer to the world of paints have one question in common - what is gouache paint? Gouache paints are opaque watercolours that are popular with designers, illustrators and commercial artists. In addition to its colour pigment, the paint also contains a white pigment such as chalk. It is this element that gives the paint its opacity and gives it a unique finish. Unlike other paints, gouache can be reactivated with water in the event that you want to change a piece of your work.

    Gouache paint dries very quickly and it is possible to overpaint dry gouache with lighter colours. Gouache is well known for its versatility and brilliance and is the perfect medium if you love watercolours but want a more vibrant finish. If you’re thinking about using gouache paint on one of your projects, then make sure you take a look at our range. We stock quality gouache paints and sets from leading brands like Winsor & Newton and Royal & Langnickel.

    Learning how to paint with gouache can be straightforward, and although gouache paints are like opaque watercolours, there are some different techniques to use when working with gouache paints. You can water down your gouache paints so that they more closely resemble a typical watercolour, or you can build up the layers to create an effect similar to what you get when working with acrylics. This is such a versatile paint that you can even rewet gouache. Rewetting gouache paint allows you to bring back to life and change a finished painting. 

    Find out how artist Emma Block uses gouache paints in her work over on our blog. Or, if you’re ready to shop, you’ll find everything you need in our range of quality and affordable gouache paints. Make sure you pick up everything else you need for your next masterpiece, including brushes, canvas and palettes.

    Best Gouache Paints

    The best gouache paints will provide you with a strong and consistent colour and a smooth finish with no bits in the paint. Any good Gouache brand will have a high proportion of dry pigment. You can mix brands for colour choice but cheaper gouache paints have a grainy effect and can ruin your painting.

  • Mediums & Varnishes

    Mediums can be a very important tool when painting, affecting many elements of the performance of a particular paint. A variety of painting styles can benefit from the use of mediums, but perhaps the most common is oil painting. Oil paint mediums are an important part of the oil painting process. While you can work with oils without using a medium, this completely changes the process and many artists find this to be a very difficult way to work.

    Depending on the item you use, the right medium can alter drying time to achieve either a slow drying time or a faster one. Mediums can also manipulate consistency and the finish of a painting. We carry a wide range of mediums including oils such as Linseed oil, varnishes, liquin, solvents, pouring mediums and more from leading brands like Winsor & Newton, Schmincke and more. Our range will allow you to find the perfect oil painting medium recipe to create just the effect you are looking for with your oils. 

  • Oil Paints

    At Cowling & Wilcox, our range of oil paints includes those of the best quality from leading art brands such as Winsor & Newton, Daler-Rowney and Michael Harding. We provide single tubes, starter sets and professional oil paint sets for artists, alongside individual oil paints; so you can get the complete range or just individual colours you need to restock in your studio. We stock some of the best oil paints available, with a variety of oils ideal for experts and beginners, and everywhere in between. 

    Oil paint is a slow drying medium that offers excellent blending opportunities. We recommend exploring our Mediums & Varnishes to pick up all the supplies you’ll need to paint and finish in oils. Browse our extensive range of oil paint tubes, sticks and bars to get started on your next masterpiece! You can also browse our range of oil painting brushes to find the perfect tool.

    Looking for inspiration for painting with oils? Check out our blog with everything you need to know about Mixing Oil Paints, or our other blog which teaches you all about Painting With Oil Mediums.

    How long does oil paint take to dry? 

    The time it takes oil paint to dry will depend on a variety of factors, including the surface on which you’re painting. Canvas, vellum and wood all affect the amount of time it will take for your oil paint to dry. 

    Oil paint is well known for being slow drying when compared to other types of paints like watercolours, acrylics and gouache. However, there’s no simple figure one can give as there is no fixed time for how long it takes oil paints to dry. 

    However, most people use different varnishes and mediums when painting with oil paints. These can all have an effect on the drying time of your oils, and it’s worth noting that those which will most likely help to speed up the drying process are Winsor and Newton's Liquin Original and Liquin Fine Detail. Visit our blogs for more tips on how to paint like a professional with oil mediums.

    How do you use oil paints? 

    Oil paints have a thicker consistency than other types of paint which can create stunning textures in your paintings. When using oil paints, we recommend using a stiff brush, preferably made from hog hair, as firm bristles will make it easier to control the colour. 

    Before putting brush to canvas, tubes of oil paint need to be squeezed onto a palette and mixed with a palette knife to make different colours. Because of this, oil paints are known to be the most versatile medium. You can add solvents during this stage to thin your paints, making them last longer. Palette knives, such as this multipack from RGM, can also be used to apply paint to canvas to create interesting textures.

    One thing to really consider is the notoriously long drying time of oil paints. This means that you can go on painting for hours with one layer of paint, however building up your composition will take time. You can use varnishes and mediums to manipulate drying times but we also suggest painting in thin layers so that they can be built upon. The thicker the paint, the longer it will take to dry. When all layers are dry, it is recommended to add a varnish to your canvas to give it a nice sheen and make your painting last.

    How do you clean an oil painting?

    It is natural for oil paintings to get dusty and a little faded over time hanging or sitting around the house. The first thing to know is not to clean your paintings too much - the more you clean them, the higher the risk of flaking or peeling away at the layers on the canvas. New paintings also should not be cleaned as the top layer of paint may not be fully dry and sealed.

    How you clean an oil painting and what materials you use will depend on the condition of the painting itself. Oil paints can sometimes become cracked or flake with age, in which case it can be dangerous to clean yourself without damaging further. However, you may only need to dry-clean it, which simply requires the use of a very soft brush. Taking the painting in stages, carefully remove dust and grime from the surface of the canvas. It is important to take one's time with this as to not cause any more long-lasting damage to the canvas. 

    You can also use small amounts of water to clean the surface of the oils, also using a soft haired brush. Remember to test the surface with a small amount to ensure the water wont remove any paint. Then use long, smooth, careful strokes of the brush with a light dusting of water to clear the surface. If you want to, you can also use a specialised oil-painting cleaner, such as C.R.P. Picture Cleaner, to clean, revive and preserve your painting.

    What are the best oil paints?  

    There are a lot of factors to consider when choosing which oil paint is best for you: cost, texture, pigment to name just a few. Below are some of the great oil paint brands we stock here at Cowling & Wilcox:

    • Winsor & Newton: With 5 oil paint ranges for every purpose, Winsor & Newton can be found in just about every art shop. Their Winton Oil Colour range offers great colour pigment and texture for an affordable price, great if you’re just starting out in the world of oil paints.

    • Daler-Rowney: Traditionally crafted Daler-Rowney Georgian oils are another affordable option for students or beginners. Their brilliant colour pigments are consistent from wet to dry and require very little medium, making them an easy choice for acrylic users.

    • Schmincke: Another quality paint for an affordable price, Schmincke lends itself easily to brushes or knives. It’s smooth consistency allows for easy mixing and blending and is great for those using large quantities of paint.

    • Michael Harding: This is a great choice if colour pigment is your highest priority. While the price may be slightly higher than other options, the investment in Michael Harding oils is worth it to see your paint go further without any colour fading from the canvas. Check out our blog about the history and benefits to using Michael Harding paints.

    • Bob Ross: The unique, stiffer consistency of Bob Ross paints lend themselves perfectly for his iconic wet-on-wet painting technique. The selection packs also make for a great starter for new oil-painters.

  • Spray Paints

    Spray paint is a highly versatile medium and can be used in any number of artistic creations. Equally useful for working on wood, concrete and even canvas, spray paint is a modern medium within fine art and urban art. Back in the 1980s, spray paint art broke out in Mexico City, Mexico, and has quickly spread across the globe and resonates with creative souls the world over. Discover our range of Liquitex, Marabu and Montana spray paints. 

  • Watercolour Paints

    We offer the best watercolour paints from leading art brands, including Winsor & Newton, Daler-Rowney and Schmincke. Our collection includes assorted watercolour paints ranging from 45 half pan colours to single watercolour paint tubes. There is a great deal of choice in watercolour palettes and we have products suited to various budgets. With the best prices for watercolour paints in tubes and pans online, you can be sure you'll get the best deal when shopping with us. Our range includes artists quality professional watercolour paints and a number of watercolour paint sets that are perfect for beginners. You can also explore our range of watercolour paper and pads and watercolour brushes.

    What are watercolour paints?

    Watercolour paints are comprised of a dry pigment which is mixed with a binder of sorts (normally gum arabic). When the dry pigment is mixed with water, watercolours come to life in fluid form using a brush. Watercolours can be applied to a number of surfaces, though the best to use with watercolour paints is either a good watercolour paper or even vellum. 

    Watercolour paints are most commonly available in half pans, but are also readily available and popular in watercolour paint sets with tubes. If you prefer to use watercolour paints in tubes, we stock a number of products, including Winsor & Newton Professional Watercolour Tubes and Schmincke Horadam Aquarell Watercolour Tubes. If you’ve never painted with watercolour tubes before but are keen to try, it’s worth noting that it’s slightly different than working with half pans. This is because with half pans, the pigment is in dry form, whereas tubed watercolour paint is already in liquid form. This means you don’t have to mix with water in the same way, though you should always lubricate your brush with water. However, to create different watercolour painting effects like washes, you’ll still want to manipulate the level of your paint’s transparency by mixing with more (or less) water. 

    How do you use watercolour paints?

    There are many different and popular ways to use watercolour paints, but there are very few wrong ways. The basic method of painting with watercolours is simply working with your paint, water, and a variety of brushes to create your desired effects. Despite the many different techniques and approaches for working with watercolours, the actual approach used by artists vary only slightly between beginner painters and professional artists. This approach to working with watercolours consists of perhaps a variation of a very basic principle outlined below. 

    When it comes to working with watercolours, we always recommend soft, natural bristle brushes as they are capable of absorbing and holding more pigment and water. You’ll also need a fresh and clean water supply, thick watercolour paper, and a good palette with plenty of room for mixing your paints, creating washes and a variety of hues. You can read our blog to find out more information on the best brushes to use with watercolour.

    There are many different methods and ways to experiment with watercolour paints. To find out more, read our blog for 5 watercolour painting techniques to try.

    What surface is best for watercolour painting?

    The best medium for using watercolour paints is traditionally watercolour paper. Watercolour paper, such as this Professional Watercolour Block, strikes the perfect balance of being absorbent of watercolour pigments while also providing the stability that this water-dependent medium requires. There are several different weights, sizes, and types of watercolour paper and pads, so this is a personal choice for you to make depending on your art style, experience, and budget.

    Can you use watercolour paint on canvas?

    Many people wonder about the best surfaces for working with watercolours and want to know if it’s possible to paint on canvas with their favourite medium. The simple answer is yes, you can paint on canvas using watercolours, however it’s not possible to do without altering the surface of the canvas quite significantly. 

    Watercolour is a unique medium, and the benefit of painting on the more traditional surface of watercolour paper is that it absorbs watercolour paint. This absorption is what essentially fixes the medium to the surface. The very nature of canvas, however, is the complete opposite of this. Most artists who paint on canvas work with oils and acrylics, and these mediums function very differently from watercolour. Instead of being absorbed, oil or acrylic paint sits on the surface of a canvas. 

    As such, any canvas that is sold as a watercolour canvas will have been modified so that the surface is designed to absorb the watercolour paint. Some artists prefer to buy a watercolour canvas board, while others prefer to use a watercolour medium to prep their own canvas. If you want to find out more about how to experiment with watercolour mediums, check out our blog.

    How to preserve watercolour paintings

    Watercolour paintings vary from bold and bright to delicate and layered. The last thing any artist wants is for their watercolour creations to get damaged or fade overtime. This is why it’s important to take a few steps toward preserving your watercolour paintings, which is simple to do. 

    Unlike canvas, paper is much more susceptible to environmental damage. This alone means that watercolour paintings tend to be more fragile than perhaps an oil or acrylic creation. One of the best precautions you can take for protecting your watercolour paintings is to spray it with a fixative, like Schmincke Watercolour Fixative when it is completely finished and totally dry. Your final step would be to frame your watercolour painting under glass, as this will protect it from the elements most effectively. 

    Best Watercolour Paint Brands

    The brand of watercolour paint you choose will depend on the purpose of your art, your experience level, and your budget. As such, we recommend doing your own research into professional watercolour paints and those that are ideal for part time painters, beginners, or art students. The selection of watercolour paint sets, pans, and tubes at Cowling & Wilcox is sure to have the right quality and affordable option for you, from Toy Color to professional watercolour brands like Daler Rowney, Winsor Newton, and Royal & Langnickel.

  • Paint Sets

    Explore our range of fantastic paint sets, all at discount prices! Whether you're a fan of oil, acrylic, watercolour or gouache paints, we're sure to have something you'll love. Enjoy some big savings on popular brands such as Winsor & Newton, Daler-Rowney and more...

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We’re proud to be able to bring you the finest quality paints, whether you’re an experienced artist or an aspiring novice. Whatever your chosen medium, we’ve got you covered – from the smoothest oil paints to the chunkiest acrylics and the most vibrant watercolours. Our wide selection of leading brands such as Schmincke and Winsor & Newton gives you an extensive choice over finding the perfect paint to create your next piece of artwork with. We also offer a wide range of paint sets that serve as superb gifts for artists of all ages, or as the perfect starter kit for painters looking for the essentials. Finish your masterpiece off with one of our many mediums and varnishes. Whether you’re looking to extend the usability of your paint or simply to protect and preserve your artwork, we’ve got you covered. We also stock a fantastic range of brushes, canvas and easels to help you create your next painting masterpiece.

What different types of artists paints are there?

The 4 most popular types of artists paint are the following:

  • Watercolour paints - Watercolours are usually made of dry pigment and a type of binder. These are best used with plenty of water and soft brushes.

  • Oil paints - These paints have a much thicker consistency than other paints and can create stunning textures in your art. We recommend using a stiff-bristled brush and painting on a canvas with oils.

  • Acrylic paints - This is a popular painting medium for artists of all levels. The consistency can be altered for different effects using mediums and thinners, and you can even paint on a variety of surfaces.

  • Gouache paints - Gouache is a vibrant and versatile medium to use, especially loved by illustrators and designers. For lovers of watercolour looking for more layers and vibrancy, Gouache is perfect.

How do I decide what paint to use?

The paint you decide to use is a very personal decision and depends entirely upon your personal preference. Each type has distinct characteristics that will factor into your choice. 

  • Space - How much space you have should be considered, as acrylics and oils are best used on a canvas and easel.

  • Cost - Budget is also a huge factor - though there are affordable options for most types of paint, if you have a smaller budget, watercolours might be a good choice as they are simple to use with little additional equipment required.

  • Style - You should also consider what type of compositions you are looking to create. Acrylic and oil paints are fast-drying, meaning they can be layered on top of one another to create deeper compositions, as can Gouache paint

What paint do professional artists use?

There is no single type of paint that is used by professional artists. Their styles and preferences dictate what type of paint they choose to use. Some artists choose a combination of paints or combine a type of paint with collage or pencil drawings. Our blog includes many Artist Features from a range of artists and styles to inspire you.

What is the best type of paint for a beginner to use?

Even for a beginner, the type of paint you use is a personal choice. How much time and money you want to invest in your paints and materials should be thought about before making any purchases. If this will be a part-time hobby, you may want to go for something more cost-effective and easy-to-use, such as acrylic paint. Acrylic paint is one of the most popular mediums among beginners and professionals alike, as you can develop your skill and your style further by adjusting the consistency of your paints with mediums and thinners.