Review: Charvin Fine Oils

I bought some cerulean blue from Charvin. Actually, Charvin doesn’t produce a true cerulean blue but something they call ‘cerulean blue hue.’ Charvin produces two lines of paints: Fine, and Extra Fine. This review is about the ‘Fine’ line.

I don’t know what Charvin thinks cerulean blue is, but their cerulean blue hue is nothing like any cerulean I’ve seen before. This photo shows two straight-from-the-tube examples of cerulean blue; Winsor Newton on the left; Charvin on the right. I use cerulean blue a lot–I go through a lot of the paint. I’ve used tubes of this important color from almost every manufacturer. Winsor Newton is my go-to choice because it’s decent paint that is reasonably priced.  I’ve seen other cerulean blues that are darker or more green, but never seen one this light or so un-cerulean.  It’s useless as cerulean blue. Surprisingly, it’s an OK replacement for royal blue.


Cerulean blue: Winsor Newton on the left; Charvin on the right

Charvin Fine oils is a decent low-end paint. I rate it close to Rembrandt, which is a high-end student grade paint. Its selection of colors reminds me of color charts for interior paints, which are marketed for amateurs with names like Caribbean Blue Light or Light Rosace.  Its cheap price is its best quality.

If you’re interested in Charvin Fine oils, make sure you test drive the colors or you might get an unwelcome surprise.

I’ve updated my Oil Paint Brands reference.

  4 comments for “Review: Charvin Fine Oils

  1. Interesting. Did you do a value you study in comparison. Its hard to tell from the photo, but it could just be a heavy pigment load. I just started looking into charvin heard some good and things and I am looking forward to trying it.
    Despite the pigment not being desired, how was its workability?

  2. Winsor Newton makes good paint and their sample in the photo is well pigmented. Not as dense as Old Holland but very good. The Chavrin is poorly pigmented besides being un-cerulean-like. The best thing about it is the price. I didn’t buy an assortment of the Chavrin to test, so keep that in mind. Because Chavrin does not make a lead-white, I probably will never buy another tube.

  3. I use Charvin Extra Fine Acrylics after trying just about every brand out there. I’m not sure how you’d tender these as “low end” as they are certainly not. They’re on the expensive side and are lush! Gorgeous colors which dry the same as wet. The Acrylics when dry, have an oil look to them. They blend well. The colors have a solid load to them of color and are like butter when painting. I’ve tried to find better up to $20 a tube of other brands but no other brand so far brings the full satisfaction that I obtain in my paintings using Charvin Extra Fine Acrylics. Best prices can be found at Jerry’s Artarama. You’ll like these! I’m very picky about my paint and the colors-I’m very satisfied both with the paint and the colors from Charvin.

  4. This review is for Charvin oils–not acrylics. I’ve never used their acrylic paints. As I do not use acrylics, it’s doubtful that I will ever try their acrylic line.

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