James Groves, art supply manufacturer and artist

I use several products manufactured by James Groves.  Jim specializes in historical painting mediums and ingredients.  I’ve tried almost all of his products and they are unfailingly excellent–world class.  I use his 19th Century Copal Oil varnish and Siccatif Courtrai every day.  Both ingredients are staples in my practice.  By itself, the copal varnish is too thick so I thin it with turpentine 1:3.  Both products are pictured here.

Groves' Siccatif de Courtrai and Copal Oil Varnish

Groves’ Siccatif de Courtrai and Copal Oil Varnish

Jim knows what he is doing.  As a painter, he provides products he uses himself as well as other products.  What’s unusual is that even the products he doesn’t use himself are excellently made.  Obviously, he understands the needs of painters, his ingredients’ properties, as well as sound manufacturing practices.  Many of his products are hard, not to say dangerous, to manufacture.  At a time when many manufacturers cut costs by substituting inferior ingredients, Grove’s products stand out for their uncompromising quality.  His prices, while certainly not cheap, are worth every penny.

Jim, like many researchers of historical mediums, is fascinated by thick, gloppy, or jelly-like mediums.  I’ve no interest in those myself (and have a hard time understanding the fascination they possess), but luckily he continues to provide the many materials that appeal to artists like me.

His website wasn’t updated for some time and I began to worry that he might have health issues.  But he’s recently updated his gallery and his current work is his strongest yet.  Keep painting, Jim, and keep making your great materials!

  1 comment for “James Groves, art supply manufacturer and artist

  1. Joe Brann
    May 3, 2018 at 3:21 pm

    He is the King Varnish Maker of all time!

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