Inspiration from the Masters

I started making oil colours back in 1982 while I was studying Fine Art. I had always been inspired by Rembrandt’s paintings in the National Gallery and I wanted to try and recreate his paint effects and glorious colours in my own work.

If at first you don’t succeed...

Not surprisingly, after a number of aborted attempts, I realised something was missing. It wasn’t just his genius that I lacked but the actual materials I was using. They would not behave in the same way as the paint in his work, and the colours had a totally different appearance.

My quest began. I was determined to get what I needed – oil paint that was of the same quality and consistency as that used by the Old Masters. After a number of months doing intensive research I turned my flat into a small oil paint factory.

Blue pigment powder
Michael Harding mixing paint Michael Harding mixing paint

Hitting Our Stride

There were various experiments before I hit on the right consistency and then gradually the hard work began to pay off, I produced my first paints and suddenly found myself in business. Almost immediately I started supplying the Royal College of Art and the Victoria and Albert Museum. Word spread and demand for my paint grew at an alarming rate.

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I still make my own paint and am still excited by the process, the materials and the colours. Artists now write to me from all over the world and we discuss colours, techniques, problems and recipes. That dialogue is very important to me so that you can share their views, their ideas and the valuable information that has been generated. Their testimonials say more about my paint than I ever could, and besides I’d rather you heard it from “the horse’s mouth!”

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