About Us

Beautiful Paints Since 1988

R&F Handmade Paints was established in 1988. What began as a painter’s solo endeavor has evolved into a multi-faceted paint company that is material-focused and artist-driven. Our history or story is one that finds a singular material at the nucleus, but our commitment to you, the artist, is where we find our direction.

History of R&F

This year marks the 29th anniversary of R&F Handmade Paints. What began as a painter’s solo endeavor has evolved into a multi-faceted paint company that is material-focused and artist-driven.

R&F’s Founder Richard Frumess began making encaustic paint as a painter simply to support his own artistic practice and to ensure that ready-made encaustic was kept in production at a time when there were no commercial manufacturers. During the first year Richard produced encaustic paint as R&F Encaustics. While he struggled to start-up the business, asking pigment suppliers for double samples and also working a second job, the seed was firmly planted. This first year in business Richard sold a line of 39 colors including five “pearlescents” to art retailers in New York City as well as Denver, CO and internationally in Paris.

Paintmaking at R&F

We are often asked, what distinguishes the handmade product from its mass produced counterpart? "Handmade" does not mean that we grind our paint with slab and muller and shape it with our hands. What makes our products handmade is the intensive labor involved in making a paint solely from its base ingredients of pigment and medium.

Our concern is that the paint retains the brightness of vivid colors and the subtle interplay of top tones and bottom tones of translucent colors. This is especially true of our mixes. Nearly half of all our colors are mixes, some of them involving as many as 5 or 6 different pigments.This is a rarity in paint lines. Mixed colors are a lot of work. They must be carefully formulated and milled to prevent them from becoming muddy. And they must be matched to maintain uniformity from batch to batch. We wouldn't go through all this effort if there weren't a rich aesthetic value to it. The reward is in the endless variety of tones that can be created with different working of these colors: brown undertones not seen in the top tones of our neutral greys, a lemony yellow when our sap green is extended out, the earthy yellowishness underneath the mossy green of our green earth, or the sharp blue undertone of our somber Courbet green.

Tour of R&F Handmade Paints

We are not an ordinary company and with one visit to us you will know why. Tour our light-filled factory where we manufacture our paints, our state-of-the-art workshop facility where we host both Encaustic and Pigment Stick Workshops, and our Gallery which showcases both local and international artists using oil and encaustic as their core mediums.

When you arrive at 84 Ten Broeck Avenue you will notice we sit directly adjacent to the railroad tracks in midtown Kingston. Our factory was built by the Standard Oil Company in the late 19th century and was occupied by different companies for over a century. By 2005 R&F had outgrown our previous space on Broadway and fortuitously found that the Standard Oil Building presented us with the opportunity to fit our unique companies needs for space while creating an environment with the artist in mind. Drop ceilings were ripped out, the space was reconfigured, new ventilation, heating and air conditioning units were installed and when the dust settled much of the original structure of the building had been opened up and revealed. After this full renovation we reopened the doors at 84 Ten Broeck Avenue in February 2006.

If you are in the area feel free to stop in and visit us. We are open Monday through Friday from 9am-5pm and on Saturday from 10am-5pm. If you would like to bring a group please call us at 1-800-206-8088.