What "starving artist" life would be complete without scrounging around for materials. I've painted on cardboard, stretched table cloths, and have used oil paints that happened to be on sale. Of course I would prefer to use Old Holland oils; who wouldn't? At $40 a tube, I could also put monthly payments into a new F-150 for the amount it would cost me to paint. That being said, if you know your colour index names, you can at least buy real cadmiums, and avoid fugitive/fading colours, even if you can't afford the best. On any tube of paint there should be a code that looks like this: PO 20. That is the colour index name for real cadmium orange (Pigment Orange 20). Sure, the brand(s) I have isn't great, and there are undoubtedly some fillers in there, but at least it won't fade. Also, you can use it to identify pigments that might be named differently. I recently started using Quinacridone Violet, or PV 19, yet I think some companies use a different word on the tube. On the other hand, I've never used top notch paint, so the old saying "what you don't know won't hurt you" also applies.