Monday, February 09, 2015

Grinding pigment and handmade oil paint

 "Perch on a Golden Pear"  14"14"  oil/panel

It's been quite a while since I last checked in, I'm sorry to neglect my blog.  Usually when things get quiet over here I am actually working harder than ever and need time to organize my thoughts before sharing my latest efforts in painting.  It's been a very busy time and all the while I've been researching new materials and testing different methods in oil painting.  I have also been working on many new paintings, I will share more and have news about my future solo show very soon!

As for trying new art materials, I recently decided to make my own oil paint.  In my never ending quest to learn about oil painting, I began to learn more about mediums, oils, fillers and extenders and how each work in conjunction with one another to produce certain qualities in oil paint that would not be present otherwise.  There are so many combinations for so many different techniques, it can get a little overwhelming to figure it all out.  I kept running across information about adding calcite as an extender to oil paint, it creates a beautiful thixotropic paint that is long and levels out nicely after the brushstroke.  It is also like a colorless pigment in that you can add it to your oil paint w/out harming the ratio of pigment to oil.  

I already had a plethora of dry pigments in my studio, from working with egg tempera.  I decided to grind my pigment with linseed and Velazquez medium from Natural Pigments.  The medium is calcite finely ground in a bodied linseed oil and it can be mixed directly with paint from the tube or used when grinding your own pigment as an extender.

 my warm light mixture

Grinding the pigments took a couple days to do, each tube took a while to mix to a creamy smooth consistency. It was completely worth the time and effort!  The paint is unlike any tube paint I've ever used before, thick but luscious and smooths out to a lovely finish under a soft brush.  This is exactly what I was hoping for in my painting.  Plus I can thin the paint with medium to use in glazing.  The calcite adds a bit of texture and transparency to the paint, which I also really like.  The added transparency is an added bonus in my layering technique for luminous color.   It's been fun getting to know the properties of the oil paint and applying it in my painting.