Sunday, November 21, 2010

Mixing your own pure pigment oil paint

So, I haven't had much time to paint lately.  Have been working lots.  But, I have had a private commission I've been working on and also, have been researching and putting together some information on making paint.

I've often been curious about mixing my own oils from dry pigment but never delved into it.  I've seen a few other artists that have posted some about the subject, but I have learned most from my own research.  Probably what really peaked my interest was the great information found on "Dick Blick's" website about paint pigments and what each manufacturers names and pigments really were.  The second bit of inspiration was Marc Dallesio's painting blog, where as he talks about mixing paint from pigments as well as making his own painting mediums as classical artists did.  I have collected enough materials to experience the mixing of my own pure pigment paint, and here are a few photos and bit of description of each. I hope to continue this subject as a series of small informative articles as I learn and experience what it takes to mix your own paint like the old masters used to.

Please keep in mind that many pigments are quite toxic, and you should only try this while exercising safety and the proper protection for yourselves.  Always wear a dust mask and wear rubber gloves, and read the warning labels!!!!!

Some materials to start................
You'll need, of course some dry pigment, here I have chosen "Cadmium Orange Deep" from Sinopia.  You'll also need a surface to mix on, such as glass or marble, a muller( that big glass thing) some cold pressed linseed or walnut oil, some pallet knives and empty paint tubes to store your mixed paint in.

Carefully pour out approximately 30 grams of pigment, that jar you see above is 100 g.
Next make a little pocket in the middle, like putting gravy in your mashed potatoes.  Then add just a bit of oil, maybe a teaspoon to start, you'll have to add some as you mix it up to turn it into a paste like viscosity like peanut butter.  I actually ended up adding about  four times this much to get it to the consistency in the next photo.

This is what the mixture looks like after mixing the oil and pigment to form a paste.
Notice there is still some dry pigment to be mixed.

Now gather your pigment up into a nice pile and start to grind the pigment and oil together with the muller, this photo is about 10 revolutions with the muller.  You will notice that the pigment starts to get more liquidy as you grind it.

After a few more revolutions with the muller the paint really starts to get runny, at this point you'll want to add more pigment.

Here I've added more dry piment to thicken up the consistency and force more pigment into the oil.  What I'm after here is more like the lean paint of Old Holland paints.
This is about how your paint should look, notice that it is not runny, and there is not an oilyness look to it. I mixed about the same amount more so I could fill up a tube of about 37 to 40 ml.

Both of these piles of paint filled up my tube quite nicely.

So, here is my first tube of pure pigment oil paint.
I'll be back with more of this series soon.