EXPERIMENTING WITH MAKING MY PAINTING LIFE FULLY ARCHIVAL, YET SOLVENT-FREE

HOW TO MAKE YOUR PAINTING LIFE SOLVENT-FREE, YET EXCEPTIONALLY ARCHIVAL, JUST LIKE REMBRANDT, VELASQUEZ, RUBENS, AND OTHER OLD MASTERS DID

Last week, I experimented with making my own stand oil (Stage 1) by cleaning the mucilage out of it first, from the directions given in Louis Velasquez’s book. My goal is to put it in the sun (Stage 2) per his instructions to make a faster-drying oil than can be purchased at art supply stores. The kind you buy is overheated and, as a result, becomes slow-drying.

Here is a drastic consolidation of a most information-packed and well-researched book by Louis Velasquez, an esteemed artist and materials researcher.  He is a treasure—unselfish, helpful, and dedicated to authenticity and truth with little regard for how much money he pockets.  The book is dense with information, so I have made its most salient points more accessible in this greatly abbreviated synopsis.  He provides copius amounts of free information on his website, and you can order the very reasonably priced book from Louis Velasquez’s website at http://www.calcitesunoil.com to begin your solvent-free, OM archival-quality painting life.

VelasquezBookCover

Isolating the Support, Primers

The Old Masters isolated the absorbent wood with a glue size before they applied the gesso, because wood is porous and absorbs water like a sponge.  And you can’t apply gesso directly on unsized wood because it is made with PVA which just soaks into the wood.  Experiments show that acrylic gesso is very absorbent and needs to be sealed before we paint on it.

There are three types of sizes that will isolate and seal the acrylic gesso so that it won’t suck the oil out of the paint.  They are: skim milk, PVA, and acrylic varnish.  But only one of them will ALSO isolate and seal the wood so that it won’t absorb water, and that is the acrylic varnish.  All this time many of us have been lead to believe that we should use a coat of PVA glue to isolate the wood first, before we apply the gesso.  But research shows that it DOES NOT WORK!   The wood remains absorbent in spite of the PVA, so it sucks the water out of the gesso, and our unsealed gesso sucks the oil out of our paint (aka, the “suede effect”)!

So, the bottom line to protect the layers and keep the paint from sinking in is this:
1) Paint the wood with one coat of acrylic varnish (I bought matte–this is not the same as acrylic matte medium). After it dries,
2) apply the gesso (1-3-coats), then after the gesso dries thoroughly,
3) quickly apply a thin coat of PVA.  It dries fast, so you can’t fuss with it–just get it on as quickly as possible.

How to Make Superior Linseed/Stand/Sun Oil

Cleanse the Oil

Buy unadulterated, unrefined cold-pressed flaxseed oil in the health food store cold case.   Solgar Earth Source Organic Flaxseed Oil is a very pure brand, but always check the ingredients on whatever brand you buy to make sure nothing has been added, such as vitamin E, etc.

The Old Masters knew it was important to remove mucilage and particulates from the unrefined oil before making Stand/Sun Oil.  Here is a way to combine the process:

Step 1:  Place water and oil in the sun—do not shake together

For this step, you will need:

1. A white opaque glass container—Pyrex works well

2. A clear glass lid if you are expecting rain (Pyrex baking dishes often come with a lid)

3. Rigid screening enough to cover your dish

4. Ant powder (depending on your location–I couldn’t believe how much ants like to eat oil!)

  1.  Place oil 1” deep in white opaque glass container, with clear glass lid with spacers for air circulation.  The lid is only necessary if there is danger of moisture.
  2. SLOWLY add 2 times the amount of distilled water to the oil.  Water is polar and pulls certain substances like a magnet, creating a “water sediment trap” which will drop below the oil.  DO NOT SHAKE or agitate.
  3. Lay a piece of rigid screening over the top to keep out larger flies, bees, gnats, ants, and particles.  Ants are a big problem in my area, so I sprinkle a solid line of ant powder around the base of my dish, a couple of inches away (no need to ask how I learned this).
  4. Sit oil and water in direct summer sun and air for at least 3-6 days and nights.  DO NOT STIR the oil and water AT ALL.  Within 2 days, you will see the mucilage drop from the oil and rest on the water below.  Do not repeat any of the above steps or the mucilage will not separate.

Step 2:  Decant the clean oil with a ladle and dry filter it

Don’t become impatient with this step–it takes time for the oil to drip through filters.

For this step, you will need:

1. Psyllium

2. A broom straw or toothpick

3. 3 jars

4. A wide spoon

5. collander

6. bowl

a.  After 3-6 days outdoors, it is normal to see detritus in the oil and it will be a noticeably lighter color.

b.  Sprinkle a thin layer of dry psyllium onto the oil (Don’t use too much! I did, as you can see how much this fine powder expands).  It will float.  Use a toothpick, weed or straw from a broom and by light gentle surface agitation of the floating husk, it will sink and lock the mucilage as the psyllium expands.  This holds mucilage firm for the removal of clean oil. If you have sprinkled the psyllium somewhat evenly, surface agitation probably won’t even be necessary.

c.  Do 2 separate decantings:

      1st)  Use a wide spoon to skim off clear oil, NO WATER. Keep this oil separate from the next decanting.

      2nd)  In a separate jar, do the same thing as before, only this time you will probably get some of the water mixed in. Add psyllium again to remove the water.

d.  Both decantings need to be filtered a final time with a funnel using a coffee or cotton ball filter.  The cotton seems to work better and faster–the coffee filter is too fine.  It takes a couple of hours to completely drain and it should be clear with no water; if not, do it again. Also, drain the psyllium separately in a colander over a bowl for a couple of days—you’ll recover lots of good oil.

Here are some photos to give you an idea of what to expect:

StandOilFiltering

Still Filtering, Flaxseed Oil, Psyllium Powder, Freshly Cleaned Linseed Oil

StandOilFilteringScreenPsyllium

Screening Used in Early Filtering of Bugs, Psyllium, etc.

StandOilDrainingLeftoverPsyllium

Draining Remaining Oil from Leftover Psyllium

StandOilPsylliumTexture

Closer Look at Psyllium Texture

Stage 2, coming soon, will encompass how to make the stand oil per Louis Velasquez’ instructions.

The Arizona Renaissance Art Guild does one-week workshop intensives three times per year, and in addition, we get together to paint all day on the third Saturday of every month.  If you are in the Phoenix Metro area and are interested in finding out more or possibly joining our colony, please let me know through this blog.  ~Marsha

FRANK COVINO WORKSHOP ANNOUNCEMENT!

I know how ridiculously short notice this is, as I didn’t think to use my blog venue to get the word out, but Maestro Frank Covino, my long-time teacher and mentor, is flying to Phoenix from Vermont to teach our one-week workshop. The cost is $675 for five days of the most intense, informative hard work you will ever LOVE! I wrote  about him in earlier posts (See March 5, 8, and 9).

If you are in the Phoenix Metro area and would like to join our small group (the Arizona Renaissance Art Guild) for this workshop, contact me ASAP to reserve your space. As I have said in earlier posts, you will learn more from Frank in one week than in probably all the other workshops you have ever had, put together. Also, our group of artists are extremely friendly and helpful to newcomers–no shyness here–and we do it all with good heart and encouragement. We are all in varying degrees of progress, so don’t feel intimidated and know that none of us will ever try to make you feel that way. Come to the workshop with an open mind, leave your preconceptions at the door, and you will be amazed at what you will accomplish!

Following is our materials list that presumes you are new to painting.

Materials for board preparation and graphing:

Masonite board

renaissance gesso

Golden acrylic matte medium

metal yardstick and ruler

clear 18” triangle

acetate

extra fine and fine Sharpies

General’s charcoal pencils

photo of Old Master painting to work from, 8”x10” one color, one grayscale, glossy photo paper

Materials for sketching and charcoal:

grayscale 8”x10” photo

General’s charcoal pencils

vine charcoal

blending stumps (tortillions)

Exacto knife

India ink and liner sable brush

Drawing and Painting Materials:

pens/pencils

ultra-fine permanent markers, black, blue, green, red

acetate pad

charcoal pencils

vine charcoal

blending stumps

metal yardstick

metal 18” ruler

transparent triangle, 18”

kneaded eraser

India ink

spray workable fixative

Exacto knife

clear tape

artist’s white tape

Golden acrylic matte medium

Masonite or hardwood board

sandpaper very rough #40-60, very smooth #100-200

natural sponge

Knox Gelatin

paint roller for application of gesso

retouch varnish

Liquin

turpentine for brush cleaning

olive oil for brushes, cleaning hands, oiling palette

leak proof turpentine container

easel

plastic wrap

blue paper towels

mahl stick

notebook

palette knives

**Renaissance Gesso

**Covino Controlled Palette

**Covino Medium

Brushes:

bright sable #2, 4, 10

flat bristle #2, 4, 10

round sable #1, 8

round bristle #0, 8

mongoose flat #6

mongoose round #0

mongoose filbert #4, 8

Paint:

*titanium white

*flake white

ivory black

mars black

chromium oxide green

pthalo blue

cadmium yellow light

yellow ochre

raw sienna

raw umber

cadmium orange

burnt sienna

burnt umber

cadmium red light

alizarin crimson permanent

cobalt violet

ultramarine violet

French ultramarine blue

cobalt blue

cerulean blue

viridian green

Shiva cadmium green

Grumbacher pthalo yellow green

Winsor and Newton Winsor orange

Indian yellow

napthol red light

That’s all–enough, right? We hold the workshop in a museum so, once we get set up, we don’t have to pick up our stuff all week–we just lock it up and leave it all there until the next morning.  Also, everyone has their own large 6′ table and the space of a dance hall, so you can dance, or go back 30 feet and walk up on your painting to check your progress.

Needless to say, I will not be posting next week, but I’ll be back ASAP after the workshop.

PIGMENTS AND ASTM STANDARDS

ASTM Certification of 1947

ASTM Certification of 1947 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am  rather obsessed by the quality of the materials I put into my paintings from the surface, up, for a number of reasons–not the least of which is I want them to be around l-o-o-o-ong after I’m gone. Also, when someone hires me to do a job, I want to make sure it is the best I can give–I feel I owe that to people placing their trust in me.

ASTM stands for the American Society for Testing and Materials and it is the organization that helps to internationally standardize a very large number of materials including paint. The “P” stands for “pigment” and the letter(s) stand for R-red, Y-yellow, B-blue, Br-brown, and so on. The numbers after the letters indicate the specific pigment. This is why you will find that the “PR83” (a very impermanent but much-loved pigment) on your paint tubes means “Pigment Red Alizarin Crimson” in the ASTM standard, no matter what brand of paint.

But you can’t go by the name companies put on the face of their tubes–that is just a label and an oftentimes misleading one.  For example, Utrecht has an oil paint labeled “Titanium White” but in checking the label closely, we find it is NOT just titanium white (PW6), but has zinc white (PW4) in it as well. PW4 has undergone extensive study at the Smithsonian Institute and they have determined it will make your paintings crack over time.  When I learned this, I checked all the tubes in my paintbox and got rid of the ones that had zinc white in them.

Here is what I’ve gathered in my research:

PIGMENT LIST

(* Do Not Use)

 REDS:

Cadmium Red PR 108 ASTM  l (ranges scarlet to maroon, slow drier, hard, flexible, use CP)

Pyrrole Red PR 254 ASTM  l (equal to Cads for permanence. Recommend replacing more poorly performing Napthols, Perylenes, and Anthraquinones with Pyrroles where similar shades exist. Pyrroles are pigments to trust. From auto industry research.)

Pyrrole Alizarin PR 264 ASTM l (BEST replacement for alizarin crimson; gorgeous undertone)

*Alizarin Crimson PR 83 ASTM l l l (brittle, cracks, darkens, too impermanent for enduring art)

*Rose Madder NR 9 ASTM  l l (textile dye, weak color)

Venetian Red PR 101 ASTM  l  aka English Red, Light Red, Red Oxide, Indian Red, Mars Red, Mars Violet, Caput Mortuum (Genuine Venetian Red from the quarry where Titian obtained his supplies is still available from Blockx.)

Quinacridone Magenta PR 122 ASTM l (bright blue-red, transparent, strong, very recommended)

Quinacridone Red, Quinacridone Violet PV 19 ASTM  l (true reds to lipstick pinks, deep rose to red-violets)

Quinacridone Red Y  PR 192  ASTM  l (bright, clean color, high lightfastness & tinting strength)

Quinacridone Scarlet  PR 207  ASTM  l (high performance pigment due to lightfastness)

Napthols fade in tints. Even those classed as ASTM 1 barely scrape in. Noticeably less light fast.  There are other reds that are far superior.

*Napthol Red F4HR  PR 7  aka Napthol AS-TR  ASTM  l  (beautiful bluish-red but fades)

*Napthol Red FG  PR 119  ASTM  l (clean, bright yellowish-red)

*Napthol Red HF3S  PR 188  ASTM  l (very pure yellowish-red)

*Napthol  ITR  PR 5  aka Napthol Carmine FB  ASTM  l l (deep crimson red)

*Napthatol AS-OL PR 9 aka Permanent Red FRLL  ASTM  l l (Poor light fastness esp. in tints)

*Napthol AS-OL  PR 14  aka Napthol Bordeaux FGR  ASTM  l l (very dark red)

*Napthol Red AS-D  PR 112  aka Permanent Red FGR, Permanent Carmine ASTM l l

*Napthol Red F5RK  PR 170  aka Napthol Carbamide  ASTM  l l (bright strong bluish-red)

*Napthol Red AS-D PR 17  aka Napthol Red  ASTM  l l l (too impermanent for serious artwork)

*Napthol Red PR 146 aka Napthol Carmine FBB ASTM  l l l  (notice how fading pigments get labeled “permanent”)

Light Red PR 102  ASTM  l (a beautiful, transparent red earth; Cenini gathered it w/his father)

Transparent Red Oxide PR 101 ASTM  l (Beautiful! transparent, redder than burnt sienna)

*Vermillion PR 106  (Poisonous!)

Perinone Red Deep PR 194 ASTM 1 (high performance deep red, recommended)

*Perylene Vermilion PR 123 ASTM l (bright transparent red; ALL perylenes fade in tints)

*Perylene Red BL PR 149 ASTM l (excellent brightness)

*Perylene Red PR 178 ASTM l (excellent lightfastness)

*Perylene Maroon PR 179 ASTM l (excellent lightfastness but lacks brightness)

*Perylene Scarlet PR 190 ASTM l (very good light fastness)

*Anthraquinoid Red PR 177 ASTM l (very transparent, fades in tints)

*Brominated Anthranthrone PR 168 ASTM l l (dull, low-strength tints)

Benzimidazolone Red HFT, aka Benzimidazolone Maroon PR 175 ASTM l (lacks brightness)

*Ultramarine Red PV 15 ASTM l (too pale and weak to be useful)

Permanent Red, aka Thioindigoid Red. PR 88 ASTM l (excellent lightfastness, recommended)

ORANGES:

Cadmium Orange PO 20  ASTM l (get CP grade, otherwise has 15% Barium Sulfate)

Perinone Orange PO 43  ASTM l (perfect alt. to Cadmium Orange if more transparency needed)

Quinacridone Burnt Orange PO 206 ASTM l (beautiful dark reddish, similar to burnt sienna)

Quinacridone Gold PO 48 ASTM l (lacks brightness in tints but excellent light fastness)

YELLOWS:

Mars Yellow aka Yellow Oxide PY 42 ASTM  l (a more pure yellow than the natural ochre)
Yellow Ochre aka Brown Ochre PY 43  ASTM  l (used since the dawn of time, esp. fleshtones)

Cadmium Yellow PY 37  ASTM  l (Although industry accepts up to 15% Barium and/or Lithopone as normal, the Chemically pure Cadmium Sulfide has a cleaner color and is noticeably stronger in tinting strength. The description 99.9% Cadmium Sulfide or the initials CP seen on the label of a few of the best grades of artist’s paint refers to the Chemically Pure Cadmiums.)

*Cadmium Yellow Light PY 35  ASTM  l (Zinc in cadmium zinc sulfide may not be not as stable as the Cadmium component and so the palest lemons are not regarded as light fast as the less light versions. The color is close to being the perfect mixing yellow as it is very close to “primary yellow.” If you use, Chemically Pure—CP— pigment is recommended.)

*Aureolin PY 40 ASTM  l l
Nickel Titanate aka Nickel Yellow or Nickel Titanium Yellow PY 53 ASTM  l (recommended)
*Arylide Yellow PY 65 ASTM  l

*Arylide Yellow GX PY 73  ASTM  l

*Arylide Yellow 5GX PY 74  ASTM  l

*Diarylide Yellow HR70 PY 83  ASTM  l

*Arylide Yellow FGL PY 97 ASTM  l

Nickel Azo Yellow PY 150 ASTM  l (very greenish yellow, excellent light fastness)

Benzimidazolone Yellow H4G PY 151 ASTM l (green-yellow, excellent lightfastness, dull tints)

Nickel Dioxine Yellow PY 153 ASTM  l (a bright yellow, makes dull tints)

Benzimidazolone Yellow H3G PY 154 ASTM  l (excellent light fastness, makes dull tints)

Benzimidazolone Yellow HLR PY 156 ASTM  l (transparent, excellent light fastness, dull tints)

Benzimidazolone Yellow H6G PY 175 ASTM  l (excellent light fastness, dull tints)

*Hansa Yellow Medium aka Arylide Yellow G, Azo Yellow PY 1 ASTM  l l  (Fades in tints.

PY 73 is virtually same color but has better light resistance. Being used less and less. Can bleed.)

*Hansa Yellow Light PY 3 ASTM  l l (transparent, greenish, fades in tints)

*Arylide Yellow 10GX. PY 98 ASTM  l l (bright, greenish, stronger than PY 3)

Anthrapyrimidine Yellow PY 108 ASTM l (transparent,bright,excellent lightfastness, avr.drying)

Flavanthrone Yellow PY 112 ASTM  l  (transparent, reddish, excellent light fastness, avr.drying)

*Zinc Yellow aka Zinc Chromate PY 36 ASTM  l l (Smithsonian says don’t use—it cracks!)

*Strontium Yellow aka Barium Chromate, Lemon Yellow PY 32 ASTM  l l

*Chrome Yellow PY 34 ASTM  l l (quickly discolors, darkens, poisonous, impermanent, avoid)

Naples Yellow aka Antimony Yellow PY 41 ASTM  l (Can get from Kremers. Greenish to pinkish pale. Tubes are often mixed white,ochre,red.Genuine pigment excellent, permanent;lead)

Isoindolone Yellow R PY 110 ASTM 1 (exceptional bright reddish, excellent tinting strength)

*Kings Yellow aka Orpiment PY 39 ASTM  l l  (Arsenic! Impermanent and poisonous)

*Massicot PY 46 ASTM  l l (poisonous, quite impermanent)

*Gamboge NY 24 ASTM  l l (golden glazing yellow, impermanent, replaced by Aureolin)

*Quercitron Lake NY 9 ASTM  l l

*Saffron NY 6 ASTM  l l (poor lightfastness, used in food prep.)

*Turmeric NY 3 ASTM  l l (poor lightfastness, used in food prep.)

Bismuth Yellow PY 184 aka Vanadium Yellow ASTM  l (like cad yellow but more transparent)

GREENS:

Chromium Green Oxide PG 17 ASTM  l (Dull, opaque, great permanence. Photographs under infra red as living foliage and so is used for military camouflage.)
Viridian aka Guignet’s Green PG 18 ASTM l (bright bluish, wise to pay premium for pure grade)

Cobalt Green PG 19, Light Green Oxide PG 50 (better) ASTM 1 (bright; low tinting strength)

Pthalo Green aka Monastral Green PG 7 (bluer), PG 36 (yellower) ASTM l (displacing Viridian)

Green Earth aka Terre Verte, Bohemian Earth, Burnt Green Earth PG 23 ASTM l (weak pigment; manufacturers usually use permanent, stronger mix of Sienna and Pthalo Green instead)

Hooker’s Green PG8 ASTM 111 (Avoid! Mix your own with Cad Yellow and Pthalo Blue)

Cadmium Green PG 14 ASTM l (Hard to find. Mix your own with Cad Yellow and Cobalt Blue)

BLUES:

Ultramarine PB 29 ASTM l (chemically identical to Lapis Lazuli) (30 different shades; brittle)

Cobalt Blue PB 28 ASTM l (Miners believed there were spirits in the mines called ‘Kobalds’ in the local tongue. Cobalt is named after these spirits that inhabited the mines. Fairly flexible.)

Pthalo Blue PB 15, 16 ASTM l (replaces Prussian Blue; especially good for mixing green-blues)
Cerulean Blue PB 35 ASTM l (one of the most opaque colors on the palette; fairly flexible)

Cobalt Chromate PB36 ASTM 1 (Beautiful turquoise–don’t confuse with Cerulean)

*Prussian Blue PB 27, also called Antwerp Blue, Paris Blue, Milori Blue, Iron Blue

*Azurite aka Bremen Blue PB 30 (doesn’t mix well in oils)

Indanthrone PB 22 ASTM 1 (clear deep blue, not as overpowering as Pthalo Blue)

Egyptian Blue aka Blue Frit PB 31 (largely disappeared in the 18th century)

Smalt (direct descendant of Egyptian Blue; weak but very permanent; popular until Ultramarine)

Zirconium Cerulean Blue PB 71 (A beautiful semi-opaque light blue, available from Kremer)

PURPLES:

Cobalt Violet PV 14 ASTM l (absolutely permanent, makes a hard, fairly flexible oil paint film)
Manganese Violet PV 16 ASTM l (reddish or blue shade, low tint strength, fast drying, flexible)

Quinacridone Violet PV 19 (red to red-violet) PR 122 (magenta) ASTM l (There are no inorganic pigments with this brilliance and purity;transparent, hard, fairly flexible, average drier)

*Dioxazine Violet PV 23  ASTM  l l (not nearly as permanent or lightfast as other violets)

Mars Violet aka Caput Mortuum PR 101 ASTM l (Confusingly indexed as a red. Superb! Use for tree trunks/old wood/summer landscapes. Used far less than it deserves. Means “head of the dead” and is the color of dried blood.)

Ultramarine Violet PV 15 ASTM 1 (great permanence; too weak to be of much use in oil paint)

Isoviolanthrone Violet PV 31 ASTM 1 (an excellent pigment of high light fastness)

BROWNS:

Raw Umber PBr 7 ASTM  l (Many color variants. Best pigment is from Cyprus, Turkey)

Burnt Umber aka Turkey Brown PBr 7 ASTM  l (many color variants, best from Cyprus)

Raw Sienna aka Italian Earth PBr 7 ASTM  l (browner than Yellow Ochre, wide color variety)

Burnt Sienna PBr 7 ASTM  l (“Half burnt” light browns to fiery oranges beloved by artists. Worth top dollar for best colors and hunting down color variants–some are extraordinary.)

Mars Brown  PBr 6 ASTM  l (Usually a blend of PY 42, PR101, PBk 11. Smoky brown, harder to find in natural earths. Lacks beautiful transparency loved in the Siennas and Umbers.)

*Van Dyke Brown also known as Cassel Earth or Cologne Earth (disastrous—always avoid)

*Asphaltum, aka Mummy, Asphaltum, Egyptian Brown (Avoid at all costs)

WHITES:

Titanium White aka Titanium Dioxide  PW 6  ASTM  l  (best all round white, very opaque)

*Zinc White PW 4 ASTM  l (28-year study: Smithsonian says take it off  palette—it cracks!)

Lead White, aka Flake, Cremnitz, Underpainting White, and Silver White PW 1 ASTM 1

BLACKS:

Mars Black aka Iron Black, Black Iron Oxide PBk 11 ASTM  l (fast drier)

Ivory Black aka Bone Black PBk 9 ASTM  l (slow drier—never use in underpainting)

*Lamp Black aka Carbon Black, Vegetable Black, Furnace Black PBk 6 ASTM  l

*Vine Black also called Drop Black, Frankfort Black, Peach Black, Spanish Black, Blue Black.

MISC:

*Metals PM 1, PM 2, PM 3, etc.  ASTM – Not tested. All except gold are poor.

Gold  PM 3 ASTM  l

*Mica PW 20 ASTM – Not Tested

Mica Titanate ASTM – Not Tested (New, micronized mica in wide range of metallic colors—appear to be highly light fast and useable in all media.)

MORE PIGMENT INFORMATION FROM:

RGH Paints, Pigment Identification Chart,  http://www.rghartistoilpaints.com/index.html

Explanation of Pigment Identification Chart:

(P Value) Permanence as rated by the ASTMD in Artists’ Oil and Artists’ Acrylic Emulsion Paints, as follows:

1. Excellent     2. Very Good     3. Good     4. Fair     5. Poor

(T Value) Transparency/Opacity as follows:

1, Least Transparent (Most Opaque), to 8, Most Transparent (Least Opaque)

Index Name

Pigments throughout the world are given a Color Index Name. This is an international code.

Remember that the science of paint continues to evolve, bringing us ever-more exciting options to use; so do some research on your own and learn more about it.  I’ll be posting more information on this next time.

PART 2–OTHER INFO I PROVIDE TO BUYERS

Here is the second page of information (referred to in yesterday’s post) that I provide to patrons so they can become more acquainted with the process that goes into creating their classical-style painting. Its title is “On The Process and Materials Used in Your Painting” and here is the link and the text:

Painting-ProcessMaterialsUsedinYourPainting

I hope you find it helpful.

On The Process and Materials

Used in Your Painting

 

This painting was created with the finest professional materials,

following the procedures of the Old Masters of the Renaissance. 

The process begins with a carefully selected piece of marine-grade

plywood from fine-grained hardwood or masonite.  The Old Masters

would have used this if it had been available since it does not split

or crack like wood panel, and is highly resistant to warping.

 

Six to ten coats of Renaissance Bonded Marble are applied to create

a highly reflective white surface.  The ground needs to be as white as

possible because the oil binding in the paint becomes more

translucent with age, thus more light from the white ground is

refracted through it.  This is why the Old Master paintings seem to

have so much depth and luminosity.

 

Preparatory sketches are used to make a complete, highly-detailed

charcoal drawing directly onto the surface.

 

Following that, a precise underpainting is executed in verdaccio,

azuraccio, grisaille, or bistre, depending upon the subject.

 

The medium used is made from these ingredients:

a.  the finest purified, cold-pressed, clear golden linseed oil;

b.  stand oil, used extensively by the Old Masters;

c.  triple-rectified turpentine, the most important of the painter’s

essential oils;

d.  and, dammar varnish is included in the medium, as well as

being the final protective (and removable) coat.

 

I believe it is the professional painter’s responsibility to warrant

their patron’s trust by ensuring that their purchase will endure the

ages.  I use as few mass-market art materials as possible.  I make

my own dammar varnish and stand oil and trust two or three cottage

colormen for mulling and preparing my tubes of oil paint, thereby allowing

me more personal control over the quality of pigment and grinding oils used.

~~Marsha Rhodes Gilliam

© Marsha Gilliam 2005

PART 1: CARING FOR CLASSICAL-STYLE OIL PAINTINGS

When I sell a painting, I always make sure to teach people how to care for it.  I can’t expect them to already know this; they appreciate fine art but generally don’t create it themselves.  So here are the instructions I provide with the painting to make it easier for buyers, AND to assure that my “progeny” going out into the world will stand a chance of surviving a few hundred years.

I also include a synopsis of the process I used to create it, which will probably be of more value to a later restorer than the owner, but it does let them know all the pains I went through to provide them with a top-quality product.  I’ll post my synopsis of “Process and Materials Used” tomorrow but, in the meantime, here is Part 1,  the care instructions:

Painting-Caring for Your Classical Oil Painting

  Caring for Your Classical Oil Painting

1.  Apply Vaseline on the inside front edge of the frame
where the painting will touch.  This prevents the painting
surface from damage by sticking to the frame.

2.  Avoid extremes of temperature for long periods.  In an
ideal world such as a museum, paintings are maintained
at 68-72 degrees with 40-55 percent humidity.

3.  Do not hang your painting on an uninsulated outer wall, or
where sunlight will hit and cause it to fade, or where heavy
smoke from cigarettes or a wood fireplace will discolor it.

4.  Every two months, examine the lighter colors to see if
they are losing their sheen.  It is important that I re-glaze
these colors in preparation for the final varnish.  When this
process ceases and the painting fully cures (about 6-12 months
in Arizona), I will apply a final coat of protective varnish.  Once
dry, it is safe to lightly and very occasionally clean off the
surface dust with a damp, lint-free cloth (water only).

5.  Hang the painting so that it tilts slightly forward at the top.
This helps keep dust off and cuts down on reflected light.

6.  When lighting the painting, triangulated track lights are
ideal.  Given the bonded marble texture, this provides even
light from both sides and minimizes cast shadows and
reflections on the museum finish.