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Dyes, Pigments, and Other Useful Matter

So Sketchbook Saturday and Medium Monday didn’t happen this week. It will happen next week, I promise. Today is supposed to be Terrible Tuesday, were I can share all the things that haven’t worked out as well as I hoped, but I couldn’t bring myself to discuss something so negative. Instead I am going to pretend it is Monday and share my recent discoveries in the world of dyes.

For my tea project I did a lot of research on how dye for paint is created. The majority of paint is pigmented with finely ground up minerals. This was an issue in my tea project because creating a powder out of tea wasn’t within my means. However, I did find some interesting links I want to share for those who want to make their own paint the proper way.

Pigment: Historical, Chemical, and Artistic Importance of Coloring Agents is a lovely site that breaks down many of the different classical pigments by color and explains their history and use. For example if you click on a pigment such as malachite it brings you to a page that explains the history then the way is made then its chemical properties, and finally how to best utilize it for artistic endeavors. Malachite happens to be oxidized copper and in paint the compound should be coarsely ground to create a richer color. There are over 50 materials covered on the site.

Making Natural Dyes From Plants is a fantastic resource for someone who doesn’t have the access to all of the minerals listed on the previous site. It also is great for people who are interested in creating greener products. This site has an extensive list of plants that can be used to dye fabrics, although with some application the materials could be adapted to paint or other mediums. The plants are again sorted by color with a description of the exact shade the flower or plant will create.

For those who are less industrious but still want more control over the pigment of their paints you can buy premade pigments. One such store is Iconofile, having a small list of high quality pigments available. Although they aim at an audience specifically interested in icon painting their pigments can be used for any project. The site claims, “They are the same pigments used by icon painters of ancient times, such as Andrei Rublev. Each pigment is also useful for other painting techniques. Whether you are a novice or an experienced painter, you’ll find Rublev dry powder pigments well suited for use in aqueous mediums, such as egg yolk or whole egg (egg tempera), casein, gum Arabic (watercolor), hide glue (distemper) and acrylic polymers” They are also rather affordable, the introductory set of six earth tones costing $16.95.

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