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View Full Version : Are loose pigments cheap?


OddballAnn
10-27-2012, 10:09 AM
If I wanted to make my own tempera to try it out, would it be cheaper to make them instead of buying a set?

Mayberry
10-27-2012, 11:00 AM
You can buy a Sennelier egg tempera set from Dick Blick for about $44. You can buy Gamblin pigments or Daniel Smith pigments, a similar set of 5 colors (primaries plus black and white) for about $35. That's choosing the cheaper primaries, like indian red instead of cadmium red. Gamblin comes in pretty big jars too, so they last a long time.

OddballAnn
10-27-2012, 11:20 AM
You can buy a Sennelier egg tempera set from Dick Blick for about $44. You can buy Gamblin pigments or Daniel Smith pigments, a similar set of 5 colors (primaries plus black and white) for about $35. That's choosing the cheaper primaries, like indian red instead of cadmium red. Gamblin comes in pretty big jars too, so they last a long time.

I came across the Sennelier egg tempera set, but not the Gamblin set yet. I may look into that.

Mayberry
10-27-2012, 02:38 PM
Oh, my words were misleading. I haven't seen the Gamblin pigments sold in sets either. I meant to say you can buy a selection of 5 individually, to be like a set, for that price. Same with the Daniel Smiths.

Another source for pigments is Natural Pigments. They have introductory sample sets that are inexpensive ($19.95) for just trying out. http://www.naturalpigments.com/search_results.asp?txtsearchParamVen=6

They also carry a lot of unusual specialty pigments that were used historically - some quite toxic and expensive. But their earth pigments are not toxic and very reasonably priced. They don't carry modern pigments.

OddballAnn
10-28-2012, 07:06 AM
Oh thanks, yeah I see that. I actually been trying to get earth pigments instead of the the toxic ones.

Also, do you have to use real gesso while painting with tempera. I'm not really fond with the idea of using rabbit skin glue, because I'm a vegetarian, and was hoping acrylic gesso was good enough.

karenlee
10-28-2012, 10:22 AM
If you want to try out egg tempera without great expense, you can use tube watercolors and egg yolk. I don't recommend the Sennelier tubed egg tempera, based on my own experience.
For learning purposes, you can paint on rag watercolor paper. In my latest Dick Blick catalog, Ampersand Encausticboard is recommended for egg tempera. If you get really into egg tempera, you can always move up to dry pigments and real gesso. Earth colors are the lowest priced pigments, but it is possible to spend piles of money on dry pigments ground from semi-precious minerals.

Pandemonium
10-28-2012, 03:28 PM
Kremer (http://kremerpigments.com/shopus/index.php?lang=ENG) has pigment sets of various sorts.

My understanding is that egg tempera will not adhere to acrylic gesso. "Rabbit skin glue" does not necessarily contain rabbit. Some of it is actually bovine.

Mayberry
10-28-2012, 06:43 PM
I agree with what Karen said about using tube watercolor to start. If you have any watercolor tubes already, you can mix egg yolk with tube paint to make an egg tempera. When I first started, I only bought white pigment powder and made the rest of my colors with watercolor paint. I've been gradually building my pigment supply one jar at a time. But that's because I already had a bunch of watercolors.

Otherwise, it would be cheaper to go straight to the pigments since in many cases a jar of pigment is cheaper than a tube of the same color watercolor. The drawback of using watercolor paint to make egg tempera is the paint is partly being bound by gum arabic, which can re-dissolve. That's why I wanted to have at least white pigment, because I end up putting some white in most colors anyway while I'm painting.

I have not yet used boards with real gesso. So far I'm using Ampersand Claybord, which is coated with an absorbant kaolin clay bound with some sort of synthetic (acrylic) binder that supposedly is okay for egg tempera because the clay really takes over and pulls the paint in. I'm not sure what the difference is between Claybord and Encausticbord. What I could tell from the literature is that Encausticbord is made to handle extremes in temperature and has a tooth to it. It sounds sturdier, but I haven't used one before.

But you shouldn't use Gessobord or other boards with acrylic primer/gesso meant for acrylic paintings. It won't absorb the egg tempera well enough.

It's definitely fine to do small paintings and sketches in egg tempera on watercolor paper. But if you want to keep and display an egg tempera on paper, you would need to mount it on a board to make sure it doesn't bend once it's fully dry and cured.

dbclemons
10-30-2012, 10:27 AM
If I wanted to make my own tempera to try it out, would it be cheaper to make them instead of buying a set?

My answer is that it depends. You can find pigments that are relatively inexpensive, and when you make your own you will get paints that are by volume much cheaper than what you would buy commercially. You may have to buy the pigment in bulk that will be pricey up front, but cheaper in the long run. You also have to make the paint, and in the learning process this may take some trial and error which can be expensive.

Also, the tubed egg temperas sold commercially handle differently than paints you make with dry pigment and egg, some would say worse but certainly not better. The same goes for egg mixed with watercolor paint which is inferior to egg mixed with dry pigments, and watercolor paint isn't necessary cheap either, certainly not the best brands.

If you're just starting out then buying a kit of pigments may be the best way to go; although, you may get stuck with pigments you don't like. You might find better deals if you buy the pigments individually. You can also buy pigments premixed in water (aqua-dispersions) that require less handling than some dry pigments, and come in smaller amounts; although, these tend to be more expensive than the dry pigments and in a small range of choices.

Some other pigment retailers:
http://blueridgeartist.com/pages/products/pigments.php
http://www.earthpigments.com/
http://www.conservationcolors.com/colors.html
http://www.guerrapaint.com/
http://www.rghartistoilpaints.com/category/Pigments-3
http://www.williamsburgoils.com/store/DryPigmentPrices.php

I've found good deals sometimes at out of the way places, such as soap making and ceramic stores, that sell raw pigments. You can typically trust them for colors like carbon black, titanium white, iron oxide, and maybe some other earth colors, but I'd avoid any that have uncommon art pigment names unless you see the actual color pigment ID number referenced. Names like "maroon" or just "green" could be anything, even a non-lightfast dye.