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impressionist2
09-26-2002, 07:20 PM
I was reading in Art Review about Lucien Freud and how he uses Kremnitz white for it's textural quality and grinds charcoal into the paint and uses a hog hair to apply it.

Have any of you tried this K. white?

Anyone added charcoal?

Who likes the hog hair brushes?

Renee

LarrySeiler
09-26-2002, 08:09 PM
I've known this white as Cremnitz...and its a bit pricey.

Both Flake White and Cremnitz are lead based....however, Flake white has zinc included as an ingredient.

Now...what I hear and read (and I haven't tried Cremnitz yet) is that Cremnitz's lack of zinc, results in the paint being a bit stringier. The zinc also makes the paint in lead white a bit more consistent.

I've been tempted to try it though...but again, $$$....

will one of these days...
here is a good website that speaks about the whites. IT gives Cremnitz a pretty good overall review there.... -Larry

http://www.trueart.info/colors,_whites_&_blacks.htm

Scott Methvin
09-27-2002, 12:01 PM
Cremnitz is a town in Hungary that was supposedly the source of the very best unadulterated carbonate of lead white pigment. Lead pigment was washed of impurities and shaped while wet into cones and cube shapes. This was a guarantee that it had no filler added like the powder, or "flake" version.

The name "Cremnitz" is an anglisized version of "Krems", the real source. "Krems" is actually a town in Austria.

Today, Cremnitz just means better quality lead white. Only small paint makers like Doak sell pure carbonate of lead and linseed oil. The big guys (even Old Holland) sell an inferior product.

Make your own. Kremer sells the pigment in flake-powder form. It has no fillers and has been washed.

Cremnitz today means about as much as vermillion, ultramarine or naples yellow-in modern art supply stores.

impressionist2
09-27-2002, 09:39 PM
Larry and Scott, Thanks for the information.

Scott, Good to see you again!

Any new commissions going?

Renee

Scott Methvin
10-03-2002, 02:33 AM
Originally posted by impressionist2
Larry and Scott, Thanks for the information.

Scott, Good to see you again!

Any new commissions going?

Renee

Hi Renee,

I've been a busy guy this summer. Yes, I have several going. Too busy to check in much with the forums.

Hope all is well with you and the rest of you guys and gals out there.

Best,
Scott

cobalt fingers
10-04-2002, 11:00 PM
I have all whites but this one. I use them mostly in mixes and mostly for the sake of how thick I want the paint. I don't like runny whites (in eggs or pigment). I can make paint runny or oily. I mix the stuff into colors until the color I want is reached. Using this shallow direct method I can't tell or don't care much about the qualities that each would display in the pure state or as tested under perfect controlled situations.

Know what I mean?

Luis Guerreiro
10-29-2002, 07:00 AM
Originally posted by Scott Methvin
Today, Cremnitz just means better quality lead white. Only small paint makers like Doak sell pure carbonate of lead and linseed oil. The big guys (even Old Holland) sell an inferior product. Cremnitz today means about as much as vermillion, ultramarine or naples yellow-in modern art supply stores. Make your own. Kremer sells the pigment in flake-powder form. It has no fillers and has been washed.

I dare to disagree about the quoted above.
Firstly a little note though:
Cremnitz is made in Kremnitz which is not in Hungary at all. It is in the former Czecho-Slovakia, now the Czech Republic. It doesn't have anything to do with Austria either. Cremnitz is not an anglicised version of Krems, it is the proper English version of Kremnitz.
Now the stuff itself. Manufacturers still distinguish a paint called CREMNITZ WHITE because they outsource the pigment still from the same traditional area: Kremnitz. All European oil paint manufacturers still take into account the importance of outsourcing the proper pigment rather than an inferior grade. Normally all of them still use linseed oil as the proper binder. As for making your own, my two thoughts are:

1. Never ever ever make your own lead white using dry pigment and linseed oil. The powder is very fine and light and easy to breath in. It is highly poisonous. Better off buying the paint already made by a reputable manufacturer.

2. Hand-made lead white usually yealds more oil than the required. The manufactured versions are always leaner and stiffer, making it a better choice.

For most painting purposes, I recommend 50/50 of Cremnitz White and Zinc White, as the combined result tends to be a better handled paint to work with. FLAKE WHITE normally contains Zinc already but because we do not usually know how much, it is better to make the mix in the studio with the pure grades separately.

Best regards

Luis :)

Scott Methvin
10-29-2002, 12:17 PM
Originally posted by Luis Guerreiro


I dare to disagree about the quoted above.
Firstly a little note though:
Cremnitz is made in Kremnitz which is not in Hungary at all. It is in the former Czecho-Slovakia, now the Czech Republic. It doesn't have anything to do with Austria either. Cremnitz is not an anglicised version of Krems, it is the proper English version of Kremnitz.
Now the stuff itself. Manufacturers still distinguish a paint called CREMNITZ WHITE because they outsource the pigment still from the same traditional area: Kremnitz. All European oil paint manufacturers still take into account the importance of outsourcing the proper pigment rather than an inferior grade. Normally all of them still use linseed oil as the proper binder. As for making your own, my two thoughts are:

1. Never ever ever make your own lead white using dry pigment and linseed oil. The powder is very fine and light and easy to breath in. It is highly poisonous. Better off buying the paint already made by a reputable manufacturer.

2. Hand-made lead white usually yealds more oil than the required. The manufactured versions are always leaner and stiffer, making it a better choice.

For most painting purposes, I recommend 50/50 of Cremnitz White and Zinc White, as the combined result tends to be a better handled paint to work with. FLAKE WHITE normally contains Zinc already but because we do not usually know how much, it is better to make the mix in the studio with the pure grades separately.

Best regards

Luis :)

Luis,

I have been using the very best quality flake-Cremnitz pigment to make my own paint for years. When I saw the name of this topic, I felt compelled to pass on some new information (to me) that I had read recently. For years I have read in various books about the source of the name "Cremnitz." There is much in the way of incomplete and conflicting information.

Most refer to the city in Czecholslovakia, (Doerner, for example.) Nothing else of substance is ever provided. Bear in mind that I have a pretty extensive library on oil painting materials, in fact, I doubt there are many classic reference books on the subject that I do not have.

When I found this new information on "Cremnitz", in a book called, "Artists' pigments 1600-1835", (ISBN 1-873132-91-3 printed in the UK. ) Most of the scattered annecdotal information I had heard before finally made sense.

As with all reference materials, (and especially with art materials) it is desirable to get several sources in agreement before reaching a definitive conclusion.

From what I have learned, there are two basic ways to produce basic lead carbonate. The stack method and another way which uses litharge, instead of coiled sheet lead.

The stack method is a long coil of thin sheet lead. It's about 5 inches wide and approximately 4 feet long. Coiled losely, it is slightly open on all sides when sitting in a ceramic container, specially made for the purpose. Vinegar sits in the bottom of the jar and the lead is above, high enough where only the fumes and not the liquid will touch the lead. This is capped and put into either a bed of tannic bark or manure. The heat from both aid in the oxidation process. After several weeks the white oxidation is scraped off and washed. The coils can then be reused. They call it the "stack method" , because the containers are stacked several units deep to utilize the space and rotated according to the length of time needed to properly "cure."

The other method I have no further information on.(Mayer)

I do know of a excellent source of chemically pure lead carbonate from a large scientific supply house. I suspect they use an efficient, modern scientific method, instead of vinegar and manure.
I should ask them sometime.

Anyway, the point is-I have based my information on my reference materials. I saw the actual lead coils in Holland, at the Old Holland paint factory museum. The stack method explained to me by the owner. (A very nice guy, by the way.)

I absolutely love lead carbonate pigment-paint. I have used no other white since I made my first batch and started using it. It is only dangerous if you eat it, or inhale it. It costs more than titanium and zinc. It should, because it is far better for oil painters. This is the only white there was until around the turn of the century. Has anyone ever heard of any of the old masters complaining about the dangers of lead? The real danger of lead is to the factory workers and the house painter who does a lot of sanding. Also children who eat lots of paint chips off the walls.

Luis, I disagree with EVERY single thing you wrote above. Please tell us WHERE you got your information. I bet you've NEVER actually handled lead pigment, (you'd probably wet your pants) which means you've probably never actually painted with 100% lead carbonate and linseed oil. Yet, you feel compelled to dispence advice to everyone as if you really understand the material. Artists CAN and should make oil paint just to see how easy it really is. Lead is no more dangerous than Clorox. You don't consume either and you treat them both with proper respect.

Aren't you the same whiner that sent the mink PETA pictures, the ones that are supposed to convince us not to use natural hair paint brushes? I think you were.

One of the really sad things about this web site are people like you and others that want to throw out the traditional materials like terpentine, lead, rabbit skin glue and animal hair brushes because of your personal politics. New artists, looking for good sound information jump on the bandwagon and never use the best materials as a consequence.

Scott Methvin
10-29-2002, 05:21 PM
I did a little research into the name "Kremnitz", and found out a few more interesting things.

There is an ancient mining village in the mountains of central Slovakia called Kreminica. This place was an old source of gold, silver and lead since the 1200s.

The borders between Hungary, Slovakia and Hungary have been moved around many, many times over the last 500 years.

Kreminica used to be in Hungary and is famous for having an old mint. Germans and Dutch call it Kremintz.

There is still a town called Krems in Austria, near Vienna. I have a suspicion that this was the source of Cremnitz-Kremintz-Kremser white pigment for many years.

The souce of the lead itself is probably Kreminca (German version is Kremnitz) The lead then went to Krems, in Austria, where it was processed into the famous white pigment.

The factory in Austria closed in 1839. The lead mines in Kreminica are probably still open.

This is all very confusing and probably has a lot to do with the similarity of the 2 names. Krems and Kremnitz.

Old Holland "cremnitz" white, is called Kremser in Dutch.(?) It says that on the tube.

Basic carbonate of lead, without any additive is the best lead white for painting. This is what they call cremnitz. I bet $100 that it doesn't come from any town today in Hungary, Slovakia or Czecholslovakia. Maybe Austria and probably somewhere in Germany. BASF is the likely source today.

I hope some real expert can put this matter to rest. Where's Enion?

Einion
10-29-2002, 06:08 PM
It's funny that you ask Scott, as I'm actually in London (hi Luis!) at the moment on a research trip, mostly looking at the classic reference books in the libraries, plus some new ones including Rosamond Harley's book which I found in the database just a few hours ago! One of the things I'm doing is cross-checking as many of the fundamentals* re. materials and technique from source to source to see where there is a concensus or vice-versa (I know there isn't in some cases). I'm particularly interested how much of Cennini might have been taken as gospel by previous writers, not to mention how much is still valid by today's standards.

Aside from the historical to and fro, which is of no real import, there are some really solid reasons to use flake (the distinction between Flake and Cremnitz White amongst makers is, in common with so much naming practice, arbitrary) in oil painting as it has been proven to form the most flexible and long-lasting films you can get in this medium, much less its handling properties which are so important to its lovers (and rightly so IMO). I agree with Luis that you should add Zinc White to it oneself if you want it, although I wouldn't myself as it would decrease the all-important opacity (which is already lower than Titanium White's typically) and make the film more brittle over time.

If I come across anything pertinent in the next few days I'll be sure to post it.
Einion

*Reading Gottsegen's book earlier was a real eye-opener on a few things I can tell you. And checking Mayer yesterday I was shocked at just how hard he came down on copal's use in painting (I presume they were his words, this was the 5th edition and I've never seen the first but it sounded like his tone) copal medium users should really take a look :)

Scott Methvin
10-29-2002, 08:31 PM
Originally posted by Einion
It's funny that you ask Scott, as I'm actually in London (hi Luis!) at the moment on a research trip, mostly looking at the classic reference books in the libraries, plus some new ones including Rosamond Harley's book which I found in the database just a few hours ago! One of the things I'm doing is cross-checking as many of the fundamentals* re. materials and technique from source to source to see where there is a concensus or vice-versa (I know there isn't in some cases). I'm particularly interested how much of Cennini might have been taken as gospel by previous writers, not to mention how much is still valid by today's standards.

(the distinction between Flake and Cremnitz White amongst makers is, in common with so much naming practice, arbitrary) If I come across anything pertinent in the next few days I'll be sure to post it.
Einion



Hi Enion,

Sounds like a very interesting and noble pursuit. Also a great deal of work!

I have always been struck by the way bad information is repeated again and again. This is because one book put out something and the art world takes it as gospel. Someone needs to test all this stuff and come up with the truth. From the net, I have connected with many people who have done just that. Many are located at studioproducts.com. In this site we have lots of beginners and it isn't taken quite as seriously. Still important though.

Please let us know what you find out.

I would appreciate an answer to the Cremnitz question. It has never been addressed in any of the mainstream literature. The
Harley book was the first one that even mentioned Krems as a processing city. Flake vs Kremnitz.

I said earlier (and you echoed) that names (of pigments) don't mean much anymore. This is a sad commentary on the state of the arts. I have always enjoyed your well researched posts, and look forward to new infromation.

Scott Methvin
10-29-2002, 08:41 PM
Originally posted by Einion

And checking Mayer yesterday I was shocked at just how hard he came down on copal's use in painting (I presume they were his words, this was the 5th edition and I've never seen the first but it sounded like his tone) copal medium users should really take a look :)

Mayer and Taubes were at each other's throats for years. Apparently they used to be friends and the copal issue killed that. Taubes wrote a number of books and I guess Mayer didn't like the competition. Taubes was -and still is known as an excellent maker of copal medium. History and science have shown that Mayer was wrong.

Like Doerner, you have to take some of Mayers' information with caution. Chemistry arguments by lay chemists are always full of speculation.

Luis Guerreiro
10-30-2002, 06:02 AM
Hi Guys,
Sorry I have been away.
This confusion with the names and origins has a lot to do with the geographic peculiarities of the Habsburg Empire which stretched across Austria, Hungary, Slovakia, etc...
I think there is no doubt about the origin of the ore (Kremnitz) and of the pigment (Kremnitz, according to many authors).
Here is the location of Kremnitz:
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/30-Oct-2002/Kremnitz_Location.gif
As you can see from the map, the province was integrated in the former Czecho-Slovakia. With the split of political borders between the two countries, it is now in Slovakia. So, Scott, I hope you don't mind me reminding you of your initial comment that Kremnitz was in Hungary. At the most, it may have been integrated in the Habsburgh Empire. Please see below the map of the Habsburg Empire:
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/30-Oct-2002/habsburg15251635.jpg
The name Kremnitz and the name Krems are not directly related as to the ORIGIN of the pigment, but to the preparation, distribution, bulk and retail of the pigment which was also known at some point by the name of Vienna White.
However, (let me say it again) the name of the paint comes from its original location (Kremnitz) which is directly translated into the English name of Cremnitz.
Its chemical formula, if I am not mistaken, should be:

2PbCO3,Pb(OH)2

This means in short, 70% of pure lead carbonate and 30% of lead hydrate. The hydroxide part of its composition (Pb(OH)2 is the only being able to saponify linseed oil, thus forming lead linoleate (lead soap, I think it's called generally) and is the part responsible for the increasing saponification of old oil paintings, making the paint film more translucent with the passing of time, HENCE my advice to mix it in a 50/50 ratio with Zinc White and even a little dash if titanium to keep opacity and prevent unwanted changes that could occur in the future.

An additional note only to say that when one heats it moderately, it changes to a light yellow (similar to Naples Yellow Light in hue) which is called MASSICOT but is sometimes thought to be Litharge. Massicot (which is lead monoxide - PbO) needs to be heated to a much higher temperature to become bright orange and this is the real LITHARGE, just one step below from Red Lead, both of them now unavailable.

A final note especially for Scott:

I did not mean to offend you and I definitely prefer not to engage in what I call the "Jerry Springer Show Syndrome". Your initial note was not entirely accurate, that's all. I only meant to contribute.
As for the other comments you made in your first reply, just to give you an idea of how much lead white I use, Oils-Studio has expanded hugely in the last 12 months (although research has been on-going since 1986) with a website hit rate of more than 60000 per month, a Workshop area of 3500 Sq. Feet (of which I use 900 for my own studio) and a forecasted budget of White Lead alone for 2002/2003 of approximately USD 1500. I think this information should be enough to "resolve" any doubts about any comments.

Kind regards

Luis
:D

Einion
10-30-2002, 11:51 AM
Yep, I've heard of Taubes's and Mayer's dislike for each other (apparently a slight understatement!) but I don't think in this case it is the reason for the condemnation, although the vehemence might be. Gottsegen's more balanced view might be about right, although I can't see how anyone believes the increased flexibility argument. On a rigid support, perhaps it has a place if used very sparingly, but for fabric supports... no way Jose.

Einion

Scott Methvin
10-31-2002, 11:18 AM
Originally posted by Luis Guerreiro
As you can see from the map, the province was integrated in the former Czecho-Slovakia. With the split of political borders between the two countries, it is now in Slovakia. So, Scott, I hope you don't mind me reminding you of your initial comment that Kremnitz was in Hungary. At the most, it may have been integrated in the Habsburgh Empire.
_________________________________________________

Luis,

I said it WAS in Hungary and it WAS at one time. Do a Google search using Kremnitz-Hungary and you will find a number of references to various coins minted at the mint in Kreminca, Hungary. The same city is Kremnitz in German and Cremnitz in English. This was the source of the lead ORE.

The PIGMENT was made from the Cremnitz lead ore in Krems, Austria. This ceased in 1832.

____________________________________________________


The name Kremnitz and the name Krems are not directly related as to the ORIGIN of the pigment, but to the preparation, distribution, bulk and retail of the pigment which was also known at some point by the name of Vienna White.

_____________________________________________

Correct on the Vienna white (Krems is just north of Vienna). The rest of this statement above is contridictory. Origin of the pigment is where the ore was processed. Krems. Origin of the ore is Kremnitz.

___________________________________________________


However, (let me say it again) the name of the paint comes from its original location (Kremnitz) which is directly translated into the English name of Cremnitz.

A final note especially for Scott:

I did not mean to offend you and I definitely prefer not to engage in what I call the "Jerry Springer Show Syndrome". Your initial note was not entirely accurate, that's all. I only meant to contribute.
As for the other comments you made in your first reply, just to give you an idea of how much lead white I use, Oils-Studio has expanded hugely in the last 12 months (although research has been on-going since 1986) with a website hit rate of more than 60000 per month, a Workshop area of 3500 Sq. Feet (of which I use 900 for my own studio) and a forecasted budget of White Lead alone for 2002/2003 of approximately USD 1500. I think this information should be enough to "resolve" any doubts about any comments.

Kind regards

Luis
:D

___________________________________________________

We do seem to be splitting hairs. I hate being corrected by someone who can't back up his correction. You say you use lots of lead but what about dry lead pigment, which is what I was saying. Blending pre-made lead paint out of tubes isn't the same thing.
Jerry

Luis Guerreiro
10-31-2002, 12:36 PM
Originally posted by Scott Methvin


___________________________________________________

We do seem to be splitting hairs. I hate being corrected by someone who can't back up his correction. You say you use lots of lead but what about dry lead pigment, which is what I was saying. Blending pre-made lead paint out of tubes isn't the same thing.
Jerry

Scott,

To make it clear, no I do not and never will use dry lead white pigment. Period! Furthermore, painters working in my studio (10 artists) are allowed to grind their own oils if they wish to do so, except:
1. Lead White
2. Mercuric sulphyde (Cinnabar, Vermilion)
3. Massicot (Lead Yellow)
4. Litharge (Orange Lead)
5. Minium (Red Lead)
6. Lead Antimoniate (Genuine Naples Yellow)
7. Kings Yellow (Orpiment)
Such limitations occur due to my own understanding of the above pigments toxicity in dry form and some of them in paste form. Certain limitations have to do with Environment Impact and Workshop Civil and Public Liability Insurance which is compulsory in the United Kingdom for Ltd companies such as Oils-Studio.

I use lead white (Cremnitz) in paste form triple-milled in granite rollers. The resulting paint is excellent and corresponds to high quality standards adopted by Oils-Studio for the purpose of Artwork Quality Certification and permanence Warranty which we provide when we sell a painting.

Luis

Scott Methvin
10-31-2002, 04:17 PM
Originally posted by Luis Guerreiro


Scott,

To make it clear, no I do not and never will use dry lead white pigment. Period! Furthermore, painters working in my studio (10 artists) are allowed to grind their own oils if they wish to do so, except:
1. Lead White
2. Mercuric sulphyde (Cinnabar, Vermilion)
3. Massicot (Lead Yellow)
4. Litharge (Orange Lead)
5. Minium (Red Lead)
6. Lead Antimoniate (Genuine Naples Yellow)
7. Kings Yellow (Orpiment)
Such limitations occur due to my own understanding of the above pigments toxicity in dry form and some of them in paste form. Certain limitations have to do with Environment Impact and Workshop Civil and Public Liability Insurance which is compulsory in the United Kingdom for Ltd companies such as Oils-Studio.

I use lead white (Cremnitz) in paste form triple-milled in granite rollers. The resulting paint is excellent and corresponds to high quality standards adopted by Oils-Studio for the purpose of Artwork Quality Certification and permanence Warranty which we provide when we sell a painting.

Luis

Wow!

Are they allowed to use natural hair brushes or terpentine? What about rabbitskin glue? Sounds like you run a tight ship.

LarrySeiler
10-31-2002, 05:26 PM
Originally posted by Scott Methvin


Mayer and Taubes were at each other's throats for years. Apparently they used to be friends and the copal issue killed that. Taubes wrote a number of books and I guess Mayer didn't like the competition. Taubes was -and still is known as an excellent maker of copal medium. History and science have shown that Mayer was wrong.

Like Doerner, you have to take some of Mayers' information with caution. Chemistry arguments by lay chemists are always full of speculation.

I heard a little tidbit too quoting from someone I don't know wants his name given out or not...but I grabbed the quote from a thread on copal-
"I have heard from 3 people who knew both Mr. Taubes and Mr. Mayer and all three have told the same story. Both men were editors for American Artist Magazine and each hated the other. All three have said that their hatred for each other resulted from Mr. Taubes stealing Mr. Mayers mistress in the late 1930's. Mr. Mayers background is chemistry and he decided to write a book on art supplies and techniques most of which was plagairized according to some. It was the first comprhensive art book in some time and has been well recieved for many years and many take it as a holy manuscript. Mr. Taubes knew the value of copal to the artist and recommeded it, and Mr. Mayer after losing his mistress to Mr. Taubes decided to hurt where he could, and thus the battle began. Mr. Levison, the founder of Permanent Pigments, was a chemist and had many close ties to the painting world. His was the only company to reveal everything about the ingredients in his paint and the testing involved before taking to Market. He saw the value of the medium and recommended it. He was also the formulator for Liquitex and later sold his company to Benney and Smith, the makers of crayolas. His oil paint was later dropped and only the liquitex remains today. His oil paint was the standard of the industry."

Larry

Scott Methvin
10-31-2002, 07:05 PM
Hi Larry,

I think I heard it from the same source. I know you like copal and I am very fond of amber. They are closely related. Mayer went way overboard.

We should all be suspicious of most copal and amber related products. Many are a mishmosh of other ingredients. Grumbacher sells a copal medium that contains zero copal, for example. It really helps to know the source. I've had good results with my homemade amber and Blockx. Studio products also makes good amber and copal.

I have used other brands of amber that really sucked.

Copal, I've never tried. Amber is just copal that has "matured."

Most of Mayer's book is pretty good and recomended reading for all oil painters. IMO

Luis Guerreiro
10-31-2002, 07:36 PM
Originally posted by Scott Methvin


Wow!

Are they allowed to use natural hair brushes or terpentine? What about rabbitskin glue? Sounds like you run a tight ship.

Scott,

Don't waste my time. Your comment is completely idiotic and out of context.
Get a grip and grow up.

Have a nice day.

Luis

Scott Methvin
10-31-2002, 07:40 PM
Originally posted by Luis Guerreiro


Scott,

Don't waste my time. Your comment is completely idiotic and out of context.
Get a grip and grow up.

Have a nice day.

Luis

No smiley face?