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  #31   Report Bad Post  
Old 02-03-2012, 02:56 PM
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Gigalot Gigalot is online now
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Re: Natural vs. Synthetic Earth Colors

I have a Russian Raw Umber paint tube which brand name is " Raw umber from Leningrad". Actually, it contains 3 different pigments:
1) synthetic Mars Brown - Pbr7
2) Glauconite green earth - PG23
3) natural Feodosian brown earth Pbr6?

Yellow ochers manufactured in St. Petersburg artists paints factory said to be natural because they have a large natural ocher deposit which is not depleted and their natural ocher today are less expensive than synthetic product.
But Burnt Sienna seems to be synthetic paint.
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Old 02-06-2012, 01:42 PM
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karenlee karenlee is offline
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Re: Natural vs. Synthetic Earth Colors

One of the differences beteen natural pigments and synthetic pigments is cost. I have no doubt that synthetic pigments have replaced natural pigments solely for this reason--synthetics are cheaper. Natural pigments have pretty much disappeared from the standard paint lines-- you know what those are.

However, Daniel Smith is bringing mineral colors back to the market in their Primatek line. I have very much enjoyed using Primatek paints.
Marigold if you want natural pigments, this is the place to start:

http://www.danielsmith.com/Item--i-G-284-600P

There is also Rublev Natural Pigments, which sells both natural and synthetic pigments:

http://www.naturalpigments.com/rublev_pigment.asp

Closer to you is Kremer Pigmente, one of the very best sources for pigments:
http://kremer-pigmente.de/en

(And then there's my latest methods, finding rocks and pulverizing them into pigments!)

Last edited by karenlee : 02-06-2012 at 02:06 PM.
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Old 02-22-2012, 11:45 PM
Jeremy Bryant Jeremy Bryant is offline
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Re: Natural vs. Synthetic Earth Colors

To be honest, it's quite hard to tell. But it depends on you, on what you're going for. Most of the time I would go for natural but in this case I think synthetic has the advantage.
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Old 02-24-2012, 04:50 AM
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Marigold Marigold is offline
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Re: Natural vs. Synthetic Earth Colors

Thanks all! I have brought back from Florence a selection of earth colors from different Brands, Maimeri Puro, Michael Harding, and the Maimery Natural Italian earths series. I am looking forward to testing them and comparing to the synthetic earths that I already own.

Susanne
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Old 12-25-2014, 05:25 AM
sfumato1002 sfumato1002 is offline
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Re: Natural vs. Synthetic Earth Colors

Quote:
Originally Posted by Einion
As there aren't regulations governing this aspect of labelling of artists' paints, many paints that appear to be made from natural earths are actually now made from synthetics. This has apparently been true for a good ten years at least.

So even if you buy something that lists PBr7 on the tube it might not have any natural earth in the tube, or it might be a blend that includes at least some synthetic iron oxide.

BTW, it has always been common that earths might be blends of ingredients, even with a single pigment listed.

Einion

I don't know about this, but I contacted Williamsburg and Vasari and they both told me their earths are completely natural...not mixed with synthetic paint.

Here are their emails responses:

First Vasari:

"We do not spike our earths or substitute them with synthetics, since we are hand filling the tubes and making very small batches which allows us the time and gives us the ability to be true to the pigment and its inherent characteristics. "

"That's why all of our Umbers mix cool, even the Burnt ones, since they are really natural earths, not Transparent Iron Oxides, etc., which would mix warm and have very hot undertones. The same applies to the Pompeian Red, it's natural and cool mixing. There is no Black or Umber added to the Vandyke Brown, it is what it is, roasted carbonized rotted plant matter, not an earth, with its own unique drying and lightfast characteristics far different than those of an earth color."

...and Williamsburg:

"Those particular colors (pr102) are natural iron oxides. We have included a link to our pigment ID chart. Under the "chemical description" column you will find which oxides are natural and which are synthetic."

So from these to paint makers, they say their earths are 100% natural and not a mixture of natural and synthetic. I also disagree with Handprint stating that Natural earths are fake these days...
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Old 12-25-2014, 10:03 AM
Mythrill Mythrill is offline
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Re: Natural vs. Synthetic Earth Colors

Quote:
Originally Posted by sfumato1002
I don't know about this, but I contacted Williamsburg and Vasari and they both told me their earths are completely natural...not mixed with synthetic paint.

Here are their emails responses:

First Vasari:

"We do not spike our earths or substitute them with synthetics, since we are hand filling the tubes and making very small batches which allows us the time and gives us the ability to be true to the pigment and its inherent characteristics. "

"That's why all of our Umbers mix cool, even the Burnt ones, since they are really natural earths, not Transparent Iron Oxides, etc., which would mix warm and have very hot undertones. The same applies to the Pompeian Red, it's natural and cool mixing. There is no Black or Umber added to the Vandyke Brown, it is what it is, roasted carbonized rotted plant matter, not an earth, with its own unique drying and lightfast characteristics far different than those of an earth color."

...and Williamsburg:

"Those particular colors (pr102) are natural iron oxides. We have included a link to our pigment ID chart. Under the "chemical description" column you will find which oxides are natural and which are synthetic."

So from these to paint makers, they say their earths are 100% natural and not a mixture of natural and synthetic. I also disagree with Handprint stating that Natural earths are fake these days...

I don't think natural earth colors are necessarily cooler. Less saturated, in general, yes, but cooler? I have made some Raw Umber with Damien, and our samples were significantly even from samples of Winsor & Newton, which is around the warmest Raw Umber you can find.
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Old 12-25-2014, 11:09 AM
llawrence llawrence is offline
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Re: Natural vs. Synthetic Earth Colors

Yeah, there are a couple of things I would question about that Vasari response.
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Old 12-25-2014, 12:44 PM
yellow_oxide yellow_oxide is offline
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Re: Natural vs. Synthetic Earth Colors

I found a video recently that I wanted to show people, and this seems to be the right place.

How iron oxide pigments are made.

I've watched it several times. ^_^
Too bad they skip a step by vaguely saying "chemicals are added" at one point.
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Old 12-25-2014, 02:09 PM
sfumato1002 sfumato1002 is offline
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Re: Natural vs. Synthetic Earth Colors

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mythrill
I don't think natural earth colors are necessarily cooler. Less saturated, in general, yes, but cooler? I have made some Raw Umber with Damien, and our samples were significantly even from samples of Winsor & Newton, which is around the warmest Raw Umber you can find.

temperature is relative. I know exactly what Vasari is talking about. Yes, natural burnt umber and raw umber is warm, but relatively cooler than transparent mars brown or yellow in comparison.

I have tested natural burnt red ochre py43, and it is warm, but compared to a transparent mars red pr101, the natural red ochre has a much cooler undertone.

What Vasari is saying is that synthetic colors have a richer, more intense undertone, and this is true.
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Old 12-31-2014, 10:27 PM
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Re: Natural vs. Synthetic Earth Colors

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marigold
I heavily rely on earth colors in my paintings so I would like to know: is there an advantage to painting with natural earth colors instead of synthetic pigments?

Back to this first question, do you want a particular (single) mineral or do you want a mix in some fixed proportion of a number of (multiple) minerals?

If the first, then you are after purity, and you should paint with a synthetic pigment. For example, Iron Oxide. Use the synthetic pigment (here, PR101)!

But if the second, then you don't want what has to be an impure mix of minerals that would be difficult or impossible to replicate synthetically. For example, pigments that have their location (like "Spanish," "Veronese," etc.) in their name. Use the natural pigments!
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Old 01-01-2015, 03:15 AM
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Re: Natural vs. Synthetic Earth Colors

A very pleasant Red Ochre pigment, just like Vasari stuff, I can mill and grind from red brick pieces. Burnt clay, commonly used here to make our Georgian bricks has very nice, transparent orange color. Bricks, made from natural clay, using time tested, British technology, are not very hard ceramic and can be milled to a fine pigment powder. This pigment is very useful!

Last edited by Gigalot : 01-01-2015 at 03:20 AM.
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Old 01-01-2015, 03:02 PM
llawrence llawrence is offline
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Re: Natural vs. Synthetic Earth Colors

With natural earth pigments, it's possible to get a heavier grind of pigment for 'grittier' paint. It's one of the reasons I love painting with natural earths.
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Old 01-01-2015, 04:00 PM
MikeH53 MikeH53 is offline
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Re: Natural vs. Synthetic Earth Colors

There seems to be a lot of confusion here concerning natural earths, especially siennas. From what I have been able to gather, from ancient times up until the mid 20th century, quality PBr7 was sourced from a small number of mines in northern Italy, but they all closed down by the 1980s. The old burnt sienna was a highly transparent with a dark masstone and high saturation on par with transparent Mars red, this PBr7 was gradually replaced with a lower quality dull, opaque milk chocolate brown form from other locations as the old mines closed down. A few companies, e.g. Winsor & Newton still had stockpiles of the old stuff that they relied on into the late 80s and switched to transparent PR101 for the sake of consistency, rather than keep using PBr7 while sacrificing deep transparent orange for opaque chocolate brown. Nowadays, so many artists have used the chocolate brown version that they reject the synthetic substitute as too bright when it is much closer to the original pigment (I have a tube of the old stuff, it is almost indistinguishable from transparent PR101). There are some small scale historical pigment and high quality paint suppliers who still source their PBr7 siennas from deposits geologically related to the old sources, these siennas are also nearly identical to the older pigments, transparent and highly saturated in glazes.

The main difference between synthetic and natural earths is tinting strength and transparency, synthetics are usually much stronger and more opaque since they lack other mineral impurities, they are also cheaper, but this doesn't mean they are better or worse in quality. Both are equally lightfast. I think the choice of whether to go with synthetic or natural pigments really depends on painting style and what other pigments you are using, and for what purposes. If you are using a modern palette based on titanium white and use earths to tone down highly saturated synthetic primaries and secondaries, synthetic earths are more suitable for overcoming the strength and chalkyness of titanium, and the intrinsic properties of the earths are less of a concern. If you are using an "old masters" palette that is based on earths, uses lead white, and makes frequent use of glazing, the lower tinting strength and transparency of natural earths, plus distinctive properties given by mineral impurities, works better with the more forgiving mixing properties of lead white, and allows for modulation in value and saturation that can often be quite surprising to someone unfamiliar with earths, many old masters works relied solely on earths, yet acheived incredibly high saturation thanks in part to a good working understanding of their distinctive properties, often not present in synthetics.
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Old 01-01-2015, 08:21 PM
llawrence llawrence is offline
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Re: Natural vs. Synthetic Earth Colors

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeH53
The old burnt sienna was a highly transparent with a dark masstone and high saturation on par with transparent Mars red, this PBr7 was gradually replaced with a lower quality dull, opaque milk chocolate brown form from other locations as the old mines closed.
The old raw sienna is more impressive to me than the burnt - I just picked up an old tube of WN from the 80s (I think) and it is amazing. Very dark in masstone, startlingly transparent and golden in glazes. Makes me look at all of the current semi-opaque dull yellow varieties with a more critical eye.
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Old 01-02-2015, 03:09 AM
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Re: Natural vs. Synthetic Earth Colors

The reason, why I love Nevskaya Palitra earths. They have deposits with very fine natural sienna and ochre. I found, their Glaukonite green earth is so perfect for underpainting darks. Coarse pigment particles gives richness to upper layer color.

Last edited by Gigalot : 01-02-2015 at 03:14 AM.
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