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Old 01-02-2017, 08:06 PM
star fisher star fisher is offline
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Paint separating in the tube

I have discovered several tubes of paint where the pigment has separated from a clear liquid in the tube.

I paint from dried paint in pans or on a palette, which are refilled with a quantity of paint from the tube when needed - usually just one or two colors at a time. This weekend I started to make color cards for each tube of paint I have, labeled with the brand, pigment code, and color name, as well as a swatch of the paint. I have been putting a dab of paint from the tube onto each card (my own color dots) and then spreading it with a brush with different amounts of water. This has resulted in me opening each tube of paint that I have. I noticed a trend. Many of the Daniel Smith paint tubes have separated and have a clear liquid just inside the cap. The pigment is down inside the tube, past the clear liquid. Very few of the other brands have separated like this.

What is the liquid? Is it gum arabic or ox gall? It's too thick to be water.

If I were to remove the clear liquid without mixing it back into the pigment, it seems likely this would change the consistency of the paint. I don't want to do anything that will cause the paint to dry or thicken in the tubes.

The paint tubes that are doing this are two years old or less, some only a few months. I have older tubes of paint in other brands, some of which are 20 to 25 years old, and they have not separated like this. (I took a break from painting and was surprised that only two tubes of the old paint had dried up. Most are still fresh.)

Anybody else have this experience with Daniel Smith paints or other brands? What do you suggest I do when this happens?

Regards,
Mel
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Old 01-02-2017, 10:34 PM
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Cyntada Cyntada is offline
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Re: Paint separating in the tube

I'd just get a toothpick, or something similar, and stir it back in right in the tube. It happens sometimes and I've never regarded as a big deal. If you really wanted to go nuts on it, uncrimp the tube at the back and stir from the big end, then roll and crimp it closed again with pliers. That's probably overkill, but it's an option.

Or, squeeze all the paint out into another container, stir, and keep it there. I did something like that because I'm a little obsessed with organization, but it did allow me to deal with a tube or two with separation issues.
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Old 01-03-2017, 04:16 AM
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Re: Paint separating in the tube

I had this happen with some cheap old tubes so I squeezed them out into a lidded Ice-Cube tray. I kept one tube and massaged it unopened then kept turning it over (end over end) to allow pigment to sink back through the carrier liquid. When I finally opened it out of curiosity it was still quite evenly mixed.
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Old 01-04-2017, 10:44 AM
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janinco janinco is online now
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Re: Paint separating in the tube

I use a bamboo skewer (you can get a bag very cheap at the grocery store) and push it up and down like I'm churning butter. It mixes the gum arabic or honey back into the pigment very well. This seems to happen the most with granulating pigments like earth colors and the Primateks.

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Old 01-04-2017, 06:49 PM
Franz Marc Franz Marc is offline
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Re: Paint separating in the tube

I always shake the tube before squeezing out fresh paint. It helps sometimes to have your other hand near the end of the tube to squeeze if paint/moisture suddenly shoots out, this can then force the paint back into the tube oftentimes.

If you have enough room in the tube, like it's half empty, just knead the contents before you squeeze, thereby mixing the pigment with binder.

and I always stir up my fresh squeezed paint with a toothpick to further mix the pigment and binder, even when there's no separation, I notice the pans don't shrink nearly as much when they dry out.
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Old 01-05-2017, 05:11 PM
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savras savras is offline
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Re: Paint separating in the tube

Among my watercolors those that have very obvious separation are:
- DS Cerulean Blue Chromium (PB36)
- DS Cobalt Blue Turquoise (PG50)
- DS Chromium Green Oxide (PG17)

It may be because these are heavy pigments. Or maybe because of formulation.

On the other hand my W&N tubes have no separation at all. Maybe except faulty 5 ml tube of Cobalt Violet which contains nothing but transparent liquid.

Age of tube and time it spent in cap-up position may be additional factors.
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Old 01-06-2017, 11:12 PM
jaredlovestodraw jaredlovestodraw is offline
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Re: Paint separating in the tube

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyntada
I'd just get a toothpick, or something similar, and stir it back in right in the tube.

You gotta be kidding me. haha This never occurred to me and now I feel really dumb. I'm always sad if I open a tube and it's half separated. I never thought of fixing it.
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Old 01-07-2017, 10:53 AM
Fat Filbert Fat Filbert is offline
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Re: Paint separating in the tube

I've been thinking about this because it's too cold to do much else. I think that the paint was never thoroughly mixed during the manufacturing process rather than separating later in the tube. While I haven't experienced this with watercolor yet, I have many times with oil paint where it seems to vary from manufaturer to manufacture. Also when one tube had this separation issue, it occurred thoughout that particular tube till the end.
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Old 01-07-2017, 04:06 PM
Berner Berner is offline
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Re: Paint separating in the tube

Quote:
Originally Posted by savras
Among my watercolors those that have very obvious separation are:
- DS Cerulean Blue Chromium (PB36)
- DS Cobalt Blue Turquoise (PG50)
- DS Chromium Green Oxide (PG17)


I have mostly Daniel Smith (all bought last coupla years) and the only ones that have separated are:

Cerulean Blue (PB 35)
Cerulean Blue chromium (PB 36)

and Aureolin (bought before I knew it was not lightfast).
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Old 01-10-2017, 11:58 PM
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cliftonprince cliftonprince is offline
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Re: Paint separating in the tube

My mom frosts her hair about monthly with a kit that she gets at a typical drugstore. The kit comes with a skull-cap type shower-cap sort of thing that has sets of holes in it, color-coded for different degrees of bleaching and so forth; and, a little pulling device, like a knitting needle except with a little hook on the end of it. The game is, you mix up the bleach paste, you put on the skull cap, you pluck strands of your hair through the little holes observing the color codes depending on desired effect, you bleach the plucked strands, rinse, done. The plucking is accomplished with these knitting needles with hooks on the ends of them. There must be three hundred of these little knitting needle contraptions lying around our house accumulated over the past twenty years of mom's self-frosting hair kits. They used to be fairly heavy-duty, made of some kind of chromed metal; now they're just cheap pink plastic, these hooked-knitting-needle thingies. They're handy for baking cupcakes (insert to see if batter comes out or stick comes out clean); for picking nuts (get nut-meat out of crevasses and crannies of shell); for arts and crafts projects of all kinds.

I fetched about three of the things and use them to stir the paints in my tubes when necessary. I prefer the older chrome ones over the plastic ones, the chromed surface on the metal seems to be less likely to taint the paint in the tube. The little hook on the end, tiny though it is, seems ideal for stirring up paints. And when done stirring, I can effectively wipe all paint back into the nozzle of the tube, right off of the stir-stick, until it comes out entirely clean, since it's chromed.

Also, after mild stirring, try storing the paint tube nozzle down for a day or two; then, nozzle up for another day or two; then horizontal; etc.. It's pretty much just test-and-try until you get a solution that accommodates your own particular storage predilections, humidity, habits of opening and closing, tightness of cap and screw and hand pressure, atmospheric air pressure, etc. etc..
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Old 01-11-2017, 03:50 AM
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shadye1 shadye1 is online now
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Re: Paint separating in the tube

Tube paints are best rotated cap to base regularly .
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Old 01-11-2017, 04:28 PM
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hblenkle hblenkle is offline
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Re: Paint separating in the tube

In years of painting I have only a couple tubes that had the liquid separate a little. I put the liguid in the paint well along with the pigment and stirred. That was the end of the problem.
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Old 01-11-2017, 06:20 PM
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Quinacridone Gold Quinacridone Gold is offline
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Re: Paint separating in the tube

You never know now long a tube has been sitting or hanging in the store. I always shake tubes well before use and open with care in case the paint spurts out. I open a new tube to allow a little air and space, then shake again, vigorously.
I use DS, have done for a couple of decades, and the ones that separate most are the heavier granulating ones - buff titanium, goethite, Indian red and cerulean chromium being the worst offenders. I don't worry about it - just expect it and always shake well. Once I squeeze some out I stir it in the palette/pan and shake again.

If you do get a bit of clear gum arabic, you can get it back into the tube by squeezing the shoulders of the tube, right at the far end, to suck the gum back again, then shake it in.
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