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Old 04-24-2009, 12:26 PM
rroberts's Avatar
rroberts rroberts is offline
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Re: Making your own paint ?

Originally Posted by spydygo
Is there a pigment that I need to add somthing else than linseed oil? Or all can be made just with linseed oil

For a variety of reasons, I make many of my own paints. However, I do use commercial paints as well, especially for initial underpainting.

To answer your question ... the only ingredients you need are pigment and linseed oil. I suggest refined linseed. Use a glass slab and muller ... here is a link to a demonstration (click on "How to make Oil Paint"):

Pigments, slabs and mullers are available through Natural Pigments and Sinopia.

As for economy, the usual range of earth colors are the most economical. Keep in mind, however, that making paint is not always economical, and can be time consuming. You might want to explore painting with a limited palette, either the Goya Palette or the Zorn Palette (White, Ivory black, Yellow Ocher, and either Vermilion or Cadmium Red Light or Medium).

Can you make quality paint? Of course !!! Read this post by Bill Martin

In fact, take time to read the entire thread.

For more information, and an objective view of the pros and cons of making your own paint, check out this guide to making artist paints.

You will lose nothing by learning to make paint.
You will learn a great deal about the nature of pigments.
The main thing is to enjoy learning.

-- Robert
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Old 04-25-2009, 09:35 AM
dcorc dcorc is offline
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Re: Making your own paint ?

Originally Posted by alhajri
I have a paint making set. Medium muller and square glass. I use Cold pressed Linseed Oil and the Sennelier dry pigments. I've made Ivory Black so far. I like the experience. It's fun and educational. But as gunzorro said, brand name will be much better in quality because hand grinding the paint will take time and will not be as precise as the machine.

I would still do it for fun. But the quality control isn't that great. I would find some lumps of ungrounded pigment.

One simple point, about the practical process - process through as a series of small lots under the muller:

When you mix the oil and pigment powder initially, it should form a rather dry paste. Mix it together with a palette knife by folding it over. It's OK if its a bit "crumbly" - you don't want it "oozy" at that stage. scrape it into a pile at one corner of your slab.

Now - take a small amount of that - put it down centrally on the slab, put the muller down on top of it, and briefly mull it. You should find that it goes from paste to fluid. Scrape it up off the slab and from the bottom and round the edge of the muller, and put it to one side. Do the same with another small amount, mulling it and adding in to the "processed" pile. Work your way through in small batches like this, until you've done one pass on the entire pile of starting paste.

If the "first pass" paint is very fluid, you can add a little more pigment, and mull it again quickly in small batches, accumulating a "second pass" pile.

It can also be advantageous to let the paint stand overnight (cover it with a couple of sheets of clingfilm/saranwrap) and then remull it again. Use the consistency of the paint be a guide as to whether you need to add more pigment (you're less likely to need to add more oil - what starts out as a very crumbly paste can liquify surprisingly, under the muller).

After mulling 2-3 passes, I add about 1-2% of a thick paste of beeswax in turpentine, mix this in well and briefly mull again.

I suspect some people may get into a mess, or produce poor-quality results, because they are trying to process too much volume of material under the muller at one time? My experience is that its quite hard work, and time-consuming, but that you don't need to be mulling the entire tube-full of paint for hours - instead, each little lot is only mulled on each pass for a minute or two. Cumulatively, the whole process takes a long time if you're making enough paint to tube-up.

I've got paint, tubed up, that I prepared in this way, thats as good as the day it was made, after storage times of a couple of years or more.

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Old 04-25-2009, 01:41 PM
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rroberts rroberts is offline
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Re: Making your own paint ?

Thanks, Dave, for the additional practical mulling tips.

The use of a little wax/turpentine is especially helpful with pigments such as ultramarine blue, which tends to be stringy during mulling. Gamblin Cold Wax Medium is good. With some pigments, I use a little chalk to add body.

Some pigments do benefit by resting between mulling sessions because they don't incorporate as readily with oil. For example, caput mortuum (hematite iron oxide) requires a LOT of mulling; I love it, though, and often use it for cool skin shadows.

Originally Posted by TheBaron
... in reality making paints up is messy, time consuming...

Hmmmm ... Making pesto is messy and time consuming.

Originally Posted by TheBaron
... working with chemicals can be lethal ie CADIUM to name but one.

Let's get real. Insect sprays, household cleansers and garden fertilizers can be lethal. Here's a list of 101 dangerous household products.

Use some common sense when mulling pigments:
~ wear latex gloves.
~ turn off fans, be aware of breezes through open windows/doors.
~ do not leave jars of pigment open -- put the lid on the jar.
~ wear a face mask when handling pigment powders. (Once the pigment is made into a paste, there is little or no danger of air-borne pigment).
~ be mindful of storing pigments so that children and pets can't get into them.

-- Robert

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