by Nina Baldwin

cloud catcher*dream maker*artist

"Art touches the soul...art is communication...it reaches out from the canvas and passes through the eyes of the viewer right into his heart where it can leave an imprint of beauty that can make the spirit sing."
Nina Baldwin ...

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Sunday, November 7, 2010

A Little Bit More About Pigments, Oils, Wax and Techniques

It was the paints that allowed for the Impressionists to make the changes in techniques that they did...

It was about the 1870's...the younger artists were rejecting the techniques of the Academie...the dark, transparent shadows, subtle tonal modeling, somber hues and earth colors of chiaroscuro. Mechanical grinding of pigments was considered too coarse by the masters, but actually the larger particles lent themselves to the loading of the paint so favored by the Impressionists.

While oil binders such as linseed oil were best suited to thin layers and glazes, poppy seed oil was more "buttery" when combined with ground pigments, thus retaining the mark of the paint brush...and providing a raised textural effect. It was slow-drying which was particularly useful for the wet into wet technique employed by Monet in his paintings.

The addition of paraffin wax improved the consistency of the paint, but overuse lead to sticky, dark colors prone to cracking. The wax did make it possible for the stiffer paints to be used with a palette knife...something Cezanne and Pissarro took advantage of...

Before starting to paint artists attempted to remove as much oil by placing blobs of paint on blotting paper to soak out the oil. So at this time, artists needed to manipulate their paints in order to achieve the effects and use the techniques that they preferred...more later....

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