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Your source for information relating to fine artists' materials. We promote the education and use of these materials among artists by providing detailed information for their use in encaustic, fresco, oil, watercolor and tempera painting.

Learning from artists manuscripts, a contemporary artist adapts a 15th century recipe for preparing grounds for oil painting on wood panels.

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Posted in Grounds Paints Supports

Roger de PilesIn the 17th century, Roger de Piles described in precise detail the flesh tone palette used by nearly every artist of that time in his seminal treatise, Les Élémens de Peinture Pratique. This painting manual influenced artists for several hundred years and established the current practice of setting a limited palette and a rational approach to painting portraits among the greatest artists of that period. In this article, we translate four chapter from the original 1684 French manual and explain how contemporary artists can set the limited 17th century palette for flesh tones using Rublev Colours® Artists’ Oils.

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Ceracolors--Water-soluble wax paintIt’s not often that a brand-new fine art medium comes along. Ceracolors is a new artist-grade paint made from quality pigments in a water-soluble wax binder. Although made from wax, Ceracolors are not encaustic paints in that they do not require heat, solvents or mediums.

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Oleogel Road Test

10/8/13 12:00 PM

The Artist's Magazine October 2013Oleogel was featured in Rob Anderson's Road Test column in the October 2013 issue of The Artist's Magazine. Rob writes about Oleogel: “What exactly does adding Oleogel to paint do? Oleogel maintains the body of the paint—say goodbye, in other words, to drippy paint—at the same time it increases the paint’s transparency. The medium is versatile enough that it can be used for a thick impasto and also for glazing. The fact that this medium is this versatile is something I’ve never seen before. In my experience, a medium typically is only good for one thing, either glazing or helping to extend and thicken the paint, but not both. All in all, I had a very positive experience using Oleogel. The increase in fluidity and simultaneous control were wonderful surprises. I plan on continuing to use the medium, making it a part of my painting process.”

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Preparing the cartoonThis three-day workshop will give you the skills needed to complete fresco painting for walls and portable panels. The course begins with hands-on instruction on applying plaster. Using a prototype you draw and paint the cartoon, transfer it to the plaster and begin painting the image. At the end of this workshop you will complete a portable fresco to take home with you.

Read more for locations and dates

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Posted in Events

Purple OcherOchers are natural iron oxide earths that are found in many parts of the world. They are among the most lightfast and stable pigments used in the arts. Iron oxide pigments produce a wide range of colors, from black through shades of purple and red in the anhydrous oxides to yellow, orange, and brown in the oxide hydroxides. While it is the iron oxides that produce the colors, other minerals—such as quartz and clays, for example—are also present. Iron oxides have high tinting strength, and strongly colored earths that are suitable as pigments may contain a relatively low concentration of iron minerals compared to the concentration of the other minerals. The weight percentage of iron oxide in these earth pigments vary widely from as low as 10% to upper amount of 97% with clay and quartz accounting for the remainder.

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Posted in Paints Pigments

Six Ways I Use Oleogel

9/30/13 12:00 PM

Kate Stone paintingI push Oleogel on all my friends and I've even done time for selling it in a schoolyard. After using it regularly for the past year and half I've come up with a variety of uses for it and I thought I might share them.

For those who haven't come across this term before,"couche" is French for "paint layer," and in the context of classical technique, a couche is a thin layer of oil that you spread over an area that you are about to work on, usually an area that you are going to bring to a finish with fine detail and blending. The oil makes the fresh paint flow onto the surface better (great if you're working with tiny amounts of paint on little itty bitty brushes) and at the same time saturates the old paint layer so that you can match your colours perfectly. Snort. As if anyone manages that.

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Posted in Mediums

Painting Best Practices Workshop, TorontoNatural Pigments spent years developing a technical workshop to teach skills that are not taught in art school and universities—a thorough understanding of artist’s materials and tools, what they are designed to do, when to chose them and how to provide considerable longevity to your finished work. This workshop covers the most important aspects of painting that have proven to be the best practices over the centuries.

Read more for locations and dates.

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Posted in Events

Alpine by Julio Reyes (detail)The simplest way to create an impasto surface is to apply paint in large amounts, usually with either a brush or palette knife. Commercial oil colors have a heavy consistency, so this can be achieved by working directly from the tube applying the colors in thick layers. Opacity and built-up texture are usually interrelated, with much of the thickest impasto consisting of solid and opaque pigments, such as lead white or titanium white. Passages of thickly applied paint can also be translucent, so extender pigments are chosen that supply both bulk and transparency.

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Posted in Mediums Paints

Crocoite mineralChrome yellow enjoyed a brief history of widespread use among nineteenth century artists, such as Turner, Manet, Cézanne, Monet, and Pissarro. Cézanne, like Pissarro and Monet, used the neutralizing effect of combining three primary colors—ultramarine, vermilion and chrome yellow—to make colored grays. Its popularity soon faded because a more stable opaque pigment, cadmium yellow, was introduced by the middle of the century.

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Posted in Paints Pigments