Rublev Colours® natural mineral, organic and historical powder pigments are especially made by Natural Pigments for artists. They are the same pigments used by ancient, medieval and Renaissance painters. Each pigment can be used for different painting techniques. Whether you are a novice or an experienced painter, you’ll find Rublev Colours pigments well suited for use in aqueous mediums, such as egg and casein tempera, gum arabic (watercolor), hide glue (distemper) and acrylic dispersions. They perform equally well in oil and alkyd paint. Most are suitable for fresco and other painting techniques, such as encaustic.
Rublev Colours pigments are made directly from mineral and organic sources. Our geologist, who has many years experience selecting minerals for pigments, travels to distant locations, and hand selects mineral ores for use in our pigments. We process the minerals by pulverizing, grinding and levigating for use as fine artists’ pigments.
We travel worldwide to observe the growing and processing conditions of the natural materials used in our organic pigments. We inspect cochineal gathering at cactus plantations in Mexico, madder root in Turkey, indigo vats in India, and logwood trees growing in Honduras.
At Natural Pigments, we remove the mystery of pigments by disclosing their source and known composition. We want you to gain the same intimate knowledge that the old masters had when they made their own paint with pigments.
Synthetic pigments today are made to serve the paint industry, in which producing paints for artists plays a minor role. To achieve maximum desirability in paint today, pigments are made homogenous in shape, size and composition. For example, to increase the covering power of pigments, particle sizes are made as small as possible. The smaller the particles, the more the color nuances of the pigment are reduced to its basic hue, as in inks that have no texture. Particles that are homogenous in shape and size also tend not to settle quickly and separate from the binder during storage. This increases the shelf life and thereby the marketability of paint, but reduces its beauty as a color for artists’ use. As Anita Albus wrote in Art of Arts, “The result is not perfection, but sterility.”
Artists’ material manufacturers purchase most of their pigments from companies that mass-produce them for other uses. A few examples include ultramarine, cadmium and phthalo colors. Oddly enough, painters are one of the few artistic groups to succumb to economic pressures and use ready-made materials. Even in the applied arts such as cookery, it is customary to produce their own stocks and sauces, even though commercially-processed alternatives are available.
We make our pigments, on the other hand, to specifications that maintain their best qualities and allow artists to refine them for their own use. You can use them as they come out of the jar or grind and separate into different grades for special visual effects. As you become more aware of these possibilities, you will want to experiment, paying attention to the way the pigments look and behave when mixed with your favorite binder—whether it is oil, acrylic, egg, lime, casein, collagen glue or gum arabic.