Panel Painting Reproductions II: Pigments Galore!

When it was time to grind our pigments, Karen Thomas came to the Conservation Center to lead another workshop. By this time we had learned all about pigment usage, history, and aging characteristics; we were excited to work with these materials and to appreciate their working properties.

We divided up the pigments to grind amongst us, and while Karen was there, we each had a turn to practice grinding the pigments with water against a marble slab. This evenly disperses the particles in order to attain a paste with the right consistency and without clumps. When we were done, we but each pigment in a separate screw-top jar and labeled them carefully.

The first one we ground was Titanium White. This pigment is anachronistic for the panel imitations we were creating, which would have employed Lead White, a white pigment with considerably less hiding power. Green Earth and Yellow Ochre were other authentic pigments we made first.

:: How Green Earth is Made :: Technical Information ::

:: How Yellow Ochre is Made :: Technical Information :: Synthetic Yellow Ochre (Mars Yellow) ::

Because we did not have Vermillion for our panels, we substituted this with Cadmium Orange where needed to give a very similar color.

:: How Vermillion is Made :: Technical Information :: History of Vermillion::

:: How Cadmium Pigments are Made :: Technical Information :: History of Cadmium Orange ::

Other pigments were ground later, including:

  • Caput Mortuum (“Rust” here is a variety of haematite iron oxide pigment. Although there seems to be some confusion between this, Spanish Brown, “Mummy,” and Venetian Red, Kremer calls the pigment that we used with this label “Haematite” [48710].)


This post will continue. Read on to see photos of our panel reproductions!

~Kate Brugioni


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