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Dear MITRA experts, I would like to ask for your advice. I want to make my own oil paint in tubes, in small batches. My neighbours have a viscous paste mixer and a tiny three roller mill for ointments. I have found formulations for many pigments, can you tell me if these will make a good paint and if it can be improved in terms of modern science and your experience? A couple of examples:
There is a small amount of manufacturing losses included in all recipes. The mastic and beeswax are said to be dissolved in heated oil. Would it be possible for professional artists to use this paint? How can I improve it?
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I have never made oil paints in the volume required to come
up with weight pigment/ binder/ stabilizer ratio. I also eschew the use of stabilizers in home-made paint.
are certainly useful and essential for larger volumes of paints but, if I am
making my own paint, it is likely for some historically representative paint or
some unavailable pigment (probably a combination of the 2). When I make hand
ground paint, I do it empirically. I put a pile of pigment on the slab. , I then
add enough oil to make a crumbly “mortar-like consistency.” This is then mulled
until it loosens up. I then add more oil or pigment as necessary to make a
workable paint. Please search on this forum for more complete instructions.
However, my main response is that, “please do not add mastic
resin to your oil paint (I am generally not a fan of even adding bees wax to
oil paint because of the change in solubility) but very small amounts of wax do not
appear to have major deleterious affects. Please read about additions of resins in our
Thank you, Brian. There will be about 0.5% of resin in the paint, is it really that bad to add it? I like to read analyses of old paint media and from time to time resins are found in small quantities in works as old as Van Eyck's. I am asking because I've seen paint samples made by this recipes in 1962, they are in excellent condition.
No, at that level it probably would not be an issue, it also
would likely not have any perceivable affect on the handling and rheology of
As to analysis of old master paint, there was a time when
scientist believed that they could discern small additions to paint media using
gas-chromatography and ID spectroscopy. We now know that the ageing of oil
paint including the interaction of media with metal ions and the incorporation
of restoration materials makes this vastly more difficult thing to do. You will
notice that the recent National Gallery Technical Bulletins no longer list the
media of their analysis at the end of each volume. They discovered, like we all
did, that such pronouncement about the original ingredients in historical paints
more problematic than once thought. Having written the above, I cannot say
whether certain Old Masters did or did not add soft resins to their paint, I
can just say that it is not the best idea to do so.
Thanks a lot, Brian.