Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Mulmur Red, Making Oil Paint

We recently visited a spot in the Mulmur Hills.  It was down a "No Exit" road on the southern brim of the Pine River Valley.  Sunny.  Cool.  Quiet.  We arrived early.  The road disappeared over the valley brim in and interesting setting.  It was clearly the opportunity to paint a red - green painting.

Painting in Process

Some friends said "I don't get it, where was the red?"  I had anticipated this question and gathered some of the mud from alongside the road.  It was showing through all over the place.

Mud Dried Out

Then I thought, "why not make some paint from it?"  So I ground up the dry mud on a tile using a flat stone.  Now I wasn't going to get serious enough to get the particle size into the microns.  Just an experiment.

Ground, then Sifted Through wire Strainer

This is finer than sand but pretty course.  So I went to my only in house resource and begged an old stocking from my wife.  She frowned as usual.  What the hell....

Sifting Sand #2

A black stocking yet!  It cut about half of the product out.  You can see the colour intensity increase as the particle size decreased.

Red vs Gray

I turned to the Kama Pigments web site to look at their paint making demo.  Here is how I proceeded.

Linseed into the "Pigment"

You are right in thinking that this is a poor substitute for production pigment.  But my raw material is from the target painting spot.  And I'm not about to go and buy grinders and rollers.

Before Tubing

This stuff is about like putty.  You add oil and or extenders etc.  (a whole new world of paint chemistry) to get the consistency you think you want.  You should grind with a muller here.  Then tube away.

Back End Tube Filling

Not a difficult task, but it can be messy until you get the feel for it.  Fill a bit, tap a bit.

So I did a few 8x10s primed with oil.  Just to see how it felt as a ground.

Two Mulmur Red Coloured Grounds

The colour is warm somewhere between a burnt sienna (Italian mud) and a transparent red oxide.  Makes marks, drips and sags.  I painted on one of these today.  The larger particles felt like scratchy pebbles.  However, where the fines were deposited and dry, the board felt OK to paint on.  I wiped off the rough spots and painted without incident.

Next time I make my own, I'll use proper pigment.  Pretty easy to do.  High quality low cost paint.  Then again, I'd rather paint.

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