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The grind…


My paintbox came with some old watercolor pans. I hadn’t intended to rehabilitate them — they were dusty, crusty old bricks — but I started totting up how much it would cost to replace them and I relented.

Some of the pans were nearly used up. There were paints from several different manufacturers spanning many years. In other words, whoever owned this box before me painted a lot. Like, a real lot. That makes me feel a bit funny. I wonder if this box will land back on eBay some day, anonymous again.

Watercolor, in theory, is infinitely re-wettable. Some people even believe the old materials are preferable. Not me; we’ve gotten better at manufacturing all sorts of things in our day, and I believe artificial pigments are among ’em. Particularly during and just after the War, there were some pretty shitty art materials on the market. But, hey, a half pan of cadmium red alone was going to cost £7, so let’s grind.

I sperged at length about making paint earlier this year. To rehabilitate watercolor, you really only need to smash it up with water but, since I decided for some reason not to bring my muller across the pond, that was easier said than done. All’s I had was a palette knife. I managed it in the end but it took some elbow grease and bent my favorite knife.

The recipe above is from L. Cornelissen and Son, a good old fashioned mid-Nineteenth C. London colorman. That’s what art shops were called back in the day, when you bought pigments and made your own. The paint tube (and therefore pre-manufactured paint) was invented about the time Cornelissen opened his shop and it took a while to catch on. (Incidentally, no paint tube, no Impressionism. Probably).

Well worth looking around their site. They still sell all the stuff! More paint recipes at the link, too.

Notice honey is one of the ingredients. It adds wettability and a certain slight gooiness. I had to add a bit to my grind, as these sad old paints were…whatever the total opposite of gooey is. Desiccated, I guess.

I suspect that Winsor and Newton, at least, still uses honey (or sugar syrup) in some of their colors, because I once had cockroaches attack a painting of mine back in my student apartment days. They neatly ate off the burnt sienna parts and left the rest. Weird.

p.s. That spooky bastard Carl has won another dick. That means a new Deadpool this Friday.

September 5, 2017 — 5:43 pm
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