Chameleon Colors and the Pigment Jackpot January 12, 2018 07:20

I recently came across sites that sell pigments for use in cosmetics, including nail polish (which is just acrylic paint), and yesterday I sent for some samples of what they call "chameleon colors." Other pigment vendors call them interference pearlescents. I've read that such pigments don't work in matte binders like casein, but I will experiment and find out for myself. 

Then a friend online posted me a link to a pigment shop in Japan. Holy moly! This place has a huge selection not only of interference pearlescent pigments--that are aimed at making paint rather than cosmetics--but many other kinds of pigments as well. They have an entire line of Holbein dry pigments, for instance, in not only dry form but in tubes and in pigment dispersions. I'm wondering if the pigments in tubes are oil-based, because I have seen pigments being sold in two forms: aqueous and oil-based (oil-based dispersions could be used by people who want to make their own oil paints). They also have pigments and supplies for traditional Japanese painting. including all sorts of brushes. It's a pretty amazing shop. At any rate, I know I will be trying some of their interference pearlescent pigments. 

My plan for these pigments, if I can get them to work with casein, is to use them to make a layer through which the rest of the painting is visible. For instance, I'd like to use them to make sigilistic designs on abstract paintings, or even shapes that appear to be moving in and out of various levels in a painting, using this type of pigment's ability to be one color if looked at from one direction and another if viewed from a different direction. They also appear completely different if painted over a dark background or a light one. So I think they might make an interesting tool for abstraction, which I would like to explore a lot more than I have.

And creating abstracts in casein would be pretty darn unique. I think casein has some possibilities that oil just does not have and that I would like to bring to abstraction. So much to learn!

These pigments might not work at all for this type of painting, in which case, oh well. But there are plenty of others I can try. And the more I work with casein binder, the more I see how it is itself an important player in making casein paintings--as much as the pigments. It is sort of like glazing fluid in acrylics.

I've also been experimenting a good deal with various types of supports for casein besides paper, including clayboard, board gessoed with acrylic ground and board gessoed with casein gesso, and right now, board covered with layers of true casein binder that I make. I'm still waiting for that last one to dry, and I think it might well be as pretty much not a win as the others. Probably the casein gesso has been the best so far, but the paint still sinks down into the gesso and looks insipid and weak compared to how it acts on paper, where it is bold and happy and unafraid to show itself and doesn't lift easily, thank the gods.

So I've been working on gluing paper to panels. I've tried Yes Paste, which was a total no, having no gripping power whatsoever for this situation. And I tried soft gel acrylic on handmade paper, which resisted it with all its might and I had to throw that one out. But I think I might have got it right with manufactured paper (my favorite from watercolor days, Magnani Aquarello) and soft gel on a panel. I checked this morning, and the paper is nice and flat against the panel after an evening of being weighted with heavy books, but I am going to wait until 24 hours has passed, as Golden recommends, before I give it a try with some paint. It would be great to have something that I could paint on, seal with wax or shellac, and then throw a hanger on so it is ready to hang with no framing necessary. And it is nice not to have to tape down watercolor paper to paint and hope it doesn't cockle and then try to cut it loose without misjudging the cutting lines. Yes, it is a bit nerve-wracking to paint on paper that is already glued to a panel, because if I screw up the painting irretrievably, I can't paint on the back and I have to throw the panel away as well as the paper. But casein does allow for a lot of do-overs as part of its nature as an opaque paint, so I'm hoping this will work.