Holy fish scales! January 18, 2018 08:16 2 Comments

I got those chameleon pigment samples I ordered and tried them out last night. Some of them are way too sparkly for me, like they have glitter in them (although this is mica--i.e., rock--not plastic bits). Glitter is nice, but it is not me. However, there are also the few pigments that have such fine mica particles that they are iridescent in the way that nature is. This is exactly what I am looking for to add to surface layers of abstract paintings. I experimented with mixing these pigments with just casein binder and also added them to some random, low opacity colors (they are supposed to work best with transparent pigments). They worked wonderfully, as you can see from the indanthrone blue plus flash violet in the upper left of the picture. The larger squares in the photos are just plain mica pigment + casein. I want to explore these pigments further, so last night I ordered five of the "flash" colors. 

One thing I noticed about these pigments is that the particles are so small and light that some just float up into the air when the bag is opened. Yow! For that reason I ordered a particulate mask, and when I get the pigments, I will right away work them into some filtered water so that dust is not an issue. They are not supposed to be a hazard to lungs but you know what? Dust is dust.

There is something called "fish silver" that is of the same iridescence (naturally, since it is made out of fish scales), and I have thought about trying that. But it is $77 for 10g (about 1/3 oz) and these micas are $4.50/oz. Plus fish silver is a skin irritant and these mica powders are not. Still, maybe one of these days I will spring for it, because how much fish silver could one use in a lifetime? Not a lot, I'll bet.