image


Basic Ingredients What you will need
This page contains a basic summary with links to pages with more detailed information. Fortunately the traditional painting media are simple in make up and can easily be made by artist's willing to go follow the inevitable, but straight forward learning curve. Additionally there are simplified ways that  the more sophisticated modern paints such as acrylics and alkyds can be experimented with without gaining a science degree. This site is your resource center for paint making help.


Supplies Where to find paint making ingredients
This site is aimed at a global audience so no one answer will suffice. The short answer is to start with your local art materials store. Major European paint manufacturers continue the age old practice of supplying artist's with pigments, and the larger stores will stock these or be able to order them in from catalogs. Winsor and Newton, Old Holland, Schminke, and Blockx all supply excellent ranges. Old Holland's range is particularly extensive, and they sell Cold Pressed Linseed Oil produced in a windmill. Winsor and Newton also sells Cold Pressed Linseed Oil. Other oils including Poppy Oil are also readily available through the commercial art supply market.

There are also specialist suppliers of pigments in existence like Kremer of Germany. These companies (along with Old Holland) are able to supply historic pigments such as genuine Ultramarine (Lapis Lazuli), Smalt, Naples Yellow, and so on.

What artist's materials suppliers do not tell you (because it destroys the mystique, and therefore the justification for high prices) is that most pigments they use and sell are purchased on the international pigment market just as with other materials and it is only the historic pigments, the ones no longer used by other industries that are still made in house by the artist supply houses themselves. Artist materials manufacturers would like you to believe that the yellow oxide in their tube of oil paint or watercolour is somehow special, but in fact it is likely to have come from the same batch used by house paint manufacturer. This means large savings can be made (and for the same quality) by buying pigments from any business that sells pigments to industry in small quantities. Any large city with an industrial base is likely to have several of these suppliers. The downside of this is that the artist buying pigments this way needs to become familiar with the variations of quality and physical characteristics of the many pigments for sale. After all, while the quality may be identical, there are cases where the pigment may be manufactured in a certain way in order to exhibit specific characteristics when used in a particular industry and this may not be obvious to the untrained eye, and they may render that pigment less suitable for other industries including making artist's paint. Many of these pigment wholesalers have little expertise in the requirements of the artist, and often speak the jargon of paint chemists in the industries they normally deal with, so it can be a case for the inexperienced artist of 'let the buyer beware'. For this reason it is advisable for the beginner to start with the offerings of the artist supply houses as they have made this selection process already and you can be assured that the pigments offered are suitable for the purpose of making artist's paint.

Every country is different in regards to art supply stores, but most are likely to have some that specialize in pigment supplies. In Australia Parker's at the Rocks in Sydney is always recommendable. In the US and Europe there are many. Links to some of them are found here.

The other major supply point is of course your own effort for those who decide to try collecting colored clays to make pigment from. In many ways this is the most satisfying method of all. In this case all responsibility for purity and quality are in the artist's own hands. With wisdom in collecting choices, the results can be spectacular. Do avoid the temptation to use organic substances such as plant extracts to supplement your color gamut, as these without exception will only satisfy in the short term and are always very variable in quality that do not match the excellence of natural Earths.


Pigments The coloring agent used in making paint
Pigments are colored powders made from tiny solid particles ground to a very small size as this is necessary to make a paint with all the characteristics that we associate with artist's paint. Dyes and colored resins are available but they not only are less light fast but also do not make a liquid that has the brushability and body that artist's paint requires. Pigments come in thousands of colors but only a few are suitable for use by artist's. Full pigment information is found here.

Pigments

Tools and related equipment equipment.

Safety equipment.


Binders The liquid component
These are the liquids that turn pigment into paint when ground together in the appropriate manner They range from oils, waxes, resins and gums to the latest products of the laboratory. Every kind of paint has its own kind of binder, in fact it is the binder more than anything else which determines what kind of paint the paint is. Follow the link for detailed information on the binders you will need.
Binders

Tools and related equipment equipment.

Safety equipment.


Other ingredients Often essential, usually neglected
Artist's tend to think that anything that is not pigment and binder is just an adulterant. It is not true, although many manufacturers have overused and abused what should be necessary ingredients to add in minimum proportions to make paint perform in a way that suits the artist's needs. Gouache is the classic case of a paint that is simply watercolor until the addition of chalk to give it that opacity and creaminess we love in the medium. This is your essential guide to the other ingredients you are likely to need from time to time.

Inert pigments, extnders, fillers, driers etc.

Tools and related equipment equipment.

Safety equipment.


                        
Related Links:

Studio notes

Testing paint

Starting to make paint

Making Oil Paints

Making Acrylic Paints

Making Watercolors and Gouaches

Making Egg Tempera

Making Hide Glue Chalk Gesso

Making Encaustic Paint

Making Fresco Colors

Making Pastels


References
Alberti, L B,    On Painting    1435 (Penguin Classics)
Cellini, B,    The Life Of Benvenuto Cellini,    finished 1562 but not published until 1730 (Heron)
Cennini, C d'A,    The Craftsman's Handbook.    1437 (Dover)
Doerner, M,    The Materials Of The Artist And Their Use In Painting,    1921 (Harcourt Brace)
Eastlake, Sir C L,    Materials For A History Of Oil Painting,    1847 (Dover)
Feller, R L,    Artists Pigments    1986 (National Gallery Of Art / Cambridge University)
Gettens, R J, and Stout, G L,      Painting Materials: A Short Encyclopedia,      1942 (Dover)
Gottsegen, M D,    A Manual Of Painting Materials And Techniques,    1987 (Harper & Row)
Maire, F,    Colors: What They Are And What To Expect Of Them,    1910 (Drake)
Mayer, R,   The Artists Handbook Of Materials And Techniques,    fifth edition 1991  (Faber & Faber)
Merrifield, Mrs. M P,    Medieval And Renaissance Treatises On The Arts Of Painting    1849 (Dover)
Muther, R,    The History Of Painting From The Fourth Century To The Early Nineteenth Century,    1907 (Putnam)
Parkhurst, D B,    The Painter In Oil   1898 (Lothrop, Lee & Shepard)
Patton, T C,    Pigment Handbook,    1973 (Wiley)
Porter, N      Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary,      1913 (Merriam)
Pliny, The Elder (Gaius Plinius),    Natural History,    77 AD (Penguin Classics)
Roy, A      Artist's Pigments: A Handbook Of Their History And Characteristics,      1994 (Oxford University Press)
Taubs, F,    A Guide To Traditional And Modern Painting Methods,    1963 (Thames & Hudson)
Theophilus,   On Divers Arts,    1125 (Dover)
Various,    Encyclopedia Britannica,    fifteenth edition 1981  (Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc)
Various,    Paint And Painting,   1982,  (Winsor & Newton / The Tate Gallery)
Various,    The Artist's Colormen's Story,    1984 (Winsor & Newton)
Vasari, G,   The Lives Of The Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors And Architects,    1568 (Penguin Classics)


Internet Resources  |  imageContact  | image Frequently Asked Questionsimage