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My Paint

Do you want to know why my paintings are so vibrant?

This is the most common question I get about my work.  How do I get the color to look so intense?

The answer is, I make my own paint.

I do this because  making your own paint is the only way to control what is in your paint.  Paint companies use fillers and additives to make the paint more consistent, to stretch it out and to make it more cost effective.  Anything that you add to the paint decreases the natural intensity of the pigment.  It is impossible to know the exact pigment content of any given brand of paint because each paint company has their own rating system. There is no way to compare companies against each other because they are not measured on the same scale.  

All paint is made from pigment and a binder which holds the pigments together.  Historically pigments have come from natural sources, such as soil, rocks, minerals, plants and animals.  About 1850, during the industrial revolution, synthetic pigments were discovered.  They were discovered when chemists were working on how to handle the coal tar sludge that was produced from factories.  When it was discovered that after washing the coal tar sludge through a chemical process that different colors would be made and turned into dyes and pigments, a whole new industry was born.  This allowed for a much wider range of color to be used other than what could be found in nature.  It was also much more cost effective because you no longer had to mine Lapis from Afghanistan, Ultramarine could be made anywhere.  This is where we get the Alizarin, Pthalo, and Ultramarine colors.  Paint companies use this process to make almost all colors now.  

Natural pigments are much more intense and they have a variety of consistencies.  Because they come from a variety of sources and are not chemically produced, each one has a different feeling.  They also vary dramatically in price because they come from different sources. When you are buying paint from a company, you know that they are using natural pigments if each paint tube is a different price and consistency.  If they are using synthetic pigments each paint tube will cost the same and feel the same.   

I use all types of pigments in my paint.  I use both synthetic and natural  pigments, whatever is interesting to me.  I try to find unusual colors. I get pigment from all around the world.  When I make the paint I focus on the unique quality of the pigment and use the amount of binder that will make the paint the most intense possible.  There is no formula, it is just what works for that pigment.  Making paint is an art in itself.  It is a challenge to work with the materials.  I am constantly learning in this process.  I hope that I will continue to refine my paint making skills.  For me it is an important part of the artistic process.  However, not everyone is able to do it, which I completely understand. It adds a lot more work to making art.   Because of this I sell some of the paint that I make in my shop.    I offer both premade tests and custom sets.  If you are interested in a custom set, please select that at check out and I will contact you to develop your own unique palette.

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