On Making Oil Paint

Well, I have been busy recently making paint. I obtained one of the Paint Making kits and read the paint-making instructions in the catalog.

After obtaining a dust mask, and a pair of suitable gloves, I began by making a slurry of silicon carbide and grinding that for a while with the muller on the piece of glass included in the kit. It didn't take nearly as long nor as much silicone carbide as I thought it would before the entire piece of glass was nice and frosted. I ground it for less than 5 minutes to get it to that state. The other thing I learned was that it doesn't take much pressure. Just move it around in little circles, and it works great. Another tidbit that I found was the table I was working on. It has a place where the halves are joined together and isn't exactly flat. That doesn't work too well. So I moved over off that spot on the table, which worked very well.

The next step was figuring out what kind of oil to use for what pigment.

I started with the titanium white I bought when I bought the paint-making kit. For the sole reason, if I messed this up, I really wouldn't care. I have a nice tube of titanium ground in linseed oil, so I thought I would use walnut oil for my first attempt at making oil paint.

The kit comes with a rather large bottle to dispense oil out of, so I poured a bit of walnut oil, less than a quarter cup, into the bottle, put the lid back on, and sat back down to premix the titanium with the oil. I started this process by adding a drop of oil and attempting to mix it with the pigment; it took several drops of oil to get something resembling a dry crusty white ball. I attempted to mull this, and it worked. It just didn't get to the consistency I was looking for, so I added a couple more drops of oil and mixed it up with the palette knife. A few more minutes with the muller, and it was just the way I wanted it.

The next step of the process is to put your freshly made paint into a tube. I grabbed the knife that had come with the paint-making kit, scraped up a bit of the paint, put it in the tube, and scraped it on edge so the paint stayed in the tube. I then repeated this a couple of times and found that I needed to pound the other end of the tube on the table a few times to get the paint to settle into the bottom. It did, and I continued to fill the tube. I was enjoying this as I overfilled the tube. So that when I flattened the tube to close it, the paint came out. I scraped the excess paint onto my palette and closed the tube by folding it over and rubbing it with the knife. I repeated this process three times.

Now for the actual test, I invited my wife to try our new titanium white paint ground by hand with walnut oil. So she did, and she loves it. I think she was being nice when she said it was the nicest paint she had ever used.

To answer some questions before I began this process, the first is just how much paint will 100 grams of pigment make. It depends on the pigment, but at this point, you should have enough to fill a 50 ml tube with a bit left over with most of the pigments included in the kit.

So far, my experiments have been with the following...

Malachite - I ground this in a mixture of oils Pale Grinders oil, Aged Refined linseed oil, and a touch of Epoxide oil
Flake White - Pale Grinders oil
Cyprus Raw Umber Dark - cold pressed linseed oil
Nicosia Green Earth - cold pressed linseed oil with a touch of Epoxide oil
Italian Burnt Sienna - cold pressed linseed oil with a touch of Epoxide oil

I have greatly enjoyed the paint-making process and painting with these paints.

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