Sunday, October 28, 2012

Natural Pigments visit

Posted by: Dave

Kate and I decided to do separate postings as apparently I have a selective memory.  For example, she remembers all the in's and out's of our business and I remember how to fold a formal dinner napkin into an origami bra from when I was 10.  I think we all know who remembers what's really important.

So we just returned from our visit to the Natural Pigments factory in California and it was truly an incredible experience.  I hadn't had this much fun since my visit to the free puppy and firework factory in Detroit. While in California, we also got to visit with our friends and fellow artists Julio Reyes and Candice Bohannon who taught us the teen slang phrase "shit just got real", which I will be using from now on to describe realist art. 

I would like to take some time to talk about Rublev paints from Natural Pigments.  One of the main differences with Rublev paints is that they do not add fillers and stabilizers.  Simply oil and natural pigments.  They are entirely organic so all the hippie artists of the world can enjoy them as well.  In addition, the pigments are not machine ground like other manufacturers, which results in a variety of pigment particles, resulting in a better refractive index.

I have noticed a tremedous change in my work since switching to their pigments.  In addition to an easier color harmony, each paint offers a unique paint quality.  I have mentioned the thixotropic properties of lead before, but other paints have a similar effect as well. When using other brands, one will notice that every single pile of paint comes out of the tube exactly the same.  A lot of people felt the old masters had some secret recipes and mediums, but I honestly think pigment properties dictated how they painted more than anything.
In addition, only natural pigments are used and none are synthetic.  Many of these pigments are mined from all over the world, including Siberia, France, and even Afganistan.  Most pigments by other brands of paint are synthesized, and can be falsely labeled.  For example bone black should be made with burnt bones. Ivory black is made with actual ivory.  And hooker green is made with dead...nevermind.   I am also extremely excited that George will be making an authentic ivory black.  Since harvesting ivory from living species is illegal, George will be using small shards of mastodon tusks.  Did you hear me?  That shit just got real.

Now I know these paints aren't for everyone.  There are plenty of artists like Adolf Hitler and Thomas Kinkade who used alternative paint brands.  It's ok not to use Rublev paints if those are the sort of artists you look up to..... nazi.

Here we are with George and Tatiana, the brains behind Natural Pigments. 

Kate looking enthusiastic.  Either she just saved a bunch of money on her car insurance by switching to GEICO or she really loves this paint.

Pics from our demo of Natural Pigments Paints at Riley Street Art Supply in San Raphael.  Your skills are always put to the test when painting in a public arena.  One has to think, shit just got real.

Our visit to Sadie Valeri's Atelier. We talked about one of the greatest teaching tools ever, the "compliment sandwich."  You start off with a compliment of the student's work, then give some constructive criticism, then end with another compliment.  For example, "Nice color choices over here, did a brain damaged 2 year old paint that other area...nice shoes."  Works every time.

 Sadie's Atelier

One really cool trick Julio taught us was how to use Velazquez medium to create transparent impasto without sacrificing chroma.


  1. Excellent,
    Sure would love to hear, read and see more of this excellent adventure...
    As per the "Velazquez medium to create transparent impasto...", check out this gentleman's site...He has a most excellent and exhaustingly thorough book he has produced.

    Tad Spurgeon : the putty medium has long been known that Velasquez used a medium composed of sun oil and ground calcite. ... but especially their book "Rembrandt: Art in the Making", it became clear that ... range of techniques from smooth and detailed to roughly broken impasto. ..... A system evolved which made the most of the lower chroma of these ...

    Check out this guys site...pretty awesome..

  2. Thanks James! I actually read a ton of Tad's stuff ages ago. Interesting stuff. Definitely worth a re-read.