Welcome to the April Edition of the Art Treehouse Newsletter!
One of the most requested items on our "to do" list is a replacement for cadmium red. Cadmium red is a brilliant color, but there are concerns about toxicity, lightfastness when exposed to air, and there are moves in Europe to ban the pigment because cadmium is ending up in the water supply. In the US, cadmium has been found in the wastewater system at Texas State University - the wastewater that flows to the San Marco River. The source of the dangerous level of cadium was the Art Department!
About a year ago, a pigment representative told us about a pigment that could replace cadmium red. The only problem was the price - it was ten times the cost of other pigments. More recently we found a source for the same pigment, called "254" at a better price, so we jumped at it. Now it is available to you! This is the real stuff, not a "hue" made from other colors. Even better, we make the paint with Water-Washed Walnut Oil, so that the color stays brilliant over time. Our Red 254 is more lightfast and saturated than other reds including cadmium red. It is semiopaque, highly staining, dark valued, and intense. You can read more about the history of this color HERE.
HERE is an extended article that deals with the question concerning "fat over lean", often asked by artists who have seen the issue raised in a painting handbook, and they are unsure about how to deal with it. Some painters have worked in acrylics, and are moving to oil painting. Others are just starting out with their first painting. Should each layer have a percentage increase in oil over the previous layer? Is there a formula for this? What will happen if I fail to follow the "rules"? How will I know if I have done it wrong? Note the center image in the photo - it shows how well Oil of Spike Lavender works to help maintain a film even when the paint is very thin. This is good to know when, for example, the initial sketch is being painted thinly on the canvas.
Take a look at our new "Ultra Blue" HERE, made with Water-Washed Walnut Oil. Traditional ultramarine blue made with linseed oil may shift toward green when the linseed oil yellows over time. Water-Washed Walnut Oil is extremely clear, and so the blue stays blue! Even though there is a pigment number system in place to identify specific colors for artists, this is only a rough estimation of the hue. For example, ultramarine is numbered PB29, but there are many different types of pigment with the name PB29! There is green-shift PB29, red-shift PB29, granular and fine PB29, etc. The PB29 we chose is best for use in paints rather than plastics, and it has a uniform particle size that helps to overcome problems with agglomeration.
Check out our new Impasto Medium HERE. It was developed and tested for use with palette knives and stiffer brushes. It comes in a large 150 ML (5 oz) tube, so that only what is needed in any one painting session is exposed to air. This unusual Impasto Medium was designed to flow with the brush during the stroke, yet set up stiff for drying. Another "requested by artist" item - most of what we sell is the result of requests from artists! Do you have a request for a certain art material that you can't find elsewhere? Let us know....
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