Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Mixing It Up

After ordering some Sennelier Dry Pigment several weeks ago, my first three jars of it arrived today. I spent ages just looking at them. They're the most brilliant, pure hues I have ever seen. There's something romantically alchemic about knowing that they can become any kind of paint I want simply by mixing them with various binders – oil, watercolour, tempera – and in almost limitless combinations of viscosity, texture and intensity.
I am going to use them for some large paintings using a similar approach to my recent watercolour works on paper. I thought about using pre-mixed watercolour but I don't like this medium on a large surface. It becomes flat, without the nuances I'm able to create when using it for small areas of colour. On the other hand, paint that I mix from pigment has a subtle depth. I first saw it used on a large, abstract-like landscape. The washes were beautifully delicate, vibrant, and seductively imperfect. Small fragments of pure pigment occasionally speckled the surface, bleeding into the rest of the colour.
The woman who sold me the Sennelier products remarked on my going back to basics, by which she meant 'old-fashioned' processes. I began painting using tubes and tins of synthetic colour with plastic textures. Mixing my own paint from pigment is a luxury I can finally savour.


Anonymous said...

Hi Hazel,
I agree.
Piles of dry pigment are a joy to behold and use.

Jennie Rosenbaum said...

I am so jealous. it sounds wonderful to be able to get in and mix exactly what you want, how you want. can't wait to see what you produce