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  #11  
Old 24-08-09, 05:28 PM
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paintrman paintrman is offline
Kelley Vandiver
 
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I would also like to apologize for my "touchy" response. I could blame it on the tough year I have had (as I am sure many can relate), but I am afraid I am just grouchy by nature at the moment. I realized after posting my last response that maybe I should branch out and try Prussian Blue again. I mean, I have tons of it in a bottle in storage. I love a good challenge! I also don't use Ultramarine very often even though I love the color. Alexandra, even though I was snippy, you did get me to try things that I haven't tried in years and years! That has got to be a good thing.

Why is it that anytime we (I should say "I") are pushed to try something that is outside of our comfort zone we balk at it? Yikes, I am turning into my mother!
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  #12  
Old 25-08-09, 01:51 PM
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Koo Schadler Koo Schadler is offline
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Well, who would have guessed that an innocent question about Prussian blue would elicit talk of crankiness and the lousy art market and mothers? I'm so glad I asked. All of your responses have inspired me to think. I'm always trying to impress upon students how wonderfully idiosyncratic pigments are; that becoming acquainted with their quirky natures is one of the pleasures of being a tempera painter. So why I'm I trying to rescue them from the demands of Prussian blue? Granted, you have to grind and grind to get it dispersed; it travels everywhere; it is overwhelming staining if used injudiciously; etc... But once understood and handled properly, it behaves, and offers a beautiful, warm, dirty veil of rich transparent blue that is unlike Ultramarine (which has its owns attributes and defects) or any other blue I've tried. In conclusion, I am happily going to stick with my beloved Prussian!

However, I do have some pthalo in a jar on the shelf......I'll give that a try as well.
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  #13  
Old 06-12-09, 07:30 PM
markbriscoe markbriscoe is offline
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I haven't read in detail all of this thread but I haven't seen any mention of the fact that prussian blue is NOT a permanent pigment. I have had first hand experience of it completely fading. Pthalo blue however is completely permanent. I use it all the time, but because of its intense tinting quality I usually calm it down by grinding it with neutral pigments like chalk...


http://www.drakebriscoe.com
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  #14  
Old 07-12-09, 02:22 PM
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Koo Schadler Koo Schadler is offline
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Hello Mark,

I would love to hear more precisely what happened to your Prussian. What I've always heard is that it is considered permanent (is lightfast) but has a few potential aging problems: reactive to alkalis (which can turn it brown); can acquire a bronzy sheen; and can fade when left in the dark (!) but reappear once put back in the light. Those are the things I've read about it, but I've never run into those problems myself. What was your experience?

Also about Prussian Blue...I was talking last night with an experienced painter about the overtones of Prussian. I've always considered it a blue that tended toward a sort of dirty turquoise when mixed with white - i.e. headed toward yellow on the color wheel - and he said he'd always felt the same. But he surprised himself the other day when mixing it with alizarin to make purple (ostensibly to demonstrate to his students that its not the best blue for making purple) because it actually made a beautiful purple. So I went on line and read that Prussian can have overtones of either red or yellow. And yet I've never seen any hint of red in the two or three different Prussians I've worked with (unlike, for example, as in ultramarine). I'd be interested in what other people know or have experienced.

Koo

Last edited by Koo Schadler; 07-12-09 at 02:25 PM.
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  #15  
Old 07-12-09, 10:38 PM
markbriscoe markbriscoe is offline
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Hello Koo. Now that you've put me on the spot I'm having to re-trace my steps a little. It was a long time ago (I didn't touch Prussian blue again afterwards) I mixed two colors: prussian blue and a little burnt umber which I painted in thin dark lines on a painting. I have to admit I left the painting to dry in the sun (which I still do today without any problems) and when I returned within one hour the lines had almost completely vanished, only a thin trace of umber was visible.

I checked with Ralph Mayer's handbook and there seems to be a lot of doubt/debate about prussian blue's permanence, my book is about 18 years old so later editions may have more info on its lightfastness. I guess it may be worth painting some of the batch you have in a thin layer on some
card and leave it in the sun for a few hours and see what happens, perhaps some grades are more permanent than others.

Prussian and pthalo are slightly on the greenish side. I also thought that Ultramarine mixed with red (quinacridone) would produce a better purple than pthalo but my experience is that the shear intensity of pthalo blue more than compensates for the slight presence of yellow (purple's enemy)
and can make a great purple. You mentioned alizarin above, I don't know if you use it but I think they are also not very permanent pigments.

I checked out your website btw... FANTASTIC work!

Mark
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  #16  
Old 08-12-09, 05:07 AM
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Koo Schadler Koo Schadler is offline
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Hello Mark. Your work is beautiful too. I love the painterly-ness of it.

I do on occasion put my work in the sun for a day or so to cure, but have never had fading. However I'll try it with Prussian alone and see what results, and let you know. I used alizarin for years, but eventually became concerned about its permanence, and now I too use primarily quinacridone (magenta specifically) for a cool red. However its expensive (and now the magenta is very hard to find) so I don't give it to students in workshops. They unfortunately work with the more affordable alizarin, with the understanding that its lightfast rating is a little less than ideal.

What quinacridone do you use as a substitute for alizarin, to get those blue overtones?

Koo
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  #17  
Old 14-12-09, 08:48 AM
markbriscoe markbriscoe is offline
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Hi Koo,

I probably shouldn't have jumped into this thread condemning categorically the permanence of prussian blue. If you regularly leave your works in the sun then I guess that should be proof enough that yours is okay.

I use quinacridone scarlet mostly, quinacridone red is more on the bluish side, I tried to order some quinacridone magenta from L. Cornelissen but they didn't have any, I would like to try it out. I use quinacridones mainly for making pink, ages ago I used to use scarlet lake which made the most beautiful intense pink until I found out it fades easily. For straight red I mostly use cadmium red, for some reason it looks dull when mixed with white, but quinacridone scarlet makes a satisfactory pink though not as good as scarlet lake. How do you normally make pinks?
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  #18  
Old 14-12-09, 06:09 PM
Alessandra Kelley Alessandra Kelley is offline
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Ralph Mayer's book is generally good, but a great deal of his information is badly outdated.

Prussian blue seems to be one of those touchy pigments. I had a chemistry class where we synthesized our own Prussian Blue. I have never had problems with commercial Prussian Blue, but that homemade stuff had all the problems listed in the old books, including rapid fading.

I consider Prussian Blue to be close to a pure "Cyan", in the printing ink sense. Thought of that way, it of course can go either way to make pure, beautiful mixed greens or purples.

I make pinks with Mars Red. If I want a less dull pink (since as Mark noticed,even bright Cadmiums get dulled down when mixed with white), I glaze a thin wash of pure Mars Red or Violet over a slightly lighter-than-I-want pink mixture of Mars Red and Titanium White. Sometimes I will use a little overglaze of Quinacridone Red for the most intense reds/pinks.

Seriously, you would not believe how intense a color you can get from a thinned-down glaze (even of a color normally considered dull or opaque) over a light-colored version of the color you want.

Another way to get a really shockingly rosy pink is to paint a solid layer of pure Mars Orange, let it dry thoroughly (at least a day or two), then drybrush over it with thinned-down Titanium White. If you use Mars Red, you will get an intense violet.
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  #19  
Old 14-02-10, 04:16 PM
markbriscoe markbriscoe is offline
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Hi Alessandra, Thanks for your advice on painting pinks (2 months ago.. lol) sorry for not responding before. Yes I know that painting thin reds over lighter red/pink tones can produce nice effects, but I often find the result glaring rather than intense (if that makes sense) I quite often just want to paint lots of little spots of pink which gets complicated if you have to glaze over each one afterwards. Is Mars red permanent? I will try it some time. Love your work especially like the tones in "Miranda's Titanotheres".
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  #20  
Old 14-02-10, 09:43 PM
Alessandra Kelley Alessandra Kelley is offline
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The Mars colors are all iron oxides, absolutely permanent. You can make a broad range of pretty subtle pinks with them.

I like your atmospheric use of color and texture (the latter obviously more in oils than tempera). Thanks for the kind words about my art. "Miranda's Titanotheres" is one of my favorites. It's an image of my daughter some years back at the Field Museum of Natural History and is painted on black chalk gesso, one of my favorite techniques.
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