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Old 16-06-18, 05:27 PM
arbrador arbrador is offline
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: USA
Posts: 65
Default Irridescent pigments?

Hi All~
Has anyone tried using irridescent pigments with egg tempera? Would these specialized pigments be archival? Or perhaps you've discovered a way to make your colors appear irridescent? Any other thoughts?

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Old 17-06-18, 03:49 PM
arbrador arbrador is offline
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: USA
Posts: 65

Hi All~
I'm going to answer my own question but especially welcome ET artists who have tried these iridescent and/or pearlescent pigments.

First I discovered that Kremer Co. carries several and their info states that they are both lightfast and suitable for tempera.

The Handprint Website by Bruce MacEvoy has this very useful segment:
I'll copy a bit of it below but the entire page is well worth reading.

However, he does not mention pigments, only watercolor paint (Daniel Smith, W&N and others). I've had success, when traveling, using watercolor tubes mixed with equal parts egg yolk to make ET paint to be used on traditional gesso panels. It looks pretty much the same as regular ET paint so I imagine the gum arabic binder in the paint is not a problem at least visually-may be a problem long term though. But if I'm going after iridescent effects for a major work or on a regular basis, I'd much rather use actual pigments so will look into the Kremer offerings.

Finally I poked around a bit and found these instructions for creating iridescent and pearlescent effects using regular paint. These instructions were not specifically for ET but may be applicable:
To create iridescent effects:
1. Use high contrast- both in color temperature and in value. Also dull against bright.
2. Remember- white and black desaturates color which is a problem since to create iridescence you need objects to get more colorful as the value lightens. So use very little white and black.
3. Objects get less colorful in the shadows.
4. But put some color in the reflected lights in the shadows.
5. For iridescent bird feathers use greens, yellows and blues over earth tones. Use an old
brush to create feathers texture.

To create pearlescent effect:
1. Put colors on a white background
2. Use violet, green, yellow in midtones
3. Surround the pearlescent area by darker colors to make it glow
4. Put less color in the shadows- use brown or black for example.

Here is a small segment from Handprint site:

Interference paints
"Luster" pigments are a minor innovation in artists' materials, brought in from decorative applications in crafts and cosmetics, which in turn had adopted them from the sparkly textures first used in consumer packaging and plastics. Mayer sniffs that iridescence effects "have little to do with painting but often occur in nature" — which is half true.

The first interference pigment was guanine, a protein crystal found in the scales, skin and bladder of many species of whitefish (such as sardines or herrings). The first pearlescent (or nacreous) pigment was developed in 1656 by the French rosary manufacturer François Jaquin, who made artificial pearls by painting guanine on round beads. Natural pearl essence is prized for its toughness, and the subtle warmth of its iridescent color; it is primarily used in shampoos and cosmetics.
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