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Old 13-01-09, 09:03 PM
marknatm marknatm is offline
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Default Are Mica Pigments Useful

I tried performing a search to see if a discussion of this topic has already occurred but it didn't seem to find any results. If I'm mistaken, please accept my apologies for the repost.

I was wondering if anyone has done any experimentation with any Mica Pigments as a final addition to any of their works. I stumbled accross these types of pigments related to a gilding search, but never had seen anything like them before as directly being used as a pigment.

Can they be used as a pigment? Would they make a suitable pigment as a topical highlight? Has anyone experimented with these types of pigments? Are there any does or don'ts with mica? Do you know where I can find more information on their use?

Thanks,
Mark
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Old 13-01-09, 11:24 PM
gainor gainor is offline
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Default Use Mica carefully!

Hi Mark,
I have experimented with PearlEx pigments which are interesting as an idea but somewhat disappointing in practice. I think they would work better in manuscript illumination. On the other hand I had a friend who did a sunset in one of my workshops where he used the white PearlEx with Egg Tempera and it was wonderful. It enhanced the luminous sky in the painting. Perhaps subject matter and judicious use is the answer. I tried to mix PearlEx into a pastel and ended up trashing it as it looked cheap and contrived. My experiments with PearlEx in ET ended up being scraped or sanded off and I repainted the sections without it. I still wish I could figure out how it could look great as it is so tempting.

So much for my experience.
Good Luck...
Gainor
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Old 15-01-09, 07:32 PM
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jim jim is offline
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i became interested in mica-based pigments 10 or 15 years ago, and have gradually expanded the uses i find for them in my painting. i started off using the pigments in frame finishing, and in decorative projects that would simulate gold leaf or some other similar kind of flat metallic effect. gradually over a period of time, i have experiimented using these pigments in more illustrative, realistic painting contexts. it was difficult to integrate them the first few tries, and i still think it takes a fine balance to make this kind of reflective pigment integrate into a supposedly realistic context.

i have a painting sitting on my easel at the moment that has already made use of some of these pigments in the last week, in the underpainting, and will probably get a little bit more of them before the painting is finished in the next couple of days. in this particular case, i am painting the plumage of a very highly colored peacock-like bird, and the iridescence of the pigments seem very appropriate to me to render the coloring of the feathers.

they also make pigments called interference pigments, which mostly look offwhite, but in exactly the right light direction, give a really subtle reflective quality of whatever hue the pigment happens to be, almost like an oil slick, really resonant, interesting color. it functions best in extremely thin films of pigment. mostly i use the interference colors straight, in very thin layers. i have made some very interesting backgrounds with this kind of pigment., where i sponged one layer of interference pigment over the other using 3 to 6 or 7 different hues which in the eye all seems to look like one big color, but once examined closely breaks down into its fascinatingly diverse components.

unfortunately, all of these effects completely disappear in a photographic representation of the painting, so it would be pointless to try to send you any examples of the use of these things. to appreciate them you have to see the original painting. but i recommend the use of these pigments to anybody who is willing to go to the trouble to learn to use them. being garish is one of the several risks involved, but any artist who insists on working in good taste all the time is being very self limiting.

jim
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Old 15-01-09, 11:42 PM
gainor gainor is offline
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Default Can you Share some more?

Hi Jim,
Could you share with us some brand names of what you are getting good results from? I would love to experiment more, especially in some abstract work, but I do not think the PearlEx pigments are the right thing to use.

Thanks for the post!

Gainor

PS Also thanks for the invite to Atlanta in the posting about Giclees. I have noted the website of the company you recommended and if I come your way I will definitely stop in! It is about a 9 hour drive for me to Atlanta.
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Old 31-01-09, 02:30 PM
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for some number of years i have been using the silica-based pigments as dry pigments to mix with whatever binder seemed appropriate to the task at hand. sometimes acrylic, sometimes oil, sometimes tempera, sometimes encaustic.

i got my original batch of pigments from a company in charlotte, nc which is now closed down. but the same pigments are available from daniel smith, thru their catalog and online.

http://www.danielsmith.com.

i have found these pigments to be very valuable for all kinds of decorative art projects, for the fiishing of frames, and in many cases for certain parts of a painting surface - somewhat similar to the way a gothic painting might use gold leaf, like the halo in an icon. i've also found that you can do very interesting things with the silica-based pigments in creating near-abstract backgrounds that are juxtaposed with a very realistically painred figure.

best of luck. hope you can figure out a good way to use these materials, as they are a lovely new resource for the painter, and i think they've only been availabe for the last 20 or 25 years.

here are a few information pages on these pigments:

http://www.paintmaking.com/iridescent_and_metallic.htm

www.handprint.com/HP/WCL/pigmt4.html

it seems wiliamsburgh paints also makes pearlescent pigments.

jim.
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