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Old 09-01-07, 05:41 AM
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Salamander Salamander is offline
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Default lead white

Unprotected lead white, is supposed to turn black in the presence of sulfer (as in 'air pollution'). Egg yolk has sulfer in it. Does lead white turn black or discolor in egg tempera? I'm thinking, not, due to the oils in the yolk. Am I wrong?
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Old 10-01-07, 03:51 AM
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Bert Congdon Bert Congdon is offline
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Default Lead white

I use white lead whenever I can. No matter what the vehicle, it goes on like hot butter, and it makes anything it's mixed with go on better and smoother. I am not afraid of it. Its not like mercury where even the vapors are poisonous. To be dangerous, I believe it has to be eaten or the dust breathed in. I don't plan on eating it. I have not had anything turn black. I have even ground it in water for ET. A few years ago I stocked up on it because I thought they might take it off the market. Bert
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Old 11-01-07, 03:50 AM
Alessandra Kelley Alessandra Kelley is offline
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It can't turn black because of egg yolk, or all Renaissance temeras would be black where they should be white (Like the ones that are black-brown where they should be green, because of the trouble with Verdigris).

I have seen some of the paintings that were used as evidence to support this myth, usually Madonnas where a vase of lilies in the foreground has gone black. BUT ... These were Northern European paintings, and therefore almost certainly OIL paint. And the vases were clearly painted on with very thin paint after the rest of the work was finished. Apparently -- however they were painted -- there was not enough protection in the paint medium to keep the Lead White white.

But I have seen NO evidence of egg tempera Lead White going black. None.

Not that you'll catch me ever using Lead White in tempera. I agree it is a wonderful pigment, and I cheerfully use it in oil. But that whole lingering, painful death thing has me avoiding straight lead powders.
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