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Old 07-05-10, 02:26 AM
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vermillion9 vermillion9 is offline
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Default Umber...

I wanted to post this in the "On Paint and Pigments" section but there wasn't the "New Thread" button at the top. Please move this if needed! I am having problems with umber. The umber I have came as a ground pigment that I have re-ground, mixed with water and keep stored in a jar. When I combine the pigment paste with egg and water, the crazy stuff won't come off the brush when I try to paint with it. It is really making me nuts. I have done the following to make it work: I ground the pigment again. I can't get it any smoother or get smaller grains. I've tried different types of eggs. The pigment is mixed with distilled water to make a paste. When mixing with egg, I have tried distilled, RO, and plain old tap water. I bought a new brush. I have varied the amount of egg. Changing the above variables hasn't made one wit of difference. None of my other pigments display this reluctance to come off the stupid brush. What am I doing wrong? Is umber just difficult to work with? Any suggestions are greatly appreciated!
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Old 07-05-10, 06:03 AM
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mona mona is offline
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Default Umber

Is it raw umber or burnt umber? Who is the manufacturer of the pigment? I know that burnt umber can have a tacky quality as a pigment paste, but it should not be impossible to work with if you are using sufficient water and egg.

Have you checked to see whether you may have purchased a synthetic form of the color instead of a natural form? I can't tell from your description if this could be the issue, but one time, years ago, I purchased some white pigment, thinking I was saving some money, and it turned out to be a synthetic variety which behaved very poorly and I couldn't paint with it either, so I threw it out and started over with a reliable brand that I knew I could count on. Several reliable brands of pigment to look for that I'd recommend would include Kremer and Old Holland.

Certain pigment colors can be more of a challenge than others, because raw pigments are not served up in a vehicle (like tube paints) until we add the egg and water in the proportion needed for each pigment (and all pigments are not equal in how much egg/water is necessary). I hope this information helps.

Mona
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Old 07-05-10, 04:36 PM
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vermillion9 vermillion9 is offline
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Mona, I purchased the pigment from Iconofile (Rublev) - The item description is as follows:

Our umber is from deposits near Moscow, Russia. Our pigment is finely ground to exhibit a yellowish brown masstone with greenish undertones. It has excellent tinting strength and good covering power.

The description goes on to say that the common names in English are both umber and raw umber. The pigment does seem to work somewhat better with only the merest bit of yolk and then it only comes off onto the paper (bristol board) for one or two strokes. I can use it but it is taking me forever. Thankfully, what I am using it on is small! Perhaps I should try with just the egg white? (And why don't any of the text-editing buttons work?)
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Old 08-05-10, 05:29 PM
briancorll briancorll is offline
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Have you tried a drop or two of alcohol added to the paste ? There may be a component in the earth color that is not water-soluble and needs an assist from another solvent to make it disperse properly and flow off the brush as it should.
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Old 10-05-10, 02:42 PM
artistcb artistcb is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vermillion9 View Post
I wanted to post this in the "On Paint and Pigments" section but there wasn't the "New Thread" button at the top. Please move this if needed! I am having problems with umber. The umber I have came as a ground pigment that I have re-ground, mixed with water and keep stored in a jar. When I combine the pigment paste with egg and water, the crazy stuff won't come off the brush when I try to paint with it. It is really making me nuts. I have done the following to make it work: I ground the pigment again. I can't get it any smoother or get smaller grains. I've tried different types of eggs. The pigment is mixed with distilled water to make a paste. When mixing with egg, I have tried distilled, RO, and plain old tap water. I bought a new brush. I have varied the amount of egg. Changing the above variables hasn't made one wit of difference. None of my other pigments display this reluctance to come off the stupid brush. What am I doing wrong? Is umber just difficult to work with? Any suggestions are greatly appreciated!
I just happened to come across this on Natural Pigments site regarding umber:

"Umber requires a large amount of emulsion to form a paste and slows the drying time, so that it can be dissolved by water for some time afterwards. It also frequently separates from the binder and decomposes in casein emulsions. To avoid this a small amount of ammonium hydroxide can be added to the pigment when grinding it with the binder."

I'm not sure what ammonium hydroxide is or where to get it although wikipedia defines it as, "Household ammonia is dilute [sic] ammonium hydroxide". So, it appears that you could add a drop or two of this to umber. Not sure if this will help you or not. If you try it please let us know if it is helpful. I will be receiving my Rublev pigments on Tues. and I believe I'm receiving raw and burnt umber in my order.
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Old 11-05-10, 12:11 PM
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vermillion9 vermillion9 is offline
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Thank you for your replies, Brian and artistcb. I haven't heard either of those before. Ammonia I have but, Brian, do you know what kind of alcohol to use? Vodka? Rubbing alcohol? I have lots of time today so experimentation is definatly in order!
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Old 11-05-10, 12:52 PM
artistcb artistcb is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vermillion9 View Post
Thank you for your replies, Brian and artistcb. I haven't heard either of those before. Ammonia I have but, Brian, do you know what kind of alcohol to use? Vodka? Rubbing alcohol? I have lots of time today so experimentation is definatly in order!
I think I read one of Alessandra's tips on this board somewhere that you can use any kind of alcohol. I wouldn't know if it works for umber though. Please remember to let us know the results of your experimenting!
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Old 11-05-10, 01:13 PM
artistcb artistcb is offline
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Here are some links I found for you, perhaps others have something else they add that could help you if any of these don't work:

http://www.eggtempera.com/forumnew/s...hlight=alcohol
dbclemons mentions ethyl alcohol to wet pigments

http://www.eggtempera.com/forumnew/s...hlight=alcohol
Alessandra mentions that she deals with pigments that repel water by adding a drop or two of rubbing alcohol to the pigment and water

http://naturalpigments.com/education...p?ArticleID=17
Natural Pigments site suggests ammonia for their Rublev umber
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  #9  
Old 11-05-10, 01:15 PM
artistcb artistcb is offline
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And, if the whole thing leads you to drink, then let us know how well spirits work lol!
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  #10  
Old 29-05-10, 10:50 PM
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vermillion9 vermillion9 is offline
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Update time: Rubbing alcohol really, really works very well. I did some brush stroke tests (like how many strokes I can get using varying amounts of EY, water, pigment, alcohol blah blah. I made a chart.) and if I add one drop of alcohol...everything is like blissful and smooth and I can paint without going crazy. I didn't even have to drink any alcohol to get positive results. It's truly like a giant weight lifted off my shoulders. *whew!*
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