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Old 19-10-10, 03:56 PM
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Default dry pigments from holland

the wife and i were in amsterdam last week, and we made a special trip (about an hour by car) to zaanse schans, north of amsterdam, to visit a series of working windmills. this is the kind of facility that used to create pigments for artist paint as well as other kinds of paint of a more commercial nature.

currently, they're producing dye materials and grinding chalk for paints and linoleum. it was really fascinating to see the inside of the mill, it having been built originally in 1646 and probably looked a lot like it looks now when it was new. they have a secret back room that is absolutely full of pigments for sale to artists, and i was amazed at the variety of pigments that are available, as on each shelf you could see the pigment itself in a little glass test tube. this is a great trip for any traditional painter who wants to get a glimpse at the way our pigments used to be made, and we really enjoyed the whole trip quite a lot.

the secret room was small, and we had to ask to get back there, but a white-coated man took us back and talked about all the pigments he uses, and how he makes his own paint, and how in fact the mill was the source of all the painting supplies used in 'girl with a pearl earring' and another rembrandt movie in production currently. he himself used the paint grinder that scarlett johansen used in the movie. three whole walls were lined with bins of paint in 100g and 1kg paper bags, and the prices were very reasonable, so we got things we don't actually have at home, like white ochre, and green umber, and ercolano red. we bought 800 grams of paint, that's 8 little bags, and it was easily the highlight of our visit (except for frans hals).

our initial impression was that all these manymany pigments that they sell there at the mill were ground there from raw materials, but on rereading their printed material, it seems that most of these pigments seem to come from kremer pigments, which means they can be very easily acquired outside holland. the chalk, however, was apparent in great chunks out in a drying shed, and inside where the secret room is we saw big chunks of ochre as well. so we don't exactly know how much is done right there, because we never thought to question our assumption that they did it all between two enormous granite stones.

for plenty of pictures and a very nice narrative, go to http://www.zaanschemolen.nl/millsdet...=4937&mid=5164. and if you're ever in holland, by all means go by and have a great morning in the mill. tell piet hello from the yank couple who talked his ear off one morning.
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Old 19-10-10, 09:47 PM
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from the wife.

you know, on further researching what we don't know about de kat, i'm not sure where they get their pigments. we might be wrong to suggests they're just a retail store. kremer lists de kat as a retailer, but their pigments don't have the same names as kermer pigments. perhaps they're getting their pigments from all over the place, and perhaps they're grinding a lot of the earth pigments, which is all we brought home with us. so perhaps we speak too soon.

there was a wonderful light ochre i'm in love with, and i can't find it anywhere else, so i think it's likely to assume they grind a bunch of pigments in the second pair of stones, which wasn't working when we were there.

i'm sending them an email to find if they sell online, because i want more of that white ochre.
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Old 20-10-10, 01:47 PM
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Enjoyed reading your post and looking at the web site for the mill. Looking at the photo of the grinding stones, it's hard to imagine how they start with a large chunk of chalk and get it down to a fine pigment without it all ending up on the floor. I'm very intrigued by the "white ochre" pigment you mentioned. Never heard of it before. Maybe you can post photos of it as a dry pigment and a swatch painted on a panel.
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Old 22-10-10, 12:17 PM
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Thanks for the posting, Jim. I've already made plans to go visit. I just need to make plans to make money first.
Another fascinating place to visit is the town of Roussillon in Southern France. It is my understanding that most of the world's ochre pigments come from Roussillon. Huge mountains of red, orange and yellow dirt. When you leave, your sneakers are pink.
That white ochre intrigues me. I've never heard of it. Keep us informed.
Phil
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Old 22-10-10, 10:30 PM
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Jim,

Yes, please post some images of white ochre. The huge variations in the earth colors is fascinating.

PhilS, a few years back I was in the south of France; however my companions looked at me as if lobsters were coming out of my ears upon mentioning ochre mines; though a minor disappointment compared to discovering, on a Sunday, leaving in the morning, a Parisian restaurant devoted to and called L'Escargot.
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Old 27-10-10, 07:03 AM
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Jim,
Thanks for the story. This is in my neighborhood so I'll check it out. I have known and used Kraemer pigments for years. They are the best German colors shop (that I know of).

The white ochre story seems to have piqued many of us. For ochres, Rousillon yes, but also Australia. I learned about that from "Colour: travels through the paintbox" by Victoria Finlay. An intrepid traveller-journalist's account of her travels around the world searching out the earth's natural riches in artist's pigments. A great travelogue!
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Old 28-10-10, 05:25 PM
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Default dry pigments from Holland

Jim, what a great post, thank you, and I'd love to see pictures of some of these rare pigments also. Phil, lol, I'm with you on plans too! The book that Ellen mentions sounds like fun also.
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Old 11-11-10, 11:13 PM
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ellen t, if you'd please ask which specific pigments they grind themselves when you visit de kat. that's one of the important questions that we never got around to asking, and it would be very good to know which ones they actually process, and where they get the rest of their pigments.

for everyone who asked us to post a swatch, you know as well as we do that it wouldn't give you any information, because there's first the distortion that the camera makes, and then there's the distortion you have on your monitor, and there's no way to tell what the color is.

but if you send us an sase, we'll send you a paint chip so you can see for yourself. 556 woodward ave se, atlanta ga 30312.

Last edited by jim; 11-11-10 at 11:17 PM.
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Old 17-11-10, 11:46 PM
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Jim,

When I struggle out of the molasses vat I'm wandering through, I'll put together a sase, sans molasses of c o u r s e.

Call me Eeyore.
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