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Contemporary knowledge dedicated to the making of traditional materials. Beautiful, high quality, bright paint.

 

Gamblin 1980 Oil Colors are made with the same dedication and pure pigments that go into our Artist's Oils. In addition, we use the same process of mixing, milling, filling, and hand labelling.

 

In order to reduce the cost of oil colours, some manufacturers use gels and wax to stiffen colours and replace traditional pigments with less expensive ones. Our approach is different. 1980 colours are formulated with pure pigments, the finest refined linseed oil and marble dust (calcium carbonate). More affordable colours have been made with these three ingredients since oil painting began. With 1980 colours, artists experience colours that are true, without homogenized texture or muddy colour mixtures.

 

Our approach of using both traditional raw materials and processes ensures that artists experience the luscious working properties that they expect from their oil colours. The chart below lists the pigments used in our 1980 colours and their relative opacity and transparency.

 

About 1980 Oil Colors = Best Student Grade Value

True colour. Real value.

 

Gamblin 1980 Oil Colors are made with the same dedication and pure pigments that go into our Artist’s Oils. In addition, we use the same process of mixing, milling, filling, and hand labelling.

 

In order to reduce the cost of oil colours, some manufacturers use gels and wax to stiffen colours and replace traditional pigments with less expensive ones.

 

Our approach is different. 1980 colours are formulated with pure pigments, the finest refined linseed oil and marble dust (calcium carbonate). More affordable colours have been made with these three ingredients since oil painting began.

 

With 1980 colours, artists experience colours that are true, without homogenized texture or muddy colour mixtures. Our approach of using both traditional raw materials and processes ensures that artists experience the luscious working properties that they expect from their oil colours.

 

Reds

Since the introduction of Cadmiums at the turn of the 20th century, the red hue family has greatly expanded to include such colours as the semi-transparent Naphthol and Perinone Reds and the transparent Quinacridone Reds.

 

Using transparent reds opens possibilities unthinkable before this century. Instead of making glazes by thinning down an opaque colour (which doesn’t increase transparency) or choosing the less lightfast alizarins, painters can use Perylene Red, a warm lightfast red that is completely transparent. Just imagine what Turner might have done with these reds!

 

Until the late 20th century, scientists were not able to tell the difference between human blood and earth red (ferric) iron oxide pigments. Vermillion was an alchemical mixture from the 9th century AD. Combining sulphur and mercury may have been an attempt to produce the philosopher’s stone.

 

The resulting bright, opaque red was a marvel short of philosophy but a delight to painters for a thousand years. The earth red and vermillion colours were prepared by Robert Gamblin for a Smithsonian Institute research project and are not available from Gamblin Artists Colors.

 

Early artists knew the difference between fugitive and permanent pigments. They realized earth reds do not change through time or as a result of climate. Earth colours are rated ASTM Lightfastness I – the highest lightfastness rating. Iron oxide deposits are still found all over the world. Anthropologists believe the hematite (anhydrous ferric oxide) mines in South Africa have been worked for more than 40,000 years. There is the almost universal use of red pigment for funerary purposes.

 

The underground colour suggests an association with life-sustaining blood. Hematite is a natural form of iron oxide red found in Neanderthal caves where 20,000 to 35,000-year-old bodies had been completely submerged in the red pigment.

 

Cinnabar, the principal ore of mercury came from the Almaden mines of Spain for the artists of Pompeii. Cinnabar, a soft earthy lump of bright red, was an ingredient in recipes for preparing the philosopher’s stone as well as the artists’ colour, Vermillion. Since the thirteenth century CE, red artists’ colour has been artificially synthesized from mercury and sulphur.

 

Vermillion is a dense opaque colour that may blacken when exposed to the air or when painted next to white lead. Red lead, which definitely blackens in air, was used as a substitute for genuine Vermillion because it was a less expensive pigment. By the 1930s, lightfast, permanent with considerably lower toxicity, Cadmium Red had replaced Vermillion on artists’ palettes.

 

The red earth is common in mural painting and easel painting throughout history. Although completely permanent and lightfast, red earth is dull when compared with the bright reds made from mercury. Other reds were made from organic matter, such as the madder root, dried bodies of insects or pomegranate peel.

 

It was 1868 before Alizarin was extracted from the madder root. Alizarin Crimson is the least permanent red colour commonly found in artists’ palettes today.

 

The madder root and Alizarin colours prepared by Robert Gamblin for a Smithsonian Institute research project are not available from Gamblin Artists Colors.

 

Violets

Because of the value of rare blue pigments, few were mixed to make violets. So painters of the past did not use permanent violet colours. Those made from organic dyes have faded completely away.

 

Some painters never buy violet or purple. They mix it using Alizarin Crimson and Ultramarine Blue. While a decent colour, the purple mixed using Alizarin Crimson is not lightfast; within 100 years that mixture will not be purple – it will be blue. Try Gamblin’s Alizarin Permanent for mixing with Ultramarine Blue. Or consider making violets with lightfast and transparent Quinacridone Red or Magenta, which will make a permanent purple of much higher chroma.

 

All single-pigment colours, Gamblin violets each have their own, unique characteristics. Use them to obtain strong, bold purples or to capture the subtle violets in nature.

Reds - Violets (Gamblin 1980's)

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