Saturday, November 28, 2015

Prussian blue

In 1704 the German chemist Diesbach mixed the shells of the Cochineal beetle with alum, ferrous sulfate and potash. He intended to make a red pigment called Florentine Lake but ended up with a blue stuff. The potash was contaminated with animal blood, and that's how the first synthetic pigment was discovered.

Prussian blue proved stable, lightfast, and cheap, so it became a popular complement to the ochres that people painted their furniture with. In watercolor it has been used since around 1730 and much appreciated for its transparency and intensity. Among its other properties it tends to make greens when mixed and dryes considerably lighter. I use it as a primary color despite the fact that it's a bit duller and greener than the real primary blue. If only one blue was allowed, Prussian would be my choice.

By the way, if you heat it up to 140 °C you get Hydrogen cyanide, perhaps better known as Zyklon B. Don't do that!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Sitting men

"A stack of bodyparts is not enough. Look at the twists and the points of tension and draw what you feel, not what you see". Peter's course is very inspiring.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Towards the exit

Sometimes my students ask me why I don't recommend certain colors and here is one of those I find very useful but still don't talk very much about. A company in Germany manufactured real Manganese Blue pigment until new environmental regulations were passed 25 years ago. Because the industrial use was limited to tinting concrete, this pigment is heading for the exit, Lukas being the only paint maker that still keeps any amounts of it. The other manufacturers produce "hues" that are completely different. So what do I do? Well, Prussian is the only blue I actually need and my paintings do benefit from a limited palette, so I keep this beauty out of my harem but reserve a spot for it up my sleeve as long as it lasts.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Exhibition opening

Thanks, everybody showing up at the art show opening yesterday! I was overwhelmed by the hundreds of visitors that this new, friendly and openminded gallery managed to attract. I'm posting a few photos of the ceramicist and gallery keeper Maria Thorlund and some of the exhibitors: Magnus Gatemark, Irina Wilhelmsson, George Miller, Margret Belting Persson, Karin Palm-Lindén, and myself.