In this blog post I will show how to make Azurite oil paint from powdered azurite pigment.
Azurite is a natural basic carbon carbonate. It has a unique azure blue color which resembles a cloudless sky.
When correctly prepared, Azurite is one of the most permanent pigments in the world. It’s bad reputation of morphing its color to green brown or darkening comes from impurities in low quality Azurite pigment. Also, adding too much oil binding media can create gaps between the large pigment particles of Azurite and the yellowing of oil causes the changing of its blue color.
One overlooked reason for the darkening of Azurite could be the retention of dust and pollution deposited from the enviroment over time such as, carbon – from candles and oil lamps used in the lighting. Light bulbs weren’t commercially available until the 1880s and progress was slow. The majority of Old Master paintings were still hung in museums and homes lit by gas light and candles until the early 20th century. Another culprit is due to the The yellowing and darkening of the varnish and the varnish becoming integrated in the pictorial layers.
Here are the tools and supplies you will need to make Azurite oil paint:
- Azurite powder pigment. It is very important to choose a high quality Azurite pigment free from impurities such as “Malachite”. The one I use is the Azurite MP, Sky-Blue light made by Kremer Pigmente.
- Linseed or Walnut oil. For this demonstration I use Maimeri Walnut Oil as it yellows less than linseed oil over time.
- A palette knife
- A Glass Muller for mixing and grinding pigment
- A glass mortar. The one I use is the New Wave POSH Glass Artist Palette 12″x16″
- It is also recommend wearing gloves and using a respirator when handling dry pigments.
Step 1. Create a thick paste
I first take some Azurite powdered pigment out of the jar with my palette knife and make a small pile of pigment on my glass plate. I then add only a few drops of walnut oil. It is very important to add only enough oil to make a stiff barely workable paste. As stated above, excess oil will cause the result in Azurite oil paint to become yellowish over time.
Step 2. Mulling the paint
This stiff paste is then worked with a muller to fully disperse the pigment into the walnut oil binder. It is also important to not over mull Azurite as this wil cause the blue pigment to loose it’s intesity. I mull the Azurite pigment for about 15 to 20 seconds with medium force.
Step 3. The medium
I use Spike oil as my medium to apply my Azurite layers. Spike oil is a great substitute for turpentine. It is low toxic and has a pleasent smell. I add just a little of the spike oil to my brush to make the paint more workable.
Step 4. Applying Azurite to your surface
Azurite has a sandy texture and should be applied thinly on the painting surface. You can let these layers dry and glaze over new layers to make the blue more intense and luminous. Azurite is stable in mixtures with lead white and can be mixed with most other pigments.
Here are some of the art materials you will need: