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Painting with Createx Pure Pigments

Painting with Createx Pure Pigments: Tom Herbert shows us how to create amazingly intense colors with "pure pigment watercolor media"

painting with pure pigments

"Foliage and Frogs"
by Tom Herbert
Watermedia on Ampersand Claybord

The lure of something different, new or exciting often leads us past the mundane, safe and ordinary. If you are ready for something out of the ordinary, why not experiment with Createx Pure Pigments? Mistakes become brilliant strokes; the accepted can become the unexpected and the daring more electrifying, During my 31 years of teaching high school art, I emphasized basic technique and experimentation as tools of self-expression.

Through these processes and fortuitous happenstance, what I call pure pigment watercolor media evolved. Without divulging all my "secret processes," let me give you something to think about.

I sometimes work with a preconceived idea or composition, but most of the time I lay down a monoprint, find the pertinent shapes, and then compose the painting by subtracting and adding paint as needed. If you are intrigued, try this:

1. Use a smooth surface; glass or plexiglass works well.

2. Apply water to the surface. Dribble Pure Pigment in the water in random designs, remembering that a tiny amount of Pure Pigment goes a long way.

3. Place Ampersand Claybord over the puddles of paint pigment. Rub it down into the liquid with the palms of the hands. Set it aside to let it dry. The pigments do not have any binders so they dry very quickly, but let them set for two to three days for best results. There may be some oxidation; burnishing with a soft cloth will reactivate the colors.

4. The next and perhaps the most satisfying step is to find the shapes taking form in the print. This is the time the inner artist comes to the fore.

5. Start subtracting the pigment with methods used when rendering a scratch board. Remember there is no binder, so the pigment surface comes off rather easily. Try for a comfortable blend of soft forms and exciting edges. Be very careful not to take off too much pigment or dig past the surface of the coated board.

6. If needed, and it usually is, apply the Pure Pigment in washes and perhaps a drybrush technique, as used in watercolor painting.

7. Subtract and add, subtract and add ...

8. Ink, graphite pencil, color pencil, collage or other multimedia techniques a can be used for special effects.

9. No finish is necessary. However, experiment with varnishes as desired or needed.

10. By adding gum arabic to Pure Pigment, a form of watercolor can be created. Add acrylic medium to create acrylic paint. Thinning the pigments will produce excellent airbrush colors. All are water-soluble, non-toxic and easy to clean up.