Monday, 12 September 2011

Making ochre paint by hand

I decided that I should make some of my own pigments. Ochre seemed like a good start, as it should be relatively easy to access and make, and the colour will last indefinitely.

I found a rock with a nice rich colour:

Red ochre rock to be ground down

Ground it up:

Ochre being ground with a mortar and pestle

And put it in a jar:

Ground red ochre in a glass jar

Before adding linseed oil and using it in this painting, dog chasing a roo:

Dog Chasing a Roo - Oil and Ochre on Canvas
Dog Chasing a Roo - Oil and Ochre on Canvas
I used it in the dirt and roo. It did a decent job and really helped get the earthy colours I was after. The main issue was that I didn't grind it finely enough, and sand grains are visible in places. Not such a problem for the dirt, but I'd prefer to not have a sandpaper-ish surface for most other uses. 

I also used too much linseed oil - I'd recommend using as little oil (or whatever medium/binder/vehicle you choose) as possible to achieve a paste. Add more oil as required when painting. Mixing with other colours is a good idea, as whatever they've put in the commercial stuff helps hold it all together. I may experiment with something like Art Spectrum Oil Mediums in the future to make it more stable on its own.

Not bad for a first attempt I guess. I'm just glad it worked at all.

UPDATE 10/10/2011:

I've improved the process quite a lot:

Making ochre paint by hand part 2 - Improving the pigment

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