I always figured that the oldest known art work was the paintings on the caves at Lascaux, but it appears there is another category in the ancient art world – the studio! Or perhaps it is best described as the paint manufacturer. I think many people forget how much chemistry there is in art – here’s an article about some of the pigments that they worked with about 42,000 years ago.
It seems though that they hadn’t gotten into being muralists at that time, likely just body painting. So that classifies it as time-based art. Or beauty products…..
For those of you who have taken my Painting for Absolute Beginner’s class, you will have heard me talk about the origins of French Ultramarine.
Recently, there was another blue discovered. Or perhaps you could call it invented, I guess it’s unclear as to whether this blue would ever occur in nature. Personally I think it should either just be Yinmn blue, as everyone is calling it now, or Mas blue, after the original chef. What do you think?
I’m looking forward to it being available in watercolor, acrylic and oil.
Three things I tell my students, is that it is important to not lick your brush, drink the paint water or to wash the brush out in your wine (/coffee). Primarily this is because of the heavy metals in some of the pigments. Flake white was stopped being produced when it was discovered that lead isn’t good to eat. Cadmium isn’t terribly good for the digestive system either, but it is a metal that produces awesome reds and yellows from different salts; my chemistry doesn’t stretch to complete comprehension of the quinacridone range, but when you know that phthalo (you pronounce it ‘thallow’ – isn’t English wonderful!) blue’s full name is phthalocyanine blue, you might get a hint as to why brush licking isn’t advised.
But science comes to the rescue of art with replacement colors for the cadmium range that don’t contain the nasty wonderful cadmium! Liquitex isn’t my usual brand, but if Golden haven’t started introducing them by the time I’ve used all the cadmiums I currently have, I’ll definitely be giving them a try. Looks like this is only for acrylics at the moment, but something like this will likely catch on once the ban on cadmiums can be enforced because there’s a viable alternative.
Until I’ve completed the move to cadmium-free cadmiums though, don’t lick my paintings either.
Came across this article from one of Artnet‘s regular emails that I get. I’m looking forward to trying this new blue – ‘YInMn blue’, though I think there’s still time to rename it to something more pronounceable such as ‘Mas Blue’, ‘Subramanian Blue’ or ‘Oregon Blue’.