|Pigment Stick FAQ's|
What are Pigment Sticks?
Pigment Sticks are oil paint in a stick form. They are composed of linseed oil, natural beeswax, and pigment. Due to our unique formula, Pigment Sticks are buttery smooth and quite fluid. They dry to a tough, flexible oil paint film. They are sometimes referred to with the more generic term "Oil Sticks".
What do I need to get started?
The great thing about Pigment Sticks is their portability and ease of use. All you need to get started is a support to draw on and your creativity.
Can I teach myself?
Although the use of Pigment Sticks seems self evident, there are many applications that you may not be aware of. Take a look at our workshops and what they cover.
Is there any literature on Pigment Stick techniques?
There is limited technical information on Pigment Stick technique but you can take one of our workshops or visit our Resource Center for more information.
Can I use Pigment Sticks with my tube oils?
Absolutely. Pigment Sticks are completely compatible with any and all oil painting materials, procedures and techniques. Dry tube oil paintings can be worked over with Pigment Sticks Pigment Sticks can be crushed up to a buttery consistency and mixed with your tube oils, on a palette and brushed on Pigment Sticks can be used will all oil painting mediums and solvents. Pigment Sticks can be worked with palette knives and brushes
Can I use Pigment Sticks with other mediums?
Pigment Sticks can be used with other painting mediums the same way in which you can use oil paint with other painting mediums.
The difference between oil sticks and oil pastels is the type of oil that each is composed of.
Oil sticks (which our Pigment Sticks are) are composed of a drying oil (linseed oil). Works done in oil stick do not need to be placed under glass for presentation, as the surface is a dry, tough, flexible paint film.
Oil pastels are composed of a non-drying oil (mineral oil). This would necessitate placing them under glass so that the surface would not be damaged as it will not dry.
What are appropriate supports for Pigment Sticks?
Pigment Sticks can be painted on any support that can be used for tube oil painting. For example:
What are appropriate sizes for Pigment Sticks?
The term "size" refers to a penetrating liquid, usually a hide glue or resinous mixture, that is employed to make a surface less porous and to isolate coatings. In most cases, the application of the size should be dilute and just enough to absorb into the support. It should never be a film, as this can lead to cracking in the long term. * Proper sizing will protect the support from being damaged by the acidic nature of the linseed oil.
Reversible sizes for Pigment Sticks are:
Suitable irreversible sizes for Pigment Sticks are:
What are appropriate grounds for Pigment Sticks?
The term "ground" refers to the actual surface to which paint is applied. This layer is usually applied after the support has been sized. This process is also known as "priming." Applying a ground offers a foundation of uniform absorbency; a white, non-yellowing layer that will afford maximum luminosity to the painting; and a structure that will offer sufficient "tooth" for the paints to adhere to. Grounds can divided into 2 categories, Absorbent & Non-absorbent.
Absorbent grounds are:
Non-absorbent grounds are:
How do I ship my work?
How do I clean my work?
If it needs a real cleaning, it should be done in consultation with a conservator. If it’s just dust, a lint-free cloth can be used.
Can I varnish my Pigment Sticks?Varnishing work done with Pigment Sticks is somewhat different than varnishing work done with tube oils. The reason for this is that the wax that allows the paint to be shaped into a stick is also a component of the dried film. Whereas dried linseed oil is insoluble in the varnish solvent, wax remains partially soluble. When you brush the varnish on, it can dissolve the wax and spread its color. This is easily dealt with by applying the varnish lightly with a soft brush or by spraying the varnish on. Removing the varnish, however, can prove to be more difficult and require harsher solvents, which can affect the painting. For this reason, we recommend modern synthetic varnishes, such as Gamblin’s Gamvar or Golden’s MSA/UVLS, which is less yellowing and easier to remove. An unvarnished painting is more vulnerable to penetration by moisture. It is also more difficult to clean, if that becomes necessary, because what is getting cleaned is the paint film itself, not a varnish coat that can be removed. That said, some artists (a number of the Impressionists, for example) prefer the unmediated look of the dry paint itself, unaltered by the gloss and increased color saturation imparted by a varnish.
Can I put my Pigment Sticks behind glass?
Yes, if they are thoroughly dry. Oil paint dries by grabbing oxygen from the air. If the oxygen is depleted by sealing the painting in a frame, it can retard the drying and increase the chance of yellowing.
If I use Pigment Sticks on paper, do I have to size the paper?Yes. But that is only part of the answer. Aside from its immediacy and portability, there is the strong association between drawing and paper. There is also an aesthetic reason for working on paper. Paper has qualities of texture and color unique from panel or canvas. Many papers have superb surfaces to work on. Moreover, oil paint on paper tends to dry to a pleasing matte finish. The problem with using Pigment Sticks (or any oil paint) on paper is that the linseed oil in the Pigment Stick contains acids that can deteriorate the paper over time. Priming the paper with an oil or acrylic ground will protect the paper but destroy the very surface that made it desirable. Not preparing the paper at all leaves it unprotected, but also, because many papers are absorbent, they will leach too much of the oil from the paint. This results in an unsightly oil ring and robs the pigment of its binder. The solution to this is to use a size instead of a ground. The difference is that a ground is a film that completely isolates the surface of support from the destructive acids; whereas, a size penetrates the support’s fibers but is too dilute to form a film. We have worked with 3 different sizes: rabbitskin glue, shellac, and straight acrylic polymer emulsions (such as Golden’s GAC 100). A single coat of any of these sizes is barely perceptible in color or residue (shellac stiffens the fibers and gives the paper a pleasing tooth). But a single coat does eventually allow the absorption of some of the oil, making the size only partially protective. On the other hand, applying 2 or more coats creates a brittle, unsatisfying film that, like a ground, affects the character of the paper. So there is no perfect answer to this problem. A heavier paper will hold up better than a lighter paper, a rag paper better than a pulp paper. Careful storage and/or matting and framing will lessen the problem. In our experience, not a lot of damage has occurred over a 20-25 year period from using oil paint on paper. Ultimately, it is up to the artist to balance these aesthetic and archival choices.
Can I varnish my Pigment Sticks?
How do I go about exhibiting my work?
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