Pigment Stick Resources

What are Pigment Sticks®?

R&F Pigment Sticks® are oil paint manufactured with enough wax for the paint to be molded into stick form.  They allow the painter to draw or paint directly onto a surface without brushes, palettes, paint tubes or solvents.  We use only the basic traditional materials: natural wax (beeswax & plant wax), linseed oil, and pigment, and we use them with absolute purity. The result is an oil stick with a lipstick soft consistency.

Pigment Stick History

From One Medium to Another

While at Torch, Richard became good friends with co-worker Carl Plansky, who later developed Williamsburg oil paint. In 1989 Plansky urged Richard to start making oil sticks since the combination of the wax and oil in the oil sticks was a natural step from encaustics. 

Definition of Terms

Oil Stick

Oil stick is an oil-based drawing and painting medium that employs wax to give it a rigid structure.

Charles Forsberg and R&F Pigment Sticks

Artist Charles Forsberg talks about painting and why he uses R&F Pigment Sticks.

Getting Started

Understanding and Using Pigment Sticks®

Oil paint in stick form represents a revolutionary development in oil painting. It means that the paint can be applied directly to a surface without the distancing factor of the brush. This makes it possible to dispense not only with the brush, but with knives, palettes, and solvents, thereby making oil sticks more immediate and portable than standard oil painting materials. We formulated our Pigment Sticks® to be equal in quality to the finest oil paints. They are richly pigmented, with a lipstick soft consistency that gives them the same fluidity, subtlety, and durability of traditional oil colors.

Pigment Stick Safety

R&F Pigment Sticks are pure oil paint without filler, additives, or driers making them safer to use. Eliminating the need for solvents, also makes using our Pigment Stick safer.

Pigment Stick Supports

The term “support” refers to the foundation, or backing, on which the actual painting surface (ground) is applied.  Any support used for traditional oil painting can be used for Pigment Stick work.

Pigment Stick Grounds

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." The application of a ground can be beneficial for a painting for a few reasons.

Benefits of a Ground

First, the application of a ground offers a foundation of uniform absorbency. Most supports are unevenly absorbent even after proper application of a size. This will affect the appearance and stability of the paint film and the painting will have areas of matte and glossy finishes. "Chalking" of the dried paint film can also occur if the support is too absorbent.

Pigment Stick MSDS

Here is a pdf of the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for our Pigment Sticks®.







Fat Over Lean

Fat over lean is a principle relating to the interaction between fat colors, which contain more oil and lean colors containing less oil. It’s good to know about fat over lean, but keep in mind that the artist’s manuals themselves do not treat this subject uniformly. If your paintings after several years aren’t cracking, don’t worry. If they are, perhaps the attached pdf will be some help.  

Yellowing of Whites

Yellowing of whites can occur even when using Pigment sticks or any high quality tube oil paint.The attached pdf describes the causes, as well as some sound methods of preventing and even reversing this process.

Combining Oil and Wax

Oil and wax are chemically compatible. However, the way in which they are combined needs to be carefully considered or else you could end up with a gummy concoction, which will never fully dry. The results of a successful mix of these two materials can be unique and beautiful combining the best qualities of each. The attached pdf gives you some tried and true guidelines to follow for successful mixing.

Fusing Pigment Sticks

Pigment Sticks are very soft and have very little wax in them compared to other oil sticks. But the wax that is there and can be used in this interesting technique. By lightly fusing the paint with a hot air gun you can get different effects. 

You can get melting and running effects. Some Pigments may sink below other layers and some colors may rise up.

But the greatest advantage is speed. Fusing does not dry the paint, but it does make it somewhat tacky. So it dries it enough that you can pass another color lightly over the surface and leave another layer behind. This way you do not have to wait days between layers.  This painting was done in one session.