Katie Liddiard

Mineral vs Modern Pigments

Katie Liddiard
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Duration:   4  mins

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between the old master pigments and new, modern pigments? Artist Katie Liddiard demonstrates what some of those differences are with the classic color, alizarin, versus a modern pigment called quinacridone red. She mentions that there are lightfast issues with alizarin, resulting in paintings that have used the pigment fading in a short amount of time.

When mixed initially with lead white, the alizarin retains a fairly strong chroma, however as more white is added the color saturation is significantly reduced and is now a pale pink. Then as she moves onto the quinacridone, again mixing in lead white, the chroma is stronger than the initial alizarin mixture and retains that strong saturation when even more white is mixed in. Katie finds that using the modern pigments such as quinacridone are great replacements when painting flowers because they retain that high chroma when mineral colors will otherwise turn gray and become more earth toned when mixed.

It is very beneficial to start mixing your colors and seeing how they react together. How do they mix? Do they become earthy? Or do they retain a high chroma? Understanding the individual properties of your paint is only going to make for stronger, longer lasting paintings. Mineral paints are classic for a reason, but may not always be the correct answer for every situation, so give some more modern pigments a try.

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