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 Question about Lead-based paints (cadmiums and cobalts)

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DesertRambler



Posts: 70
Join date: 2011-06-07
Location Location: Northern Nevada (Reno area)

PostSubject: Question about Lead-based paints (cadmiums and cobalts)   Thu Jun 23, 2011 1:25 pm

I am reading the book Color Secrets for Glowing Oil Paintings by Douglas Purdon. In there (page 16), he has a sidebar about lead paints. He is making a case for continuing to use these paints even though many people are moving away from these toxic colors. He says there are 2 reasons to still use them:

  1. They reflect light differently than either titanium or zinc, imparting a glow to the painting.
  2. They have a low absorbtion of oil, making them suitable for underpainting and lessening the chance of the paint cracking or yellowing over time.

Of course, he says to take certain precautions when using these paints - never eat/drink/smoke while painting with them, try not to get them on your hands, wash your hands when finished, don't put your fingers or brushes in your mouth while working, and never sand or burn a painting made with them. But my question mostly concerns #1 above:

For those of you with experience with both these lead-based paints and the newer, non-toxic versions of these colors, do you agree with his first statement that the lead-based paints will help your paintings glow more than the other paint types?
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DesertRambler



Posts: 70
Join date: 2011-06-07
Location Location: Northern Nevada (Reno area)

PostSubject: Re: Question about Lead-based paints (cadmiums and cobalts)   Thu Jun 23, 2011 1:53 pm

Oh, and then in a different book, Landscape Painting: Essential Concepts and Techniques for Plein Air and Studio Practice by Mitchell Albala, it says that the mineral- and metal-based traditional colors were used to "brilliant effect" but that they have a tendency to "gray down" in mixture more than the modern "organic" colors. Is this contradicting Douglas Purdon, or are they both right?
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judyfilarecki
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Posts: 2445
Join date: 2009-11-16
Location Location: Northern NY and Southern Arizona

PostSubject: Re: Question about Lead-based paints (cadmiums and cobalts)   Thu Jun 23, 2011 2:59 pm

I guess the question for you right now as a person just starting to use these paints is: "Am I painting a masterpiece that will last for centuries and may run into some of these issues, or am I just learning for now."

Several of our members frequently sand down old canvases of paintings they were less than satisfied with so they can reuse the canvas. So if you plan to do that, you probably want to be aware of the toxicity of the paints you are using.

Also, when I first started with W/N Artisan brand WSO's, the titanium white had lead in it, but I really never realized it until someone pointed it out. The new titanium white from them no longer has lead.

I try to stay away from toxic paints if possible, but frequently the colors I use the most have cadmium or cobalt in them. I try to avoid eating the paint Smile or getting too much on my skin. I no longer rub the bristles in the palm of my hand while cleaning the brushes like I used to do and which some authors had recommended. I use a soft screen that I put on the bottom of the sink and gently rub the bristles across it after I have removed most of the paint onto paper towels and applied the soap.

_______________________________________________


http://judy-filarecki.artistwebsites.com/index.html *** www.filarecki.com
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DesertRambler



Posts: 70
Join date: 2011-06-07
Location Location: Northern Nevada (Reno area)

PostSubject: Re: Question about Lead-based paints (cadmiums and cobalts)   Thu Jun 23, 2011 3:01 pm

Quote :
They reflect light differently than either titanium or zinc, imparting a glow to the painting.
But what about this part - do the cadmiums and cobalts "impart a glow to the painting" that the substitutes don't? So far, I have avoided the true cadmiums and cobalts, trying to stick with the newer, less toxic stuff. But now I am concerned that it will reduce the look/quality of the painting.
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dbclemons



Posts: 154
Join date: 2009-11-16
Location Location: Texas

PostSubject: Re: Question about Lead-based paints (cadmiums and cobalts)   Fri Jun 24, 2011 8:15 am

I have different types of oil paints including a few that contain lead (the wmo do not) and I wouldn't describe any of them as imparting a "glow" to the paint surface. There are also different types of lead white, and some versions of lead carbonate that are processed differently, plus the oil vehicle itself may be different effecting how it looks. Lead white can be a nice color and excellent primer but I see nothing glowing.
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DesertRambler



Posts: 70
Join date: 2011-06-07
Location Location: Northern Nevada (Reno area)

PostSubject: Re: Question about Lead-based paints (cadmiums and cobalts)   Fri Jun 24, 2011 9:44 am

Thank you, David. I was wondering if this guy was stretching things a bit!

Given that, does anyone have any other reasons they still prefer the cadmiums and cobalts over the more modern pigments and still use them because of that?

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Crystal1



Posts: 564
Join date: 2010-02-05
Location Location: Ft Worth, TX

PostSubject: Re: Question about Lead-based paints (cadmiums and cobalts)   Fri Jun 24, 2011 12:37 pm

The cadmiums are usually more opaque than the more modern pigments. This can be handled by adding a bit of titanium white (opaque), or painting thickly with the more modern colors. If you want to try something besides titanium or zinc white, Holbein makes a ceramic white. Hope this helps.
Dayle
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DesertRambler



Posts: 70
Join date: 2011-06-07
Location Location: Northern Nevada (Reno area)

PostSubject: Re: Question about Lead-based paints (cadmiums and cobalts)   Fri Jun 24, 2011 4:22 pm

Thanks, Dayle! I think I'll stick with what I have and use the different whites to manage the opacity. As part of my Lukas Berlins order, I also ordered a tube of the Holbein ceramic white to try out. It sounds like a unique kind of white! Smile
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