Re: using powdered pigments in gum

From: Jack Brubaker ^lt;[email protected]>
Date: 05/06/04-09:25:05 AM Z
Message-id: <>

Thanks to Katharine , Pete, and Chris for your reassurances that adding
pigment to gum does not normally require more preservative. I suspected that
was the case but thought it wise to check before I tried again (some with
the same contaminated pigments, some with new freshly purchased pigments). I
had not had this happen before because I had never made up stock mixes to
keep around. I always mixed for the hour not to keep.

My guess is that in the rich fecundity of the forest around me there are
many yeasty and fungal creatures floating in the air that got into the old
pigments when the containers broke down with age (I first became aware that
the tubular cardboard cartons must be in trouble when a cat showed up with
thalo green on it, but that's another story).

Thanks again,


> From: "Christina Z. Anderson" <>
> Reply-To:
> Date: Wed, 05 May 2004 03:44:01 -0400
> To:
> Subject: Re: using powdered pigments in gum
> Jack,
> I have never added preservative to commercially mixed gums, nor needed
> to, even using 6 year old gum. Even my tube pigments that I mixed in that
> gum 6 years ago as stock solutions were finely preserved.
> The first time I had gum go sour was when I mixed up my own batch of
> gum from powder to mix with the powdered pigments, and did not preserve it.
> That happened within a week.
> Now I preserve it with an added 1/2 teaspoon sodium benzoate dissolved
> in hot water first and added to the cold water that I mix the gum up with,
> for every 100g powdered gum. Why not just add your thymol or benzoate and
> be on the safe side? The benzoate has not affected the performance of the
> gum at all that I can tell, after a couple hundred prints.. I do find it
> weird that this has never happened to you before and is now, with the Varn.
> As an aside, the only other problem I have noticed is bad smells of
> throw up/poop (is that descriptive enough?) emanating from certain pigments
> in combination with the gum, that is, when I mixed cadmium yellow with
> nickel titanate, and sometimes when I use ultramarine blue. Furthermore, I
> am convinced after having sized and used up all my old aquarelle paper now
> (thank heavens) and put up with that wet dog smell enough that I will never
> again--there was a point where I would coat that paper and I couldn't even
> walk into the room without feeling like puking because of the smell--I am
> convinced the paper had gone sour. Or bad. Some had brown spots, some
> stains, they curled horribly, I will never use aquarelle again in my
> practice. Or old aquarelle, anyway.
> One last thing, there are some paints that right out of the tube
> stink--M Graham sepia, for one. It smells like sour gum arabic to me. Not
> that this is your problem, in that you're using powder.
> Chris
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Jack Brubaker" <>
> To: <>
> Sent: Tuesday, May 04, 2004 1:32 PM
> Subject: using powdered pigments in gum
>> Dear list,
>> I'm looking for advice. A couple months ago I made up several batches of
>> gum-pigment for gum printing. I used the same VARN gum I have been using
> for
>> the last year. The pigments are old stock I have had for 40 years but
> never
>> used for a large batch to use over an extended time before. I should
> mention
>> that the pigment was stored in a drafty shed for many years and the
>> cardboard canisters had failed allowing some organic material like leaf
>> fragments to fall into the powders. As a result I had to sift out some
> small
>> objects. Within a week the solutions I made went sour. Because I ground
> the
>> mix into such a thick, pigment-rich, consistency (more like tube color) I
>> can dilute it with the addition of more gum at printing time and it works
>> fine. But, now I want to make some new batches thin enough to use as a
>> straight printing mix. Would this spoilage be possible with fresh
> pigments?
>> Do those of you who make up gum-pigment solutions add any extra
>> preservative. I have some thymol that I used in a gum solution that I made
>> from dry gum. Should I put some of the thymol in the VARN gum next time?
> Any
>> other thought or suggestions would be appreciated.
>> Jack Brubaker
Received on Thu May 6 09:25:26 2004

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