Re: Problem pigment

From: Katharine Thayer ^lt;[email protected]>
Date: 06/03/05-04:43:20 PM Z
Message-id: <>

Judy Seigel wrote:
  in fact the question comes to
> mind if there still is actual cadmium in paints so named.

 Yes, as I point out every time this question comes to mind, ;-) all
cadmium paints, with the sole exception, I believe, of Grumbacher, are
still made with "actual cadmium" as always. The yellows are cadmium zinc
sulfide (PY 35) and cadmium sulfide (PY37) and the reds are cadmium
selenosulfide (PR 108) and cadmium lithopone, which if it contains more
than 15% barium sulfate is supposed to be called PR 108:1, but there are
only two paints so designated, both Daniel smith. (I know this because I
checked this afternoon when it occurred to me that maybe it was extra
barium sulfate in the Graham cadmium red that was making it behave
weirdly. But apparently not.

I read somewhere
> about 5 years ago that cadmium pigments were being banned, whereupon
> painters (or some of them) went into mourning/shock/hysterics. Or it could
> have been 10 years ago. Time flies.

At any rate, never happened.

> And a question -- I haven't been carefully following discussion of
> lightfastness... tending to rely on manufacturers ratings (most do provide
> that). I realize those can be overoptimistic, but I stick with the best
> rated, thereby saving time, energy & brain cells for emergencies.. I'm
> wondering though if those who've devoted more attention will cite the
> benefits -- and/or tell me what I'm missing?

Well, depends on what the question is. If the question is why care
whether your paints are fugitive or not, that's a question each person
has to answer for hermself. If the question is, why not just rely on
manufacturer's ratings rather than seeking out independent data, I
think that again is an individual decision. So if you don't care about
permanence, or if you are willing to take a manufacturer's word for
permanence, then you're probably not missing anything. And if you look
at the ratings and pick only the absolute highest rated pigments, then
you're probably not missing much either.

The people I'm worried about are those who for instance look at Winsor &
Newton's "moderately durable" rating, which is the lowest possible
rating a fugitive pigment can get in their rating system, and think
that means that somehow the pigment made by W&N is more durable (less
fugitive) than the same pigment made by Daniel Smith or Graham and rated
more honestly by those manufacturers as IV (fugitive). All it really
means (the different ratings) is that Winsor & Newton have just made
their pigments look more "durable" by dropping the "fugitive" rating and
forcing fugitive pigments into more permanent-sounding categories. It's
like grade inflation-- just because no one's getting a D any more
doesn't mean that no one is doing D work.

  On the 3rd hand, I think photographers
> worry about this more than painters do...

If this were true, then it would be photographers doing all the pigment
testing and manning the pigment data websites and writing the books
about pigments. But since Hilary Page and Bruce MacEvoy are painters,
and their multitudinous readers and viewers and buyers are probably 99%
painters, this statement seems disingenuous at best. Obviously painters
care more about this than you give them credit for. And if it were only
the occasional photographer buying paint who cared about the ratings,
why would the manufacturers always have the lightfast ratings on the
tubes and in the catalog listings? It seems pretty clear that painters
do care about this.

So they'll only last 100 years.
> If the world lasts 100 years, that is.

For some of these pigments it's more like the difference between 5 years
and 100 years; I'd much prefer to use the paint that will last 100 years
and not the paint that will last 5 years (or 5 weeks, like the Rhodamine
B (BV 10) we were discussing yesterday). But, each to his own; I'm just
trying to ensure that when people choose pigments, they are making a
truly informed choice. Cheers,
Received on Fri Jun 3 23:38:56 2005

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