UPDATES and FAQ's

Most of you know the various BLOGS and AMIEN is one. The AMIEN staff tries hard to give solid
information. They are not perfect like none of us are. When I teach or write I am guided by the FOUR 'C''s. =
CLEAR- CONCISE - COMPLETE - CORRECT.
Though I do my best, I find the need for constant revision, upgrading and improving...maybe I could call that
R-U-I.  I'm the first to say I do not have all the answers and know numerous unanswered questions remain.

I recently found an older posting on AMIEN that I am compelled to place here on my website. It discusses
MAROGER'S MEDIUM. The US Copyright laws have a FREE USE clause that allows one to use copyrighted
material if it is not for commercial gain.

I respectfully use this article as provided by law and give due citation to the AMIEN website.
The portion I place here is but part of a much longer section of conversation between the AMIEN STAFF and
ARTISTS. One can read the entire  section here= http://www.amien.org/forums/showthread.php?t=86
The areas in BOLD are mine because they make a specific point that I consider to be very important

I thank AMIEN, the Moderator MARKG, the author Michael SKALKA and you the readers.
Please note. The posting began on 7-20- 2006 and has continued into 2008 with various commentaries

*********************************************************************************************************************

07-20-2006  
markg  
Super Moderator   Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Chagrin Falls, OH
Posts: 1,374  
The Maroger Mediums

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[ Markg says:] This is courtesy of my colleague Michael Skalka, Conservation Administrator at the National
Gallery of Art in Washington DC. His publication, THE GRAMMAR OF COLOR, is well worth subscribing to.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
THE GRAMMAR OF COLOR
Volume: 2, No. 9

When it comes to mediums used by artists, the argument is circular in nature. The materials take on a
spiritual quality and the practitioners have a reverence that is almost religious in nature. Arguing with them
is akin to playing the part of Clarence Darrow against William Jennings Brian in the Scopes Monkey Trial in
1925. To make your point you appear to be denying the existence of God!

So to fully qualify for the circular nature, I am dedicating this Grammar of Color to all of you who need to
rehash a subject that I covered in the past. Yes, it's deja vu all over again and it only gets more repetitive
with every retelling. Perhaps the heated oil and lead have finally gotten to the Maroger users and they just
cannot retain information anymore! Perhaps the heated oil and lead have finally gotten to the Maroger
users and they just cannot retain information anymore! Oh! Where was I?

For those of you who follow WetCanvas, this is a retread of posting I made on Maroger Medium with some
humorous asides. There is no joking with the WetCanvas group when it comes to discussing mediums.
For some this essay will be the first time around. For others it may bear repeating. For me, it's a lot like the
movie, Groundhog Day. Only the people I am addressing regarding Maroger Medium on the internet web
site don't look a bit like Andie MacDowell.

The subject of this discussion is a review of the article "Old Master Recipes in the 1920s, 1930s, and
1940s: Curry, Marsh, Downer and Maroger," by Lance Mayer and Gay Myers.
It provides a wealth of
information on the history and effects of the use of painting mediums, especially Maroger Medium. If after
reading it you are not convinced that this medium has hostile intentions for your painting, you have missed
the point of this well-documented article and you should use this medium, often and liberally.

The paintings of Reginald Marsh and John Stuart Curry, who were enthusiastic advocates of Maroger and
his mediums, (Emphasis on mediums - plural, that I will address later.) suffered to a far greater degree
than Curry's studio assistant's William McCloy. No statistics on the amount used by the two artists were
mentioned, but notes on their studio practices do exist and were quoted. Both were fairly liberal with the
use of Maroger's formulations and the authors, upon examining paintings in various collections, noted the
cracks and wrinkles in the paint surface as evidence of the accelerated drying caused by Maroger medium.
Curry and Marsh had paintings that nearly self-destructed shortly after they completed them. Desperate to
believe that Maroger held the Secret of the Old Masters, they smeared paint and medium around and saw
the results unfold, figurative and literally.

Modern day painters appear to advocate a "moderate" approach to the use of Maroger Medium. Using 10
percent or less gives them the paint handling characteristics while feeling that the volume of medium will
do no lasting harm. It seems that moderating the inclusion of detrimental material will stave off the ill
effects of the materials contained within the medium. I find that similar to saying that someone is just a
little pregnant. Research has provided the notion that small amounts of harmful material in an oil film will
have long-term impact on its aging.
The addition of natural resin into an oil paint will do several things no
matter how much is added.
First, natural resins aid in making paint more glass-like over time. Oil paint
will do this on its own without any added help from natural resins so that the adulteration with resin only
serves to worsen the problem. Second, natural resins create more soluble paint films. This is
compounded with both the resins and oil darkening over time so that when the customary coating of
natural resin varnish needs to be removed because it has become very yellow and cloudy, the paint
containing the infusion of natural resin will react the same way to the solvent mixture used to remove the
varnish. The best a conservator can do is to thin the varnish to remove at least some of the discolored
yellow coating. Third, the appearances of paintings with added resin mediums suffer from cracking, flaking
and discoloration to a greater degree than with unadulterated oil paints. The other enemies of paintings
are shock and vibration from transport, high temperature and humidity conditions around a painting,
exposure to light levels and natural or artificial disasters (floods, fires, etc.) In all these cases the
incorporation of natural resins, given their brittle, yellowing properties, serve to accelerate the effects of
shock, temperature and light exposure.

On so many occasions Maroger Medium zealots blame conservators of looking only at a paintings faults
rather than its virtues. As a "doctor" of paintings, conservators only see "sick" patients. However,
conservators in museum practice see many more paintings in good condition than those that need
remedial treatment. The examination of pictures slated for exhibition and a review of the condition of
paintings on view in galleries that are all in good condition comprise a greater number than those that
need treatment. So conservators are very aware of paintings that are doing well and remain with little
change as long as the environment remains stable.

Conservation literature is filled with articles on damaged paintings and how they were treated.
Conservators treat paintings in order to earn a living. They do not have the luxury of being able to study
materials and do experiments on the stability or longevity of art materials for the sake of artists, unless
artist were amenable to paying for this kind of advice. If conservators are akin to doctors, how many journal
articles are devoted to wellness as opposed to teaching other physicians how to treat the illnesses that are
presented to them on a daily basis? Conservators learn new techniques for treating objects by reading the
novel approaches conservators apply toward problems encountered. Art historians write about pictures
that are in good shape. Conservators write about paintings that have fallen ill.

We rely on art schools to teach and work out the techniques that create successful, long-lasting works of
art. I hear the skeptics among you snickering out there. Sounding like someone's mother, "So if you don't
learn proper painting technique at home or in school, you will pick it up out on the street." It is no wonder
that on-line art forums are so successful. They serve as the classroom, home and "street" for our hunger
for information, sharing of ideas and the fruits of our labors.

Both Marsh and Curry, eager to experiment with materials, unfortunately became associated with
Maroger at the most inappropriate time in the careers of all three individuals. Marsh and Curry were
approaching their prime and the use of these mediums, while inspiring at first, became a nightmare for
both artists as their paintings failed. The correspondence between the artists and Maroger became
increasingly confusing
.

The confusion expressed by Maroger exposed his shortcomings. With American painters desire to learn
Old World techniques and past practices, Maroger claimed to know the Secrets of the Old Masters. Aided
by books written by Doerner, Vibert and Laurie that were introduced during the early 20th century, artists
were keen on learning the Secrets that would create great paintings. Maroger stepped forward to "ride the
wave" and claim to have the Secret of the Old Masters.

But, why would this 'secret' evolve over time? Maroger's medium in 1940 was a two-part system of 50
percent Gum Arabic in water and a second part composed of dissolving damar in linseed oil using heat.
Maroger instructed the user to mix the gum and damar mixture vigorously to create a single painting
medium. Maroger then proposed that the gum and damar mixture should have a companion medium. A
solution of 10 percent litharge by weight cooked with linseed oil was used to create black oil. Maroger
instructed that the black oil should be used on the surface of the painting to create the monotone
underdrawing. The gum and damar mixture would be applied with the paint on top of the black oil
underpainting.

Soon after Maroger change the recipe to have colors ground in black oil with the exception of the whites
and yellows. By 1942 Maroger recommended the use of white lead instead of litharge to make black oil.
The amount of lead went from 30 percent, down to 20, then to 3 to 4 percent. When Maroger moved to his
famous Baltimore address, he concocted a new medium. It was a solution of mastic dissolved in
turpentine or linseed oil (walnut oil could be substituted as well) mixed with his black oil medium. I
suppose he was so absorbed in his work and unaware of history that he failed to recognize that he had
just reinvented the 18th century medium, MEGILP. Are we surprised? Given the limited number of variables
that Maroger was controlling, it was inevitable that Megilp would come out of those "happy" little
experiments.

After all these changes and revisions, Marsh and Curry finally realized that Maroger did not possess
any of the Secrets of the Old Masters. He was merely experimenting and trying to gain undeserved
notoriety during a time when knowledge in the techniques of the Old Masters would have propelled the
holder of the secret to fame and possible fortune. Hence, in hindsight, we see Maroger as a snake-oil
salesman desperate to come up with a formulation to simulate a painting technique that we now know
by scientific investigation, never relied on a secret medium.

Some cosmic justice did come from Maroger's experiments. Mayer and Myers examined paintings by
Maroger and found, just has they did with works by Marsh and Curry, the same kinds of traction
crackle, wrinkling and uneven yellowing was present.

Overall, Maroger zealots will not find evidence to assuage themselves in the article written by Mayer and
Myers. Rather, with the addition of natural resins and drying oils to paint, the damage that leads to inherent
vice is done. The resins amplify the brittleness of the paint, cause yellowing and make the paint highly
soluble. We have not gone into the issue of metallic driers, but I can tell you that I have not met a paint
scientist that is comfortable with the chemical action of metallic driers. My friend and colleague, Leslie
Carlyle wrote a thesis and subsequent book on mediums that contain metal driers noting the adverse
consequences of adding these materials to paint. Marion Mecklenburg of the Smithsonian is writing and
speaking on the threats of metallic driers. They are dangerous and do unusual things to the structure of
paints. You get quick drying time at a price that many artists who want their work to last a long time would
be unwilling to pay. Quality of ingredients, the amount of medium and the care of the painting are
inconsequential in the long run.
The chemistry of the ingredients in Maroger medium along with time will
lead to degradation of the paint film.

It is analogous to a very powerful poison. No matter what the amount, no matter what the quality (purity) of
the poison, and no matter how well the patient is cared for by a physician, they will still succumb to the
effects of the toxic properties of the material used.

You can't have it both ways with Maroger medium: good working properties and no ill effects to your
paintings. As I stated previously, oil paint is prone to becoming brittle, yellow, crack and flake even under
the best of circumstances. Introduction of natural resins will make it even more brittle, yellow more than
straight oil paint and promote an increase in flaking and cracking. Metal driers like lead will only compound
the woes I have already mentioned.

I was not kidding about the religious nature of Maroger. Jacques Maroger's studio studio still exists. Said to
be a copy of a Parisian studio, it's high ceilings, windows and entry way, for all intents and purposes, it
looks just like a chapel. For those of you who would like to make the "pilgrimage," it is located on the
campus of Loyola College of Maryland, in Baltimore. It is still used today as a studio teaching space.

To the Honorable William Jennings Bryan wherever you are, I rest my case. Amen.

The Grammar of Color
If others you know want to receive The Grammar of Color and our lecture announcements, please forward
this e-mail to them and instruct them to send me a message requesting to be on the recipient list at:
m-skalka@nga.gov

They will be added to the database/addressbook. If you wish to be removed from the list please send a
message to the address listed to be taken off of the database.
__________________

PLEASE NOTE IT WAS NOT..THE AMIEN STAFF that wrote this article - BUT I thank them for posting it. We
all benefit from the scientific studies of scientists and Conservators.

HERE IS AN EXCELLENT ARTICLE ON AMIEN
DISCUSSING MAROGER'S MEDIUM
"FAT ON LEAN" .
This short essay provides guidance on this important principle of oil painting.
Fat on Lean', is given by instructors as a cardinal rule one must never violate.
WITH the CSO/EMULSIONS method of oil painting,
this rule is NOT IMPORTANT and need not be followed.

When mixing solvents with oil paint, this rule must be followed. When volatile solvents (
evaporative liquids) such as turpentine are added to oil paint, the paint becomes LEAN. This lean
condition accelerates the drying of the oil paint. IF the FASTER DRYING solvent containing paint is
applied on top of a SLOWER DRYING non-solvent paint layer, the two different drying rates will
cause the upper paint film to crack.

With CSO , all the paint is FAT
The ONE rule with CSO that must be followed is , 'PAINT SLOWER DRYING PAINT ON FASTER
DRYING PAINT". This is easier than one thinks. When using the SUPERIOR oil described in my
book and website, the oil dries within 30 hours without any additives of any kind. This means that
YESTERDAY'S paint application is one day into drying [ oxidizing] .
This means that TODAY'S paint application .....on YESTERDAY'S paint ......is  SLOWER DRYING.

Still, one must learn which colors dry slower or faster than others. UMBER is such a very drying
color, and mixing just a bit of it with other colors increases the drying rate. If you underpaint in
grays, monotones, muted color grisaille methods, then , adding umbers to all the colors used will
insure a faster drying paint.

OIL OUT With the CSO / Emulsions method. As soon as the paint layer is TACKY DRY,
it can be "oiled out", and a new layer paint can be applied.
Following the correct application method of 'oiling out' is crucial.

MAURICE GARSON PAINTS A PORTRAIT WITH
THE CSO / EMULSIONS METHOD
SEE his fine website at   www.askmaurice.org.
His site is extensive and dedicated to EDUCATION. He himself is a Fine Artist. You will
enjoy his paintings and  the varied topics of his site.
I encourage artists to visit with Maurice.

A few months ago, we communicated and recently he decided to EXPERIENCE CSO
for himself.....and to write about it as he so EXPERIENCED it.!

I am happy that fine artists with web site do try out the CSO/EMULSIONS method of Oil
Painting. I know the method is truly foolproof, and my book and site both describe it. I
often cite the letters I have received from artists around the globe, describing THEIR
EXPERIENCE with the CSO/EMULSIONS METHOD. Thank goodness for those
letters...otherwise...the NAYSAYERS would be really trying to discredit  the CSO
method. Its hard to argue with the Testimonials of others.

IF YOU GO TO MAURICE'S PAGE:  www.askmaurice.blogspot.com     
you can see his progress on painting a portrait with CSO. I support all creative artists
in whatever they wish to do, and however they wish to alter ANY MEDIUM to suit their
needs. Maurice is a talented experienced painter with much experience in many media.
His creativity showed itself as he worked with CSO..even trying NEW things I have not
done. I do not criticize Maurice- on the contrary--I support his inventive creativity.!!

Having said that. I will here post my review of Maurice's EXPERIENCE, which he so well
describes in direct language and photos. He pulls no punches. He is honest. It is a joy
to read the words and words between the lines as this painter EXPERIENCES
...SOMETHING NEW!

5/18/09= Maurice begins his portrait.  He describes the support he used He sized the
back of an acrylic gesso canvas with PVA
On page 96 of my book, I describe using PVA as a size material. In short, IT DOES
NOT SEAL the support. This absorbancy will allow oil from upper layers to be sucked
into the canvas, causing sunken spots in the upper paint layers. He then applied an oil
ground to the PVA sized canvas. THIS would have decreased the absorbancy of the  
PVA sized canvas.
PVA will render an acrylic gesso completely NON ABSORBENT, but it must be brushed
only once as it will LIFT the gesso if rubbed.

6/3/09 = Maurice's second comment about his portrait. . He descibes the support in
more detail.

6/8/09 = Maurice rightly says that the painter NEW to CSO will have to learn new
habits. Its true, but they are simple. Most importantly he says that solvents resins and
driers are not needed and NOT WELCOME!! Thank you Maurice.!
Maurice says to grind the colors on the palette. I need to amplify this. The Old Masters
used  small hand palettes and large GRINDING TABLES. My book describes that it is
imperative that one use a GRINDING TABLE. A simple 2 FT x 2 FT  glazed floor tile is
adequate. All the grinding, mixing, thinnin etc are done on this GRINDING TABLE.
Then, placed on the small hand palete for use.
Maurice correctly notices that the CSO paint dries fast--within 24 hours- without
solvents or driers!!  I know the different colors we use dry differently as do hand
ground vs, tube paints. But this is one of the great advantages of CSO..its fast drying
allowing next day work. THIS FAST DRYING IS DUE...TO THE OIL... THE TRUE OIL OF
THE OLD MASTERS. It is far superior to modern INDUSTRIAL linseed oils.

MAURICE'S creative mind led him to not use the oil out of the emulsion that I
recommend. He did this to get a dry brush effect, but saw he was building up paint. He
then oiled out, and then found a NEW TECHNIQUE - one I have never tried. He began
to draw with soft pastels into the damp emulsion oil out. He then blended the pastels
with finger or brush, and it appeared as oil paint. THIS NOVEL approach, might be
what led Maurice to notice that there were dry spots in the overall surface. As the
added dry pigment may have been underbound. I will not know until I try his technique
out.  Maurice warns NOT to use oil pastels nor dry CHALK sticks.

ONE IMPORTANT reason for the emulsion oil out , is that it allows the thinnest
applications of paint...just like VELAZQUEZ thin  paint.... withuse of a ROUND bristle
brush..the thick viscous CSO paint glides effortless over the surface...AND EVERY
BRUSHMARK stays where it is placed. The EMULSION seizes the paint..until you want
to move it, blend it, remove it, or alter it..whether thin or thick. THE CSO and the
EMULSION are designed to COMPLEMENT each other. ONE WITHOUT the other is
only HALF the success. The oil paint is NEVER liquified as in the solvent-resin method.

6/12/09= Maurice describes the fast drying of the paint. Its true. This superior oil is to
me, ' THE REBIRTH OF THE OLD MASTER'S SUPERIOR OIL". It allows oil painting
without driers, solvents, varnishes or resins. ONE DAY, industry will produce this
magnificent oil. I am proud to be a pioneer in spreading its value to others.

MAURICE comments on the , ' still trying to get used to the thickness of CSO". YES,
CSO PAINT is viscous, . but Maurice was using sables. I recommend one use bristle
brushes at the beginning and sables work very well for finishing the painting. The
viscosity of the CSO paint is EASILY blended with a bristle brush.

6/24/09= Maurice describes the dry areas. I think there are new causes, as the pastels
might be the cause, as well as a partially absorbent ground.
Maurice describes the need for a FATTER medium. Here I do not know what Maurice
did. I give 2 possible ratio mixtures for the Emulsion. Both are used very very
sparingly, as the CSO PAINT is viscous [ fatty] of its own. He wonders whether
changing the ratio of GLAIR and OIL will cause drying problems. NO, not in the least.
ONE MUST have MORE oil than Glair in the emulsion mix. My book describes this
issue carefully.

6/30/09 = Maurice writes that he has NEW information to inform the reader. He found
that by LOADING the brush in minute quantitries he can imitate his previous textures of
the soft pastels. He calls the CSO, " this highly viscous medium".
It truly is highly viscous and that is how the paint is used. Any thinning is done with but
one drop of the emulsion at a time..and never by mixing with the brush..but, mixed/
ground with the palette knife on the GRINDING TABLE. ONE DROP will greatly alter
the paint's consistency.
Maurice correctly notes that any dry areas are not an issue, as the final painting will
receive an ultra thin emulsion oil out. This final layer oil out is a permanent layer, not a
removable layer ..such as is given with spirit varnishes.

CONCLUSION TO DATE 7/4/09
I am happy that an experienced painter such as Maurice has EXPERIENCED the CSO
method LIVE!
I will wait to see the finished painting.
The CSO-FIXATIVE METHOD of
FIXING CHARCOAL DRAWINGS SAFELY
WITHOUT AEROSOL SPRAY CANS.
The paintings of the great 17th century Flemish painter Peter Paul Rubens,
leave me in awe. Study of the originals reveal a masterly method of oil painting. Many times he
began with a vine charcoal drawing , then with a wash of oil paint he glazed the darks. On this he
painted a grisaille with thick viscous paint then over layered it with a variety of finishing touches
using thin and thick paint.

In the very large paintings of several feet in size, he casually left the charcoal drawing visible in the
finished painting. The drawing has a beauty of its own, showing Rubens' vast power as a
draughtsman.

The question I always asked myself was... HOW DID RUBENS FIX HIS DRAWING?

Had he not fixed them, they would have smudged and the dark charcoal dirties the oil. TODAY we
moderns have spray aerosols. We can spray the drawing with FIXATIVE. But the aerosol cans
create a HAZARDOUS environment for the breathing of artists. The repugnant odor itself is reason
not to use the aerosols. Headaches are common from the mist.

The only solution I knew of is to lie the canvas or panel on the floor, and a FINE MIST SPRAYER
filled with odorless and SAFE liquid is sprayed over the support, landing on the charcoal and
FIXING the grains of dust. But the results were never entirely as successful as the clear FIXED
charcoal drawings I would see in RUBENS’ paintings.

WHAT WAS RUBENS’ METHOD?

It certainly could not have been a studio secret!
I felt it must have been commonly known by all. Yet, I have never seen it described in
any ANCIENT manuscript or any MODERN book.

One day, in July 2009, I came upon a METHOD so simple, it must have been the one
used by RUBENS and others prior to the modern Fixative aerosol spray cans.  The
answer came as a flash as one day as I sat looking at a charcoal drawing.  Testing my
hypothesis, proved its ease and efficiency.

Here  I am happy to share this on my website.
For personal reasons, I have previously shared it only with two valued and trusted
friends.
Now, artists around the globe can discard the  hazardous and unsafe aerosol  spray
cans.
Teachers in closed studios no longer need to expose their students to toxic spray
mists.

- Posted August 8, 2009
THE FOLLOWING SERIES OF PHOTOS
demonstrate the CSO-FIXATIVE METHOD of SAFELY fixing charcoal drawings to a
support. In this case, the drawing is on a gesso covered wood panel.
THE UNFIXED drawing is seen first. The panel is placed flat on a table.
A THIN cloth is placed carefully on top of the drawing --I recommend a thin bed sheet
DO NOT nail the cloth down as it must be removed almost immediately.
A helper is...helpful to keep the cloth taunt.
In this case I used hot Rabbit skin glue. Instead of a squeege..I recommend use of a
wide flat brush. It can be used to douse the cloth  and it can spread the glue easily.
The bare hand is also effective and it spreads the glue easily.
Pressure can be applied and it does not disturb the drawing.
It is important to keep the cloth from wrinkling.
Remove the wet cloth as soon as possible. Try not to smudge the wet drawing.
The last photo shows the FIXED drawing.
NOW I KNOW why I would see small round dots in the fixed drawings of the Old
Masters...its the weave of the cloth.   - posted 8/8/09
TOPICS OF INTEREST AND IMPORTANCE
TO WORKING ARTISTS -- ON THIS SIDE
COMMENTS POSTED ON VARIOUS ART FORUMS AND
WEBSITES -- WITH MY COMMENTS
ARTISTS FORUMS : Posted 7/30/2010

Recently, an artist wrote me a kind letter in which he encouraged me to join
the ART FORUMS. I explained I would not because, though I do read them, I
see many times they are a Forum for someone , staff or writer, to argue and
put down others. I see juvenile behavior and insipid humor from some of the
Forum leaders and from artists. I have read letters from artists who have
been banned by the Forum Leaders , demonstrating a suppression by
power of control. The Forums are private, not Government, not associated
with Universities or Certified Educational Institutions, made of artists like you
and I. Some Forum leaders are businessmen expressing viewpoints
promoting their business organizations which causes one to question the
veracity of their advice.

YES! The Forums do serve an important service as a place where artists
can exchange information and learn of new developments in the Art World. I
enjoy reading them to see what some serious artists are thinking and doing.
It is a rapidly changing vast world ever since the Internet made the world
instantly accessible on our computers.

I will be the first to say I do NOT know everything about the Oil Painting
medium or the Egg Tempera medium, but I have been steadily researching
and learning for the past 50+ years. Also, I note the FORUM LEADERS are
not always fully aware of the facts, nor well informed, not to mention other
motives causing bias, as they give their advice. Some of their advice is
excellent, but not all. We all make mistakes and none of us is error free,
much less perfect. My past and continuing research is done with honesty
and integrity as I search for truth. I respond to all Emails as I have done for
the last ten years with artists from all parts of the world. I have yet to receive
a letter from any of the Forum Leaders except for a brief exchange with
Virgil Elliott that I initiated. The exchange refers strictly to the oil and how it is
processed. He and I have exchanged books and I have given him ample and
respectful credit for the overall excellence of his book - except for his brief
instructions on the water washing of the oil, which I told him I know to be
ineffective and erroneous. I have saved his letters for reference if needed.

Many times in reading on an Art Forum, comments about CSO, I have
wanted to join the discussion to clarify the various questions and issues.
Here, I will now respond to artists who have written to the various ART
FORUMS, or private WEBSITES,  in regards to their comments about my
2000 creation [ CSO]  CALCITE SUN OIL, as well as on my new
development – CSO EGG TEMPERA.
The new CSO EGG TEMPERA Medium, of 2009, is the first
development/advancement in 500 years of the ancient Cennino Cennini
instructions dating from the early 1400’s.

Artists are encouraged to respond to me.
-        Sincerely and respectfully,
Louis R. Velasquez    velapress@aol.com   


NOTE: My USE of the various Forum entries is protected by the US
Copyright laws allowing FREE USE for educational purposes. The
statements used here are not offered for sale - but are presented FREE to
the general public as an educational service of artistic critique and criticism
for the sole purpose of advancement of knowledge regarding painting
mediums and materials and their uses. Nome of my statements are an
attack on the persons named, as truth is protected by the US Constitution.
Also, I am lucky in that my wife is an attorney. If I do criticize the writings or
statements made by any author it is to express my own opinion and to
promote a critical academic environment for readers to analyze and to form
their own opinions.


The first entry is from the WETCANVAS ART FORUM.

jalla379 08-06-2009, 01:11 PM
I didn't realize that I had gotten so many
replies. Thank you all for your kind responses!
As to your question Dallen about why anyone would use polymerized oil. My
reason is that I'm using it as a substitute for sun thickened oil to make
something called cal-stand oil described by the artist and author Louis
Velasquez. When mixed with calicum carbonate and used with an emulsion it
becomes a medium with great handling properties. Although if I had the
possibilty of sun thickening my own oil I would have made something called
calcite sun oil also described by Mr. Velasquez.
LOUIS SAYS: These postings show that an artist DALLEN was uninformed
about how Linseed/Flax oil oxidizes [ dries- cures- hardens]. It also shows
that artist JALLA379 is using one of the alternate mixtures contained in my
patent and in my book on Oil Painting with Calcite Sun Oil. I note that he
describes the great handling properties when the instructions in my book
are followed correctly.
No6 Brush. Quote "Oils do not dry by evaporation. The drying of oils is the
result of an oxidative reaction, chemically equivalent to slow, flameless
combustion. In this process, a form of auto oxidation, oxygen attacks the
hydrocarbon chain, touching off a series of addition reactions. As a result,
the oil polymerizes, forming long, chain-like molecules. Following the auto
oxidation stage, the oil polymers cross-link: bonds form between
neighboring molecules, resulting in a vast polymer network." So Polymerized
Linseed Oil just means linseed oil that's thickened by starting to 'dry' a little
bit... and perfectly safe / compatible with any oil paint. Regards Tony 08-06-
2009, 01:38 PM
LOUIS SAYS: Thank you JALLA379 AND No6BRUSH


LOUIS SAYS: This next entry from WET CANVAS ART FORUM discusses
the SUEDE EFFECT in modern oil paintings.
Georgeoh 02-14-2007, 06:34 PM  -- The discussion begins here with
Georgeoh.
Paint modifiers, such as aluminum stearate, were first employed in artists' oil
paint at the beginning of the 20th century. Stearates, which are classed
among metallic soaps, improve the stabilization of pigment dispersions in oil
paint and continue to be used in this function until now. One of the problems
noticed early on from the use of modifiers was the "suede" appearance of
paint once it dried. This was described by the 20th century artist Hannah
Gluck. This and other changes in artists' materials were observed by Gluck
in her work over a period of two decades and the results of tests performed
to eliminate these effects are described in a paper by Christine Leback
Sitwell. Reference Leback Sitwell, Christine. 1990. "Gluck and the Quality of
Artists' Materials: The Suede Effect." Appearance, Opinion, Change:
Evaluating the Look of Paintings. United Kingdom Institute for Conservation
of Historic and Artistic Works.
GEORGEOH QUOTES SITWELL:  "The pigment to oil ratio varies from
pigment to pigment depending upon the oil absorption characteristics of the
particular pigment. This influences the consistency of the paint. Modern
artists' oil colours are formulated to a certain consistency which enables
them to be tubed or packaged satisfactorily. This is achieved through the
pigment to oil ratio as well as by the addition of various modifiers. In
previous centuries, the consistency or 'body' of a paint (consisting of oil and
pigment only) was modified by the addition of either a bodied oil, an oil
containing a drier, a stand oil or a sun-thickened oil. The artist could alter
the flow characteristics and the appearance of the paint by using different
oils."
SITWELL’S COMMENTS CONTINUE: "The mixing of oil and pigment is called
dispersion and is the process by which the pigment is 'wetted' by the
medium. Early methods of dispersion involved handgrinding the pigment
and oil mixture on a marble slab. This method was superseded by
mechanical dispersion which involved mixing the oil and pigment into a paste
and then passing the mixture through a series of rollers. The degree of
dispersion in handground paints was estimated at 20% whereas the modern
mechanically dispersed paints produced 80% dispersion. The modern
dispersion methods in conjunction with smaller pigment size could cause the
pigments to agglomerate. As agglomeration is most noticeable on the
surface of the paint layer, it might be another explanation of any change in
the surface appearance."
Georgeoh asks: Have others noticed issues such as the "suede effect" in
their paintings or other problems with the appearance of the oil paint?
Georgeoh 02-15-2007, 01:27 AM, I have read that the addition of even a
little calcium carbonate (chalk) alleviates the problem, but I can't at all vouch
for that as I haven't tried it. Do you remember where you read that? I am
doing research on this issue.
Reroberts 02-15-2007, 10:58 AM , This guy is promoting what he calls
"Calcite Sun Oil" (http://calcitesunoil.com/). He claims that calcium carbonate
eliminates the suede effect, and points to Velazquez and Rembrandt.
However, I am very skeptical of his claims.
georgeoh 02-15-2007, 01:02 PM , I doubt any handmade paint will create
the "suede effect", so if handmade paints are included in the claim then it is
probably correct, but not for the reasons they claim. Claims about using
mediums to eliminate the suede effect are rather doubtful.
Einion 02-15-2007, 02:45 PM , But many of us know there are other ways
of doing this - that were used historically - that this doesn't cover, most
famously perhaps by the various things Rembrandt is said to have tried. I
hate to say it but I'm not so sure about that, because of the increased
proportion of binder. Or to put it another way, drop the amount of pigment,
making a mix rich(er) in oil and/or resin and the suede effect might be
directly avoided.
Georgeoh 02-15-2007, 06:22 PM
Pigment agglomeration, otherwise known as flocculation, is a common
occurrence in paint especially when the critical pigment volume (CPV) is not
maintained in the paint film, which is often the case in paintings. Flocculation
occurs most with fine pigment particles where they form clusters or "flocs"
that can disturb the surface of the paint film as it dries.
Einion Do you know if this is verified/agreed upon? I don't know about you
but 20% for hand-mulled paint seems awfully low to me.
Georgeoh This is a reasonable estimate for modern, fine particulate
pigments. In practice, pigment dispersion is difficult to achieve throughout
the paint and the forces needed to achieve it are surprisingly high. Even
with the tremendous mechanical forces and polar/nonpolar dispersing
additives in the binder at their disposal, manufacturers still achieve only a
limited dispersion of pigment particles within the paint. Artists armed only
with their own hands cannot expect to achieve even close to what is possible
by modern equipment and processes. However, it is quite possible that
artists in previous centuries were able to achieve better dispersions than
artists today using fine pigments (epsecially organic pigments that are
largely replacing inorganic ones today), because they were working with
larger particulate pigments, which are typically easier to disperse.
Einion But many of us know there are other ways of doing this -- that were
used historically -- that this doesn't cover, most famously perhaps by the
various things Rembrandt is said to have tried.
Georgeoh Which things do you refer to?
Einion I hate to say it but I'm not so sure about that, because of the
increased proportion of binder. Or to put it another way, drop the amount of
pigment, making a mix rich(er) in oil and/or resin and the suede effect might
be directly avoided.
Georgeoh One of the objectives in letdown paint (not paste paints)
formulation is critical pigment volume. This is the ratio between the volume
of pigment and binder where the pigment particles achieve an equilibrium
with the binder, helping to prevent flocculation in the paint film. Flocculation
is believed to result in such characteristics as the "suede effect.
LOUIS SAYS:  The source of quotation is possibly a quote from SITWELL: "
Artists cannot be aware of the CPV of a particular pigment-binder mixture
and so cannot achieve this equilibrium simply through the use of mediums. It
is true that the addition of a medium or binder may mitigate the effect when
a high gloss surface is achieved and the pigment particles "sink in."
NancyMP 07-21-2010, 08:54 PM
I've noticed it in my paintings, if you're talking about high and low gloss, and
as Bill points out, it seems to be common. I go to the Prix de West exhibit
frequently (I'll be going again tomorrow!), and noticed that one of Morgan
Weistling's paintings had this effect -- the one of his daughter. He
apparently used a fairly high gloss varnish to try to cover the effect, which
didn't help much. It caused me to view it from an angle. There is a dull place
above her right shoulder.  This happens to me when I re-work an area,
especially dark areas, which should be not be too thick. It can't be seen
except in person.
LOUIS SAYS:
Georgoh in Feb 2007, began the discussion with citations from SITWELL, as
the source for his facts. NOT FROM HIS OWN EXPERIENCE.  He admits he
is doing research on the issue of the suede effect. This means he really
does not know much about it, except for what he has read. He asks if others
have the problem. Possibly he is not an active painter. Rroberts mentions
my website and my claim that calcite sun oil will eliminate the suede effect.
Rroberts states he is skeptical. Georgeoh agrees , calling it ‘rather doubtful’.
Note that neither georgeoh nor rroberts have tried CSO [ calcite sun oil] but
give their opinions anyway. Einion in Feb 2007, then brings up Rembrandt’s
paint. Georgeoh, asks einion to clarify. Einion does not write back.
Georgeoh apparently does not know much about what science has
published regarding Rembrandt’s use of calcium carbonate chalk and use of
egg to create the ‘paint quality’ we see in the Rembrandt paintings. But
georgeoh, [who later in early 2009], had a chance to catch up with ‘Calcite
sun oil’ and became a spokes person in some degree for Naturalpigment
paint company who in 2009 issued their two VELASQUEZ painting mediums.
These two are close—but not equal in high quality of my formula of
CALCITE SUN OIL because CSO uses the superior oil of the Old Masters..  
Naturalpigments uses an INDUSTRIALLY PROCESSED  bodied alkali
refined linseed oil, mixed with varying amounts of silica, calcium carbonate
and bentonite. There is no good reason for adding Bentonite,  an expansive
hygroscopic clay,  to a paint medium . Bentonite swells when in contact with
moisture and Linseed oil for its entire existence absorbs oxygen- including
oxygen with moisture in humid areas. Bentonite is an industrial water leak
sealant. I am unaware of any evidence the Old Masters added Bentonite to
their oil paint. Correct me if I am wrong, please. NancyMp ends the
discussion with her comments that the suede effect is very real- even after a
couple of other artists do not notice it because admit they thought any visual
changes in the paint surface was just an acceptable condition of the oil
medium. Their inexperience is why they can’t notice it. Someone ask
georgeoh, to what temperature the Naturalpigment industrial linseed oil is
heated to, to achieve its BODIED condition. I remind readers that the linseed
oil will begin decomposition at 230C. and the normal artist’s linseed stand oil
[ bodied oil]  is heated to 300C, far past that safe  temperature. Ask why
they use it.


LOUIS SAYS: The following subject on the AMIEN ART FORUM  began on
January 15,2009, and had several postings. Each posting teaches us
something important or exposes the posting person as being
unknowledgeable or of having bias. Therefore, I will break up the sequence
in my responses. This line began with the question by OTOOBOOBOO
Ottobooboo 01-15-2009:  The veracity of Louis R. Velasquez's claims .
Greetings to the AMIEN Staff: I just spent a good deal of time on Mr.
Velasquez's site. I am intrigued with his desire to simply sell me his book
rather than bottles of expensive medium that I will need for the rest of my
painting career. But, economics aside, I am curious about the veracity of his
historical and conservation claims. Any thoughts about this? I thought that
his comparison of Flemish and Italian painting quality was especially
interesting. These quality claims are based on materials used and not
drawing or painting ability, so I hope that this discussion will conform
appropriately to the intent of this site.  Sincerely, Chad
AMIEN SAID: ottobooboo, We have read through the Velasquez site, too.
We cannot comment on the material "quality" of the products because we
have no first-hand experience with them -- though we are familiar enough
with all the variations of these materials to note that there is nothing new
about them. Of course, you know that we also do not comment on aesthetics
here, either, so it will be up to you to decide whether you prefer Flemish or
Italian painting methods and materials and the results from using them.
LOUIS SAYS: The CSO ( Calcite Sun Oil) mixture is exactly that ... nothing
new!!... as I have clearly stated on my website and book. I clearly state that
my creation of CSO is based on my research into the scientific studies
published regarding Rembrandt (1988) and Velazquez (1992). What I did-
and what none of the AMIEN staff members did —was recreate a new and
workable measured GRINDING OIL mixture for contemporary artists. For this
recreation to be effective OPTIMALLY, it requires the superior Flax-Linseed
Oil of the Old Masters, fully described in my book and FREE on my website.
CSO is NOT made with  the Alkali Refined INDUSTRIAL Art Store linseed oil,
or, linseed stand oil, sold everywhere. In 2006 I was granted a Patent by the
US Government. Approval of a Patent is no easy task and is important
validation of the VALUE and UNIQUENESS of the CSO.
AMIEN SAID: A significant problem with making scientific claims such as
"studies show ..." and so on, is that we then have to cite the study. It doesn't
do anyone much good to have to buy another reference (a book) to get to a
bibliography which might cite an original reference. We much prefer to have
footnotes that lead directly to the original source, which ought to be in some
sort of publication that has been reviewed by peers. This is not to say we
doubt claims made in this way, but to point out that we would much prefer to
see direct scientific support for the claims.
LOUIS SAYS: I understand AMIEN’S comment which is then tempered with, “
we would much prefer”.  Yes, citations can be important so one can then
seek the source. However, there is so much COMMON information that
supports everything I have written, that to add endless citations for
everything I write would be pointless, boring, and would prove nothing. One
problem  I noted from a previous writer was: “ I’ve been doing research on
CSO and I can’t find anything on it”. I responded by saying that one cannot
find previous writings on something that is NEW. -  Also, Citations have the
weakness of continuing erroneous information, such as those who quote
Maroger’s book or Doerner’s book. Much in those books has been proven
to be false. For decades, Francisco Pacheco was listed in every Important
Encyclopedia as having died in 1649, the year of the publication of his book.
NEW scholarship found his death certificate with the date of death as 1645.
His book was posthumously published.
AMIEN SAYS: Rembrandt and the van Eycks have been subject to modern
scientific scrutiny for decades. There is plenty of published information
about their materials, if not their methods of painting (methods of painting
are dealt with by art historians and critics). Nothing we have ever seen
suggests that there was any kind of "Secrets of the Old Masters." These
artists and their contemporaries simply used the materials they had in skillful
and inventive ways.
LOUIS SAYS: AMIEN is in error in saying that ‘ methods of painting are dealt
with by art historians and critics”. That extraordinarily erroneous statement
exposes this leadership staff as persons who may be painters but display an
ignorance about the oil painting medium. I will say that an active oil painter
can learn and continue to learn, ONLY TWO THINGS, one is to learn as
much as possible about the MATERIALS of the medium, and the other is to
learn as much as possible about the various METHODS of applying the
paint. Goodness what an error!  ALSO. there …IS A SECRET … the Old
Masters had that we moderns have lost since the 19th century: THAT
SECRET IS: The superior flax/linseed oil the Old Masters is superior in
everyway to the industrial alkali refined mass produced linseed oil sold to
artists since the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century. The proof is in the
500 year old Flemish paintings who had no access to modern INDUSTRIAL
linseed oil.
AMIEN SAID: As for the matter of special oils made in the studio as
opposed to purchased in a store, you can make your own sun thickened oil
from cold-pressed linseed oil -- there are a few very simple recipes out
there, and we have made it ourselves -- and if you wish you can experiment
with adding your own chalk. You can use the very fine Champagne chalk, a
kaolin chalk, or artificially precipitated chalk, depending on your preference.
Or, you can just buy some sun thickened linseed oil and add the chalk.
LOUIS SAYS: AMIEN is giving very poor advice here! What they wrote is
INCOMPLETE  ADVICE. There is NO MENTION in their ADVICE that the oil
must be first CLEANSED of the damaging mucilage. NOR do they even
attempt to voice an opinion on HOW to cleanse the oil before beginning the
SUN THICKENING process. They REFER the readers to, “there are a few
very simple recipes out there” ( what happened to their love of
CITATIONS?). As to AMIENS advice to buy your own Sun Thickened oil, they
do not tell the reader that ALL SUN THICKENED OILS are NOT the same.
Grumbacher sells an inexpensive SUN THICKENED oil. It is merely Alkali
Refined Linseed oil that was allegedly exposed to the sun, but do not offer
any details as to how many days.. The label info about it being Alkali
Refined is in very small letters on the back label. Their oil is a slow drying
oil. I advise artists to get informed FULLY and to be cautious of what they
buy. AMIEN is not helping in this regard.
AMIEN SAID: 01-17-09
(Louis says: the long posting was cut short to the issue at hand – to read
the entire posting, go to the Amien website).
AMIEN responded to OTTOBOOBOO: If you want to make your own sun-
thickened oil, you must spread it out in a layer, in an enameled steel tray
(no bare metal, no plastic) to a depth of about 2.5 cm or less. It's going to
partially oxidize and polymerize anyway -- that's the thickening process at
work. We have done this, and put a glass plate over the tray to keep dust
from collecting in the oil but leaving a gap for air to have access. You should
stir the oil daily -- you will begin to notice the thickening eventually, but it's
hard to say when because of environmental and exposure differences
among locations. - The AMIEN Staff
LOUIS SAYS: As In my previous comment, AMEIN gives no advice and in
fact leads us to believe that they have no awareness that the oil must first
be cleansed of mucilage before it is sun thickened. IF in the future AMEIN
staff were to suggest that the oil can be cleansed by WATER WASHING, as
is recorded in Virgil Elliott’s book, I will respond here to prove the
ineffectiveness of that method and the error of the instructions as given in
Mr. Elliotts book..
REROBERTS , 02-08-10
Oil and chalk "putty" was used by many artists, including Rembrandt and
Velazquez.. As for qualitative differences between styles of painting, broad
claims are simply broad claims. That one would try to patent such a simple
process as making an oil/chalk medium strikes me as silly, like trying to
patent flour/water for bread making.
LOUIS SAYS: As I have expressed in my books and website, the CSO
mixture  ( CALCITE SUN OIL)  is based on the scientific studies published on
Rembrandt and Velazquez. Regarding my Patent of CSO, REROBERTS
states it “strikes me as silly, like trying to patent flour/water for bread
making.”. Perhaps REROBERTS eats bread made of flour and water and is
satisfied. Even in bread making, there are numerous worldwide recipes ,
ancient and modern , each one different from the other, providing a variety
of culinary results. In my home we love Sourdough bread, and Multigrain
breads, Rye, and then there is Nan bread and of course the Mexican bread
called a Tortilla.  REROBERTS shows his lack of knowledge and his
inexperience with facts regarding how PATENTS are reviewed and either
approved or denied, by his statement, but if he wishes to write to me, I will
educate him for free. It is for artists like him that I have written my book and
conducted my research. IGNORANCE is a terrible thing to live with or to
paint with. His website  states he is a self-taught artist since early teens,
explored oil painting, including hand weaving, tapestry design, woodcut,
calligraphy and egg tempera  and other media ,plus more than twenty years
a tattoo artist. In 2005, he began to focus on oil painting. I wish him well.
REROBERTS, 02-08-10 ( continued)
For anyone interested in making a workable oil/chalk medium, as well as
processing oils one's self, it is well worth reading about the empirical and
well-documented research being done by Tad Spurgeon : http://www.
tadspurgeon.com
LOUIS SAYS: For RE Roberts and anyone interested in historical fact: I sent
Tad a copy of my book in 2004. At that time Tad’s website had no
instruction, nor awareness, nor displayed any practical experience or
knowledge of the mixing of Calcium Carbonate powders with oil as was done
by Rembrandt, Velazquez and others. More so, his website expressed no
awareness of how to process and create the TRUE superior oil of the Old
Masters as I had published this information in my book of 2004. On Tad’s
own website, he states he did not begin until 2006, to experiment with the
mixtures of calcium carbonate powders and oil, until, as he says, “ it was
time to try green eggs and ham”. I understand the motive for Tad’s
reluctance to write about my website on his own website, but academically it
is an error on his part as history will demonstrate. I will say that I enjoy
reading Tad’s website, though I find many errors of technical information on
it.  I have been continuously at this research , study, and experimentation
since 2000, and know many unanswered questions remain.
MJGRUMP, 06-08-10 , I have spent a lot of time trying out Louis's ideas
and Tad Spurgeon's (mentioned above). I think Tad's approach is much
more thorough, incredibly well researched and certainly less dogmatic. He's
also not pushing a book, although he is writing one, which I eagerly await.
LOUIS SAYS: I hope MJGRUMP learned some things from my site. It has 12
web pages of FREE information to help artists better understand the
obstacles they face with INDUSTRIAL linseed oil and the various false
formula mixtures others write about.  According to him, I am PUSHING a
book...but..Tad will be PUBLISHING a book. To MJGRUMP, I point out the 14
REVIEWS of my book on Amazon, as well as the TESTIMONIALS page on
my website. These artists did not think I was PUSHING a book. In fact, my
website now is showing another book and 2 DVD’S. Over the years, I was
asked many times to make a DVD to help understanding the CSO
/EMULSIONS method and materials.
MJGRUMP ( continued):  The piece of Louis's process that worried me was
his use of an egg-white (in the form of glair) and oil emulsion as an oil out
.[
PLEASE SEE UPDATE ON GLAIR ON THIS PAGE TO YOUR LEFT
] I
modified that to a whole egg/oil emulsion and put it out there for comment
elsewhere on this site. It seems OK. The thing that I don't like about using
an emulsion is that it remains sticky for quite some time--far longer than an
oil out made with sun-thickened oil and a small amount of solvent.
LOUIS SAYS: Of course you are experiencing those problems you mention.
i.e. ‘ sticky’.. I experimented with the YOLK, the WHOLE EGG, and the
GLAIR. And did so for good reasons—to avoid the pitfalls you
encountered—I use the white of the egg to make the emulsion ( egg white
frothed, it is called GLAIR- it is an ancient archival artist’s paint binder). Had
you followed my dogmatic instructions, you would not have had the
problems because use of the EGG YOLK ( or the whole egg) introduces a
the YOLK, which is a slow drying ingredient because the YOLK is heavy with
SLOW CURING egg oil.. My book explains all this in great detail.
DOGMATIC? YES! For a good reason. You need not reinvent the WHEEL. If
you write to me I will happily help you for FREE.
MJGRUMP ( continued):  (The reason I am interested in using an emulsion
rather than thinned oil is that I am trying to avoid the use of solvents as I
have respiratory issues.)
LOUIS SAYS: In the past I tried to explain to Tad the need for the two
emulsions I created. I note that Tad uses the term COUCH. This is an
incorrect term in painting. A COUCH is a sofa- a piece of furniture. The
correct term is from the French- COUCHE—which means a film of oil or
paint.  For MJGRUMP’s information, Tad continues to add all manner of
ingredients to his various formula mixtures.  Some are not archival such as
BURNT PLATE OIL.
I too will purchase Tad’s book when it gets published. I wish to see if my
book will be included in his Bibliography. I want to see if the academic debt
he owes me will be acknowledged.
AMIEN, 06-09-10,  mjgrump, We agree with you. This is the kind of "oil-out"
that is unnecessarily complicated and could cause later trouble. Do you
know you can paint using oil paints with almost no solvents? This subject is
pretty thoroughly discussed elsewhere on this site. The AMIEN Staff
LOUIS SAYS: UNNECESSARILY COMPLICATED? Not even.!!  Rembrant
and Velazquez both included a protein in their paint. I have proven by studio
duplication, that it is the protein additive that allowed Rembrandt to apply
thick impasto of flowing viscous oil paint mixed with chalk, so it would NOT
WRINKLE, drip nor run , NOR lose any definition of his brush hair marks and
palette knife marks. My book explains this issue in detail as well as a full
explanation of the importance of the emulsion for micro-fine detailed work as
seen in Jan Brughel and Jan Van Eyck -- you cannot get them with resins. In
his own book, Daniel V. Thompson reached the same understanding of use
of a ‘vicid’ oil to get the micro-fine lines—but Daniel did not know about nor
understand the use of the EMULSION..and  more important..He did not know
ITS IMPORTANT METHOD OF APPLICATION. This very precious
information is in my book. AMIEN’S statement is one of ignorance .
NICKIJ, July 2010; (Louis says: I shortened this very long post to the basic
issues- thank you)
I've been experimenting with the home-made sun-thickened oil and chalk
medium and enjoying it quite a lot. Thus far, my experiments have been
small, single layer studies, and I like the effects the medium allows. My own,
self-refined oil is considerably thinner in its flowing properties than any
commercial sun-thickened oils I've used, but the paint dries to the touch in
about 24 hours, even in thickish strokes. Of course, it is summer and
relatively warm.
LOUIS SAYS: I do not know if you obtained your knowledge from my work.
However,I am happy the method is working for you. You will know the
importance of that superior oil and what it will do for your quality of painting.
It is an ancient archival method. I am happy to be of help to others through
my books and website.
NICKIJ ( continued): My question regards the properties of the final paint
layer. Even with relatively minor additions of chalk or marble powder putty
(or even "syrup"), the paint film produced is a dead matte.
LOUIS SAYS:  I can guess the cause of your MATTE finish. It is NOT THE
MEDIUM mixture of oil and chalk. It almost certainly is that you are painting
on an absorbent or partially absorbent ground. The Old Masters showed us
the importance of painting with oils,   on a fully sealed non absorbent
ground. One frequently reads the advice of teachers saying the ground
MUST be partially absorbent—so the oil paint will have something to attach
itself to. NOT TRUE. A mechanical lock is not required for viscous oil paint to
adhere permanently.
NICKIJ ( continued): As a former illustrator I love a matte finish because it
helps match colors and encourages a lighter, better-reproducing palette,
but I understand that at least for oils it implies a weaker paint film,
regardless of whether the surface is later given a gloss finish by varnishing.
LOUIS SAYS: You are completely correct. A healthy oil paint film is
intrinsically shiny, NOT MATTE. This IS OIL PAINT and oil is shiny. A matte
condition indicates insufficient binder and a fragile paint film, caused either
by incorrect making of the paint or an absorbent ground sucking the oil out
of the paint.
NICKIJ ( continued): Is this necessarily the case, ie, does the addition of an
oil putty medium necessarily weaken the paint film, or does it necessarily
have to be matte?
LOUIS SAYS: Of course not. The mixture of chalk with the superior oil of the
Old Masters is easily mixed together and creates a hard durable archival
shiny paint film as Rembrandt’s paint proves.
NICKIJ ( continued): I would be adding more medium to any subsequent
paint layers, making them "fatter", but they might still be matte. Should I tone
down the powder/oil balance in favor of stronger oil amounts and hope it
reinforces the lower layers, or just keep going with what works for the types
of textural manipulations I'm interested in doing?
LOUIS SAYS: Please write to me. Ill give you all the instruction FREE.
LOUIS SAYS: TO MJGRUMP. This person posted the following ( see above
for the complete post) regarding Tad Spurgeon’s website= ) “…  I think
Tad's approach is much more thorough, incredibly well researched …" Well,
MJGRUMP, I submit to you the following errors in his research.
Mr. SPURGEON' SAYS, FROM HIS WEBSITE :My first experience refining
linseed oil followed the guidelines in Eastlake and Merrifield, washing the oil
using water, sand, and salt.
LOUIS SAYS: Neither Eastlake nor Merrifield were Old Masters. They were
19th century re-constructionists. The water, sand, salt method is a waste of
time and good oil.
Mr. SPURGEON CONTINUES:  It took six washings of one week each to
remove all the fatty acid break.
LOUIS SAYS: The word, "break" is not a scientific term. It is an industrial
term, describing the various flocculated ingredients that result after the
caustic chemical, Sodium Hydroxide LYE chemical was mixed with the heat
expressed flax oil. If oil and water are mixed and shaken, a colloid forms,
and this colloid is sponged full of air. It is not the fatty acids..
Mr. SPURGEON CONTINUES: The washing was done using the Allback oil
from Sweden. This is a cold-pressed and organic oil with a compelling story
behind it: see the Allback website for more details. Before and after photo
above, lighter is after.
LOUIS SAYS: Allback flax-linseed oil is an industrial oil processed for
painting houses. There is much more to say about this oil and my website
has sufficent commentary on it.
Mr. SPURGEON CONTINUES: For more on this process, which did result in
a much quicker drying oil which yellowed to about the level of refined walnut
oil, even less after aging a year in the light, see refining section below.
LOUIS SAYS: Mr. Spurgeon's site shows photos of this Allback oil before
and after he processed it with the Eastlake 19th century method. Mr.
Spurgeon's comment is in error because he describes the oil as "aging"...
and the photo clearly shows the oil is in a sealed capped jar. He is in error
because Flax linseed oil does not AGE when in a sealed air free container.
Without oxygen, the oil remains in a state of equilibrium and cannot oxidize {
dry-cure- age)
.
Mr. SPURGEON CONTINUES:
This process should not to be confused with
the various other, quicker processes -- breadcrumbs, lavender, alcohol, et
al -- simply designed to clear an unprocessed oil, typically found now in a
health food store. All of these methods have their origin in the older authors,
from De Mayerne to Pacheco.
LOUIS SAYS: Mr. Spurgeon demonstrates ignorance regarding the proven
archival method of Francisco Pacheco who was Velazquez' teacher . To my
knowledge - Pacheco's manuscript of 1649 is only published in its entirity in
Spanish. I have written about it extensively in my book. Over 30 years ago I
read the small book in English that contained excerpts from Pacheco's book,
along with excerpts from several other Treatises of 17th century Spanish
authors on painting. The English speaking author INTERPRETS Pacheco's
words, while Pacheco's ORIGINAL manuscript is written in HIS OWN
WORDS. In 2008, I was in Madrid and purchased Pacheco's ORIGINAL full
Treatise which is over 700 pages. I am fluent in Spanish reading and
speech. Pacheco's method takes 15 days from start to completion, and
does not require any of the laborious methodology of reconstructionist Sir
Eastlake- or reconstructionist Mr.Spurgeon. In addition, with Pacheco's
simple method, hardly any of the oil  is lost.
Mr. SPURGEON CONTINUES: And while my experience refining this type of
oil has been very positive, I don't think these quick and simple methods are
enough.
LOUIS SAYS: Mr. Spurgeon's comment ignores the historical record of
Pacheco's method, and the proof seen in the paintings of Velazquez today.
MR. SPURGEON CONTINUES: When the fatty acids remain in the oil they
always present the danger of long term yellowing through the inevitable by-
products of oxidation. Simply buying the highest quality oil is not enough, it
still must be refined correctly.
LOUIS SAYS: Peter Paul Rubens did not try to remove the fatty acids from
his oil. Mr. Spurgeon's error is in trying to remove the strength and durability
of the oil, which are the fatty acids of the miracle that flax oil is. The
Industrialists have denuded the Linseed Flax oil by caustic lye cleansing,
and Mr. Spurgeon erroneously thinks and attempts to do the same. I stress
that one MUST NOT REMOVE the fatty acids from the oil. Science has
identified two of the many fatty acids in the flax oil as being the cause of its
yellow color. But the yellow color of the oil is ONLY NOTICIBLE when the oil
IS FRESH PRESSED and has NOT been sun bleached by the UV rays of the
sun....OR ... when the flax oil has been bleached by the sun and is seen in
CONCENTRATION. i.e. in a 4 inch wide jar. IN CONCENTRATION, the sun
bleached oil has a very pale yellowish hue --but that same SUN BLEACHED
OIL applied thinly to a pure white surface has NO COLOR AT ALL.  It is
completely clear and colorless. This thinness is how it is used in oil painting.
In my tests, the ONLY oil that I have not been able to bleach , with even 40
days of direct sunlight , is BURNT PLATE OIL. BPO is  decomposed burnt oil
, and will forever be burnt. Peter Paul Rubens' paintings are amongst the
very best preserved after almost 400 years. Rubens wrote a letter stating
that if his paintings were kept in DARKNESS, his oil paintings would become
TINGED with yellow. OBVIOUSLY- his oil contained all the FATTY ACIDS
that Mr. Spurgeon thinks must be removed. Rubens wrote that the solution
was simple. Expose the painting to daylight and the daylight re-bleaches the
thin layer of linseed flax oil. Rubens' letter is PROOF THAT HE DID NOT
EVEN TRY TO REMOVE THE FATTY ACIDS from the oil. Neither should you.


Louis says: This next post is one of a great number of postings regarding
Maroger’s Medium. Suffice to say that Meroger’s MEGUILP is not archival.
Here is the post by Mr. VanRyswyk, a resident of Amsterdam, The
Netherlands. I am happy to say I consider him a friend and furthermore, I
believe his website is one of the finest—if not THE FINEST—of all on the
web. In addition, Mr. Van Ryswyk is a fabulous artist himself and speaks of
materials and methods he personally knows and has used.
See his site at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/nightf3v3r/sets/532828/  
and you can visit his artwork at:  www.dannyvanryswyk.com  
Danny van Ryswyk 07-27-2008, 06:26 AM
Maroger was wrong about many things, and his so-called claimed formula's
used by Rembrandt and Van Eyck where just plain wrong. Recent studies
have shown that Rembrandt used chalk and egg in his paint, Valesquez
used great amounts of chalk in his paint, Maroger could not identify what it
was that Velasquez used and thought it was wax. I believe there is no other
medium known that has some many devastating reports among
conservators as his mastic-black oil medium. It browns badly and is almost
impossible to clean, due to the very fragile nature of the soft resin. A
stronger variant of the Maroger medium (the mastic/black oil) was the secret
Robertson medium. After Robertson's death his secret became known as it
was a mixture of Maroger and copal, which seems to strengthen the fragile
paint film. If you want to paint more in an impasto style with the materials
found in the paint films of Rembrandt and Velasquez, check out the book of
Louis Velasquez, he puts you on the right track with simple and save
materials that have been actually used by the old masters, and not in
Maroger's mind. The book is a real eye-opener, and I highly recommend it.
See; http://www.calcitesunoil.com


LOUIS SAYS: This next entry is from Mr. Tad Spurgeon’s website: It is self
explanatory:
MR. SPURGEON’S WEBSITE STATES: The National Gallery publication
"Rembrandt: Art in the Making" put an end to all arcane materials
exploration. The technical research in this book suggests that Rembrandt
worked with natural chalk and oil. After a certain period of resistance, I had
to try it. Starting in 2007, this made my life solvent-free, and opened up a
whole new world of ideas and possibilities based on the interaction of two
simple materials -- chalk and oil.
It has long been known that Velasquez used a medium composed of sun oil
and ground calcite. In reading various publications of the National Gallery,
but especially their book "Rembrandt: Art in the Making", it became clear
that Rembrandt often used a similar medium based on a somewhat
thickened oil and chalk. How these mediums were incorporated into
handmade paint historically remains unknown. I began to experiment in early
2007 making a putty that could be mixed with commercial paint and alter its
characteristics to be less slippery and more adhesive. This proved to be a
big technical plus for many reasons which are detailed below. Developments
with the medium have simply gone on, all paintings on this website since
2007 were made with variations of the putty medium.
Reading all this for the first time, I found myself also feeling challenged. I
had spent almost six years navigating the labyrinth of older sources and
materials. Having figured out how to make amber varnish, copal varnish,
sandarac varnish, and all kinds of egg emulsion mediums with them, having
worked with Roberson's medium and done a few studies in the mastic gel
mediums, I was attached to what I had learned. Was it all wrong? More
cogently, was it all totally unnecessary? A few uncomfortable weeks after
reading the Rembrandt book in the Art in the Making series, I decided I had
to give the other side of the coin a fair trial. It was time to try green eggs and
ham.  So, beginning in early in 2007, I worked on two things: how to make a
successful all oil medium with the few traditional additives, and how to refine
linseed oil so that it dry quickly and not yellow. At this point, in 2008, I'm in
the process of putting those two lines of inquiry together.
LOUIS SAYS: As I stated before; I sent Tad a copy of my book in 2004, as I
sent copies to several other artists also on that date. The book he mentions
, “ Rembrandt: Art in the making was RE-ISSUED in 2006, and since he
began his studies of CSO, it may be the edition he has referred to. I
purchased the original 1988 first edition, in 1992 when on a trip to Holland.

LOUIS SAYS: As of  July 2010, I have developed NEW and EXCITING and
ADVANCED methods for the refinement and processing of the superior oil
of the OLD MASTERS.. I will wait to publish my new developments because
there are several artist/authors with websites who DO NOT ADMIT nor give
proper academic credit for the FACTS they have learned from my site
and/or books AND THEN REPORT THEM ON THEIR SITE ..or ..other
forums... AS IF IT WERE THEIR OWN. This is considered PLAGIARISM in
any academic environment. I apologize to those dedicated artists for
temporarily withholding this new information.
END OF PAGE

copyright Louis R. Velasquez
2000-2015

TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. Forget "FAT ON LEAN"
2. ART FORUM COMMENTS AND RESPONSES
3. MAURICE GARSON PAINTS WITH CSO
4. A SAFE METHOD OF FIXATIVE FOR CHARCOAL DRAWINGS
5. GLAIR: DISTILLED EGG WHITE, Archival and ancient paint binder
6. MAROGER'S MEDIUM [ His several failed mediums]
This ancient word means " CLEAR", as the clear of an egg, vs, the
yellow Yolk.

My reserach and tests show glair to be the finest  and most important
part of the egg for addmixtures to linseed oil for use in Oil Painting.

Modern science finds egg in Rubens', Rembrandt's and Velazquez'
paint.
BUT THETY CANNOT YET DETERMINE IF IT IS
The glair
The yolk
or a mixture of both.

My tests prove it is the GLAIR that is the ideal part. My book gives all
the facts and results of my testing.
Here is an academic essay written by a Greek Scholar PhD. on the
subject of GLAIR

Dear friends
A Dutch artist sent me thus excellent research paper on
the subject of medieval illumination,  With focus on
binders, and materials..it deals strongly with egg white
glair.... Glair, is used of course in the CSO METHODS
EXCELLENT! Don't be fooled by the first paragraph in
GREEK

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http://revistadehistoriadaarte.files.
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