Thanks Karen,
Great links, very useful and will pass onto non GNSI art buddies.
Hmm oxgall, I still have a tiny bit left from a bottle 30 years old (college days) far far superior to the synthetic offered these days, Kremer may have genuine oxgall  http://kremerpigments.com/
 
Other books Lore,
all time must have, The Artists Handbook of Materials & Techniques by Ralph Mayer, there are many different editions
super treasured book, Bright Earth by Philip Ball
 
so much fun ....... Mali


Mali Moir
Botanical, Scientific & Natural History Artist
Melbourne Australia
Tel: 0422 575 034
mali_moir@hotmail.com

 

Date: Sun, 26 Jan 2014 22:18:43 -0500
From: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [SCIART] sable brushes
To: [log in to unmask]

Mali,

You're right -- it's mango leaves. I was thinking saffron for some reason.

Here is a blog about vegan watercolors and art products in general. Note there is a link to handprint.com, which is a great site for information on watercolors in general.
http://veganactivist.wordpress.com/vegan-art-supplies/watercolour-paints-paper/
It mentions the use of ox gall as a dispersant… I don't know how many companies are still using real ox gall or a chemical substitute (egg tempera painters sometimes use photoflo).

Cheers,
Karen



On Jan 26, 2014, at 10:09 PM, mali moir <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

Hi Karen,
I thought Indian Yellow claimed to be made from the urine of cows fed solely on mango leaves, a practise the Indian Government banned in the early 1900s. However I just read an update to my knowledge ...  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_yellow
I love pigment manufacture history and have a couple of great books on it.
 
I am sorry to say I am not a vegan artist, however I abide by the philosophy of 'using the whole animal'. I paint on vellum from the leather industry, I buy sable brushes from the fur industry, eggs, honey, milk, gelatine ... if these industries were to vanish I would certainly find alternative materials. I do have a particular concern about the plastics industry and I try to avoid using plastic generally .... a very hard ask indeed !
Yes would love to know more about the vegan watercolour
 
........ Mali

Mali Moir
Botanical, Scientific & Natural History Artist
Melbourne Australia
Tel: 0422 575 034
mali_moir@hotmail.com 

 

Date: Tue, 21 Jan 2014 08:10:42 -0500
From: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [SCIART] sable brushes
To: [log in to unmask]

The company, a Canadian one (or at least with a Canadian outlet) called Colors of Nature, recently contacted Animal Alliance of Canada, of which I’m a director, asking for an endorsement.   I always thought of watercolours as being mostly vegan, but the concept of supporting a product that is overtly vegan has an obvious appeal for an organization like ours, so I tried to get a sample from them, but couldn’t get the webpage they set up to work for me (it has a space for asking for samples).   So my colleague who they first approached is trying to get the sample for me to test.  

 

On their webpage they only show a small range of colours, so I’m not really sure what they have (this all in the last couple of days and I’ve been too busy to pursue it myself).

 

No, I don’t make my own paints and I don’t use egg tempera nor rabbit skin glue…no need for my methods.  I have used casein but don’t like it, and haven’t actually bought any in decades, however, I have never done silver-point.   I do like the new “open” acrylics…not only because of their slower drying property, but for their texture.  

 

Cheers,

 

Barry

 

 

Barry Kent MacKay
Bird Artist, Illustrator
Studio: (905)-472-9731

 

 

 

From: SciArt-L Discussion List-for Natural Science Illustration- [mailto:SCIART-[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Karen Ackoff
Sent: January-20-14 11:57 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [SCIART] sable brushes

 

Barry,

 

The "vegan watercolors" sound interesting. Since watercolors are generally made of pigment and gum arabic (plant-derived), sometimes honey, and sometimes a fungicide such as thymol (don't know if formaldehyde is still used)… there are no animal-derived ingredients unless you are looking at the pigment itself. Most are either plant or mineral, sometimes a chemical reaction or precipitate… with the exception of a few pigments like bone black (lamp black being a good substitute), Indian yellow (which used to be derived from the urine of cows fed on saffron, I think; but this is no longer the case), vermillion made from cochineal beetles, and a few others. 

 

One way to know what you have is to make your own watercolors (which a friend of mine does, and says they are creamier and richer than any commercial watercolors he's used).

 

It does get difficult to avoid animal products when you need things like rabbit skin glue (for gesso for egg tempera), and of course the eggs for egg tempera. And as just mentioned, sable brushes. I've yet to find a good synthetic brush substitute. The synthetic brushes I've used are find at the start, but I can wear one out in an afternoon. Small detail sable brushes can last me a year of hard use. Then there are paper sizes… I imagine that acrylic sizes are used often now (and I don't like the feel at all), and prefer gelatin sizes… which gets us back into animal-derived products. Casein (milk-derived), which makes a nice ground for silverpoint. 

 

Would love to hear more about this from you. Are you looking at a specific brand? Or are you making your own? And if you're making your own, what binder(s) are you using? Fungicide (if any)? 

 

K

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Jan 20, 2014, at 10:03 PM, Lore Ruttan <[log in to unmask]> wrote:


Oh, that makes sense that they are a by-product of the fur trade (one of those 'doh of course' moments on my part!). I don't wear real fur but still it makes me feel a little better. 

 

I always thought that age was at least in part a state of mind and you sound positively youthful in your experiments! 

 

On Mon, Jan 20, 2014 at 8:04 PM, Barry K. MacKay <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
Agreed.  In fact, I’m a vegan (diet and clothing) or at least “veganish” (I know a few folks who are self-righteously fanatical about it, and I am not one of them) and try to find non-animal art products whenever I can, but it’s very difficult.   I hope to test a new “vegan” watercolour soon.   And not only that, I work on animal trade issues as well, and have attended several Conferences of the Parties to CITES.  But that said, I’ve always heard that the hairs used tend to be at least a by-product of the fur trade.

 

Mustelids don’t really do well in captivity (although we are often told they do) due to their high metabolism, activity and home range sizes…there is a lot of stress-related illness in them.   I have found that synthetics work for me for all but the finest brush (WN 000 Series 7), but that’s just me and my particular style of work.   I don’t do washes as such.

 

I also find, and this is a bit embarrassing, that even at a rather advanced age, I keep discovering new ways of doing things, with the same old materials, or with new ones.  

 

Barry

 

 

Barry Kent MacKay
Bird Artist, Illustrator

 

 

 

 

 

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