Thursday, April 12, 2012
What medium did Rubens use? We will never know. After trying every medium I could, except for copal, I always return to Maroger. However I could never reconcile the fact that black oil was too dark to use for the higher keys in my palette. I could use a lighter drying oil like walnut or safflower (as most whites are composed of) but they were too unpleasant to use for the general palette.
I began washing flaxseed oil and sun-bleaching it until it was water clear. The color seemed to be better in the lighter hues and the whites looked very bright. I could grind my whole palette now with one oil, but it was missing that black oil special feeling and it took much longer to dry.
I then thought to cook the water clear oil with litharge similar to making black oil. I bounced the heat for at least 5 hours and the oil only got slightly darker but still much lighter than cold-pressed linseed oil. After letting the cooked oil sit for a couple of days I tried to make some Maroger. It got stiff but didn't completely gel. I put some in a jar and to my surprise a week later it became thixotropic! The resulting medium is a very light similar to Liquin or other neo-megilps but much more transparent. Now I can gring my paint and make my medium with the same, stable drying oil.
Pictured Above: Traditional Black Oil, New Oil, Washed and Bleached uncooked oil (Water Clear), New Medium, Maroger.