Thursday, April 19, 2018

Knight in armour multi-media and thoughts on toxic pigments

Last Friday, we had our Long Pose which is usually costumed... well-here is costumed and rather unusual. Michael Ward in a suit of armour that adds up to 300 pounds - none of Hollywood lightweight plastic stuff here. As Michael said - you can see why a knight had to be hoisted onto his horse. You can also see why those horses were heavy-weights themselves. I'm still playing around with different approaches to this multi-media method. Drawing with charcoal on watercolour paper, making a wash of acrylic paint, drying that (blowdryer), painting on acrylic gel for pastels, drying again, and then  working with pastels. Some people think that pastels are  simple and easy to work with - but they are the strongest  and purest form of pigment since there is little except pure pigment in a stick. I wear gloves to keep the chalk off my skin. Some pigments are toxic-especially the cadmiums and cobalt. But reasonable caution makes working with them do-able. However, I recently saw of a new fad that somewhat alarms me - in cake decorating, of all things. Cakes are often covered in a smooth fondant and then designs - often florals -are painted on. Apparently, this is now often done in water-colours. It would be one thing to use food-safe colours as used to colour icing... but watercolour? It sounds safe but when you look at artists pigments,  they are all the same base - just mixed with oil for oil paints or gum arabic for water-colours with the same base pigment. So, who is checking on this or is someone painting nice roses using toxic cadmium red? So = watch what  you are eating. But, back to Michael... this was a fun pose to draw ...we will probably get him back for Culture Days (end of September) as we think the public would enjoy seeing this outfit.

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