GIORGIO VASARI and the VAN EYCK SECRET
In the year 1550, Giorgio Vasari ( 1511-1574) first published his multi-volume book,” Lives of the
Most Eminent Italian Architects, Painters and Sculptors”. In book Eight, titled, “ Antonello Da
Messina ...“, Vasari wrote that John of Bruges ( Jan Van Eyck) had invented painting with oils.
Modern scholarship shows oil painting is an ancient art, existing centuries before the Van Eycks. It
is clear Vasari meant to say, Jan Van Eyck ‘perfected’ oil painting. 100 years after the death of
Van Eyck, Vasari accurately wrote that Van Eyck’s oil paintings far exceeded the quality of the
paintings of his (Vasari’s)day.
In book eight, Vasari says the following , (paraphrased in brief):
Before Van Eyck, artists used ’distemper’ [ a glue or egg medium]. Many artists all over Europe
tried to find a way to paint more realistically. They tried different liquid varnishes and colors but
did not succeed. Jan Van Eyck made a secret varnish that he would not share.
The full story from the actual text is available at the Internet Medieval Sourcebook, www.fordham.
Not only does the quality of the Van Eyck’s paintings stand out amongst those of their era ( 1385-
1441) (there were two brothers) but when compared to paintings of recent centuries and of
today, the Van Eyck paintings are held by conservators as being in the most remarkable
condition. Frequently they are referred to as being “jewel-like”. The radiant colors and the micro-
fine details causes one to ask,
“What medium did the Van Eycks use to do this“?
That is the subject of this essay: The “secret” medium the Van Eycks used that allows full
control of the paint, allowing the painting of sharply defined micro-fine details and lines, with hard
lustrous paint and great depth of brilliant color. I believe the methods and materials described in
my book will shed light on the issue.
QUESTIONS and ANSWERS
Since Vasari did not know the ‘secret medium”, what oil painting method did Vasari and
his peers use?
Vasari and his colleagues used a method of oil painting still in use today and taught at the highest
and lowest academic levels around the world. ... read more
Was the Linseed oil the Van Eycks different from the linseed oil of today?
Yes, The Van Eyck’s oil was different from today‘s oil in that they had ... read more
Second, the Van Eyck’s used ancient press equipment that extracted the oil...read more
Did Vasari have access to the same linseed oil used by Van Eyck?
Yes, Vasari and his colleagues did have the same SUPERIOR oil that was common to ... read
Do today‘s artists have access to Van Eyck‘s superior linseed oil?
Yes, it is abundantly available, and it is LESS expensive than the linseed oil sold ..read more
Do you think Alkali Refined Linseed oil and the tube oil paints made with it should be
No. Alkali Refined linseed oil and modern tube paints are here to stay…forever.... read more
Do some art stores sell Unrefined, Cold Pressed linseed oil?
Yes, some art stores do sell Unrefined Cold Pressed linseed oil, but ... read more
How is the Van Eyck ‘Secret” medium made?
We will ever know EXACTLY. They did not leave a document with their ... read more
What is an Emulsion and how is it made?
An Emulsion is the mixing of two unmixable liquids, one being ...read more
Is the Van Eyck method of oil painting of value to modern artists of today?
Yes it is, for these reasons. Our world is very different from the world of the Van Eycks. We live in
a fast paced, scientific, technological age. Our age is characterized by a demand for instant
gratification , intolerance of anything that ‘wastes’ (requires) our time, and accustomed to using
Modern styles of painting reflect this energized anxiety, with splashes, drips, and broad wet-in-
wet painting methods that are ‘best’ done within a few hours. Many painters have ... read more
What are you offering today’s oil painters?
In two words: SAFETY and PERMANENCE. Sharing knowledge, facts and accurate information
with artists is important so they can make wise choices. I also offer my invention, ‘Calcite Sun Oil”,
which changes and improves modern tube oil paint giving it the properties and control, like that of
the Old Masters‘ paint. My “Calcite Sun Oil formula was patented by the US Patent and
Trademark Office in November 2006. It is patent # 7141109. My book also discuss the important
uses of the “wonder medium” of Emulsions in oil painting which allows us to eliminate ALL
hazardous Solvents, Resins, Varnishes and Driers, and gives us full control of the oil paint. ...read
What is ‘Calcite Sun Oil”?
I call it ‘CSO’ for short. It is a carefully measured mixture of two ancient, ...read more
You mentioned SLOWLY sun thickening the oil. Why is it important to do it slowly?
Linseed oil can be thickened indoors or outdoors. It must be...read more
Did the Van Eycks use mixtures of Calcium Carbonate with their oil paint?
I have read that some Aragonite, which is a calcium carbonate powder, was ...read more
-. End of Essay copyright 2007
THE ENTIRE ARTICLE IS INCLUDED IN THE NEW BOOK:
" SOLVENT FREE OIL PAINTING:
Painting with the Old Masters' Van Eyck Secret Medium"
THE VAN EYCK SECRET MEDIUM FOR OIL PAINTING
REMBRANDT DID NOT add BURNT PLATE OIL TO HIS OIL PAINTING MEDIUM
RUBENS THIXOTROPIC OIL PAINTING MEDIUM and PINE TREE TAR RESIN
|TESTING BURNT PLATE OIL
The bottom photo shows some interesting test results of Burnt Plate Oil. The two jars show two viscosities of BPO, #3 and # 8. They were in the hot southern California sun for 40 days, and they both remained
BROWN AMBER color. Given the increasing translucency of oil paint over much time, this dark amber brown color will cause lowering of tone and darkening of light toned oil paint color. This is ONE reason not to
use BPO. In my tests I can put Unrefined linseed oil in the sun , thinly on a tray and within 5 days, the very thin layer of oil will bleach to a water white clear transparency
( note: this accelerated sun thickening method is not recommended because paint made with it will wrinkle badly).. When the unrefined linseed oil is in a container, about 3/4 inches thick, it takes about 3 weeks to
become bleached. THE FACT is that the oil WILL BE BLEACHED to water white clarity, but the BURNT PLATE OIL WOULD NOT BLEACH OUT
Besides being an extremely SLOW DRYING oil ( a SECOND reason for not using BPO in oil painting ), the two grades of BPO I experimented with has this disadvantage of being permanently brown amber in color.
THE VAN EYCK SECRET : TWO CONSIDERATIONS
I am convinced the Van Eyck secret medium was in fact TWO separate considerations.
1. A very simple Emulsion . 2. A crucial application method.
My experience with formulating emulsions, and formulating the ' calcite sun oil' grinding oil,
has given me intimate insight into how Emulsions work .
I believe the secret medium of the Van Eycks did not include use of solvents, resins, varnishes or
Since my book goes into this in great detail, I will skip explaining myself on why I believe this.
The two extraordinary Emulsions I formulated are extraordinarily simple,
but very profound in their foundation. This also is explained clearly in my book.
If one does not know the crucial method of application, the medium itself FAILS.
If one uses the unique method of application I developed, the result is ASTONISHING.
My book clearly describes that application method and explains why it is important
for it to be applied correctly.
I believe I am the first to make this claim. Of course we will never know what the
' secret medium' of the Van Eycks was, unless one day a document from them or their students is
|REMBRANDT DID NOT ADD BURNT PLATE OIL TO HIS
PAINTING MEDIUM :BURNT PLATE OIL and BLACK OIL are both degraded, carbonized,
prematurely aged oils with a shortened lifespan.
The FALSE theory that Rembrandt added Burnt Plate oil to his paint is proposed in the
which is authored by Sarah Belchetz-Swenson a painter and printmaker in Williamsburg,
Phoebe Dent Weil, an art conservator.
Part ONE of this essay gives an overview of their theory.
Part TWO gives my rebuttal showing why the theory is erroneous.
PART ONE: From their website:
Abstract ( in part)
Recent scientific investigations of Rembrandt’s pastose paint have resulted in differing
conclusions. We propose that Rembrandt used burnt plate oil, a basic ingredient of
printing ink, to produce his unique range of impasto effects in painting.
Introduction ( in part)
… sources agree generally on Rembrandt’s pigments, including his use of chalk to add
body and translucency to the paint, but they disagree on the composition and manipulation
of his medium for impasto effects.
Rembrandt’s studio: painting and printmaking ( in part)
Burnt plate oil is raw linseed (or walnut) oil that has been heated until it ignites
spontaneously (approximately 400oC), is reduced to one-half or more of its original
volume, becomes very thick and viscous, and can be pulled out in strings of twelve inches
Experimental tests and reconstructions ( in part)
To test our hypothesis we made three batches of burnt plate oil …. In each case we started
with one liter of Swedish raw linseed oil…. [the first batch was not measured as to
temperature] In our second batch we reached a maximum temperature of 388oC at
combustion. In our third batch we reached a maximum temperature of 425o C.
PART TWO : MY REBUTTAL
IT IS AN ERRONEOUS THEORY THAT REMBRANDT ADDED BURNT PLATE OIL TO HIS
I offer two rebuttals to the erroneous theory of Rembrandt using Burnt Plate oil as an
additive to his painting medium.
The first rebuttal is the scientific paper named below citing the decomposition of linseed oil
when heated above 236 degrees centigrade. The two ladies boiled their oil at a
temperature far above the safety level … 388 and 425 degrees centigrade.
The second rebuttal is based is my own testing of Burnt Plate Oil. Its extremely slow drying
is an unnecessary hindrance to painting, and there are better options in choices of oil.
Unrefined, organically cleansed, flax oil that has been sun thickened, will dry naturally
within 30 hours, compared to 5 days drying needed for Burnt Plate Oil. My tests also show
the films of Burnt Plate Oil become brittle over time, as the high heat has caused loss of
the natural pliability of the oil.
Scientific Document as rebuttal:
Title: “The Influence of Lead ions on the drying of oils”
Authors: This academically peer reviewed and published paper is by Charles S. Tumosa;
PhD, and Marion F. Mecklenburg; PhD, and warns of OVERHEATING the oil.
[See page 41, 3rd paragraph, left side for their Quote]:
"Care must be taken since Linseed Oil starts to decompose
in the 230-236 degrees Centigrade."
Questions about oil:
What is Burnt Plate OIl? ..What is BLACK OIL?
BURNT PLATE OIL and BLACK OIL are both degraded, prematurely aged oils with a
These oils are NOT archival permanent.
Both oils have been PREMATURELY AGED (DECOMPOSED)
by the carbonization caused by the HIGH BOILING HEAT
far beyond the safe temperature for linseed oil.
REMEMBER the disaster of MEGUILP?.
Meguilp is linseed oil BOILED with lead, then mixed with a soft resin solvent varnish. Artists
believed it was " THe secret medium of the Old Masters". The artists that used MEGUILP
argued that their paintings "looked just fine, 20 years after being finished". BUT we know
that 40 years later the paintings cracked and became dark.
My Practical Testing in the studio as rebuttal:
Unrefined, organically cleansed, flax oil that has been sun thickened, will dry naturally
within 30 hours… compared to 5 days drying needed for Burnt Plate Oil.
My Additional testing in the studio as rebuttal:
The two ladies completely ignored the most important treatment of
natural cold pressed unrefined flax oil:
That of removing the mucilage from the oil.
My website shows photos proving how mucilage
becomes brown over time.
THE OLD MASTERS' THERMOMETER
Even the Old Masters knew NOT TO OVER HEAT their oil, and lacking modern
thermometers....they used a feather, which they inserted into the oil as it was being heated,
once the correct SAFE temperature was reached, the quill would burn black, and the heat
Professor Ernst Van De Wetering's recent DVD on Rembrandt has a Demonstration of this
ancient procedure, and shows the quill becomes black at a SAFE temperature of 200
ALL THE IMPASTO EFFECTS ACHIEVED BY REMBRANDT
can be achieved EASILY, by using the SUPERIOR UNREFINED FLAX OIL DESCRIBED IN
THIS WEBSITE . IF and WHEN USED WITH TWO SIMPLE INGREDIENTS :
CALCIUM CARBONATE POWDER and EGG GLAIR
THESE THREE ARCHIVAL, SAFE, PERMANENT and SIMPLE INGREDIENTS ALLOW US TO
DUPLICATE REMBRANDT'S TECHNIQUE , IMPASTO, GLAZES and SCUMBLES WITH
COMPLETE CONTROL OF THE OIL PAINT MEDIUM
CONTINUE TO READ THE ESSAY BELOW,
GIVING ADDITIONAL INFORMATION REBUTTING
THE ERRONEOUS THEORY.
|In modern times, Rembrandt’s methods and materials have received much
attention by world renowned and lesser recognized scientists using the most advanced
equipment available. Scientists using these debatable. Scientists are human and make
errors, bad guesses, perform incomplete or defective experiments, just like persons in
Anthony Bailey’s book on the Rembrandt Research Project discloses the effect, that ego
and the position of the scientist on the ‘pecking order’, had on settling the
disagreements as the seven members determined which Rembrandt paintings were
authentic and which were not. Later RRP groups made of different members, have
reversed de-attributions made by an earlier RRP group.
Recently, I was given a website in which two contemporary scientists THEORIZE that
since Rembrandt was an etcher, that it was POSSIBLE that he used the extremely thick
linseed oil used in etching, and mixed it with his oil painting medium. The two scientists
used old recipes and by boiling linseed oil at high temperatures they attempted to
recreate what they believe was the thick oil used by Rembrandt for his etchings. Their
report calls this oil, “BURNT PLATE OIL”. I have sent them copies of this essay, and they
have not acknowledged receipt of it.
I will be the first to say that Rembrandt’s inventive, creative approach to his use of
materials in oil painting makes the possibility of Rembrandt having made a ONE TIME
‘experiment “ a possibility. Rembrandt was the first of the Old Masters to apply his paint
in thick, high impasto by using a palette knife. My tests of BPO, convinced me Rembrandt
WOULD NOT have used his etching oil as his grinding oil for oil painting. This essay will
TESTING THE THEORY AND CONCLUSION
A friend asked me to try out the theory. I painted a painting using BPO and
simultaneously painted a painting using the ‘Calcite Sun Oil‘ (the CSO method
described in my book). After testing BPO as a painting medium, I concluded that
Rembrandt would NOT have used this medium in his oil paintings ...except for a one
time experiment. A one time experiment would have demonstrated to Rembrandt the
important reasons why he would not have continued its use. Rembrandt followed
established methods of mixing smalt ( ground glass) with his paint to accelerate the
drying and Rembrandt added dry Calcium Carbonate powder to create high thick bodied
impasto textures. At the conclusion of this essay I show photos and will expand on
additional reasons supporting why Rembrandt would NOT have used BPO as his
standard oil painting medium. I begin with a review and research of BPO.
RESEARCH ON BURNT PLATE OIL
I offer the following research on the Burnt Plate Oil I purchased from a local Art store. For
privacy, I must leave out the names of the company representatives I spoke with. In fact, I
was told by one contact person , that they were not allowed to give out information on
their suppliers. It was only through perseverance and reaching a person in a higher
position and after explaining the purpose of my inquiry, I was able to get the leads I
needed. I was asked not to divulge the information.
BPO is designed for the industrial commercial Printing industry, and is used in the fine
arts of Etching, and Lithography. BPO can be bought in various degrees of viscosity from
thin to thick. Various blacks and colors can be mixed with these BPO varieties for
desired colorist effects. The Art store I purchased the BPO from informed me that they
do not MANUFACTURE the BPO but buy it from a SUPPLIER, and only resell it. I was
given the names of two Suppliers, from which they purchase the BPO. Price
considerations cause this art store to buy the #00 (very low viscosity) and the #3 (
medium viscosity) from one supplier, and the #8 ( very viscous) from another.
I had a lengthy conversation with the representative of the supplier of the #00 and the #3
BPO. In brief he stated (paraphrased): We do not manufacture this product. We buy it
from the manufacturer and re-sell it, but I do not have their name. We don’t call it Burnt
Plate Oil, we call it dark bodied Litho oil. Though we do not make it, I can answer some
of your questions. The oil used is linseed oil. I do not know if it is refined oil or not. Alkali
refinement removes all the fatty acids by treating the oil with a caustic chemical called
Sodium Hydroxide. After it removes the fatty acids, the chemical is washed out. This
lightens the color and removes the impurities from the oil. The oil is boiled under a
nitrogen blanket to keep oxygen out. The longer it boils, the darker and thicker it gets.
Another representative informed me of the following (paraphrased) : Burnt Plate Oil and
Litho Varnish are actually exactly the same product. We do not manufacture the BPO. We
buy it from a supplier and re-sell it. They do not have solvents or driers mixed into them. I
do not know what method of refining of the linseed oil is involved. Linseed oil is boiled
and then at the end of the process an ignition source is added to the varnish kettle to
flash off (or burn) the light ends. The light ends are the naturally occurring solvents in the
linseed oil. The difference between raw linseed and bodied linseed (which is what burnt
plate oil and litho varnish are) is the removal of the solvents – and the fact that by
cooking the material for longer periods of time, the resulting oil gains body ( viscosity).
As the body of an oil increases the oil tends to darken. Varnish kettles accommodate
approximately 20-30 drums of 55 gallons each
TEST PAINTINGS COMPARING BPO and CSO
The two paintings were painted on the same date, 8/11/07 beginning at about 8AM. Each
took about 45 minutes to complete. The BPO painting was painted first. These are not
works of art, they are only demonstrations of using the materials.
Five DAYS after completion, the BPO painting was still wet in the thin blue paint area,
and also in the thicker paint, impasto areas ( on 8/16/07 at 8PM ). On 8/17/07, some
areas of the paint surface were still able to be smeared by gentle rubbing. The dry time
was 5-6 days.
Thirty HOURS after completion, the CSO painting was solidified to the touch in all areas.
The drying was sufficient that gentle rubbing in all areas did not cause any smearing.
The dry time was 30 hours.
REMBRANDT WOULD NOT HAVE USED
BURNT PLATE OIL AS AN ADDITIVE TO HIS
OIL PAINTING MEDIUM
1. Rembrandt would not have used the BPO for the following reasons:
* BPO has an extremely slow drying quality, even with thinly applied paint. Rembrandt
knew that Sun Thickened, UNREFINED cold pressed linseed oil was a sufficiently fast
drying oil. It dries within 8 to 30 hours or less, depending on the pigment choice,
thickness of film, and environmental factors.
* Rembrandt knew that the addition of driers - to unnaturally accelerate the drying of oil
paint made with linseed oil - was a dangerous practice that resulted in darkening and
cracking of the paint film over time.
* Rembrandt’s knowledge of paint application methods ( thin paint dries faster) and use
of naturally fast drying pigments ( umber dries fastest ), and his use of inert natural
ingredients that can impact drying by natural means ( smalt and Calcium Carbonate)
would eliminate Rembrandt’s use of extremely slow drying BPO as a standard oil
* Recent scientific studies have found a protein additive to Rembrandt's paint. This could
be considered a 'secret' of Rembrandt's paint medium, as the protein additive gives the
artist full control of viscous paint.
2. The #8 dark thick BPO has a strong odor. Though I painted in a well ventilated open
garage, the fumes of BPO gave me a headache.
3. The fine art craft of oil painting as practiced by the Old Masters required much time for
preparation of their materials. Today, we have industrialized production and readily
available oil painting materials in great quantity and variety of quality and price. One can
still prepare the very IMPORTANT Unrefined linseed oil easily and efficiently, as
explained in my book.
4. Some artists want convenience. I do not fault artists for seeking easier ways to obtain
their materials or for settling for inferior products because of their personal
circumstances and needs. I support the experimentation of all art materials, as
Rembrandt himself paved the way for us to follow.
5. Some artists have found the use of BPO to be an effective and fun way to oil paint.
Artists that want an inexpensive, readily available, extremely viscous linseed oil , much
thicker than standard ‘STAND LINSEED OIL” might want to experiment with all the
various viscosity grades of BPO and with a variety of inert additives such as calcium
carbonate, ground glass, marble dust and others.
-End of essay
copyright, 2007, Louis R. Velasquez, all rights reserved, not to be used without written
|REMBRANDT DID NOT USE BURNT PLATE
OIL IN HIS OIL PAINTING MEDIUM because
LINSEED OIL heated above 230-236 Degrees Centigrade
becomes decomposed with a reduced lifespan.
WISE Oral traditions taught not to use it.
BURNT PLATE OIL is heated to 380 - 425 Degrees
Centigrade. SEE HEATING FACTS
PETER PAUL RUBENS
1577 - 1640
"RUBENS' THIXOTROPIC OIL PAINTING METHOD REVEALED"
RUBENS USED PINE TREE TAR TO GET HIS
GOLDEN GLOWING BROWN UNDER PAINT
= NOT to be confused with petroleum based ASPHALTUM =
PINE TREE TAR IS A PINE RESIN
RUBENS’ ‘LOST’ THIXOTROPIC OIL MEDIUM REVEALED
by Louis R. Velasquez
September 25th, 2010
Copyright,2010, Louis R. Velasquez, all rights reserved
RUBENS’ THIXOTROPIC OIL PAINTING METHOD
Peter Paul Rubens is Europe’s most famous painter of the 17th century. He was born in 1577 and died in 1640 in Northern Europe in the tradition of the FLEMISH painters. Many artists and researchers have
given their opinions on Rubens’ so called ‘lost’ oil painting medium. This essay offers an explanation though I know ONLY Rubens knew WHAT his materials were, HOW he mixed them, and HOW he used
RUBENS’ EXTRAORDINARY OIL PAINTINGS
Rubens was able to completely finish a complex oil painting with at least three separate LAYERS OF OIL PAINT within a matter of hours. The question of how he was able to do this has excited and confounded
artists for centuries. Since the disappearance of the Old Master studios in the late 18th century, artists have sought Rubens’ ’ lost oil painting medium‘. Famous artists such as Joshua Reynolds [1723-1792]
and Eugene Delacroix [1798-1863] tried and failed as they experimented with Asphaltum-Bitumen, Wax, and mixtures of various other ingredients. Famous researchers and teachers such as Charles Eastlake
[1793-1865] and Max Doerner [1870-1939] also unsuccessfully tried to solve the question with experiments using resins in various mixtures. In the 20th century, Jacques Maroger [1884-1962] created the
infamous Marogers Medium [ which is a Meguilp medium] a mixture of leaded linseed oil with a spirit varnish made of mastic resin with turpentine,. It failed miserably as paintings made with it decomposed.
Maroger’s experiments inadvertently but concretely proved that Rubens did not use a soft resin MEGUILP medium.
RECREATION OF RUBENS’ THIXOTROPIC METHOD
In my studio experiments I used three materials known to have been used by Rubens as recorded by DeMayerne: (1) Pine Tree Turpentine (2) Pine Tree Balsam [ venice turpentine]
... READ MORE IN MY NEW BOOK
HOW RUBENS MADE HIS OIL PAINT --- PLEASE SEE THE DVD FOR A DEMONSTRATION
Rubens made his oil paint by first grinding his dry pigments - as is recorded in the De Mayerne MS --
....READ MORE IN THE NEW BOOK OR VIEW HE DVD
FINAL DETAILS AND TOUCHES
Rubens’ intelligent THIXOTROPIC PAINTING METHOD also allowed Rubens to add additional WET LAYERS on top within 15 to 30 minutes
VALIDITY OF MY RECREATION OF RUBENS” THIXOTROPIC METHOD
Only Rubens would know how accurate my recreation of his method is. I not only wanted to learn of Rubens’ method, but, I wanted to also prove that by using Rubens’ knowledge
and procedures, modern painters today could achieve the very same results as Rubens
PART TWO : COMMENTS ... THE ENTIRE ARTICLE IS IN MY NEW BOOK COMING SOON
COMMENT # 1 RUBENS‘ OIL, FLAX-LINSEED vs WALNUT
The question is often asked if Rubens used Flax-Linseed oil or Walnut oil. The answer is simple.
COMMENT #2 RUBENS‘ TWO ‘OIL OUT‘ MEDIUMS
RUBENS’ THIXOTROPIC METHOD of oil painting required an ‘OIL OUT’ medium to lubricate the surface.
COMMENT #3: THE OIL RUBENS‘ USED
Rubens’ MAIN oil was FLAX-LINSEED oil that was obtained COLD PRESSED without any additives.
COMMENT #4: THE SOURCE OF RUBENS’ OIL
Rubens lived in Flanders in Northern Europe [ now called Belgium]. It is a cold damp rainy land. Rubens lived and studied
COMMENT # 5: CREATIVE EXPERIMENTATION OF PAINTING MATERIALS
Rubens, like Rembrandt, Velazquez ,Titian and all the great masters were men of high intelligence and artistic genius.
COMMENT #6: RUBENS TEACHERS AND TRADITIONS
Rubens (1577-1640) was born into the FLEMISH TRADITION and method of oil painting as perfected by Jan Van Eyck (1395-1441) and others.
COMMENT # 7: RUBENS’ PAINT CHARACTERISTICS AND EXTRAORDINARY SPEED OF PAINTING
COMMENT # 8: CO-POLY OIL
COMMENT # 9: TEMPERA AS AN UNDERPAINTING FOR OIL PAINTS
COMMENT # 10: THIXOTROPY
COMMENT # 11: THE FLEMISH METHOD OF OIL PAINTING = ALLA PRIMA PAINTING ON A DRAWING ON A WHITE SURFACE
COMMENT # 12: THE ITALIAN VENETIAN METHOD OF OIL PAINTING = GRISAILLE UNDERPAINTING, WITH COLOR LAYERS ON TOP
COMMENT # 13: CALCIUM CARBONATE IN OIL PAINTING
R1. It creates paint with a thick sumptuous translucent body.
R2. It allows use of either translucent impasto or thin transparent glazes
R3. It relieves dull colors and enlivens them by its translucent property because calcium carbonate chalk mixed with oil is 98% transparent.
R4. It is limestone dust and creates a hard durable mixture that is like cement.
R5. It is a stabilizer to stop viscous oil from dripping and spreading.
R6. It allows an artist to paint fine lines and details that will remain as painted.
R7. It allows all brush strokes and marking to remain as an artist applies them.
R8. It accelerates the drying of the oil paint.
R9. It allows application of highly textured impasto paint.
RUBENS USE OF CHALK IS ESTABLISHED BY SCIENCE
COMMENT # 14: JACQUES MAROGER
COMMENT # 15: EMULSIONS = THE TRUE "WONDER MEDIUM" OF THE OLD MASTERS
PART THREE :FACTS REGARDING PINE TREE TAR
FACTS REGARDING PINE WOOD TAR:
This accumulation of facts presented is from Wikipedia Encyclopedia. To read the articles in depth, the reader may search the various topics one finds contained herein.
The Etymology of the word, is important because of the fact that
PINE WOOD TAR was historically also called MASTIC. This may explain the reports that RUBENS mixed MASTIC with his OIL for oil Painting. Today's term, 'Mastic' refers to the
SOFT MASTIC RESIN that IF MIXED with oil paint would create a soft paint. Rubens knew this and would have avoided soft resin additives to his oil paint. Rubens' oil paint is tough
and durable and his oil paintings are some of the very best preserved in Art history, leading one to conclude he did not use a SOFT MASTIC RESIN.
SOURCES FOR ADDITIONAL RESEARCH
Several sources describing PINE TREE TAR are available on the Internet.
Copyright laws prohibit my full copying but the same laws allow certain passages to be copied under the FREE USE CLAUSE. I encourage the readers to read the websites for themselves.
This website has a lot of interesting information on the PINE TREE TAR.
Pine Tar; History And Uses = by Theodore P. Kaye
See excerpts below:
E1. Wood tar has been used by mariners as a preservative for wood and rigging for at least the past six centuries. In Sweden, it was called "Peasant Tar".
E2. Swedish tar was also called Haparanda tar.
E3. In 1648, the NorrlSndska TjSrkompaniet was granted sole export privileges by the King of Sweden.
E4. The peasants used the roots of Swedish pine trees The 'dale' or burning ground, was built of logs on a slope with a spout at the lower end of the slope The wood is covered with earth to be nearly air tight.
Wood is stacked on top of the dirt and allowed to burn. Under the earth covering, the wood became charred leaving tar and charcoal.
E5. Natrochem in Savannah, Georgia is a supplier of Pine Tree Tar from Auson Chemical Industry, Gsteborg, Sweden.
E6. Auson makes tar mostly from ordinary pine wood, and controls the amount of phenolic substances (pitch, water, acetic acid, and impurities such as soot and cellulose).
E7. Auson also sells limited quantities of "peasant tar" produced in old fashioned dales. The Peasant Tar is twice the price of the normal grade, and it is not usually exported.
E8. Pine Wood Tar is a viscous, blackish brown liquid, translucent in thin layers. The chief constituents are volatile terpene oils, neutral oils of high boiling point and high solvency, resin and fatty acids. The
proportion of these vary in the different grades of tar, also according to tree species and the part of the tree used, type of carbonization oven, Etc. Wood tar made from stumps of the pine tree has always been
recognized as the best tar. However, stumps are hard to find and expensive, so ordinary pine wood is mostly used today.
Genuine Pine Tar 588
General: A dark colored, old fashion type of pine tar obtained as a byproduct through destructive distillation of pine wood in the manufacture of charcoal. Thinned with turpentine to a standard viscosity.
Density at 20oC 1.05
Water content: max. 0.5%
Volatile matter max. 6.0%
Ash content: max. 0.5%
Viscosity at 50o C approx. 380 cP
Acidity (as acetic acid) max. 0.3%
Flash point: approx. 120oC
Kiln burned Pine Tar 773
General: Golden brown pine tar produced according to the old kiln method from stumps of the pine tree Pinus Silvestris,. Also known as "peasant made" tar. This type of tar is characterized by high resin content
( rosin acids and retene), low content of pitch and high purity, i.e. free from soot and other impurities.
Density at 20oC approx. 1.05
pH value: approx. 3.5
Reaction with Ca (OH)2 positive
Water content: approx. 1%
Solubility: soluble in ethanol, ether and in fixed and volatile oils; slightly soluble in water
The following websites offer interesting facts about Pine Tree Tar.
This company sells two grades of Pine Tree Tar. THIS IS THE COMPANY I PURCHASED MY PINE TREE TAR FROM.
I recommend only the highest quality ; KILN BURN PINE TAR
Kiln Burn Pine Tar - 1 QT/1 Liter
Kiln Burned Pine tar is a pure natural product produced by the old fashioned kiln burning of pine tree stumps. This type of tar is characterized by high resin content, low content of
pitch and high purity. Kiln Burned Pine Tar is a high performance tar especially for medical purposes but also for veterinary use as well as for wood and wood preservation. Common
uses: Shampoos, soaps, expectorants, ointments against allergic rash, psoriasis and eczema.
Genuine Pine Tar - 1 QT/1 Liter
Genuine Pine Tar is produced from resinous pinewood. It is used for wood preservation of cottages, splint roofs, boats, bridges etc. An old recipe is equal parts Genuine Pine Tar,
gum turpentine and linseed oil, raw or boiled. Common uses: Soaps, Wood products, Shampoo, Bats, Fences, Water repellent, veterinary purposes
END OF ESSAY -copyright 2010, Louis R. Velasquez, all rights reserved
PART FOUR -RUBENS’ THIXOTROPIC METHOD
THE RUBENS DVD is now available on AMAZON and all online bookstores
The DVD has two NON TOXIC recipes and two TOXIC recipes.
DVD TABLE OF CONTENTS
Part 1. Rubens and PTTR
Part 2 . The PTTR monotone recipes
Part 3 . CSO- a 21st century advancement
Part 4. CSO-Casein Tempera
Part 5. Old Master procedures
Part 6. Research notes :
1. Espeso, a new 'oil out' medium based on Rubens.
2. PTTR experiments
3. The DeMayerne manuscript [ brief details]
4. Ernst Van De Wetering- Rembrandt expert [ brief note]
5. Scientific proof of Rubens use of Chalk and Protein
|JACQUES MAROGER --- is INfamous for
creating MAROGER'S MEDIUM.
His book written in French was translated into
English and published in 1948. Here are three
pages from his book regarding Rubens and Van
Maroger saw a thin translucent material in
Rubens' paint and guessed it was WAX.
Science has proven Maroger's GUESS that
Rubens and Rembrandt, and Velazquez added
WAX to their paint was wrong . Science shows
no wax in any of the paintings. What Maroger
did not know..is that the translucent material
was CALCIUM CARBONATE CHALK. Science
has found the chalk in all three of these
masters, IN ALL THEIR COLORS, not just the
white. CHALK gives the paint a soft granular
appearance that Maroger also noted. Still,
Marogers close look at Rubens' paint surface
tells us a lot about how it looks.
|BELOW are some TESTS.
The DRY PIGMENTS are PRE-MOISTENED
with a solvent, or, a Spirit Varnish
THEN mixed with the CSO mixture,
as explained in the essay.
MUST USE HIS
METHOD AT YOUR
THE CSO METHOD CAN ACHIEVE RUBENS'
EXACT PAINT AND APPLICATION. BUT FOR
HISTORICAL REASONS, RUBENS METHOD IS
PHOTO RIGHT SHOWS
Use of a ceramic plate - NON ABSORBENT [ as
Rubens' made sure his canvas or wood panels
were fully sealed with HIDE GLUE- to prevent
absorption of oil from the paint causing
weakening of the paint film ].
THE LEFT side of the plate [ your left] shows the
VENICE TURPENTINE Rubens said he used. On
the right is the Turpentine Rubens said he used.
I mixed dry pigment with these but the VENICE
TURPENTINE is so thick it needs to be thinned
with Turpentine. Its easy. It requires NO
HEATING. Just a little rubbing together. A
mixture of Venetian Turpentine [ its a BALSAM]
and turpentine creates a SPIRIT VARNISH.
In minutes the Turpentine EVAPORATES. The
mixture on far right becomes powder again. BUT
the mixture of the SPIRIT VARNISH remains
adhered to the plate. BUT since it has no oil, it
powders slightly on rubbing with a finger. STILL.
it is adhered because the BALSAM is sticky!!
5o minutes later..I rubbed my finger with
pressure on both yellow mixtures. The far
right-yellow pigment mixed ONLY with
Turpentine, easy came off.
The near right- shows how, even under pressure
--it remained stuck to the plate- a vitrious slick
NEXT PHOTO: I then re-moistened the yellow
dry pigment as before.
Then I mixed CSO and I ground a bit of CSO
50/50 with the two piles of PRE-WETTED DRY
Rubens could add chalk and oil in two ways. He
could have made a CSO mixture of CHALK and
and ground that CSO with the pre-wetted
he could have ground the pre-wetted pigment
with sun oil THEN added dry chalk.
BOTH METHODS WORK WELL
In fact.as time goes on during painting, one can
add either more oil alone -- a drop at a time --
or one can add dry chalk a bit at a time
DO NOT FEAR THE BEIGE COLOR of the CSO ,
it is harmless. CSO has NO TINTING strength.
As you see- it has an imperceptible impact on
the HUE or the CHROMA of the bright yellow
I promise to buy a better more modern camera.
ON THE left side [ your left]
is the CSO MIXTURE of the pre-wetted dry
pigment containing the SPIRIT VARNISH --- it is
standing up firm..this is RUBENS impasto paint
--soft and firm, luscious and deep color
saturation, and holding its place.
TO YOUR FAR RIGHT is the dry pigments pre
wetted with ONLY turpentine, then mixed with
IT DOES NOT hold a firm body,.
but RUBENS knew this and would make it for
special applications where only smoothness was
THE CSO METHOD can duplicate Rubens'
effects. BY THE simple grinding in of the
GLAIR-OIL viscous emulsion with the CSO, as
described in my book and DVD , the paint can
be made to stand firm just like Rubens'
WITHOUT USE OF THE BALSAM or the
The chalk of the CSO is a stabilizer to make sure
it does not drip. See the dry chalk nearby.
all photos are copyright protected..
|JAMES GROVES' is a fine painter and researcher.
His website REPEATEDLY denigrates use of adding CHALK
with oil paint. He emphasizes that it will cause the paint to
become BROWN over time. He is wrong.
Science has demonstrated without a doubt that the 350 year
old oil paintings of RUBENS, REMBRANDT and VELAZQUEZ
added CHALK into their oil paint , AND to ALL THEIR
COLORS, not just in the white lead paint.
The CHALK HAS NOT CAUSED ANY BROWNING
of the oil paint in the paintings of these great masters.
Mr. Groves offers no science to back his claims.
WHO would you trust?
RUBENS, VELAZQUEZ, REMBRANDT
Mr. Groves champions walnut oil saying it will not wrinkle.
Years back, I bought Walnut oil directly from Mr. Groves.
His claim that it will not wrinkle is wrong.
Using his walnut oil, I sent him a photo of his wrinkled walnut
oil. ALL oils will wrinkle IF NOT APPLIED CORRECTLY, and
like any other vegetable oil used in oil painting, WALNUT OIL
RUBENS METHOD UPDATE:
During the filming of the live demonstrations the fumes of the solvents made me ill. If you look at one of
Rubens' last self portraits [ he died at age 63] he looks to be in poor health. True, they did not have modern
medicine and we know he suffered from gout. But, his facial features show him to appear much older than
his age. How much of this was caused by inhaling so many hazardous solvent fumes, no one knows. I have
visited his home and studio in Antwerp. His 17th century studio had no exhaust system except for opening
windows, and in the Northern European winters, it must have caused many problems.
CALCITE SUN OIL has none of those health issues. Even if CSO does not allow the speed of Rubens
method, it is much preferable on many counts- health of the artist being the most precious and important. In
the DVD , in addition to demonstrating how one can safely use PINE TREE TAR RESIN, I also demonstrate
how one can combine CSO-CASEIN TEMPERA as the under painting, with CSO CALCITE SUN OIL as the
oil over painting, and one can finish a completely finished detailed layered painting in a matter of hours.
The Rubens materials can cause illness. The Pine Tree Tar has an extraordinarily STRONG ODOR that
permeates the entire house. It smells like a MEAT SMOKING BBQ RESTAURANT . It has a very strong
odor and can be overpowering and disagreeable to many people- including your neighbors.
Although I experienced chest congestion, and very puffy eyes I have used Rubens' materials for the
HISTORICAL IMPORTANCE of understanding how he constructed and painted his marvelous masterpieces.
CLEARLY I am NOT in Rubens' league in virtuosity, so please spare the comments.
I RECOMMEND YOU VIEW THE DVD FOR MANY REASONS
One: Rubens used a brilliant method in using his materials and artists can learn much from him.
Two, The DVD teaches the making and use of CSO-CASEIN TEMPERA. It was this newly development on
the ancient CASEIN TEMPERA MEDIUM that allowed me to formulate a NONTOXIC formula for PTTR.
Third: The DVD makes a STRONG CASE for using CALCITE SUN OIL [ CSO] and the EMULSIONS.
They are fully SAFE, FULLY PERMANENT, EASY TO USE, have NO HAZARDOUS FUMES and no
objectionable odors like those materials of Rubens.
[ CSO- oil and glair smell like a regular kitchen as the oil and the egg are indeed FOOD].
IMPORTANT NOTES REGARDING RUBENS' METHOD AND MATERIALS:
After having used these materials I offer this for others who wish to pursue Rubens' methods and materials.
1. Our Turpentine today is so refined it is not the same as Rubens crude distilled Turpentine.
This means his Turpentine had more resin in it. Yes, it is easy to mix Balsam with turpentine and achieve a
resin turpentine. This is effect, a SPIRIT VARNISH= a mix of Balsam and Turpentine.
2. DeMAYERNE was wrong on many counts. He left out that Rubens mixed chalk with his paint.
Perhaps his observation of Rubens painting was a limited one time visit of very short time.
He also missed that Rubens added a protein in his medium. Again, De Mayerne just did not really
understand the complexity of Rubens methods and materials, just as today's conservationist scientists ALSO
DO NOT understand what an OIL OUT will or will not do, how or why it is used, nor the make up ratios to
create it, much less the required APPLICATION method that is crucial.
3. After trying out Rubens hand ground , solvent pre-wetted paint, it becomes very very unmanageable
within minutes, even when oil is added to it. THE ONLY solution to make it more manageable is NOT TO
ADD MORE SOLVENT [ as De Mayerne wrote] BUT TO ADD SOME OIL..preferably a mix of sun oil with
chalk to act as a stabilizer, so the paint would hold in place. Only a drop is needed.
SWEDEN ALSO PRODUCES " TALL OIL" from Pine Trees.
DO NOT CONFUSE THIS INDUSTRIALLLY PROCESSED SUBSTANCE FROM THE 21ST
CENTURY--with RUBENS' 17TH Century PINE TREE TAR that had been used for thousands of years
before Rubens was born.
PLEASE read about the ' KRAFT' process of refinement . See it on Wikipedia.
I enclose here TWO ARTICLES from the Internet to give basic information of this PINE OIL...IT IS NOT
THE SAME AS ...PINE TREE TAR.
SOURCE: Sci-Tech Encyclopedia
TALL OIL IS: A by-product from the pulping of pine wood by the kraft (sulfate) process. In the kraft
process the wood is digested under pressure with sodium hydroxide and sodium sulfide. The volatilized
gases are condensed to yield sulfate turpentine. During the pulping the alkaline liquor saponifies fats
and converts the fatty and resin acids to sodium salts. Concentration of the pulping solution (black
liquor) prior to recovery of the inorganic pulping chemicals allows the insoluble soaps to be skimmed
from the surface. Acidification of the skimmed soap yields crude tall oil. Crude tall oil from southern
pines contains 40–60% resin acids (rosin), 40–55% fatty acids, and 5–10% neutral constituents.
Abietic and dehydroabietic acids comprise over 60% of the resin acids, while oleic and linoleic acids
predominate in the fatty acid fraction. Fatty acids from tall oil distillation may contain as much as 10–
40% resin acids or as little as 0.5%.
Tall oil, also called liquid rosin or tallol, is a viscous yellow-black odorous liquid obtained as a co-
product of the Kraft process of wood pulp manufacture when pulping mainly coniferous trees. The
name originated as an anglicization of the Swedish "tallolja" ("pine oil"). Tall oil is the major chemical
co-product in a Kraft mill and the yield of crude tall oil is in the range of 30 - 50 kg / ton pulp
|THEODORE DE MAYERNE MANUSCRIPT - year 1620
|THE 17th CENTURY MANUSCRIPT OF Dr. THEODORE De MAYERNE
The following passages are from the De Mayerne MS in Donald C. Fels's book, and are of importance to this
research on Rubens.
These are DE MAYERNE’s WORDS, not the words of RUBENS.
To read Rubens' actual words, please see books with the collected letters he wrote to various persons.
MS Page 7: The best is linseed oil; it has the peculiarity of always brightening up the colors again after the
paints have yellowed, when the painting is left to stand in the sun. This is not the case with nut oil, nor with
poppy seed oil.
[ MY NOTE: This is prima facie proof that Rubens used linseed oil as his main oil, because Rubens' own
letter states that if his paintings had yellowed while in transit [ rolled up] they just needed to be exposed to
the sun, to bleach away any yellowing. Undoubtedly, Rubens knew what De Mayerne said about walnut and
poppy oils not having that same ' peculiarity' of being able to bleach in the sun ].
MS Page 9 verso: NB. So that your paints can be easily spread and as a consequence mix well and do not
discolor, as with azure but also as with all other paints, lightly dip your brush now and then into light Venetian
oil of turpentine that has been extracted in a water bath and with the same brush mix the paints on the
palette. marginal note: oil of turpentine. Vidi
[ MY NOTE: NB means to, ' take special note of". These words are NOT Rubens' words, but are De
Mayrerne's OBSERVATIONS of Rubens working, then, later written down in his manuscript. De Mayerne
SAW [ vidi] Rubens lightly dip his brush into some liquid which he believes was a solvent. As I wrote above-=
I disagree with what that liquid was. In actual painting practice, it could only have been a sun oil, mixed with
chalk as the stabilizer].
MS Page 9 verso: To test whether the paints will discolor after they have been applied to canvas or wood,
it is placed in the vicinity of a fireplace when it has dried and one will soon see. marginal note: M. Rubens
[ MY NOTE: Again, here De Mayerne writes down later what Rubens said to him or observed Rubens do.
De Mayerne would sometimes write the name of his information source in the margin ].
MS Page 150: The Signor Cavaliere Rubens said that it was necessary to grind all paints quickly and
process them with aqua di raggia
( that is, oil like light oil of turpentine which is produced by distilling with water the soft and white resin which
is collected from pines and is pleasant smelling ), which is better than and not as shining as spiknard oil.
[MY NOTE: One key term is ' process', which I understand as meaning the dry pigments must first be pre
moistened with the solvent here stated, which is equivalent to today's turpentine. Yet, Rubens' solvent
turpentine may have been a crude distillate containing much of the BALSAM resin's sticky property which
would promote qualities favorable to his Thixotropic method of painting, i.e. a paint with a tacky dry
condition. The other key term, ' grind all paints quickly' can be supported by the fact that once the dry
pigments ARE pre wetted with the turpentine, one has a very SHORT PERIOD of time to then mix that paste
with oil before the turpentine evaporates , causing the pigments to become powder again ].
|NOVEMBER 17, 2010
INTRODUCING CSO'S ... 'ESPESO'.
THE NEW EMULSION OIL OUT MEDIUM FOR OIL PAINTING
RUBENS is quoted as having said, " Everything i touch turns to gold !". YES, he did live a GOLDEN life.
MY STUDY of Rubens' methods and materials has been a RAINBOW and I have found GOLD at its end.
At the conclusion of my filming the upcoming DVD on Rubens, I cleansed and rid my studio of all the
Hazardous materials he used. I sat sad because I was going to miss some of the fine points of his method and
materials. BUT, my health is much more important. As I pondered the loss, I received an INSPIRATION that
resulted in my creation of the new OIL OUT MEDIUM, I named..'ESPESO'. Here is the story.
I DEVELOPED THIS WONDERFUL ADVANCEMENT FOR OIL PAINTING AS A RESULT OF MY IN DEPTH STUDY OF
RUBENS' OIL PAINTING METHODS AND MATERIALS. NOW, YOU CAN ACHIEVE RUBENS THIXOTROPY QUICKLY AND
WITHOUT THE HAZARDOUS INGREDIENTS RUBENS USED.
AS YOU KNOW, I PREVIOUSLY DEVELOPED ' AGUADO' TO SERVE AS AN OIL OUT MEDIUM TO BE USED WITH THE
CSO METHOD FOR PAINTING LARGE PAINTINGS. THE AGUADO OIL OUT CREATES A FLUID BASE THAT ALLOWS
EASE IN PAINTING LARGE PAINTINGS. INCIDENTALLY, WHILE WORKING WITH RUBENS' FAST SETTING HAND
GROUND PAINT, I FOUND THAT ' AGUADO' WAS A PERFECT PAINT THINNER FOR RUBENS' UNIQUE OIL PAINT.
AFTER FINISHING MY STUDY OF RUBENS' MATERIALS AND METHODS, I FIRMLY DECIDED TO NEVER AGAIN EXPOSE
MY HEALTH TO THE VERY HAZARDOUS SOLVENT FUMES OF THE INGREDIENTS RUBENS USED. YET, I FELT SAD AT
LOSING SOME OF RUBENS' WONDERFUL PAINT CHARACTERISTICS. THIS CAUSED ME TO REFLECT AND I
DEVELOPED, ' ESPESO'. THE WORD, ' ESPESO' IS A SPANISH WORD MEANING ' THICK', AND IS THE OPPOSITE OF
THE SPANISH WORD , ' AGUADO'.
THE RUBENS DVD
WILL DEMONSTRATE HOW TO DO THE FOLLOWING
HOW TO MAKE 'ESPESO'
HOW TO USE ' ESPESO'
WHAT 'ESPESO' WILL DO
SUMMARY OF OIL OUT MEDIUMS
THERE ARE NOW THREE BASIC MEDIUMS THE ARTIST CAN CHOOSE TO USE FOR THE 'OIL OUT '.
EACH WILL ACCOMPLISH A DIFFERENT PURPOSE.
1. THE CSO ' VISCOUS EMULSION: Use this to paint very fine details and micro-fine lines as Van Eyck painted.
The CSO 'Non-Viscous Emulsion' is a slower drying version of the Viscous Emulsion, and is described in my book.
2. THE CSO ' AGUADO' : Use this to paint with a more fluid paint and for large paintings as Velazquez painted.
3. CSO ' ESPESO' : Use this to paint with MAXIMUM THIXOTROPY as Rubens and Rembrandt painted.
LOUIS R. VELASQUEZ
11-16-2010 COPYRIGHT 2010
ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS ON RUBENS' METHOD
My study , research, testing and painting with Rubens' methods and materials has given me an insight into the
extraordinary painting procedures of this genius level painter.
1.Because Rubens' paint becomes quickly unmanageable due to the rapid evaporation of the solvent and varnish, I
see Rubens as using a full time expert assistant nearby as he painted. This ssistant kept the paint prepared and
fluid, much like a skilled surgeon in surgury, asking the attendant for a specific knife or tool that is then handed for
2. Because of the constant need for his unique and ground paint preparation, I see Rubens using a large flat table
palette, with minimal use of a hand palette. Again, the assistant insures the paint is continuously properly prepared
and ready for use.
3. I believe Rubens did not always need nor desire to paint a painting in one day. He would do so as needed for
simple portrait studies. I see Rubens NOT using the Pine Tree Tar for these quick one day paintings for several
reasons. I see Rubens using an Egg Tempera or Casein Tempera for the monotone because it dries instantly. The
Pine Tree Tar offers no advantage of SPEED under these circumstances.
4. I see Rubens using the Pine Tree Tar in larger more complex paintings where absolute speed of completion is
NOT a requirement nor goal. This then allowed him to paint the monotone using the Pine Tar's golden brown
coloring to full advantage without any addition of UMBER. Umber deadens the unique golden glowing brown of the
Pine Tree tar even so slightly. Without the Umber, Rubens then allowed the Pine Tar to dry naturally over several
days. My tests show the advantage of the use of an AGUADO "oil out" of the board, followed by the mixture of a
50/50 mixture of chalk with the Pine Tar. This procedure also eliminates the high content of Turpentine solvent in the
air, which Rubens certainly recognized as a hazard. Certainly Rubens made many tests and experiments to gain
intimate knowledge of how Pine Tar is best applied and when.
IMPORTANCE AND PERMANENCE OF THE “ OIL OUT”
The use of an ' OIL OUT" in painting is a distinguished and important painting procedure well documented throughout
the history of oil painting and was used by the GREATEST masters, such as Rubens, Rembrandt, Velazquez, Titian.
...YET, Ignorant ' logic thinking art experts' of the 20th century--some lacking painting experience, others ignoring the
lessons and procedures of the Old Masters, and ALL OF THEM ignorant of the superior true oil of the Old Masters
because they are accustomed to using the INFERIOR industrial linseed oil of the 19th and 20th century,… ALL
coupled with improperly interpreting SCIENCE...have ' WARNED' artists NOT TO OIL OUT. because they claim
linseed oil will YELLOW. They further WARN, ' the LESS OIL THE BETTER". This is mistaken, misguided and
IGNORANT advice from these ' experts'. It is reminiscent of the IGNORANT condemnation of the OIL PAINTING
MEDIUM by 19th century French Academics who similarly WARNED artists of their day...saying oil paintings will
yellow--as they IGNORED the perfectly preserved colors and paint of the Van Eyck paintings and other 400 year old
FLAXSEED/LINSEED OIL paintings IN FRONT OF THEIR EYES.
ART TECHNICAL TERMINOLOGY OF THE “ OIL OUT”
Art terms from different cultures and languages are used interchangeably and with cultured respect for words of
NATIONAL LANGUAGE ORIGIN. Sfumato, Mische, Mahlstick Sgraffito,Aguado, Espeso, Frottage ... ALL have
meaning to an artist.
Yet some MAL INFORMED English speaking artist-authors refer to an OIL OUT...as a COUCH. The proper term is
COUCHE [ accent on the last letter] , a French word that means , ' a thin film of oil'.
It is ironic that these mal informed artists sit on their COUCH furniture as they write their art essays.
THE TERM, "OIL OUT" is instructive: It is short for 'OIL rubbed in and oil wiped OUT'
This process gives the ultra thin layer that is needed for masterful control of the oil paint.
|CALCITE SUN OIL
PORTRAIT OF 'VALENTINA"
Use of CSO CASEIN TEMPERA allowed me to under paint this
portrait in a few minutes. It dried instantly. Faster than Acrylics.
Then in a few hours of slow paced oil painting, I finished it with
CALCITE SUN OIL, OIL PAINT.
I left it UNFINISHED on purpose to be used as a teaching aid.
This use of TEMPERA and OIL PAINT , a mixed technique,
allows a painter to finish a fully layered painting in a few hours.
REASONS FOR RUBENS' CHOICE TO USE THE PINE TREE TAR RESIN
1. PTTR was very abundantly plentiful and economically low in cost. This saved more expensive Sun Thickened oil for the over paint layers.
2. PTTR was very convenient. It is a liquid, ready-to-use Pine Resin Varnish that is safe, permanent and compatible with oils. Copal and Amber varnishes require processing and
3. PTTR is usable on flexible canvas supports as well as on rigid wood supports. The equally fast drying TEMPERA mediums are recommended to be used ONLY on rigid supports.
4. COLOR: The golden glowing brown color was unique in the 17th century and it is NOT A PIGMENT. Pine Tree Tar Resin has no real TINTING capability. IT is a ready made
RESIN VARNISH that has a glowing golden brown to golden brown black color.
5. ARTISTS TODAY can use Rubens' PTTR to duplicate his EXACT results.
The 5 test paintings were done as
demonstrations regarding TIME
required to finish the multiple-layered
painting. All are 24" X 18 inches except
for the FINAL ONE with the DARK
BLUE blouse. It is 12"X 9". All were
painted within a couple of hours.
The FINAL ONE, was completed from
the beginning to end in about 4 hours.
This began with the GLUE COATS of
the wood, and the GLUE GESSO for its
light color. The PTTR MONOTONE
took 30 minutes or less. The OIL
PAINTING was completed in an hour
and a half-- The FACE is divided in
half VERTICALLY in the middle. I used
CSO mixed with TUBE PAINTS on the
viewers right ---and used--RUBENS
HAND GROUND oil paint on the left.
THE COMPLETED PAINTING dried
hard IN FOUR HOURS IN direct sun
light. Had I wished, I could have then
applied glazes and improved the detail.
These are DEMOS--not works of art.
200 Degrees Centigrade = The Old Masters use of a goose quill to
indicate SAFE heating temperature
230-236 Degrees Centigrade = DECOMPOSITION BEGINS Reduced
300 Degrees Centigrade = Modern Stand Oil - heated/ without Oxygen
300 Degrees Centigrade = Oil smokes and produces TOXIC Carbon
Monoxide and Acrolein gas vapors
343 Degrees Centigrade + = Oil begins to BOIL
343 Degrees Centigrade + = Oil Ignites / Catches fire
380 - 425 Degrees Centigrade= Burnt Plate Oil made by modern testing
THE 4 FORMULAS
OF PINE TREE
June 5, 2012: LATEST INFORMATION ON RUBENS' USE OF PINE TREE TAR RESIN USED AS THE GOLDEN BROWN MONOTONE:
The RUBENS DVD does not explain something I recently learned: I was challenged during my testing of PINE TREE TAR RESIN [ PTTR], in that once I
over painted the 'DRY' PTTR monotone with my fast drying superior oil CSO oil paints---THEY WOULD NOT DRY !- after days and weeks in the studio-the
oil painting would not solidify. I could not figure out the cause. One day [ this is in the DVD] I placed the finished paintings outside in DIRECT
SUNLIGHT-and they dried HARD within 4 to 8 hours. I did not know why. RECENTLY I saw that ladies go to a beauty salon and get their fingernails
painted with a RESIN laquer and then the ladies hands are placed in a UV LIGHT BOX. This blue colored ULTRA-VIOLET LIGHT ..CURES" the resin very
quickly, without air or heat. -- In further research I learned that RESINS are "CURED" with UV LIGHT from the sun. Sunlight contains UV LIGHT. --There is
a letter from the 17th century. A rich man complained that the paintings he ordered from Peter Paul Rubens, had not arrived. He asked an emissary to
visit Rubens for the reason. The man did and wrote back, " RUBENS SAID THE PAINTINGS ARE FINISHED , BUT ARE NOT DRY- AS THERE IS NO SUN"
This is prima facie proof that Rubens used the PTTR in the underpainting. In normal oil painting, paintings are NOT NEEDED to be placed in the sun to
dry. They dry INDOORS QUICKLY in about 2 to 3 days. In 55 years of oil painting --NOT once did I need to put an oil painting in the sun to dry-NOT EVEN
IN WINTER. Clearly, RUBENS used the PTTR as the golden brown monotone colorant. SEE MY DVD ON RUBENS, FOR DETAILS