Painting with the Mineral Pigments
Prerequisites for the choice of binding mediums with Natural and Mineral Pigments

•        There is no one universal binding medium that is suitable for all pigment
characteristics and effects.

The binding medium necessary for each natural and mineral pigment will vary according to the following

•        The refractive index of the pigment
•        The chemistry of the pigment
•        Pigment particle size
•        The painting ground or previous paint layer
1. Aqueous:  distemper, casein. Egg tempera does
change the colour slightly over the years.

2. Fir balsam resin:  (Strasbourg turpentine fused with
pure spirits of  turpentine). A few eye-drops of
walnut oil are added for a tough paint film.

3. All oils alone should be avoided since this will lead
to discoloration even after the pigment is prepared.
The best was achieved with linseed stand oil and pure
distilled turpentine. Even cold pressed walnut oil will
show discoloration within three to four years.
However, a small addition of any white pigment when
oil is used will prevent noticeable yellowing.
Azurite as an example
Copyright © Michael Price Inc.
Page 5
The following is a brief presentation of the application of the mineral pigments using appropriate binding
mediums from the two volume book:
"Renaissance Mysteries, Vol. I: Natural Colour and Volume II: Proportion and Composition".
For further information go to:
A Part of Eternity No. 47, Father and Child

The blue is built up of numerous layers of azurite in
a casein-rabbit skin glue distemper. The first layer is
a finely ground pale blue azurite. With each layer the
particle size is increased until the large particle is
gently brushed over the surface. The panel must be in
a horizontal position. In order to avoid loosening up
the previous layer, as little binder as possible is used.
The following day, when completely dry, the azurite
will have bound to the previous layer. If any large
particle pigment is still loose, a little distemper should
be brushed over the surface.

Other pigments include fuchsite (pale green) and
calcite (white) over the azurite. The yellow is a
natural ochre in a fir-balsam resin and a little walnut
oil. The brown is a soft hematite.
Homage to Dürer
Melancholia II, Lapis Philosophorum

The final layers of azurite in this painting are a large
particle pigment bound in Strasbourg turpentine
(from the white Austrian fir) and drops of cold
pressed walnut oil. The different binding medium
produces a very different more translucent colour.