I stand second to none in my delight with color and my need to have and to use as many colors as possible. I am lucky to be a 21st century painter. I can get any color that I can see and many more that don’t exist in nature simply by going to my favorite paintmakers, Daniel Smith, Winsor Newton, Sennelier and Holbien.
I am (slowly) reading Philip Ball’s Bright Earth: Art and the Invention of Color, a fascinating history of the discovery and creation of the pigments and dyes that are a painter’s tools. Long ago, artists relied on what they could dig up, what could be imported from far away, and what might have been created by optimists or adulterated by greedy or ignorant manufacturers. The continuum of alchemy to chemistry is a long one, and artists were the beneficiaries or the victims of the materials that they could acquire. With respect to William Longfellow, when it was good, it was very very good, and when it was bad it was horrid.
While I have no doubt that I could go out and acquire some lapis, grind it and then bind it with the appropriate 100% consistent binding material, Daniel Smith does it for me, and demo’d it in a video.
I am grateful to be a 21st century artist.