Oil paint is a type of slow-drying paint that consists of particles of pigment suspended in a drying oil, commonly linseed oil. The viscosity of the paint may be modified by the addition of a solvent such as turpentine or white spirit, and varnish may be added to increase the glossiness of the dried oil paint film. Oil paints have been used in Europe since the 12th century for simple decoration, but were not widely adopted as an artistic medium until the early 15th century.
The paint tube was invented in 1841 by portrait painter John Goffe Rand, superseding pig bladders and glass syringes as the primary tool of paint transport. Artists, or their assistants, previously ground each pigment by hand, carefully mixing the binding oil in the proper proportions. Paints could now be produced in bulk and sold in tin tubes with a cap. The cap could be screwed back on and the paints preserved for future use, providing flexibility and efficiency to painting outdoors. The manufactured paints had a balanced consistency that the artist could thin with oil, turpentine, or other mediums.
Paint in tubes also changed the way some artists approached painting. The artist Pierre-Auguste Renoir said, “Without tubes of paint, there would have been no Impressionism.” For the Impressionists, tubed paints offered an easily accessible variety of colors for their plein air palettes, motivating them to make spontaneous colour choices. With greater quantities of preserved paint, they were able to apply paint more thickly.
The colour of oil paint derives from small particles of coloured pigments mixed with the carrier. Some of the earliest known pigments are charcoal (black), iron oxide (rust red), and gypsum (white).
Common pigment types include mineral salts such as white oxides: zinc, titanium, and the red to yellow cadmium pigments. Another class consists of earth types, e.g. sienna or umber. Still another group of pigments comes from living organisms, such as madder root.
Many of the historical pigments were dangerous, and many pigments still in popular use today are highly toxic. Some of the most poisonous pigments, such as Paris green (copper(II) acetoarsenite) and orpiment (arsenic sulfide), have fallen from use.
Many pigments still in use are toxic to some degree. Commonly used reds and yellows are produced using cadmium, and vermilion red uses natural or synthetic mercuric sulfide or cinnabar. Flake white and Cremnitz white are made with basic lead carbonate. Some intense blue colours, including cobalt blue and cerulean blue, are made with cobalt compounds. Some varieties of cobalt violet are made with cobalt arsenate. (info from wiki)
Don’t lick the brush Ted 🙂