Gamblin Conservation Newsletter – First Issue. Spring 2007

Robert GamblinRobert Gamblin has been making artists’ colors since 1980.

Over a decade ago, he started personally making a new kind of paint in a revolutionary binder developed by a team of conservation scientists and conservators at the National Gallery of Art in Washington and the Getty Museum in Los Angeles (see Development of a New Material for Retouching). Gamblin Conservation Colors are now used in museums throughout the world.

“I consider colors used for conservation and restoration to be artists’ colors on two levels. Many, if not most, art restorers and conservators are artists who work with other artist’s colors and color sensibilities.”

Gamblin Conservation Colors are formulated with high pigment loads then mixed, finely ground, and evenly dispersed using a three-roll mill. High pigment loads yield paints with high color saturation. Proper milling brings tinting strength to its optimum. The binder to pigment ratio allows for excellent working properties and easy mixing with medium.

All pigments used in Gamblin Conservation Colors are rated Lightfastness I (excellent lightfastness) in Table 1 of ASTM D-4302 including those materials used to recreate key fugitive colors like Indian Yellow, Alizarin Crimson and Brown Madder Alizarin.

Extender White

n01-2Conservators have asked about EXTENDER WHITE. Over the centuries there have been a number of white pigments used in painting: lead, zinc, titanium, and calcium carbonate (marble dust). Lead white was the white pigment most commonly used until the middle of the 20th century. Lead, though it is considered and used as an opaque color, is actually less opaque than Titanium, but the reason we have chosen against it is its toxicity. Rather than copying the opacity of lead white, Robert decided to offer Titanium White and Extender White as the color line’s two whites.

n01-3“I make only two whites, Titanium White and Extender White, because they represent the extremes of opacity across the spectrum of white pigments. Titanium reflects 97.5% of available light and is the most opaque. Extender White is made with calcium carbonate, a very transparent pigment. By combining these two colors conservators can mix any white from highest opacity to greatest transparency. Extender white can be used in this way with any color to make it more transparent.”


Conservation Colors jarsAn improved cap is available!

In the last year, we found a better sealing cap for the Conservation Colors jars. The original white metal cap is indestructible but does not seal the jars perfectly.

The new black cone-caps are made from phenolic resin. The cone insert seals the jars much better and will help maintain the proper solvent level in the paints.

If you want to replace your white caps with new black caps, email your name, address and the number of caps you need to[email protected]

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