Gamblin Conservation Newsletter July 2009 – Introducing 10 New Colors


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Dragon’s Blood (Perylene Red)

Dragon's Blood (Perylene Red)AIC (The American Institute for Conservation) had their annual meeting in our fair city of Portland Oregon in 2004. In conjunction with the events we held a reception for the paintings specialty group at the Gamblin factory. As a party favor I made a small tube for each attendee of Dragon’s Blood, (more properly called Dragon’s Blood Hue, no actual dragons were harmed in the creation of this color). The color was so well received that we are adding it to the palette. Perylene Red is quite beautiful and is unique in that it has a cool red mass tone, but is quite warm in its transparency.

Manganese Blue

Manganese BlueThis is a replacement on our color chart for Manganese Blue Hue. In 1989 the last industrial batch of Manganese Blue, barium manganate, was made. We were given no advance notice that the color was being discontinued by the last manufacturer of this pigment. I jumped up from my desk and moved the remaining few pounds into my lab.
Last year I decided that the best use for this remaining pigment was to make it as a conservation color. Since the restoration of paintings uses such small quantities of paint, the pigment on hand will last us for many years.
Manganese Blue has a chroma as strong as Ultramarine. But since it is a cool shade of blue rather than warm, it reaches areas of color space that Ultramarine cannot. I have noticed that the sky and far ground in many gothic paintings are made with cool blues.


Lamp Black

Lamp BlackOne of the challenges in restoring old master oil paintings is to recreate the intense black transparency of many backgrounds. Lamp Black is the black best suited as a base for doing this work. Its particle size is much smaller than Ivory Black and Black Spinel. Its tinting strength is tremendous. These two aspects make it an excellent base material to match these backgrounds.

Ultramarine Violet

Ultramarine VioletCool violet of low chroma, excellent mixing violet.

Permanent Green Light

Permanent Green LightThere are no lightfast yellow green pigments in industry. Mixtures of yellow and green have been made since the beginning of commercial paint making to use as a shortcut to access color in this area of color space. Since our mixture is made from modern organic pigments it has a very high chroma. Therefore it can be used as a base to match the color intensity of any yellow green.

Greenish Umber

Greenish UmberThese remaining five new colors are in response to the request from conservators for more low chroma warm colors. This one is a mixture of Raw Umber and Viridian that keeps the “earthiness” of the umber but makes cooler than Umbers currently available.

Naples Yellow Light (Nickel Antimony Titanium Yellow)

Naples Yellow Light (Nickel Antimony Titanium Yellow)The original forms of Naples Yellow were lead based colors (lead antimonite). The shades of Naples yellow produced over the years have been varied, depending upon the exact mix of metals and the processes used to fuse the metals to develop the color. This version, which is based on a non toxic compound, is a very good match for the lighter shades of Naples Yellow.

Naples Yellow Deep (Chrome Antimony titanium Buff)

Naples Yellow Deep (Chrome Antimony titanium Buff)This is a good match for the warmer, more orange shade of Naples Yellow. It has been reported to me that this pigment is excellent to use in the under painting of fly spotting that has occurred in skies.

Mars Orange

Mars OrangeThis opaque color fills a gap in the earth color spectrum between Yellow Ochre and Venetian Red.

Transparent Earth Brown

Transparent Earth BrownOver the last hundred years the earth pigments that come to industry have been getting more and more opaque. This is because the primary consumers of these materials, the companies who color concrete and stucco, value opacity and tinting strength over the beauty of a transparency. In painting, the beauty of transparency of earth colors is very important. To satisfy that need our group of Transparent Earths, yellow, orange, and red have done very well. Transparent Earth Brown finishes the line of this type of earth color and will prove to be very valuable to conservators working on old master works.

Contents of new colors

  • Dragon’s Blood — PR149
  • Greenish Umber — PBr7, PG18
  • Lamp Black- PBk7
  • Manganese Blue – PB33
  • Mars Orange: PR101
  • Naples Yellow Deep — PBr24
  • Naples Yellow Light – PY53
  • Permanent Green Light – PG7, PY74
  • Transparent Earth Brown– PR101
  • Ultramarine Violet — PV15
  • Laropal A-81


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Summer 2009


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