The Infill: 19 July 2016

The Infill: ain’t no sunshine when we’re gone

Sometimes you just can’t win

We begin this month’s post in a slightly disgruntled state, having had to rewrite our entire intro, originally themed on our annual gripe about ‘summertime’ in Britain.  We had woven a clever and intriguing tale involving random connections between the world’s oldest trousers (3,000 years old, believe it or not), rare 1915 video footage of Monet and his Impressionist palsthe restoration of a Diego Rivera mural and us as we suffered under the spell of grey skies, cold winds and early Spring-like temperatures. So what do we wake up to today? 32C/90F and a bright, blazing sun. No trousers for us today.

A positively phenomenal panoply of pigments

ColourLex – Paintings. Pigments. Methods‘: ‘nuf said.

Urine-Based Dye Found in Ancient New Testament‘: of all of the organic substances one could ferment, we never considered this one. Fermented grapes are more up our alley, and it seems that residue from winemaking could have been a component of ancient Roman inks.

Got some dead bugs lying around? Let this video tutorial show you how to make Cochineal Lake pigment. If you’re more of a blue state than a red state, check out ‘Preparation and use of ultramarine at Oxford’s Bodleian Library‘, featuring some lovely detail shots of ultramarine-bearing manuscripts from the library’s collection. Be warned, however: there’s bad news for ultramarine’s lapis lazuli mineral, as it allegedly ‘provides the Taliban with its second biggest source of income after drugs‘. Ouch. A pigment with a more promising future is Egyptian Blue, an ancient shade getting a new lease of life as forensic fingerprint dust.

Quick quolour* quiz: when was the first pigment invented? Which colour is responsible for the world’s most deadly pigments? Who reportedly suffered from ‘violettomania’? Let the Art Genome Project’s Brief History of Art enlighten you. Bonus question: which pigment fell out of use partly due to the ‘difficulty in obtaining mummies‘? Second bonus question: which pigment is derived from a ‘small, smelly sea-snail‘?

For some different takes on the use of pigments, ‘Ajrak – Timeless Fabric’ offers a fascinating look at the ancient technique of textile dyeing in India and Pakistan, while ‘Extracting a Rainbow of Color from Invasive Plants‘ exposes you to painting with flowers.

We’ve got a new blue! The little bundle of joy is called, officially, YInMn and, unofficially, ‘an accident’. No word as to whether a shotgun wedding was involved.

Are more congratulations in order? We’re actually not sure whether to celebrate with Opaque Couché (aka Pantone 448C) or sit him down on the sofa for a cry and a cuddle: he’s just won the title of “World’s Ugliest Color”.

*If Quorn can get away with it, so can we!

News you can use

Tips, tricks and tutorials abound: learn how to marble paper and book edges with this free downloadable marbling manual. Or analyse existing ones with this mobile app for identifying vintage marbled papers (Android only, sadly). If you’re wondering how to solve the conundrum of the section without mates, let this single section bookbinding PDF be your guide, both literally and figuratively. Fancy reproducing a Hockney that’s a bit out of your price range? Get the colours right by checking out this tutorial: ‘Colour mixing basics – Acrylic painting technique to match a colour‘. And when you’re done, display your efforts proudly in your own home by following these tips for hanging art.

Your video treat:

is an utterly charming two minutes with 80-year-old Masaaki Hiroi, a Japanese wooden toymaker. If this doesn’t make you smile, nothing will. (BTW, just to be clear: it’s the toys that are wooden, not him, natch – he’s quite lively for an octogenarian!)

The final word…

… goes to painter and printmaker Katsushika Hokusai:“There is a black which is old and a black which is fresh. Lustrous black and dull black, black in sunlight and black in shadow.” That’s a lot of black.

We’re keeping it short this month, as it’s simply too hot to go on. We’ve got just enough strength to click ‘publish’ and then go crawl into a bathtub full of ice. British Summer, we take it back – we really do love you. Please return! The Gathering xxx

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