Materials are no longer available for sale. Go make your own 🙂
In the photo above are 3 samples of Lapis Lazuli (True/Genuine Ultramarine). On the left is a sample I acquired in Florence, Italy and, after testing, it appears to be about 80% synthetic (causes the visible “oily” clumping). On the far right is a sample acquired in Amsterdam, Netherlands that has many impurities, and not from the best stone. Each sample cost about $150 for 10 grams. In the center is a sample of my genuine ultramarine that I derived by hand from gem quality Afghanistan Lapis Lazuli and extensively purified using only water and ingenuity. Important note: Lapis lazuli that is crushed by machine grinding loses its brilliant crystalline facets, for the most beautiful of results it must be hand ground gently to allow the particles to work against one another and break them down in a natural way. The reason synthetic ultramarine appears so lifeless is due to the oily spherical shaped particles that cannot duplicate true ultramarine crystal derived from Lapis Lazuli. In my humble opinion, synthetic ultramarine is an insult to the world of fine art.
Above are photos of my recipe for copal varnish. The first photo shows Frederick Taubes Copal Medium on the left, Grumbacher Copal Medium on the far right, and my copal varnish in the center. Both Taubes and Grumbacher are thin, watery and dark. The second photo shows my copal varnish after being tilted and held at this angle for a full five seconds to demonstrate its viscosity. If my copal varnish were thinned to the consistency of the other examples, it would be exceptionally paler and even more transparent. The third photo shows my copal on a test slide. This sample has been kept in the dark and is about eleven years old, yet it continues to become paler and more transparent with time. The 4th photo shows the droplet from the side showing it’s ability to maintain a shape. The fifth photo is my copal varnish mixed with additional ingredients to become my copal medium which after about 6 years still appears “wet”. My Copal varnish recipe is derived from clues dating back to the 15th Century, as it was used in painting, which differs from the recipe/process used for making Copal furniture varnish that is available today, but does not demand the clarity or purity I have sought and achieved.
Here is a photo of a commercially available marble dust on the left and my product on the right, made from pure carrara marble and processed in the method of creating “San Giovanni” (or St. John’s) White.The next photo is of grumbacher mastic varnish on the left and my mastic varnish on the right.
Final Note: The quality that comes from a profit-making manufacturer is normally the best that they can produce and yet remain competitively priced. The quality that is possible with a self-manufactured product that does not require a direct financial return has no limitations other than the knowledge, ability and will of the producer.
Art Supplies that are available in Europe are much more varied and of better quality than what is generally readily available in the USA. Many of the items shown are not available anywhere on the internet or in the USA. Remember, just because it’s better doesn’t mean it’s ready to use.
Questions or comments? tvleninger @ yahoo.com (remove the spaces, of course)
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