Hello, and Welcome to the 4th epsidode of
my paint and pigment series and this time I’m making paint out bamboo. Yes. It’s possible.
So lets get straight into it. To start i have to make a dye out of the plant
itself so that i can later turn it into a pigment.
There’s a bamboo plant in our garden so i take a pair of pliers and try cut off a piece.
Obviously that didn’t work so i went for a thinner branch higher up. I then took it inside,
washed them, and then decide to separate the leaves from the stalk because I wanted to
see if they created different colours. I’m going to start with the leaves, so i add
some distilled water to a pot and then add my bamboo leaves.
I bring everything to a boil then i leave it to simmer. There is no noticeable colour
change as of now. After 40 minutes the leaves appear to be degrading
and the water seems to have darkened. A tissue test doesn’t really reveal much colour in
the dye but i notice that it is a pale yellow. I prepare a bowl and sieve and pour the leaves
and water through it. A very pale but pigmented golden yellow is left behind. I pour it into
the jar and as you can see its a warm golden yellow.
I repeat this whole process again with the stalks.
It seems that they have also left behind a very similar golden yellow. This leads me
to believe that both stalks and leaves produce the same colour. Though, it does comes off
as more of an acidic and more pale yellow than the dye made from the leaves. Anyways,
They’re similar enough that i decided to mix them together.
I am now going to turn this dye into a powder pigment. To do that i will be using alum and
washing soda. If you want to know more about this process be sure to check out my lake
pigments video. I add my alum directly to the bamboo because
I’m lazy and bad at following directions. Its clumpy and not fun to mix. I then add
my washing soda also straight into the solution and mix well. The solution foams and fizzes
very significantly. It’s actually quite a strong reaction. I leave it for a few hours
to settle. You can see the speration between sediment, dye and foam.
After a few hours most of the foam is gone so i pour the solution through a coffee filter
so as to be left with just the sediment. When the solution is done being filtered,
i am left with this beigesh, yellow, green. I open up the filter and place it on my plaster
bat to spread and dry. There are some impurities it in but that is from my alum and not the
bamboo itself – i did not purchase the best kind of alum- my bad. After it has dried,
i peel the hardened paste into a coffee grinder and grind it up well. It’s made a
significant quantity and looks very smooth and fine.
I sift it through my diy sieve and then place it onto my glass slab. although you can turn
this pigment into any type of medium that you want- I am going to make oil paint out
of it using walnut alkyd as a medium. The pigment was really pleasant to mull and was
very fine and easy to blend. I may have added to much alkyd but thats fine. It has a consistency
similar to resin or thick honey. I also like how transparent it is.
Here’s a close up of the final result. Very syrupy and smooth.
To test out this bamboo paint i will make a few swatches with it on a primed piece of
canvas and see what happens. For the first swatch I’m painting the colour as it is with
no additives. It’s very transparent and handles well. It’s coming out a muddy green yellow colour
which i dont hate at all. It has hints of yellow ochre but is not all the way there.
For the second swatch I’m painting the bamboo along with a commercial titanium white. I
really like this colour – its neutral and calm. For the third swatch i paint the colour+ grey.
Nothing special there and for the third swatch I’m painting the colour along with black.the
bamboo paint its very easily overwhelmed by black which is somewhat expected considering
its transparency. For the fifth swatch i make a glaze or wash
out of the paint. It’s really gorgeous. It’s a soft neutral yellow that is quite unique
and easy on the eye.Im just really having a moment with this paint right now.
Finally, for the last swatch I’m mixing some
of my leftover bamboo pigment with some clear acrylic gesso and adding it to my canvas.
This wil be the lightfast test. As soon as it dries I’m going to cover it up with a strip
of black tape which i will remove after 5 weeks to see if UV light will fade the pigment.
I leave everything alone for 5 weeks then do a quick evaluation.
I’m basically testing three things: colour fastness, light fastness, and handling.
For colour fastness i compare 3 images of the paint on week 1, 3, and 5 and see if theres
a difference. There’s a noticeable change in colour between week 1 and 3 but I’m suspecting
its a defect with the picture itself and not the actual pigment. Even if its colour did
change, it still looks really nice. Taking that into account i give it 3 points out
of five. For lightfastness, i removed the tape and failed to see a colour change. There
fore it gets 5 points for that. Finally for handling, which is the experience of making
and using this paint i give it a 5 out of 5. With a total of 12 points, its now become
my second favourite pigment. It was relatively straightfoward to make and a pleasure to mull
and to paint with. Overall a big success. i hope that you found it interesting or useful.
All links will be in the description below and new episodes out every Thursday! Thanks