The Power of Natural Pigments | Edward Bulmer Paint

The Power of Natural Pigments

Pigments make the colour; the better the pigment, the better the colour!

For centuries artists have created the world’s greatest images from a staple of 12 pigments.  In contrast, modern paint makers choose from 30,000 synthetic dyes to make colour, just as thousands of ‘e’ numbers make processed food. For us it is the ingredients that make the dish and that is why our paint is superior, especially in terms of colour. So why make it so hard when these time-honoured pigments can render you all the colours you need for tonally harmonious and balanced interiors?  In the past the same pigments were made to use works of art and decorate the home, creating a true alliance between the applied and decorative arts.

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Natural hand drawn paint palette
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Amazingly Edward has created our collection of over 100 colours from these 12 natural pigments. As part of our campaign to bring transparency to the paint market and to tell you how our paint is made, we thought you would be fascinated to learn about these pigments, their history and which colours they create.

Starting this month, we are going to celebrate each of our trusted pigments in 2020. As a celebrated ‘Paint of the Decade’ and in our crusade to ‘Go Green’ to kick start 2020, we give you the opulent ‘Viridan’, sometimes called Chrome Green.

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Painting using Viridian pigment
Photograph of Edward Bulmer mixing paint
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Regardless of the strength or hue, our greens are flying off our shelves and onto your walls. Some of our greens are anchored in the mists of time so don’t require the richness of viridian, but are made with Yellow Ochre and a touch of Prussian Blue; but if it’s the freshness of summer meadow grass, it’s Edward’s ‘go to’ pigment.

Viridian was produced commercially in the mid C19th but it came out of a long search for a dependable green pigment – colourfast, safe and reasonably priced! The name derives from the Latin for green viridis and came into use when two French chemists discovered a process to create it from Chromium III Oxide, now more commonly known as Chrome Oxide Green. It occurs naturally but in great scarcity as the mineral Eskolaite. The Greeks, who knew a thing or two, used the name chrome for this metal ore as they early on knew it could render a whole range of colours in different processes and they used their word for colour chroma to describe it. So there you have it – the classic green pigment!

We use it to give a fresh oomph to our deeper greens, but as with all our mineral pigments we use it sparingly, as not only is it extremely efficient at its job, it is expensive as well!

Pigment makes up a maximum of 8% of a well formulated paint and as natural paint makers we are alone in only using natural earth and mineral pigments to create our tonally consistent colour range. At Edward Bulmer Natural Paint, we believe you can see the difference in colours made this way. When you use powdered pigment the light is reflected in many directions; giving you a much more subtle effect than the reflection from single wavelength dyes used in synthetic paints.

Keen to go Green? You will find Viridian in Verdigris, Invisible Green, Olympian Green, Pea Green, Sea Green ….

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Bathroom in Pea Green
Verdigris at Number One Bruton
Drab Green sitting room by House & Garden
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Can you guess which other colours this gorgeous green pigment is used in? You may be surprised to learn that you will find it in new brown Mummy, new Water Glass and in the deeper Tingry and Indigo, bestsellers such as Dove and Aerial Tint and it even makes the sky look more blue in our Sky Blue!

Don’t miss the February ‘Pigment of the month’ with more colour stories. Why compromise? Painting the future with plastic free paint #nonasties #lovepaint #therevivalofnaturalcolour #paintsmadefromplants

Follow us on instagram @eb_naturalpaint and @edward_bulmer

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new brown paint Mummy
Aerial Tint bedroom at Oka
Dove windows

Posted: January 2020