Notebook, 1993-

MATERIALS & METHODS - Painting - Aqueous Paints - Transparent Watercolor

The Pigments - The Binder - Diluents - Supports & Grounds - Equipment - Care and Display

Transparent Watercolor
The Binder

Watercolor binder is made by dissolving gum arabic in very hot distilled water.

3 ounces (av.) gum arabic
6 fluid ounces distilled water
1 and 1/2 fluid ounces glycerine

The glycerine makes it easier to dissolve the colors in water during the painting process, and small amounts of honey and sugar syrup may be added for the same purpose. Ox gall or a wetting agent used in photographic processing may be used to increase the paint's ability to spread easily.

It should be possible to make dilute washes with watercolors without causing the color to become grainy or uneven. Therefore very fine grinding is necessary. This is difficult to manage, since the gum water thickens on the grinding slab during the grinding operation. Also each pigment presents different problems in hardening or solubility, and the production of a set of watercolors requires careful adjustment of the binder recipe and the pigment binder ratios for each color. For these reasons most artists buy their colors from commercial color makers whose equipment and knowledge allows the manufacture of superior products. Excellent watercolors are available in solid cakes or in tubes.

[Kay, Reed. The Painter's Guide to Studio Methods and Materials. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1983. pp. 132-133]



The contents of this site, including all images and text, are for personal, educational, non-commercial use only. The contents of this site may not be reproduced in any form without proper reference to Text, Author, Publisher, and Date of Publication [and page #s when suitable].