Monday, August 24, 2009

Dr. Ph. Martin's Radiant and Synchromatic Inks

So, my local art store stopped carrying Windsor Newton colored inks.

At first i felt betrayed, bewildered, other bewords, but it turned out to be a blessing. What they carry now is Dr. Ph. Martin's, which are bizzare and great. The first color i tried was "tobacco brown," a wheezy warm yellowish brown, and it was magnificently expressive worked wet-into-wet. Dark and warm when applied thick, it dilutes to yellow with very little water. Great fingering and variety of stroke on medium-absorbent paper. Another unexpected effect: "tobacco brown" is a blend of two pigments, a yellow and a purple, and the yellow (as might be expected, given the properties of earth colors and chemical colors) is way more soluble than the purple. This means that after you lay down a tone, you can flood the area with water or scrub it with a wet brush and lift away the yellow pigment, making the area shift warm. A little of this can be seen in the head of the hammer, above. I super wish you could see some of these drawings in person, 'cause it's crazy. A single ink can yield a temperature range that causes me to freak out with glee.

If a single ink can look like two inks, what can several inks do? I bought "van dyke brown" (a super warm brown, slightly pinker than burnt sienna) and "ultramarine blue" (a warm blue standby) and mixed the three in a bunch of proportions. Completely blown away by the range of colors possible; the range of base colors were not that surprising, given that i'm basically mixing red, yellow, and blue, but the pigment shifts that happened when water was added at various times were mad, calling blue out of magenta, yellow out of teal, pink and chartreuse out of indigo, like a tasteful earthtone rainbow. It's like a drawing rollercoaster! I want Dr. Ph. Martin to adopt me and take me to live in Martin Manor. You guys have got to try this.


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  2. are dr martin water soluble after drying? (permanent?)

    hmm, going through their rather lengthy technical website

    i should ask, are the ones you are using water soluble after drying? (permanent?)

    as seems they have a HUGE range

    thanks for review, I must try, only recently got back into ink, and only with a Speedball black. used Winsor & Newton years ago. Recently looking at Liquitex Acrylic Inks, as wanted to stay permanent after dry. As also use fountain pen, but they all seem to have watercolor type inks.

  3. Matthew: the permanence varies widely from pigment to pigment. The yellow in Tobacco Brown lifts off with some effort after drying; in the mix i've been using, one of the blue pigments lifts off readily after drying, while several other pigments either take more effort or don't lift at all. In general, i would expect some pigment to lift, but the tone to stay pretty consistent. You usually can't "erase" an area after it's dry, but the edges might fuzz a little.

    Thanks for finding this useful! I'm super glad to help.