How to Make Paint out of Charcoal

Video Version:


 For my second natural pigment series I will be attempting to turn activated charcoal into oil paint.  I got the charcoal that I’m using on amazon and it’s very fine and also very messy- which is actually a great characteristic of pigments.

Activated charcoal

I start by placing my charcoal on a glass slab and add a few drops of walnut alkyd to it. Walnut alkyd is my favorite medium because it dries quite quickly and is very stable. However, linseed oil is the most commonly used.

I then start mulling the pain with my diy oil muller towards a consistency that’s smooth and buttery.

I decide to test the charcoal paint out on a piece of primed canvas. I paint the color as it is, another patch for the color mixed with white and I usually mix with black but its already black so that would be pretty redundant. I instead made a gradient going from the lightest washes of the charcoal to its darkest. I personally think that its a very pleasant black.  

I usually like to carry out tests on these pigments, usually evaluating them against 3 criteria: colorfastness, light fastness, and the experience of using and handling them. However, I already know that charcoal is very light and color fast so it will have to already have full points for those.

For the overall experience (handling) I would have to get back to you after 5 weeks and seeing how it dried.

Its been five weeks since I’ve made the charcoal paint test. My biggest fear with charcoal was that it wouldn’t bond properly, and unfortunately I was right. The charcoal came right off which makes me very hesitant to want to use it again. I feel like I mulled it well enough, which makes me think maybe charcoal doesn’t work with walnut alkyd. Let me know what you think I could do to try to fix this! It’s beautiful but it has too major of a flaw.


Materials Used: 

US:

 Activated Charcoal: http://amzn.to/2wideMG 

Washing Soda: http://amzn.to/2wSFUzs 

Alum: http://amzn.to/2jfRlMX 

Walnut Alkyd: http://amzn.to/2xXgpvp 

Acrylic Medium: http://amzn.to/2xXZ9Gt

 Decent Pallette Knife: http://amzn.to/2gV50Ey 

 UK: 

Activated Charcoal: http://amzn.to/2xUf9Z1 

Washing Soda: http://amzn.to/2eWsQCY 

Alum: http://amzn.to/2xeuVRl 

Walnut Alkyd:http://amzn.to/2eXSyag 

Acrylic Medium: http://amzn.to/2xdWytM 

Decent Pallette Knife:http://amzn.to/2eXUYps 

Using Format