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Pigmentary Portrait Info

:: Pigmentary Portraits ::

This explains the imagery I used for each color [presented in the order they appear on the site]

*is made from the roots of the madder plant [which really are red and pink in color] the pencil sketch shows the plant above ground
*I show the chemical structure of alizarin
*it was also the dye used to create the famous British Red Coats

ivory/bone black
*derived from the bones/tusks of animals [I depict an elephant and elephant vertebrae]
*the pigment was originally made by burning ivory/bones until they turned to charcoal
*carbon dating is often done on bones or old materials – carbon is also a byproduct of fire. The isotopes on the right are a representation of the carbon atoms that would help to identify the date of an item

cadmium orange
*cadmium is element #48 in the periodic table of elements
*the name cadmium comes from the Greek mythological character Kadmus – who slew a serpent dragon – depicted in the vase I rendered
*greenockite is the mineralogical name for naturally occurring cadmium sulfa – it has a hexagonal crystal structure which I’ve depicted. It was discovered on the south bank of the river Clyde a few miles west of Glasgow in Scotland

cobalt blue
*cobalt is the 27th element on the periodic table
*the hexagonal shape is related to the periodic table and also is meant to remind you of the turbines of airplanes as cobalt is used to create a super alloy that is used to create those turbines
*cobalt can also be used to create a violet, green and a yellow so the small colored squares in those colors are meant to demonstrate that. They are crossed out because in this piece I’m interested in cobalt blue

gofun shirayuki
*a Japanese pigment made from decomposed/ground innards of oyster shells
*there’s a long history of pearl diving [by women] in Japan. I depict the red roof boats and divers with their wooden collection buckets

Indian yellow
*it’s disputed if this is true, but supposedly Indian yellow comes from the urine of cows that have only been fed mango leaves. Traditionally imported from India, I show Indian cows, mangoes and some Rangavalli – sand painting patterns that are created by women for religious festivals.

*the list of blues are names that were traditionally given to all the shades of indigo dye that were available
*the circular pattern is a traditional Japanese Sashiko pattern. Sashiko is often done in an indigo color way
*indigo can be created by using e coli – the black and white image depicts a microscopic e coli image
*the piece of origami is in an indigo color way
*the plant drawing is of WOAD – a traditional means of creating indigo dye

*a straightforward representation of cross sections of the mineral
*2 depictions of the unit cell structure of malachite
*in the US malachite is mined in Arizona and Arkansas

mars violet
*a “purple” made from iron oxide – part of a family of mars colors [red, yellow, orange, brown] depicted in the dots
*you can use hematite to help generate the color – the small black w/ violet overlay image is a representation of hematite
*hematite is found in Novgorod Russia – the church pictured is the famous church of that city
*then I drew Mars the god of war but only his head as the natural equivalent of this color is known as Caput Mortuum – ‘head of the dead’
*mars violet is particularly known for the lovely lavenders it makes [thread choice]

*the name comes from Arabic : rahj al-gahr – “powder of the mine”
*it’s highly poisonous so I depicted the crystal structure of it with skull and crossbones
*it’s also used in the creation of white fireworks

yellow ochre
*can be derived from prepared pyrolysis of iron(III) chloride solution whose polyhedra I represent
*used by aboriginal peoples of Australia, I show a “key” to the symbology in their work
*one of the oldest pigments yellow ochre is found in the cave paintings of Lascaux, France so I replicated a horse from a cave painting.

tyrian purple
*comes from a mucus secretion from the hypobranchial gland of a medium-sized predatory sea snail, the marine gastropod Murex brandaris, currently known as Haustellum brandaris
*it is rumored that Hercules’ dog ate murex on the beach in Crete and came back to his master with a purple mouth. I’ve depicted a “Cretian” dog. He is wearing a crown because Tyrian purple is also know as “royal” purple [because of its high cost only royalty could afford to purchase material dyed tyrian purple]
*finally I show a Phoenician coin as Phoenician’s were the first to make this color in their city of Tyre.

*a very unstable green that comes from the patina of copper
*often made near wineries as wine making yields acetic acid, which was used to get the verdigris off of the copper, hence the copper grape leaves
*verdigris was most successfully used by Jan van Eyke [the woman drawn and her verdigris dress]
*it starts out as a bluish-green hue, but turns richer green over the course of a month [the three dots]
*verdigris comes from an alteration of French – verte grez – or vert-de-Grece – “green of Greece” thus I used the olive leaf coat of arms of Greece

*vermillion comes from cinnabar, an incredibly expensive compound, as it is very rare. Hence the vermillion dot = a pile of gold bars
*China is a major resource for cinnabar – and vermillion is used in traditional red lacquer ware – hence the pile of Chinese lotus tea cups
*the moth is a tyria jacobaeae – better known as a cinnabar moth