Transitioning from Cadmiums

Exploring Alternatives

As an artist, I’ve always had a deep and abiding love for the rich, vibrant hues that cadmium oil paints offer. Their stunning brilliance and ability to create art that truly pops have made them a staple in my studio for years. However, recently, I’ve found myself contemplating a change. In this blog, I want to explore the idea of making the switch from cadmium oil paints to alternatives like Pyrrol Red, Hansa Yellow Medium, Hansa Yellow Deep, and Azo Orange. I’ll also discuss the importance of considering this transition, especially if you have an indoor studio and the benefits of replacing Gamsol with Linseed oil for brush cleaning.

The Love for Cadmiums

Before we dive into alternatives, let me express my enduring affection for cadmium oil paints. Their intense pigments create a visual symphony that’s hard to replicate. The deep, fiery reds, the sunny yellows, and the glowing oranges have filled my canvases with life. But, as much as I love them, it’s crucial to be aware of the potential health and environmental concerns associated with cadmium paints.

The Switch to Pyrrol Red

The Allure of Pyrrol Red (PR254)

Pyrrol Red offers a brilliant alternative to cadmium red as it doesn’t contain the toxic element cadmium which could be harmful to the artist as well as the environment if not handled with care. Its captivating qualities include:

– Vibrancy: Pyrrol Red possesses an intensity that rivals cadmium red, allowing you to create artworks that still captivate with their reds.

– Lightfastness: This alternative ensures that your art remains vivid and unfaded over time, just like cadmium.

– Opportunity for Exploration: Trying Pyrrol Red opens doors to new possibilities in your art. Its characteristics may inspire different techniques and approaches.

Embracing Hansa Yellow Medium & Deep

The Magic of Hansa Yellow Medium (PY74) and Hansa Yellow Deep (PY65)

Hansa Yellow Medium and Deep serve as wonderful substitutes for cadmium lemon and cadmium yellow. Their enchanting features include:

– Radiance: These pigments capture the essence of sunlight, providing radiant, clean yellows for your artwork.

– Transparency: They come in transparent or semi-transparent forms, making them versatile for glazing and layering techniques.

– Lightfastness: Like cadmium paints, Hansa Yellow paints promise that your art will endure with its brilliance intact.

Azo Orange: A Fiery Replacement for Cadmium Orange

The Versatility of Azo Orange (PO62)

Azo Orange steps in as a versatile and safe alternative to cadmium orange. Its qualities include:

– Versatility: Azo Orange can be mixed to create a wide range of warm and cool orange shades, allowing your creativity to flourish.

– Transparency: Depending on the type you choose, Azo Orange offers various levels of transparency, adding depth to your work.

The Transition from Gamsol to Linseed Oil

While shifting your paint colors is a significant step, don’t forget to consider your brush cleaning materials. Gamsol is commonly used but it’s possible that it emits harmful fumes, making it a less suitable option for small indoor studios. Doesn’t seem to be a problem for large, well ventilated indoor studios. Linseed oil offers a safer and equally effective alternative for those smaller places, specially if you have small children running around. You can learn more about Gamsol by going here and here.

If you work in a smaller studio, it is recommended to keep your Gamsol in a closed container and only open it when you need it, use it and put the lid back on.

Benefits of Linseed Oil for Brush Cleaning:

– Health-Friendly: Linseed oil is non-toxic, ensuring that your indoor studio remains a healthy environment.

– Sustainability: Derived from flax seeds, Linseed oil is renewable and environmentally friendly.

The only concern about using linseed oil to as a replacement for any OMS (odorless mineral spirits such as Gamsol), is that it’s slightly more difficult to get all the oil out of your brush after rinsing it in the oil. So make sure to double squeeze your brush to get as much of the oil out before you dip it into your paints. For more information on cleaning your brushes visit my Brush Love post

In conclusion, while my love for cadmium oil paints remains strong, it’s crucial to consider alternatives like Pyrrol Red, Hansa Yellow Medium, Hansa Yellow Deep, and Azo Orange. Making this switch, along with transitioning from Gamsol to Linseed oil for brush cleaning, ensures a safer and more sustainable artistic journey. By embracing these alternatives, you can continue to create art that captivates while also contributing to your health and those around you. It’s a journey of love not just for art but for a healthier, more conscious art-making process.

If you wish to try any of the products that I mentioned above, you can find them here by my preferred brands:

Pyrrole Red by M Graham

Pyrrole Red by Michael Harding

Hansa Yellow Medium by Gamblin

Hansa Yellow Deep by Gamblin

AZO Orange by M Graham

Refined Linseed Oil by Gamblin

Linseed Oil by Winsor Newton

(This post contains affiliate links! If you buy something through one of those links, you don’t pay a penny more, but I’ll get a small commission, which helps keep the lights on. Thanks!)

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