|Search the Color of Art Pigment Database
Artist Paint and Pigments Resource with Color Index Names, Pigment Codes, Color Index Numbers and Chemical Composition
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The Color of Art Pigment Database is a reference artist paint & pigment chart for all creative artists, craftsmen or craftswomen that use color in their artwork or craft creations. I have sorted the artist's paint and pigment colors by color index name (pigment code) making it easy to look up the Colour Index International pigment identification code printed on the paint tube or pigment label. Only single pigment artist paints or pigments will be listed in The color of Art Pigment Database charts. For the purposes of this database co-precipitated or intimate pigment mixtures that have a listing in the Color Index with a distinct pigment number will also be included, as well as historical and other natural mineral pigments of varying composition that are not listed in the Colour Index but may be of interest to creative artists to use in thier work.
The marketing names of artist's pigments including oil paints and watercolors, acrylics or tempera and aqueous dispersions, or any other artist colors, often have little or no relationship to the pigment chemicals they are actually made from. artist supply and pigment manufacturers may name their paints anything they choose and often name the pigments and paints with misleading color names, or are descriptive of the hue color and not the actual pigment. Fortunately most companies conform to the ASTM standards and print the actual pigment C. I. names (color index pigment names) on the oil paints or watercolor's tube/block/container/etc. of paint or dry pigment. The Color Index Generic Names and Color Index Constitution Numbers are voluntary standards of ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials
), CII (Colour Index International
), AATCC (American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists
), and the SDC (Society of Dyers and Colourists
). I would be very wary of making a purchase of artist paints or artist's pigments that do not conform to the ASTM specification D 4302-05 and include the CI pigment names and generic pigment names on the label. Without the pigment names or C. I. numbers you have no way of knowing what's in the paint and that you are actually getting what you pay for. Many cheap pigments and pigment mixtures can make paints of good hue and handling characteristics, but if your paying $40.00 or more for a 37 ml tube of Cerulean Blue and it is actually Phthalo Blue and Titanium White you are getting ripped off. The only way to make sure artist paint suppliers and manufacturers conform and include proper pigment labeling is to demand to know what pigments they are using and refuse to buy from the paint makers and colormen that don't.
The information collected here on Color Index Names and Color Index Constitution Numbers including common artists pigment and artist's paint names, along with chemical composition, oil absorption, light fastness and toxicology hazards will help you sort out the sometimes misleading information on artist materials. This information on pigment hazards, including MSDS sheets, and chemical composition should help those artists concerned about health, allergies and the effect art materials may have on the environment. The Pigment Database reference will also help those artists' who make their own oil colors, watercolors or other creative paints in choosing pigments for experimentation.
Most of the information was collected from the pigment specifications published by the paint and pigment manufacturers or art material suppliers. i also used many historical or contemporary art books including pigment & industrial coatings trade books & references. The color index names of artist pigments and color index numbers, information on whether a pigment is opaque or transparent, if it is fast to light, it's chemical formula, and the hazards of art materials information is meant to provide you with resource information and references
that may be used as a starting point for your own research and tests
. Between brands, manufacturers, formulas, purtiy of the pigments and production processes there are so many factors that can influence paint properties that it is impossible to give an absolute degrees of light fastness, safety or color hue. It should be also known that many pigment qualities, their fastness, durability and origins are rumors or myths and misconceptions repeated over and over until they accepted as fact without any scientific proof. I have included References when available, see the notes below and my totally and completely Free art books page for more reference and resource information.
Although I have made every effort to insure all pigment information and reference specifications are correct (see bibliography
for more complete reference sources), I can not guarantee
the accuracy of the Information or the suitability for any particular artistic application or process. If you notice any errors or omissions please write me so that I can keep the Color of art Pigment Database up to date, most accurate and thorough reference of it's kind anywhere in the world for free: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you appreciate this resource, purchasing from the art supplier's links that are scattered throughout the site will help support this site and allow me to keep it up & running. Thanks!
|Quick Jump Chart
|Jump to C.I. Pigment Yellow Number:
|NY 2, NY 3, NY 6, NY 9. NY 11, NY 13, NY 20, NY 24,
PY 1, PY 1:1, PY 2, PY 3, PY 4, PY 5, PY 6, PY 9, PY 10, PY 12. PY 13, PY 14, PY 16, PY 17, PY 21, PY 24, PY 30, PY 31, PY 32, PY 33, PY 34, PY 34:1, PY 35, PY 35:1, PY 36, PY 36:1, PY 37, PY 37:1, PY 38, PY 39, PY 39, PY 40, PY 41, PY 42, PY 43 PY44, PY45, PY 46, PY 47, PY 48, PY 53, PY 55, PY 61, PY 62, PY 62:1, PY 63, PY 65, PY 73, PY 74, PY 75, PY 77, PY 81, PY 83, PY 87, PY 93, PY 94, PY 95, PY 97, PY 98, PY 100, PY 101, PY 104, PY 105, PY 108, PY 109, PY 110, PY 111, PY 112, PY 113, PY 115, PY 116. PY 117, PY 118, PY 119, PY 120, PY 126, PY 127, PY 127:1, PY 128, PY 129, PY 130, PY 133, PY 134, PY 136, PY 137, PY138, PY 139, PY 147, PY 148, PY 150, PY 151, PY 152, PY 153, PY 154, PY 155, PY 156, PY PY 172, PY 173, PY 174, PY 175, PY 176, PY 179, PY 180, PY 181, PY 182, PY 183, PY 184, PY 185, PY 188, PY 189, PY 190, PY 191, PY 191:1, PY 192, PY 193. PY 194, PY 200, PY 203, PY 204, PY 207, PY 216, PY 219, PY 223, PY 224, PY 226, NEW!: PY227
Bile Yellow; Jarosite; Lead-Tin Antimony Yellow; Lead-tin Yellow, type I; Lead-tin yellow, type II; Limonite; Mori Yellow; Basic Mercury Sulfate; Pararealgar; Platina Yellow; Safflower; Tungsten Yellow
|Jump to C.I. Pigment Orange Number:
|NO 2. NO 4, NO 5, NO 6,
PO 1, PO 2, PO 3, PO 5, PO 13, PO 16, PO 17, PO 17:1, PO 20, PO 20:1, PO 21, PO 21:1, PO 23, PO 23:1, PO 34, PO 36, PO 38, PO 40, PO 41, PO 43, PO 45, PO 46, PO 47, PO 48, PO 49, PO 51, PO 52, PO 53, PO 59, PO 60, PO 61, PO 62, PO 64, PO 65, PO 66, PO 67, PO 68, PO 69, PO 71, PO 72, PO 73, PO 74, PO 75, PO 77, PO 78, PO 79, PO 80, PO 81, PO84, PO 86, PO 206,
Antimony Orange; Chamotte; IRGAZIN Orange 2037; Kibeni Orange; Lead-tin Orange; MayaCrom Orange OR2800; Mineral Orange; Realgar;
|Jump to C.I. Pigment Red Number:
|NR 1. NR 2, NR 3, NR 4, NR 6, NR 8, NR 9, NR 10, NR 11, NR 12, NR 16, NR 20, NR 22, NR 23, NR 24, NR 25, NR 26, NR 28, NR 31,
PR 1, PR 2, PR 3, PR 4, PR 5, PR 6, PR 7, PR 8, PR 9, PR 12, ;PR 13, ;PR 14, PR 15, PR 17, PR 19, PR 21, PR 22, PR 23, PR 31, PR 32, PR 38, PR 39, PR 47, PR 48, tPR 48:1, PR 48:2, PR 48:3, PR 48:4, PR 49, PR 49:1, PR 49:2, PR 52:1, PR 52:2, PR 53, PR 53:1, PR 57, PR 57:1, PR 57:2, PR 58:4, PR 60, PR 60:1, PR 61, PR 62, PR 63, PR 63:1, PR 69, PR 81, PR 81:1, PR 81:2, PR 81:3, PR 81:4, PR 83, PR 83:1, PR 83:3, PR 85, PR 88, PR 89, PR 90, PR 90:1, PR 101, PR 101:1, PR 102, PR 103, PR 104, PR 105, PR 106, PR 107, PR 108, PR 108:1, PR 109, PR 112, PR 113, PR 113:1, PR 114, PR 119, PR 120, PR 121, PR 122, PR 123, PR 139, PR 144, PR 146, PR 147, PR 148, PR 149, PR 150, PR 160, PR166, PR 168, PR 169, PR 170, PR 170:1, PR 171, PR 172, PR 173, PR 174, PR 175, PR 176, PR 177, PR 178, PR 179, PR 180, PR 181, PR 183, PR 184, PR 185, PR 187, PR 188, PR 190, PR 192, PR 193, PR 194, PR 200, PR 202, PR 204, PR 206, PR 207, PR 208, PR 209, PR 210, PR 211, PR 212, PR 213, PR214, PR 216, PR221, PR 223, PR 224, PR 226, PR 230, PR 231, PR 232, PR 233, PR 235, PR 236, PR 238, PR 239, PR 242, PR 243, PR 245, PR 251, PR 252, PR 253, PR 254, PR 255, PR 256, PR 257, PR 258, PR 259, PR 260, PR 262, PR 264, PR 265, PR 266, PR 268, PR 269, PR 270, PR 271, PR 272, PR 273, PR 274, PR 275, PR 276, PR 279, PR 282, PR 286, PR 287, PR 288, PR 571?,
Cinnabar; Cobalt Red; Egyptian Red Gold; Fuchsite; Garnet; Granite; Piemontite; Pipestone; Pozzuolana Red Earth; Quinacridone pyrrolidone PR; Realgar; Red Coral; Red Jasper; Red Powdered Glass; Red Porphyry; Rhodonite; Sedona
|Jump to C.I. Pigment Violet Number:
PV 1, PV 1:1, PV 1:2, PV 2, PV 2:2, PV 3, PV 3:1, PV 3:3 PV 5, PV 5:1, PV 7, PV 13, PV 14, PV 15, PV 16, PV 18, PV 19, PV 23, PV 25, PV 27, PV 29, PV 31, ;PV 32, PV 36, PV 37, PV39, PV 42, PV 44, PV 47, PV 48, PV 49, PV 50, PV55, PV 58, PV 171,
Amethyst; Cobalt Arsenate; Copper Violet; Violet Hematit; Folium; Han Purple; Manganous Phosphate; Purple Sugilite; Purpurite; Silver chromate; Vesuvianite
|Jump to C.I. Pigment Blue Number:
|NB 1, NB 2,
PB 1, PB 1:2; PB 9, PB 15; PB 15:1, PB 15:2, PB 15:3, PB 15:4, PB 15:6, PB 15:34; PB 16, ;PB 17, PB 24, PB 25, PB 27, PB 28, PB 29, PB 30, PB 31, PB 34, PB 35; PB 36; PB 36:1, PB 60, PB 61, PB 61:1, PB 62, PB 63, PB 66, PB 68, PB 71, PB 72, PB 73, PB 74, PB 75, PB 76, PB 79, PB 80, PB 81, PB 82, PB 84, PB 128,
Aerinite; Apatite; Azurite; Cavansite; Copper Blue; Cupric Hydroxide; Han Blue; Kinoite; Kyanite; Lapis Lazuli; Manganese Oxide Blue; Mayan Blue; Pentagonite; Ploss Blue; Riebeckite; Sodalite; Tungsten Blue; Turquoise; Ultramarine Ash; Vivianite; Zinc Iron Ferricyanide
|Jump to C.I. Pigment Green Number:
|NG 1, NG 2.
PG 1, PG 2, PG 4, PG 7, PG 8, PG 10, PG 13, PG 14, PG 15, PG 16, PG 17, PG 17 Blk, PG 18, PG 19, PG 20, PG 21, PG 22, PG 23, PG 24, PG 26, PG 36, PG 38, PG 39, PG 41, PG 42, PG 45, PG 48, PG 50, PG 51, PG 55, PG 56,
Amazonite; Atacamite; Barium Manganate; Celadonite; Conichalcite; Copper Green; Copper Resinate; Chromium Phosphate; Dioptase; Diopside; Egyptian Green; Fuchsite; Green Apatite; Green Bice; Jadeite; Malachite; Serpentin; Tourmaline; Volkonskoite; Zoisite
|Jump to C.I. Pigment Brown Number:
|NBk 6, NBr 3, NBr 6, NBr 7, NBr 8, NBr 9, NBr 11,
PBr 1, PBr 6, PBr 7, PBr 8, PBr 9, PBr 10, PBr 11, PBr 12, PBr 22, PBr 23, PBr 24, PBr 25, PBr 27, PBr 29, PBr 30, PBr 31, PBr 33, PBr 34, PBr 35, PBr 37, PBr 39, PBr 40, PBr 41, PBr 42; PBr 43, PBr 44, PBr 45, PBr 46,
Augite; Bronzite; Egyptian Mummy; Goethite; Hematite; Manganous Chromate; Sicklerite; Siderite; Tigers Eye
|Jump to C.I. Pigment Black Number:
|NBk 1, NBk 2, NBk 3, NBk 4, NBk 6,
PBk 1, PBk 6, Shungite, PBk 7, PBk 8, PBk 9, PBk 10, PBk 11, PBk 12, PBk 13, PBk 14, PG 17 Blk, PBk 17, PBk 18, PBk 19, PBk 22, PBk 23, PBk 24, PBk 25, PBk 26, PBk 27, PBk 28, PBk 29, PBk 30, PBk 31, PBk 32, PBk 33, PBk 34, PBk 35,
Acetylene Black; Antimony Black; Black Earth; Black Hematite; Black Tourmaline;
Cobaltic Oxide; Cuprous Sulfide; Hartshorn Black; Ivory Black; Lead Sulphide; MagnetitePyrolusite;
|Jump to C.I. Pigment White Number:
PW 1, PW 2. PW 3, PW 4, PW 5, PW 6, PW 6:1, PW 7, PW 8, PW 10, PW 11, PW 12, PW 13, PW 14, PW 15, PW 16, PW 17, PW 18, PW 18:1, PW 19, PW 20, PW 21, PW 22, PW 23, PW 24, PW 25, PW 26, PW 27, PW 28, PW 30, PW 32, PW 33,
Bone White; Ceramic White; Diamond Powder; Egg Shells; Hartshorn; Lead Chloride Hydroxide; Lead Phosphite; Lime White; Manganese Carbonate; Oyster Shells
|Jump to a C.I. Pigment Metal Number, Inert Additives, Natural Pigments and Minerals, or Oil Paint Driers:
|PM1, PM2, PM3, PM4, PM5, PM6,
Bismuth Powder; Iron; Metallic Silver;
Stainless Steel Powder;
Inert Pigments, Additives and Fillers;
Miscellaneous Historic Natural Pigments, Mineral Pigments, Unclassified and Exotic Pigments;
Oil Paint Driers and Siccative Mediums
|PAINT AND PIGMENT REFERANCE TABLE KEY: Page Top ^
Color Index Name Code:
This is the official code given by the Color Index International for that particular pigment. The first 2 letters describe the general pigment color and the number is the individual pigment identifier. N/A (not applicable) means that pigment has not been given a color index name or number.
PY = Pigment Yellow;
PO = Pigment Orange;
PR = Pigment Red;
PV = Pigment Violet;
PB = Pigment Blue;
PG = Pigment Green;
PBr = Pigment Brown;
PBk = Pigment Black;
PW = Pigment White;
PM = Pigment Metal
CI (Color Index) Pigment Name:
This is the official name given in the Color Index (third edition, 1997), or the name the first manufacturer or original patent holder has given that pigment, in a few instances where neither of the previous are available, I have used the actual chemical name. Where a pigment has no color index name, I have used the traditional historic name or the mineral/chemical names.
Common, Historic and Marketing Names:
These are the various names that have been used for that pigment whether or not it is the correct usage. This is NOT an endorsement of any name but merely a collection of names that are in common usage or have been used. They have been culled (in order of importance) from paint manufacturer and supplier literature, The Color Index, Third edition (1997), Historical Books on pigments and art (see Free Art e-Books), Artist manuals and handbooks (see the bottom of the Pigment Database's main page for a complete list of reference works), various dictionaries and encyclopedias (old and new), and various web sites in particular AMIEN.org, Dick Blick Artist Supply, Handprint.com, Natural Pigments, Kama Pigments, Sinopia Pigments, PCImag.com and Kremer Pigments, along with the paint, chemical and pigment manufacture sites.
Marketing names given by paint manufacturers are often misleading, deceptive or descriptive of the color and not the actual pigment. Where there is a common historic name associated with that pigment I have used "GEN" to denote the generic common historically accepted name of that particular pigment. When a manufacturer has used a common historical name for a pigment that is not the accepted traditional historic pigment name, I have indicated it with the "(hue)" designation.
C.I. (Color Index) Pigment # (number):
These are the chemical composition number given that pigment by the Color Index International (see Colour Index Number Categories here)
These are the basic chemical names, or mineral names along with chemical composition. Where I can fine them, I have included CAS numbers. Sometimes multiple names are given because chemical names can be stated in different ways or the pigment is a group of chemicals rather than a single one. I have not included detailed chemical descriptions or analyses but only basic information that should help you find further information. I have included references designated with "(Ref)" where further information can be attained.
This is a general attempt to explain the hue in plain english. The perception of color is as individual as the the people viewing it and any such description can not be completely accurate, but merely give a general idea of the what color looks like to the average person. I have not in all cases used any of the attempted means of standardizing color descriptions for this, but where the pigment is included in the Color Index International Pigments and Solvent Dyes (The Society of Dyers and colourists, third edition), I have used that description, when not, I have used other reference sources in particularly manufacturer or supplier literature.
The opacity and transparency is only a general reference, where available, i have used the Color index's designation or manufacturers literature to arrive at this figure. Many pigments exist in both transparent and opaque versions, or can be manipulated by the paint or pigment manufactures for a particular purpose. A general designation such as given will not always be the case in any particular formulation.
1 = Opaque,
2 = Semi-Opaque,
3 = Semi-Transparent,
4 = Transparent
Light Fastness Rating**:
The light fastness rating is only a general reference, where available i have used the ASTM or manufacturers literature to arrive at this figure. The ASTM has not rated all pigments, so this rating in this database will not always be the ASTM rating but a rating culled from other sources, most importantly manufactures literature. The ASTM ratings have a 5 increment scale and the blue-wool scale is 8, in this database lighfastness ratings have been condensed or averaged to a less specific 4 designations. I can can not cover every possible paint, binder, or pigment formulation in this chart as it would take too much time and space; there are so many variables as to make this designation, in this database, of only marginal use. In particular the quality of the actual pigment manufacture has much influence on a pigments fastness to light, heat and other chemicals. Additives, binder, and many other factors all have a influence on light fastness or fastness to other environmental influences. Whether a paint is watercolor, oil color, tempera, etc. has an effect on light fastness. Varnishes and other treatments to the painting surface or support can have an influence too. The only way to be sure, is to make your own tests on the paint or pigment you have. Reference the following: (ASTM D4303 - 10 opens new window); (AMIEN.org Thread - opens new window)
I = Excellent,
II = Good,
III = Poor,
IV = Fugitive/Very Poor
Oil Absorption: is in ml/100mg
The oil absorption figure has been arrived at from the pigment manufacturer's literature or artist reference sources (see the bottom of the Pigment Database's main page for a complete list of reference works).
When the specific numbers are unavailable: H = High, M = Medium, L = Low
The hazardous properties is a general designation of a possible hazard. It is assumed intelligent people will use at least ordinary care when handling all paints or pigments. The designation has been arrived at from, in most cases, the manufacturer's literature, MSDS sheets at the Oxford University Chemical Laboratory., or the City of Tucson's Environmental Management Division's searchable database of Health & Safety in the Arts. All paints and especially dry pigments can be hazardous if carelessly handled, but if handled properly with common sense all but the most dangerous can be used safely.
A = Low hazard, but do not handle carelessly;
B = Possible Hazard if improperly or carelessly handled;
C = Hazardous, use appropriate precautions for handling mildly toxic substances;
D = Extremely Toxic, only attempt working with this pigment (especially the dry form) in laboratory like conditions and with proper safety equipment (see "Prudent practices in the laboratory: handling and disposal of chemicals" at google books opens new window; or PDF format here);
These are typically interesting things I have read, or information collected on a pigment that may be worth further study. They are NOT statements of absolute fact. Many pigment qualities are rumors, old wife's tales and misconceptions repeated over and over until they accepted as fact without any scientific proof. References (Ref) may be provided.
(hue) = When the word "hue" in in parenthesis (hue), it refers to a hue color not designated on the label, when the word "hue" is not in parenthesis is part of the pigment name as per ASTM guidelines.
(Ref) = A link to a reference source. This may be the source of the information I have given. or a link to more detailed information.
? = a question mark next to a name, note, or data code indicates that it may or may not be correct information due to conflicting information, questionable reference, possible typo or other discrepancies in the manufacturer or other reference documentation. Further study is needed to clarify.
†Effects of long term light exposure are given when known, this may allow an artist to anticipate color changes and possibly use them as an advantage.
These effects are all relative to the pigments inherent light fastness and may take decades or even centuries in museum conditions to be visible.
Fades = Becomes more Transparent; Lightens = Loses chroma but maintains
relative transparency or opaque character; Whitens = Becomes lighter and more opaque; Darkens = Becomes darker but retains hue; Dulls = Loses chroma towards neutral; Blackens = Turns very dark or black losing chroma; Hue shift = Changes hue towards a different color
|Paint or Pigment Manufacturer Code & Art Medium:***** Key Top ^, Page Top^
|Paint/Pigment Manufacturer Code:
(links below are to the official manufacturer web site and will open in a new window)
|Art medium or binder code: Key Top ^, Page Top^
Clicking on the paint or pigment manufacturer code next to the pigment name will take you off site where more information can be found. The link will most often take you to an art supplier where you can find more specific art medium or paint binder info, purchasing source, pigment properties, pigment history, MSDS sheets, and whether it is the artist premium or student economy grade.
d in italics next to the pigment manufacturer or art supplier code indicates a discontinued pigment or paint.
All art medium or binder codes in italics mean the pigment under that name is in the "student" or economy grade, not the "artist's" grade paint.
a = Acrylic Paint;
ad = Aqueous pigment dispersions;
af = Fluid Acylics or Airbrush Colors;
ag = Acrylic Gouache or Matte Acrylic Paints;
av = Acrylic Vinyl Paints;
k = Alkyd paints;
c = Casein or milk paint;
e = Encaustic paints;
g = Gouache;
i = Ink (printing ink or pigmented drawing inks);
o = Oil Paint;
os = Oil sticks, Oil Bars, Oil Base Pigment Sticks;
p = Dry Pigment;
t = Tempera or Egg Tempera;
w = Watercolor Paint;
ws = Watercolor sticks, Watercolor Base Pigment Sticks or Bars;
wo = Water mixable oil paint or water soluble oil paint.
Other than gouache, only single pigment paints and pigments are included. Gouache is designated distinct from watercolors because it is often mixed with white or additives to make it matte and/or opaque and that is not usually indicated on the paint manufactures literature. Clicking on the art medium code will give you more specific paint binder information. Clicking on the art supplier's artistic medium code will also take you to more information on the paint pigment that may include: whether it is the "artists" premium or "student" grade, MSDS sheets, pigment history and additional artist paints or pigments hazard & environmental information.
Other art material or medium forms such as pastel, oil pastels, dyes and ceramic glazes will not be designated with a artists medium or binder code, but may still be listed under the pigment name with a company code.
+++++In all cases clicking on the art medium/binder code will take you off site to where you can find more information and-or a purchasing source. If you find this site helpful you can help support this site by purchasing through these links. Thanks, and I hope I can continue to make this information available and current. The above links in this key are to the actual manufactures official sites.
* The level of opacity-transparency can vary from one extreme to the other even in the same pigment. Slight chemical variations, inert additives, crystal or particle shape and size are commonly used by pigment manufactures and paint makers to tailor the pigment to a specific application. Variations in pigment composition from natural sources, impurities and purification can also effect opacity. The binders used and amount of grinding effect transparency of the paint, a pigment in watercolor may be opaque where the same pigment in oil paints may be transparent. I have used mostly the artist paint or pigment manufacturers rating, published refractive index numbers or other pigment/paint manufacturer info of the most common pigment forms used by artists to determine transparency. Your results may vary.
** Light fastness of pigments and paint colors can vary widely even within the same pigment. Manufacturing process, purity, particle size, binder, additives and fillers all have an effect on light fastness and pigment stability. I have used the ASTM light fastness test results when available, and when unavailable, I have used the manufacturer data sheets and/or individual tests for the ratings. Use the information provided only as a general indication of light fastness in art museum conditions, you should always make your own tests on the final paint formulation.
*** The actual toxic hazards of artist materials in real world practice can be debated. Many pigments and artist's paints are toxic if you ate them, but with a little common sense there is really very little hazard especially with pre-made artist paints. Do not smoke, eat or drink in or near the vicinity of pigments, paints and solvents. Do not put your hands or brushes in your mouth or near your face. Even after they've been cleaned artist brushes may still have traces of paint left in them, so never use your month to point the brush.
Dry pigment powders pose the greatest hazard because they can more easily be inhaled or ingested. Dry powdered pigments can also cling to surfaces, hands or clothing and can be spread and blown about contaminating other areas.
However some simple basic safety precautions can eliminate or reduce hazards to minimal levels. Do not smoke, eat or drink in or near the vicinity of powdered pigments. Do not put your hands in your mouth or near your face. Wash your hands often or use protective gloves. Work in an area safely away from food, pets and children. Dispose of waste in a environmentally friendly way that makes it hard for children or pets to get in to. It is wise to wear rubber gloves and a dust mask whenever working with powdered pigments even those thought to be generally safe.
Colors can also very widely within the same pigment. Art medium and binders have a huge effect on the actual hue of a pigment or artist paint. A pigment in watercolor may be much lighter, darker, brighter or duller than the same artist pigment in oil paint and visa-versa. The color hue of most synthetic pigments can be changed by manipulating particle size and by changing chemical ratios during the manufacturing process. Cadmium colors are an example of the later where slight deferences in the amounts of selenium and zinc sulfide added during the creation process can change colors from pale yellow to a deep dark red and everything in between.
Natural earth pigments and mineral pigments can be almost any color imaginable. Natural iron oxide pigments can vary from dull yellow to bright red to black depending on the different amounts and types of iron oxides present in the mineral deposit. Processing of earth pigments also has a huge impact on the color hue. Heating minerals at a high temperature (i.e. Burnt Sienna, burnt ochre) can totally change the pigment color. Particle Size and amount of grinding when making paint also have great effect on the final color hue of natural pigments.
When the word "hue" is in parenthesis (hue), it designates an artist color hue that is an approximation of the historical artist's pigment that is not actually part of the paint or pigment manufacturer's marketing name. Not including the word hue in the historical paint or historical pigment name may mislead some to believe it is the genuine historical pigment. When not in parenthesis, it is actually used as part of the artists paint or pigment manufacturer's color name as per the ASTM guidelines.
Artist paint suppliers sometimes use other words to designate a pigment hue or mixed color, for instance, some of them are as follows: Extra, Substitute, Modern, New, Nova, and also the historical name followed or prefixed by part of the real pigment name (i.e. Cerulean Blue Phthalo). I believe that some of these pigment hue name designations to be a little less than honest.
A hue substitution for a historical artist's color or natural pigment does not mean it's lower quality paint. Many hues use modern lightfast pigments and generally are much less toxic than the historically traditional pigments. I just think art supply manufacturers should be more up front about it.
The side notes are intended as additional pigment information that may be useful to the artist or worth further study. Many of these notes may be opinion (not necessarily my own), rumor, word of mouth or personal experience and meant as starting point for further research. When possible, next to the comment I have included a link to a reference source in parenthesis (Ref),
The notes were collected from many sources including pigment and art supply manufacturer's literature, art and pigment reference books, artist magazines, art supplier or pigment company's web sites and artist forums. One should always be prepared to do further research into any definitive statements on art materials because many of the "facts" may be debatable even amongst experts. There are many age old myths about artist's paints, art techniques, historical artist materials and natural pigments passed down through the decades with little, if any, scientific proof.
The information here is free and provided "as is", I make no warranty as to the accuracy of the statements. Pigments and making paint are a hobby of mine, I am not, nor do I purport to be an expert authority on the subject of art materials, and this document should be read with that in mind. However if you find any inaccuracies or mistakes please e-mail me and I will research the information and correct or add to it if I feel it's needed.
Some pigment information may be incomplete. A blank cell means that I have not found valid information on that pigment property or it is not applicable (N/A). A question mark next to any information means that the information may be questionable and needs further study. Pigments that have little potential value to artists have been omitted, but may be added at a later date if the pigment has been discovered to be useful to artists. Many pigments have been withdrawn from the color index but are still included here as one may find old storage of pigments and artist paints. I have also indicated the marketing name brand of artist paints and pigments that are no longer available too, as old paint tubes and pigments may be still be found.
All pigment information was collected from a variety of artist's reference books, art related web sites, paint or pigment manufactures literature and art related forums. Although I have tried to be as accurate as possible a full note for note listing of sources (see below for a reference list) is beyond the scope of this document.
Check out my new totally free art books page, for lots of great public domain art books & e-books.
Top ^ Bibliography of References and Sources
Historical Artist and Pigment Reference Sources: This is just a partial list, for a more complete listing of Historical Pigment References see the Free Art Books Page.
The Industrial and Artistic Technology of Paint and Varnish, By Alvah Horton Sabin, Published by J. Wiley & Sons, 1904
The Painters' Encyclopaedia, By Franklin B. Gardner, Published by M.T. Richardson, 1887
The Science of Painting, By Jehan Georges Vibert, Published by P. Young, 1892
A Treatise on Painting, By Cennino Cennini, Giuseppe Tambroni, Mary Philadelphia Merrifield, Translated by Mary Philadelphia Merrifield, Published by Lumley, 1844
A Treatise on Painting,
By Leonardo Da Vinci, John Francis Rigaud, Published by J.B. Nichols and Son 1835
The Book of the Art of Cennino Cennini, By Cennino Cennini, Cennini, Christiana Jane Powell Herringham, Translated by Christiana Jane Powell Herringham, Published by G. Allen & Unwin, ltd., 1899
The Chemistry of Paints and Painting, By Arthur Herbert Church, Published by Seeley, 1901
A Handbook for Painters and Art Students on the Character and Use of Colours, By William J. Muckley, Published by Baillière, Tindall, and Cox, 1880
The Household Cyclopedia, By Henry Hartshorne 1881
The Chemistry of Pigments, By Ernest John Parry, John Henry Coste, Published by Scott, Greenwood, 1902
Facts about Processes, Pigments and Vehicles: A Manual for Art Student, By Arthur Pillans Laurie, Published by Macmillan, 1895
The Manufacture Of Earth Colours:By DR. JOSEF BERSCH,
translated by CHARLES SALTER,SCOTT, GREENWOOD & SON
, 1921 Link
Materials for Permanent Painting, By Maximilian Toch 1911
Modern Pigment and Artist Reference Sources:
Color Index International Pigments and Solvent Dyes, The Society of Dyers and colourists, third edition
The Artist's Handbook of Materials and Techniques, Third edition, by Ralph Mayer; Viking Press 1979
The Painter's Handbook, Mark David Gottsegen; Watson-Guptill Publications 1993
Painting Materials A Short Encyclopaedia, by Rutherford J. Gettens and George L. Stout; Dover Publications 1966
Pigment Compendium, by Nicholas Eastaugh,
Ruth Siddall; Butterworth Heinemann 2004
The Artist’s Handbook, by Pip Seymour, Arcturus Publishing (September 16, 2003)
The Artist's Handbook, Revised Edition , Ray Smith; DK Publishing 2003
Collins Artist's Colour Manual, Simon Jennings; HarperCollins Publishers 2003
Web Resources and Art Suppliers with Excellent Reference Materials:
AMIEN, a resource for artists dedicated to providing the most comprehensive, up-to-date, accurate, and unbiased factual information about artists' materials
Coloria.net, a large and thorough site on pigments, in Finnish http://www.coloria.net/index.htm
The Handprint,com; site by Bruce MacEvoy has loads of excellent information on watercolor pigments and Has a excellent color wheel showing where the actual pigments are in color space. Truly an awesome site, the site is directed at watercolors, but is a good general reference for any paints or pigments.
Webexhibits.org; Great pigment sight that even includes step by step instructions for making you own pigments.
The Real Color Wheel; by Don Jusko is also a great color site.
Studiomara; has a fantastic pigment reference database sorted by the marketing paint color name and brand.
Health and Safety in the arts; A Searchable Database of Health & Safety Information for Artists
Household Products Database; Health and safety information on household products from the US Department of Health and Human Services
Natural Pigments: One of the best sources of rare natural and historical pigments and information.
MSDS Sheets; for a huge amount of chemicals and artists pigments at Oxford University Chemical Laboratory.
Pigments and their Chemical and Artistic Properties; by Julie C. Sparks, is part of The Painted Word Site. Wonderful stuff.
Paintmaking.com: By Tony Johansen, Great Paint making site with all types of useful pigment and binder information for the artist.
PCImag.com; Paint & Coatings Indusry
2010 Additives Handbook by Darlene Brezinski, Dr. Joseph V. Koleske, Robert Springate, June 4, 2010;
A History of Pigment Use in Western Art Part 1;
A History of Pigment Use in Western Art Part 2
Dick Blick Artist Supply: Full Range of art supplies at discount prices and has pigment info on most paints they sell
Kremer Pigmente Europe / Kremer Pigments USA site; Has a huge amount of pigments and information.
Earth Pigments: Specializes in earth pigments.
Guerra Paint and Pigments: Many rare and out of production Pigments mostly in aqueous dispersions
Sinopia: Lots of Pigments & info
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Artist's paint and pigments color reference chart, Color Index Name and Chemical Constitution of oil colors, watercolors, inks, goauche, or any other type of artist paints. "Art is creation, and creative creativity is artistic creation"