Levigation or Washing Pigments

Levigation or Washing Pigments

Levigation is the process of ‘reducing a substance to a fine powder or paste’. I start by putting the ground rock into a jar at least 4 times its size, and the jar is filled up with water ensuring all the particles are coated. When it is left to rest, even for as little as 10 seconds, the heavier particles fall to the bottom of the jar, while the lighter, finer particles are suspended in the water. I carefully pour off the fine particles floating in the water into a coffee filter being careful not to stir up the heavier particles on the bottom. I keep on adding water to the jar and pouring it off until it is obvious only the heavy particles remain. Sometimes you can see several different layers, it is possible to pour off each layer and have several different particle sizes, however I keep all the suitable particles together.

Allow the pigment water to strain through the filter paper untouched as the filter paper can be quite fragile and tear apart. The water coming through the filter paper should be reasonably clear, if it is coming out coloured, then use several filter papers at once. Once the water has strained through, the coffee filter papers are laid out flat and left to dry out. Once dry, the pigment is scraped off the paper into a container and then they are ground once more and stored to be made paint.

I keep the heavier particles at the bottom of the jar and left the water to evaporate off and once dry re grind them to a smaller size and levigate it again. Once dry, they can be ground once more and stored to be made paint or discarded. The heavier particles, if used to make paint, may leave a grainy texture to your finished paint, (although it does have to go through another grinding process called mulling which may help a little). You should experiment with the styles you like as you may find that you like a grainy texture to some paints for a specific purpose.

"This is the Lord's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes" Psalm 118:23

Thanks for contacting Hebron Outdoor Ministries. If you have questions or comments, we'll be very happy to talk to you. Send us a message and we will get back to you as soon as possible.