Saturday, June 16, 2007

Making my own oil paint

Today I was finally able to make oil paints. I had some oxide colorants that I bought from soapmaking suppliers. I don't like to color my soap with oxides (too messy) so I saved them for this purpose.

It's a very simple process consisting of powdered pigment and linseed oil (your choice of boiled, sun-thickened, raw, unrefined). My first conquest was red oxide pigment.

This is after I mixed the pigment and boiled linseed oil with my palette knife:

Next I mulled the pigment to disperse the pigment better. This step is optional, but produces a much more even pigmentation in the paint.

This is the finished paint in a jar. It could be a little stiffer, but will work fine for my novice brush. :)

The second was titanium dioxide (this is the same titanium dioxide used in cosmetics) and the boiled linseed oil. I think next time I will use poppy oil for a more brilliant white.

Here is a detail of a quick (~30 minutes) sketch I made of some pluots, peaches & nectarines. I used soft pastels on coarse construction paper.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

My Father

was a truly amazing man
he pretended to be
even though we lived on beans and mush and weenies
when we sat down to eat, he said,
"not everybody can eat like this."

and because he wanted to be rich or because he actually
thought he was rich
he always voted Republican
and he voted for Hoover against Roosevelt
and he lost
and then he voted for Alf Landon against Roosevelt
and he lost again
saying, "I don't know what this world is coming to,
now we've got that god damned Red in there again
and the Russians will be in our backyard next!"

I think it was my father who made me decide to
become a bum.
I decided that if a man like that wants to be rich
then I want to be poor.

and I became a bum.
I lived on nickles and dimes and in cheap rooms and
on park benches.
I thought maybe the bums knew something.

but I found out that most of the bums wanted to be
rich too.
they had just failed at that.

so caught between my father and the bums
I had no place to go
and I went there fast and slow.
never voted Republican
never voted.

buried him
like an oddity of the earth
like a hundred thousand oddities
like millions of other oddities,
by Charles Bukowski From "Septuagenarian Stew" 1994

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Castile, lather and then some

I personally love castile soap. Historically castile soap is made with 100% olive oil. Castile soap does need a longer cure time, but the wait is well worth it.

The thing about an all olive oil castile soap is that it does not have copious amounts of lather. However, low lather is one of the reasons it is quite mild and some people with dry skin can use it with no problems and often some improvement. Castile soap also rinses off easily, which is another reason that it is milder than soap with more suds. But it will disappear rapidly if left to sit in water.

Castile is such a nice soap. But when I sell it, I always have to put a note making sure everyone knows that this soap does not lather like our other soap and that it will not last quite as long if left in the shower stream or in a puddle of water.

I've often wondered when we decided that we had to be covered in suds to become clean. Or that our skin needs to feel "tight". I understand wanting to feel clean, but I don't think we need to strip every bit of oil off of our skin, either. :)

Saturday, June 02, 2007


This absinthe soap is a favorite of mine. It does have a bit of wormwood essential oil in it, but the fragrance is a blend of essential oils. My absinthe loving customers are also fans of this soap!

Friday, June 01, 2007

Today I bake, tomorrow I brew. . .

Not really, I baked four kinds of bread on Monday and Tuesday (eight loaves) and I don't brew anything.
But I do have to make Lava Lemongrass & Ruby Red Grapefruit soap.

Ruby Red Grapefruit is a simple blend of ruby red & pink grapefruit and litsea (may chang) essential oils and is colored with madder root.

Lava Lemongrass is made with rhassoul (moroccan lava) clay and lemongrass essential oil. I love the simplicity of a one note fragrance. As an added bonus, the lemongrass essential oil colors the soap a pretty lemon yellow.
Afterwards, I hope to be able to bring out the oil paints, pastels or watercolors and paint a still life with three kinds of apples and one pear.