Pigments

Mullering pigment for paint
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A particularly enjoyable part of the process is preparing pigments by hand, whether from vegetable matter such as charcoal, or from minerals such as azurite. 

Almost all the pigments used are natural.

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The luminosity of the colours of the icon depends upon a gradual building up of thin layers of pigment bound with egg yolk (the egg tempera method).

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And also...

Not directly applicable to iconpainting, but something fun to do if you have access to an oak tree: the galls from the oak tree, heated and mixed with iron sulphate and a little gum arabic, make excellent traditional ink. 

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