Toxic Pigment Replacements

Dear Catholic Illustrators,
Many of us, particularly iconographers working with homemade egg tempera, have encountered pigment recipes containing very toxic pigments. Some of us ladies who are pregnant, nursing, or with little children cannot risk using these toxic pigments, beautiful and exquisite though they are. Over the past few years, I have come up with some replacement pigments, along with where to find them. Please note that the replacement pigments do not have the same properties as the toxic ones, and sometimes are heavier and require more grinding. Once the pigment is mixed, you may need to let the mixed pigments settle for the duration of, say, one Hail Mary, then remove the surface color to a separate well, leaving behind the heavier sediment. See substitutions below.

Bristol Yellow, contains Lead. Substitute with Bristol Yellow Lead Free, from Kremer Pigments.
Naples Yellow, contains Lead Antimoniate. Substitute with Zinc White + Gold Ochre, from Sinopia Pigments.
Indian Yellow, contains Lead Antimoniate. Substitute wih Indian Yellow Imitation, from Kremer Pigments.
Orpiment, contains Arsenic Sulfide. Substitute with Lemon Ochre + Indian Yellow Imitation, from Rublev Colours and Kremer Pigments.
Tin Lead Yellow, contains Lead Oxide. Substitute with Lead Free Bristol Yellow + Zinc White, from Kremer Pigments and Sinopia Pigments.
Lead (Flake) White, contains Lead Carbonate. Substitute with Zinc White, from Sinopia Pigments.
Cinnabar, contains Mercury. Substitute with Primary Red Cinnabar, from Earth Pigments.
Lead Red, contains Lead Oxide. Substitute with Primary Red Cinnabar + Ercolano Orange, from Earth Pigments.
Vermillion, contains Mercury. Substitute with Primary Red Cinnabar, from Earth Pigments.
Alizarine Crimson, contains Mercuric Sulfide. Substitute with Carmine Naccarat, from Kremer Pigments.
Pink Color, contains Lead. Substitute with Pink Pipestone, from Rublev Colours.
Pink Color Deep, contains Lead. Substitute with Potter’s Pink, from Rublev Colours.
Dioptase, Malachite, contains Copper. Substitute with Turquiose Green, from Earth Pigments.

Happy painting!

1 comment:

A.R. Danziger said...

Thank you, this is very helpful! I think about art supplies and toxicity a lot. For those that work in oil or watercolor, Daniel Smith makes excellent cadmium replacement colors and more: http://www.danielsmith.com/
Unfortunately they are discontinuing their acrylic line which is what I use, so if anyone hears of non-toxic acrylic replacements please post them here :)