Making a Paint and Pigment out of Chlorophyll

Hello, and welcome to the 9th episode of my
paint and pigment making series! This time, I’m making a pigment and paint
out of Chlorophyll. So lets get straight into it! Im cutting a corner and just buying the chlorophyll
from a pharmacy. Its sold as a nutritional supplement and is
quite available and pretty cheap. To turn this chlorophyll into a pigment I’m
gonna have to do a little bit of chemistry. I start by adding a bunch of drops of chlorophyll
into some distilled water. I then prepare two cups and pour hot but not
boiling water into them. In one cup I mix some alum and in the other
I mix some washing soda. I don’t really measure, I just eyeball everything. I pour my alum into the chlorophyll and water
solution and then I pour my washing soda. Some fizzing takes place and here you can
see the separation between liquid and sediment. I then set up a funnel and coffee filter and
pour the chlorophyll through it. The liquid should filter out and I should
be left with a paste which I will turn into a pigment. After a few hours, this is the paste I was
left with. I honestly thought it would look better, its
kind of pale but I won’t judge straight away. I place the paste on a plaster bat and let
it dry. After 2 days, the paste seems to have dried
and darkening. Its much more green than it was while wet. There are a bunch of impurities in the paste
and I blame that not he alum that I’m using not being clean enough as well as maybe adding
too much washing soda. This was actually the first lake pigment that
ive ever made, so it is the worst in terms of texture. I peel off the dried paste flakes into a coffee
grinder and grind well. Btw this is why you never want to open up
the lid too soon. After the powder has settled I place it onto
my glass slab and prepare to mull it into becoming oil paint. I add a few drops of walnut alkyd, my favorite
medium and start mulling with my diy glass muller. Unfortunately, this paint has a terrible texture-
its very sandy and extremely unpleasant to mull. Im going to
try again to improve the texture of it later but first I’m going to paint some test swatches
on a piece of primed canvas to see how the color itself acts. I start by painting a swatch of the chlorophyll
paint by itself. Its a pain to apply with a brush so I use
my palette knife. Its quite a dark and dull color and I’m
not a huge fan of it to be honest. For the second swatch I mix the paint with
a little bit of store bought titanium white. It looks more grey than green and thats pretty
sad. I then make 2 swatches – one with the paint
mixed with black and one mixed with grey. I then mix some left over chlorophyll pigment
with clear acrylic gesso and paint that onto my piece of canvas. When it dries I cover it up a portion of it
with cardboard and electric tape so that I can see if UV light has any effect on the
color of the pigment. After 10 weeks I check in on the paint and
it seems that the cholorphyll has become very dull. I remove the tape and theres a subtle change
between the area that was covered and the area that was uncovered. Its small, but its there. I would say that this pigment has quite poor
colourfastness and lightfastness but its not the worst that ive seen. However after seeing how gritty this paint
is, I felt ashamed and decided to quickly try to make a paint with a better texture. I repeat the whole precipitation process,
being careful to add very little washing soda this time and hope that this time it will
be a lot smoother. I grind the dry paste and then I repeat the
mulling process. The paint is so much better this time, it
was a way better consistency but its still far from perfect. To be honest I still find it to be a little
bit grainy and clump and I have no idea why thats the case. If you have any idea why I couldn’t get
it to a nice consistency be sure to let me know in the comments below, as well as what
pigment and paint you’d like to see me make next. I hope you enjoyed this video and thanks for


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