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Chemistry of Colours………

One Wednesday morning as I sat down to start my monotonous and not so exciting studies, instead I pondered how to make this whole process interesting and something to look forward for every morning. That’s when the thunder bolt struck me, that I have always wanted to learn about making natural paints and ink. Now, feel free to ask the question, how even in the universe is painting or rather art related to science aka a boring subject. But hey, look I just made it a lot more fun to learn science. So, buckle up and get ready to discover the hidden linkage between the two mega yet polar subjects. Art is creative and expressive whereas chemistry is analytical. When we understand both the subjects, we tend to appreciate the wider application of chemistry in the world.

Paints are often made of petrochemicals which as we are all aware is a million minus points in sustainability. Well, of course after hearing that I decided to start preparing eco paints at home.

At first, I thought the process to be a cumbersome one but surprise surprise !!!!

Actually it turned out to be a lot of fun. Putting my mind to think more into the previous sentences, made me realize that doing anything from scratch makes the whole process more fascinating and interesting. Guess what now, the previously mundane science has come back to limelight but with a lot more fun. While making eco paints one of the most important thing to know is that paints come from pigments or nanostructures. Each colour has a different recipe.

You might not realize it, but these colours are telling us something about chemistry and biology. For example, the change in colours in autumn leaves is because of the breakdown of chlorophyll, revealing the beautiful pigments.

The most beautiful and colourful palette of nature is the biochemical fireworks of pigments i.e., flowers, leaves, stones and even dirt come in a whole range of colours that they reflect and we see, as they come from light and thus are specific wavelengths in the visible spectrum.

As we transition into science, I must say that chemistry is kinda like a president of a country who makes everything possible. It is the science that makes every artistic process possible. Remember how I mentioned that art is related to chemistry, well the pigments that we use in painting are greatly influenced by the pH level of the solute or the solvent like the binder, water, vinegar, oil among many other ingredients (that you will get acquainted with below in my next section) that give different shades.

How are they made?

First we must derive the pigment from its organic source. Below is the list of materials I have used to create my paints. ( Powder form is better than the liquid form of pigments source to use.)

Next to ensure that paint sticks on the paper after drying we must mix the pigments with a binder.

Watercolor Binder = Gum Arabica + Glycerine + Vinegar/ Essential oils + Honey Oil Paint Binder = Linseed oil

Paint your beautiful picture with a big happy smile. 😊

The solvent evaporates on contact with oxygen leaving behind the pigment and the binder and they recombine to give the coloured look

Future of Paints

The world we live in has changed and has been changing ever since time immemorial. As we move to the sustainable era, we are actually moving back into the past while moving forward into the future. It’s a circle of life. People are presently exploring, learning and incorporating concepts that were used and followed way way way back in the past. History of life is now resurfacing and repeating, which we all thought was just a cool quote or a saying that would never manifest in real time. Similarly present-day petrochemical paints are being replaced by earth friendly paints made from naturally available substances. These sustainable paints are being curated with the help of chemistry. These paints can be painted on any medium (they are even used to paint houses) and the colour lasts for a very long time.

Now, do you think science is fun to learn?

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