Paint is made by combining dry ground pigment with a binder suitable to the purpose of the artist.
Paints for illumination are of two varieties. One made with a binder of plant gum the other with a binder of egg
white glair. these may be used individually or together in any combination. The binders gum and glair are very
meager, this is an advantage for illuminations as paint will not be sticky or soft and pages will not rub or
stick to each other. These binders are also a bit brittle which is a disadvantage on flexible supports such as paper
and parchment. To compensate for this problem, and to avoid any flaking off of paint sugar or honey, both hygroscopic
agents, are traditinoannaly added to the paint.
Gum Solution for paint preparation
Materials: Gum Arabic pieces, Sugar or honey, Water
1. Crush lumps of gum into crystals
2. Add 1 part crushed Gum Arabic to 2 parts water and ¼ part sugar or honey
3. let sit over night
4. Strain through cheese cloth
Modern alternative: Commercially available powdered gum arabic, sugar or honey, water
1. add 1 part powdered gum arabic to 4 parts water.
2. Let sit over night
3. Strain and use
Materials: Egg whites
1. Beat egg whites to stiff peaks (as if making Meringue)
2. Let sit over night
3. Yellow liquid will have separated out, this is the glair, (discard the spent whites.)
Materials: Dry ground artist’s pigment, water
1. Add small amount of water to pigment, mix or grind in mortar with pestle to form a smooth grit free paste, (it can be loose or
stiff it does not really matter you just want to prepare the pigment to accept the
binder and to settle it together so that you can measure it easily.)
2. May be stored indefinitely in closed containers for future use, (float a little water
over top of pigment paste to keep it from drying out.)
Paint for illuminating
Materials: Pigments, binders (gum or glair), water
1. Prepare pigment paste
2. Mix together well equal parts pigment paste and binder. Be sure no lumps or grit of any kind remain!
3. It will be a liquid paint which should brush out easily and cleanly without any lumps or grit. It should dry quickly.
4. Gum paints can be allowed to dry out and reconstituted at any time with water.