R&F paint stick workshop | Chapman & Bailey

Chapman and Bailey R&F’s oil sticks were dubbed “Pigment Sticks.” They were intended to be as close to oil paint as possible; to be super-soft and creamy so that with little effort they could be manipulated like a lush oil paint. An oil painter’s dream come true but it’s not easy getting there. The formulations were very tricky. Each colour required a difficult balance of oils, waxes, and pigment. Opaque colours had to be bright and solid, and the top tones and undertones of translucent colours had to have just the right interplay in a spontaneous stroke.

Pigment Sticks’ soft consistency makes them problematic to mold. R&F’s first molds were made of brass plumbing pipe, fitted on top and bottom with baking pans and held together with nuts and bolts. Pouring the paint so that the sticks didn’t crack, breaking the sticks out so they didn’t crush, taking the molds apart and cleaning them made the workday a tedious and frustrating ordeal. Alternative pipe designs were easier, but still difficult to use. The company finally could afford to replace these plumbing contraptions with split molds, cast and machined for them by a manufacturer of molds for lipstick.

Chapman and Bailey R&F Pigment Sticks are handmade in small batches, carefully milled and molded. Chapman and Bailey R&F Pigment Sticks use basic traditional materials: natural wax, linseed oil, and pigment, and we use them with absolute purity. Chapman and Bailey R&F Pigment Sticks are the only brand of oil sticks that employ only natural waxes (beeswax & plant wax). This allows for a minimum amount of wax. This results in softer consistency and greater paint film strength.

R&F Pigment Sticks are oil paint manufactured with enough wax for the paint to be molded into stick form. They allow the painter to draw or paint directly onto a surface without brushes, palettes, paint tubes or solvents. R&F Pigment Sticks have none of the additives, extenders, substitutes, or facilitators that are commonly used in industrial production.

While the use of these adulterations can save a lot of work and reduce the cost of materials, they lower the quality of the paint. To do without them it is necessary to create a very precise balance of the ingredients. This balance is what makes our Pigment Stick so luscious and luminous. Consequently our formulas are complex and our manufacturing is labor intensive.

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