The History of Williamsburg Art Materials

Carl Plansky - Founder of WilliamsburgIn the mid 1980s I began making paint for myself and my friends. I had always been interested in pigments, oils, mediums, and old-world recipes, and I enjoyed experimenting with traditional materials. Wherever I traveled I would research the history of painting and the relationship between painters and paintmakers. In France I bought colors from the houses that had made paints for Monet, Matisse, and Cezanne. I analyzed their paint to see how fine or coarse the grind was and to determine where they found their pigments and oils. With this same passion, I now search for the most beautiful raw materials in the world, importing pigments from dozens of countries.

Getting the proper pigment is just the beginning. So much of the quality of oil paint is in the grinding. Each color is ground to enhance the beauty and luminosity specific to that particular pigment. Some of our paint will feel slightly gritty; some, extremely smooth. Our Cerulean Blue will have a beautiful, velvet, light-absorbing surface with an extremely strong covering power; our siennas will often be chunky or gritty to allow light to travel through the vehicle, exposing rich golden or mahogany undertones instead of just heavy, dull browns.

Tube running through a crimping station.Hand - filled tubes on the tubing machinOur pigment is ground in pure, premium, alkali-refined and PH- balanced linseed oil and made in batches no larger than five gallons at a time. This gives us total control over the product, much like the late nineteenth-century French colormakers. All the materials are handmeasured, and every ounce of paint is scrutinized. The paint is packed in 40 ml and 150 ml non-reactive aluminum tubes. Larger quantities of paint are packed in aluminum cans. We use only the purest materials.

Williamsburg oil colors are used by the world,s finest artists. You can see them in recent acquisitions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and MOMA in New York, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, and the Beaubourg in Paris.

We give technical advice to artists, museums, and conservators throughout the world and welcome your questions and comments. We look forward to having you experience the pleasure of using our paint. We are very proud of it.

Carl Plansky

Williamsburg Oil