How to do Polychroming

Polychroming is the application of tube color in one or more coats to the carving (Image 81). Here the technique is similar to that used by any person handling colors for painting. With this exception, you are going to apply the color over prime-coated stock. Prime coating consists of applications of flat white paint. Two coats should be sufficient. Its purpose is to seal the wood against the absorption of oil and to enable you to reduce the number of coats of paint you have to use to develop the richness of the tones you think should be obtained.

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Flat undercoating paints are made by most paint makers and some may be better than others. If possible, get one in which the pigment used is white lead; the vehicle, linseed oil and turpentine. The big paint companies are using more and more synthetic materials and, in some instances, these are incompatible with the natural materials. It is unfortunate, perhaps, that we do live in a synthetic age where stuff is used that beggars a layman's understanding.

Ii the manufacturer of the paint that you want to use does not put an intelligible (to you) formula on the outside of his paint can, don't buy it, is my advice. I feel very strongly about this mumbo jumbo that appears on the outside of the package. I haven't time to learn the art of synthetics, so that if they don't tell me that all the stuff they use is man made, I get something else.

Mixing colors to obtain the exact shade, color, and tone is an art in itself and one well worth learning. Don't be afraid to experiment. Up until now nothing you have done has been orthodox, so why not continue?

Make notes as you go along, if you are new at the business. Number your color samples and make your notes on what you did to correspond to them. This is an invaluable help if you ever want to repeat a color, a tone, a stain, or whatever it is that is to be duplicated. After some experimentation, you will find that you do things pretty much the way you did before.

Bremen Eagle carved in alto-relievo and polychromed in bird's natural colors. Owned by the Author.

Here again, there are no hard-and-fast rules as to what colors to use, how to use them, or whether or not this color and that should go together. It's your work; please yourself.







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