part 1: The most beautiful and blackest pigment, comes from …
part 2 : Coal preparation plant Beringen
part 3 : Artist Residency in old mine building
So I saw coal lying on a place that I could not reach, and popped the question, to be-MINE. If I please could collect some coal, because I want to use it in my paintings? Turned out they already knew my work, so that was allowed. Even more: I got a whole guided tour through the buildings, on the way to better coal than the one I had seen from the outside.
I’m really crazy about these old coal plants, so I was high for at least a week afterwards, from all the places I’ve seen with a safety helmet on my head.
Actually, I’m high again whenever I look at the photos I made that day. Even though most of them failed because of being taken too quickly and enthusiastically :).
But the best is yet to come: the coal, because that’s what it was all about. Coal from Beringen, the city my parents originated from. Coal from the coal mine in whose hospital I was born.
I got a few “types”, different thicknesses of coal. On sight this coal does not really look black, it is not really dark. “That’s dust,” I think, so I start by washing the smallest coal. Funny though, washing coal that you have received from a coal-washing plant. Even funnier was that the rinsing water was so thick that it did not run through the sieve, but remained on top of it. It looked like mercury. This is probably due to the magnetite that was added to the water in the coal washing plant in order to separate the coal from the stones, but I deviate.
So I washed the coal, and let it dry. It still looked as light. Afterwards I grinded it to powder, added some products and rubbed it into paint.
Black paint. But really black paint. Much blacker than the color of the dry coal suggests that it could ever be. So black, that I started to wonder …
Do you remember the tests I was talking about yesterday, to make paint as black as possible? Guess what else is blacker than coal that has been dulled by mixing chemical products?
Exactly: coal from Beringen. :-)
Since then I have been “slightly” possessed by this coal from Beringen. I stand up with it, and I go to sleep with it. Hours and hours and hours I’ve spent on testing, because with this, I really want to paint. I’ll tell you more about that soon. I am still trying to summarize it …. and that’s a hell of a job itself ;)