A Creative Way to Practical Knowledge: Optimal ratio determination of binders, and pigments in oil paint production

Authors: Barbara Dragan and Petra Zaviršek
Mentors: Associate Professor Tamara Trček Pečak, MA; Assistant Professor Irena Kralj Cigić, PhD; Assistant Professor Drago Kočar, PhD; Aleksander Mikuš; Assistant Gregor Kokalj, MA; Assistant Nina Dorič Majdič, MA

Academy of Fine Arts and Design, Ljubljana (Slovenia)
Study programme: Conservation and Restoration of Works of Art
Specialization: – (3rd [final] year of the Bachelor's programme)


Dragan ZavirsekOwing to its unique characteristics, oil paint still remains an indispensable paint material. There are plenty of ready-made products on the market and they vary both in price and quality. Painters usually use more affordable oil paints that are consequently of lower quality. This results in a faster deterioration of paintings and a more difficult conservation-restoration work.
These were the main reasons behind our wish to create oil paints of high quality that would still remain accessible to a wide range of users.
The last year’s interdisciplinary project connected chemistry, fine arts and conservation-restoration. Conservation-restoration students were making oil colours searching for the optimal ratio between binding medium and pigments, and prepared samples that were analysed by chemistry students.They measured opacity, viscosity and elasticity of paint and observed its behaviour in an accelerated aging chamber. The purpose of the project was to determine the optimal ratio between basic components of the selected oil paints from a user-applicative perspective, supported by the standard objective chemical-physical methods. This project was just the first step towards our goal. We will be continuing our mission during this year’s project.

Projekt delno financira Evropska unija iz Evropskega socialnega sklada. Projekt se izvaja v okviru Operativnega programa razvoja človeških virov za obdobje 2007-2013, 1. razvojne prioritete “Spodbujanje podjetništva in prilagodljivosti” ter prednostne usmeritve 1.3.: “Štipendijske sheme”, v okviru potrjene operacije “Po kreativni poti do praktičnega znanja”.

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Dragan Zavirsek LOGOTIPI


Short biographies

PETRA ZAVIRŠEK is 21 years old and is currently in her third year of studies to get her bachelor’s degree in conservation and restoration at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design of University of Ljubljana. She has chosen this course of studies because cultural heritage inspires her and she would like to contribute to its preservation. She is especially interested in conservation and restoration of books and art on paper. BARBARA

BARBARA DRAGAN is a 21-year-old student of the Conservation and Restoration of Works of Art programme at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design, University of Ljubljana. At the moment she is in her third year of study, leading to a bachelor’s degree. She has started writing her thesis on biomineralization of stone sculptures as a method of consolidation. She is still unsure as to which field of cultural heritage she should specialize in. Her passion for art history drives her to explore various fields of study.