Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Oil Paints in the 1800s

In AT LIBERTY TO LOVE, book seven of the Texas Romance series and my newest release, my hero Marcus Ford is an artist. This gave me cause to investigate the early history of oil painting.

It surprised me to discover that my Marcus couldn’t go and purchase tubes of color at the nearby general store. He couldn’t even order them through the catalogues. Instead, he purchase powered pigments and blended them with his own bases.

The first patent for a pigment with zinc and linseed oil—closet to what we know today as oil paints—came in 1865, the year Marcus met my heroine Rebecca Rusk. So he didn’t have access to it yet, but would in the years soon to come. However my story only covers 1865 and 1866, the years succeeding the Civil War, resulting in the necessity of him mixing his own colors with pigments and a solvent.

Up until that time, the colorings were ground into a fine powder by stone, and men used various vehicles such as linseed, coconut or soy oils to blend their tints into their oil-based paints. Later poppy seed oil became a popular base. Most mixtures also involved petroleum mineral spirits to get the desired consistency, which varied from artist to artist. The spirits were also used to clean the brushes.

The thick, greasy consistency of the paint caused it to dry slowly, allowing pigments to be blended, worked, and corrected right on the canvas. This simplified shading and modeling for the artiest.

In AT LIBERTY TO LOVE, Mary Rachel’s husband Jethro Risen commissions Marcus to paint a family portrait. He used a stretched canvas and painted on an easel from sketches of both the people and backgrounds. He also earned money to pay passage from painting landscapes and ceramics. Selling his early works, including portraits of his dead wife, caused him much regret.

I should think that would be hard for any artist. If I loved a work, I’d want to keep it…or give it away. I’m blessed as a novelist I get to keep it and share it! Same with my new songs the Lord gives to me.

Speaking of which, I hope you’ll visit my YouTube channel and hear a couple of them. Subscribe while you’re there so you won’t miss any of the new ones

BIO: Born in Long Beach, California, Caryl got to Texas at the too-young-to-remember-anything-else age of six months then celebrated her first birthday as a Texan. In Northwest Dallas, the Letot Elementary seventh grader wrote an essay on ‘What will you be doing in 2000?’ Looking into the future, the imaginative girl saw herself as an inter-galactically famous author, streaking from planet to planet to sign books. writers' c     She married her high school sweetheart Ron forty-eight years ago, and they enjoy four children and sixteen grandsugars.
     God directed her to the DFW Writers’ Workshop in ’93 where published authors took Caryl under their wings and mentored her. Six years later, her first non-fiction was published, and for the next nine years, attending weekly read and critique sessions, she averaged a title a year from four presses: two non-fiction, four novels, and three mid-grade chapter books.
     In March, 2008, she and Ron left Irving to follow God’s leading to Red River County in far North East Texas. They founded the Red River Writers’ Workshop, met Mary Sue Seymour--NY agent--at a writers' conference, then The Seymour Agency sold her historical romance VOW UNBROKEN to Howard Books, an division of Simon & Schuster. 
     She's dedicated to serving God through her writing and praise and worship—He frequently gives her new song. Caryl believes all good things are from Him and prays that her books will minister His love, mercy, and grace to all of her readers, young and old.  

Links:  All Books   At Liberty to Love   BookBub   Website   Newsletter   Facebook    Blog   GoodReads    Google+    LinkedIn    Twitter    Pinterest   YouTube Hear the new songs God gives Caryl!


  1. Sounds like an enjoyable read. I haven't read any of Caryl McAdoo books.

  2. A great post. Looking at the glorious colours makes me wish I had at least a touch of artistic talent.

  3. Sounds like a great book! Writing historicals involves so much research!

  4. I enjoyed reading this and your cover is beautiful!