The cultivation of the plant known as woad has a very long history throughout many parts of the world. Why? Because when processed it produces a blue colour and natural blue pigments/dyes are very hard to find hence the use of rare minerals like Lapis Lazuli.
It became so popular and valuable in the 1500's that the government had to restrict it's cultivation as too many people were planting it instead of grain.
You can see a picture of the plant flowering on the left, woad was also apparently used by the warrior queen Boudicca as war paint, I guess nowadays the demand for war paint has lessened somewhat.
Fortunes were made from this plant, many significant works of art contain woad and until the chemical revolution of the late 1800's it was universally in high demand. It was still grown commercially in England until the early 1930's. This a very rare and fascinating paint and quite frankly there is enough history to write a book about it.
I can't find anyone else who is still making this into oil paint, so for that reason alone it is pretty special. Certainly of interest to restorers and artists engaged with historical pigments, or indeed painters who want to use non-toxic natural materials, between woad, weld and madder you can have the primaries - all plant based.
It's hue in masstone is a dark, inky, blue with a very slight green undertone. With white added, it's tints produce beautiful cool purplish, blues, really delightful, almost sky blues. It is has reasonably strong tinting power.
Pip Seymour - "Woad from Marche, Italy. Once a year our colleague in Italy makes vats of Woad from his own crop - it’s more gentle and subtle than indigo - slightly blue-grey in tone. Colours from nature."
Pigment - PB1, Woad
Opacity - Semi-Opaque
Binder - Linseed Oil
Woad - Genuine Italian - 40ml
I need more, it’s marvellous. The viscosity is lovely and the chance to paint with woad is thrilling.
Amazing to get hold of some authentic wode to paint with! It’s great!