Kline of Blue

How Make the International Kline Blue to Paint a Plaster Cast.

Maybe few people know that IKB is the abbreviation for the International Kline Blue, the most famous blue used by the French artist Yves Kline, starting from 1954. The patent number 63471 issued on may 19 1960 at institut national de la propriété industrielle protecting the applicant’s rights in connection with the invention called IKB.
Damn, but is it possible to patent a color?!
No, it is not possible to patent colors. Kline filed a patent only for the system and the process of making his special blue. He did not for publicity or other trivial reasons, but only to prevent others were using diminishing in this way the logic and the conceptual value of that exact point blue which only he had obtained.
But let’s see what happened before…
After a long series of attempts Kline found that the pigment of ultramarine blue and the pure colors generally, once applied and dried almost changed aspect. The medium used with the pigment turned the color that was losing its absolute tone, brightness and intensity. Kline was trying to keep the same luminosity of the pure dry pigment and material aspect.
In the middle of fifties, his dealer of colors Edouard Adam, color merchant (as he liked to call himself) in Paris established in 1898 by Adam’s grandfather Gaston, suggested him to suspending the pure pigment in a crystal clear synthetic resin with compatible solvents as ether and petroleum. Kline asked him to find a practical solution on his problem. So Adam consulted with a chemist at the french chemical company Rhone-Poulenc who suggested different materials and also a colorless polyvinyl acetate resin named Rhodopas M. It was also available in a 60 percent solution in 190-proof (95 percent) alcohol and distributed under the mane Rhodoras M60A.
Adam experimented with it and formulated a medium for Kline in 1956 by adding ethyl alcohol and ethyl acetate in solution with the resin. Kline returned back to work using this new mixture.
The new medium was versatile to be sprayed, brushed, rolled, or built up on a surface like plaster. It quickly dried to a fragile-looking but durable matte finish that, like velvet, the light-absorbent surface painted that seemed to dissolve into a dark, glowing liquid depth.
As he wrote in an unpublished paper, quoted in Philip Ball’s book Bright Earth, Klein was struggling with the fixatives used to turn powder into pigments:
“The affective magic of the color had vanished. Each grain of powder seemed to have been extinguished individually by the glue or whatever material was supposed to fix it to the other grains as well as to the support.” When combined with an ultramarine pigment, this colorless medium allowed the powder to retain what Yves Klein described as “Pure Energy”.
Rodhopas is no longer available on market so a polyvinyl acetate AYAA can be used as substitute. Polyvinyl acetate resins are widely used as both a consolidant and coating material for paintings, textiles, leather, and paper. Combinations of ethyl alcohol, isopropyl alcohol, and acetone is commonly used to dissolve PVA resins, although most organic solvents will work.
Otherwise, you can go to Adam Montmartre at Rue Damrémont 96 in Paris and buy one liter or five liter jar of Le Medium Adam25 (but the price is considerable…) and make your own Blue Kline as the original. It is for copyright reasons that Adam called Medium Adam25 his product.
As said Sasha Frere-Jones in What we talk about when we talk about “Yves Kline Blue”, the schocking hue of ultramarine created by Yves Klein: ‘This color is a famous blue, not just blue’ […] for a painter, using IKB would be an act of reappropriation. […] An artist using Adam25 is in Klein country, working around and against his rules.

Would you like to paint your own cast in the manner of Kline? It’s very easly…

After many tests, I finally found a really easy way to repeat the experience that Yves Kline did with plaster casts. You will be able to discover the contact with the pure color, dense and materic that is the pure energy referred to by kline.
I found it really enjoyable to do and a fulfilling experience.
You can get the same exact color effect, with velvety smooth surface and matt blue just like in the orignal casts by Yves Kline.
Use pure pigment ultramarine blue and mix it with Acrilmat. Acrilmat is a fixative for tempera, and is sold at an affordable price in art supplier shops.
The best pure pigment ultramarine blue on market is the Kremer ultramarine blue dark (Pigment Blue 29 CI 77007. Kremer Pigmente GmbH & Co.) the chemical name is sodium aluminium sulfo silicate.
Mixes more or less 2 tablespoons of pigment with 2 and half tablespoons of medium. You can change the dose, but the color paste should be smooth and mellow. Not too dense, not too much liquid.
Then paint with a brush on dry plaster with slight brushstrokes, the color should be materic on the plaster, because in this way worked Yves Kline. Let it dry a few minutes, then mix a tablespoon of acrilmat with half teaspoon of pigment and paint again over the surface. This second layer increases the color fixing.
Leave to dry completely or use a heatgun. In the end, if necessary, you can further fix the color with matte fixative spry for drawing (for me it was not necessary).