I am super stoked on this new venture of mine. Staying put and not adventuring has really afforded me more creative time and the results are good!! I have had this nagging, victimized feeling from the art supply store when I am painting. This negative dependency combined with my love for the natural world and plants has lead me to an interest in natural paint making. Finally I am doing it!! It is so amazing to be able to hike in the high country with friends, while collecting material to make my art supplies. I love when life comes full circle and your needs are met while enjoying yourself, rather than fighting or strife. This earthen based paint making is totally my style!
So to break down paint making really simply; You need a pigment and a bonding agent. Those are the two basic ingredients….so I assumed, this could be easy. Well it is and it isn’t…….. Not all things that are colorful can be ground up into the pigment….some things decay, decompose, are not lightfast, don’t make any color at all on paper…and on and on! So a good deal of experimenting is involved in this thing called pigment harvesting and it is rather fun to do. Minerals and clay seem to work very well. I found red earth clay ground VERY fine to be a great pigment. Turmeric root also is a wonderful color that you do not need to use cow urine to obtain (historically this was done). Other pigments I am using, half of which are local, are; roses, mustard seed, beets, and hibiscus. Naturally, since most of these organisms are edible, they create safe, non-toxic paints! The bonding agent that I am using is what traditionally and historically makes a watercolor paint, it is gum Arabic. Gum Arabic is the sap from an Acacia tree. Pigment that I grind up fine, gum Arabic, and H20! It is amazing. Take a look at some of the beautiful results on paper.
Sure the paint is a bit rougher, with tiny bits of texture and irregularity, but I prefer it. It is homemade and invested with love and interest! Best of all I did not have to sell my time to be myself and love life in order to “check Out” at the art supply store. All artist out there should know how expensive art supplies are, and then how easy and fun it is to make you own. Hell, you can even make your own paint brushes from Yucca stalks. Wild and LIVE paint making here I come!