30 November 2022
What a lovely person Susannah is, we met at Weston Art Space, http://www.westonartspace.com, and she very kindly gave a little tutorial in how to use natural pigments and make water based paint.
When I first thought about becoming a more sustainable artist and doing more, I didn’t realise how much I would learn. Although do feel I may need to brush up on my geology.
It was quite enlightening that could source the raw materials to make yellow ochre, red ochre, manganese, peat and chalk from the local areas. A lot of the places I go for walks have rich findings.
Obviously some colours are difficult to find , blues and greens for example. For the pigments you can’t source yourself, there are suppliers of non toxic paint pigments such as Celtic Sustainables.
Walnuts, Willow and Silver Birch bark are good to make inks, and willow twigs can be used t make your own charcoal by placing in a tin in your wood burner. Actually, wood ash is something I could use .
Susannah explained the process from finding the stone or soil, to grinding to a fine powder and mullering the pigment powder with a binder like gum arabic for water based paint, and finally the paste, which you can store if water based in a jar.
We only had time to make one pigment, and I enjoyed having a go, watching Susannah at work and understanding the process. I wrote lots of scribbled notes!
I plan to use left over wood or repurposed wood from found objects etc, as well as handmade paper. Susannah uses wood from a local arboretum and handmade paper from Khadi, there is also Two Rivers paper local to us in Somerset. I would like to give papermaking a go but for now I will probably buy from a sustainable source.
I had two good book recommendations :
The Organic Artist – Nick Neddo
Earthen Pigments – Sandy Webster
I certainly left our session inspired and looking forward to having a go at sourcing pigments and making my own paints.