Foraging for Earth Pigments!

Foraging for Earth Pigments!

I am so excited about our new book release, and thought it would be fun to share what a paint making day is like. One great way to find rocks or soil for making paints is to look for a road cut like this one. As the soil erodes, deeper layers of earth are exposed and with them, beautiful colors that have been hidden for years and years. 

I rarely dig for paint stones because they tend to roll down such a hill to the bottom, just waiting to be picked up.

Side note: It’s not essential to search in a far away place for colored rocks. Often, when I was watching my first and second grade students at recess, they would come to me with tiny, vibrant stones they found right on the play yard, and we used them to draw on the sidewalk. They had such sharp eyes, and always surprised me with what they found!

Test a paint stone to see if it is soft enough to make paint by rubbing it on a tile or another harder stone. If it leaves a mark or powder after rubbing it, it will make a beautiful paint.

Next I grind it to a powder with a mortar and pestle. It’s fun to leave some coarse and grind others fine- the texture depends on the nature of the stone itself. Each one is unique, and has it’s own story to tell.

Add a little water, or maybe some kind of tree sap, and the earth paints are ready to shine on the paper!