For this week I decided to try two different types of paint making processes, egg tempura and watercolor.
The process of making my own paint from natural pigments is what first drew me to the Sustainable Art School.
In addition to being an artist, I am also a massage therapist and spiritual / energetic body worker. I began studying meditation and shamanism in Washington D.C. in 2009 with the Luminous Warriors, however it wasn’t until I traveled abroad to South America that I began to understand the depth of my own interconnectiveness with the land and the Earth. As I began to walk more fully with my spiritual path to be in alignment with the Earth, I began to realize that the way that I was digesting my experiences through the creative process of artwork was not in alignment with the environment. The majority of my art practice was using acrylic paints which is made from basically a type of plastic. Though I was painting and interpreting my experience, when I would go to remote sacred places in nature such as the mountains of Sierra Nevada or the jungles of Peru, I became conscious that it was not the best thing to dump my used dirty water down the drain or among the plants of the Earth.
Part of the deepening of my inner journey durning this walk about focused on visiting different sacred places in nature and filling myself with the vibration of the place. I kept a mesa which is a prayer bundle of stones that I would collect and offer at different places along my journey. Often within my paintings I would use the water of a local spring, waterfall, or the ocean and I would feel that by using each particular water of the area that my paintings would take on an additional energetic quality or imprint of the location.
I wanted to take this idea to the next level to create even stronger energetically charged paintings. While I was working in a crystal shop in Nyack, New York, I began to learn even more about stones and crystals. I became exposed to raw lapiz azul and other stones with softer hardness. I remembered that the Egyptians use to use lapis as paint and also as eye make up. Understanding the spiritual properties of stones I now wanted to create paintings made from these precious gems with spiritual intention.
For this week I chose to make egg tempura from turmeric powder and from beet powder. To do this process I simply took the powder and added the egg yoke and a little bit of vinegar to help preserve it. The process of the egg tempura was very nice in the sense that it created a type of semi-glossy feel to them. The turmeric powder was more smooth where as the beet powder was more granular. I think I could have grounded the beet powder more for it to be more smooth in texture. I also tried to make watercolor from both the turmeric power and the beet powder. To do this I boiled them down in water, added gum Arabic, vinegar, and let the rest of the water evaporate on my radiator. For the beet powder I ran the boiled mixture through a type of cheese cloth to remove some of the larger particle material as an attempt to get a smoother paint.
I also decided to try to make paint from the stone lepidolite mica. It is a semi-soft stone that is layered and reflective. It comes from Brazil and it is said to have medicinal properties for anti-anxiety, peace, and tranquility. I decided to make this stone into a water color so that way I could re-activate the paint if I did not use all of it in this one sitting. With egg tempura, I realized I needed to use all of the paint I made at the time of creation because once it is dried I could not reactivate it with water. With this stone I grinned it down using a quartz crystal and another stone that had a natural rounded basin in it. I then added a drop of gum Arabic and water until it became the consistency that I desired.
The color of this stone is a light lilac color. When I used to paint with my mixture the color was more of a light brown, close to the color of the gum Arabic but did have a slight light purple tone to it. I do not know if the color of the paint I created was due to the gum Arabic or what. I wonder if there is another binder that does not have a brownish color to influence the color of the paint. A really nice result of using this paint from the lepidolite stone is that it has a reflective nature to it and still has particles of mica that shine like glitter against the paper.
These are some photos of the artwork that I made using these paints. My other question is, particularly when working on bark, what pigment can I use to create a white? I am thinking maybe shells? Or possibly bone?