Thursday, March 22, 2007

First Pigment Test



I really, really need to get in touch with local First Nations (Canada) and Native American tribes (US) in the Vancouver and Multnomah areas. Not only do they have a huge depth of knowledge and experience in creating pigments and art, they’ve been doing it for generations using things that occur naturally in the area I’m doing my work.

In the meantime, I’ve tried a few things on my own. Lightfastness is an issue (how resistant paint is to fading over time). I may decide that a few years will be sufficient if I want an expanded palate, otherwise I’ll probably be restricted to earth tones.

By the way, I used M. Graham walnut oil in these tests, which worked out really well. I may end up planting my own walnut tree for the medium!

Leftmost: this is soil I collected from my shoes from a recent visit to my parent’s land. This is the red clay that I hope will be usable as a pigment. However, it got mixed with dust and soil from my basement. Its consistency looks like poo. I got a better collection from Alyssa’s shoes on the right, and it looks a little better. I need to think about how to strain out impurities for more consistency.

Sawdust: This dust collected from the sanding of the wood blocks I made for Ravenna. It’s Tupelo, a nearly white wood. Not only does it not grow lpcally, it makes a terrible pigment. The only use I could see for this would be as a paint extender and drying retarder. It took about a month to dry, compared to a few days for everything else.

Blueberry Pie Juice: Alyssa was cooking, and I stole some of the pie juice! It’s pretty much sugar and blueberries. It worked out pretty well, when used without walnut oil. Only concern here is fading over time.

Beet Juice: This also worked out pretty well, but did not blend at all with oil. Probably that whole “water & oil does not mix” thing. There may be other ways for me to get this color in oil. Beet powder perhaps.

Turmeric: Looks like baby poo. If I can strain out the particles, I may get a decent result.

Rosemary & Cinnamon: Not worth the effort.

OK, back to the drawing board!

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