When I got back to Vancouver, I did a number of things to my parent’s soil to turn it into paint-ready pigment. (This is just proof of concept, so ignore the modern tools like plastic bowls, sledgehammers, knives, etc)
Sift: This was to remove really large particles.
Slurry: Make mud and let it settle to let the coarse heavy particles settle at the bottom, and finest particles separate to the top.
Drain: Duct tape, it works for everything!
Dry: My own dried out mud puddle. Cool cracks, huh? Looks like almost all the breaks are three lines from a single point.
Separate: Found it was easiest to use a carving knife. The coarse particles came right off, and the silt was harder, and actually carved pretty well. Too bad it’s so fragile, or I could sculpt with it.
Crush: I didn’t use a mortar and pestle this time, but will on my next test batch.
Mix with oil: Used M. Graham Walnut oil, and mixed it with a palate knife for about a half hour or so.
Final paint: Not too bad considering I made it from my parent’s front yard dirt! It’s still a little coarse, as it has the consistency of chocolate icing. I’m going to do a slurry on the fine pigment to see if I can get better results. Still, better than ketchup.
Other ideas with this soil;
I ran magnet I found on a shopping cart (cow magnet being marketed as a kid’s toy) through the pre sifted stuff, and it picked up iron particles! I’m going to try to isolate these, and rust them (maybe keep in water for a while?) to get an iron oxide powder for a really deep red.
Firing the silt may create darker colors. I’ll have to try this sometime too.
Next post: Details on how the canvas is coming.