MAKING PAINTS FROM NATURE

During the Alchemy of Colour workshops students are taught the traditional processes by which pigments are extracted from rocks, earth, roots and berries, discovering how these can then be transformed into paints using traditional mediums from nature. During this workshop students learn about the history of the six mediums and how they are prepared, using traditional formulas by practiced by artist throughout the ages.

Learn the traditional methods by which master craftsmen prepare their pigments from the earth and make them into paints. Throughout the ages nature has been seen as the apothecary of the arts; from nature all varieties of beautiful pigments are obtained, from earth, rocks, roots and berries.

Within the traditional palette of artists colours resides a hidden cosmology, connecting the pigments to the seven metals and the seven planetary bodies. Colour, musical structure, medicine and architecture all express the mystery of this correspondence.

Since ancient times art has had a close connection with alchemy and the Hermetic tradition. All of my various workshops include a teaching on of the law of correspondence by which the physical functions of the craft correspond to an inner quality of being; this conforms with the traditional understanding that work is synonymous with prayer.

All of my various workshops include an understanding of traditional materials; students are taught how pigments are ground on a stone slab and made into paint. Through this practical understanding of making one’s own paint students discover how the craft becomes an inspiring and integral part of the painting process.

PIGMENTS USED:

Iron oxides:
These occur in the earth as ochres, umbers and siennas, caput mortuum, terra verte etc.

Copper colours:
These occur as rocks in the form of azurite, malachite and chrysocolla.

Mercurial colours:
Vermillion and natural cinnabar

Colours of Saturn:
Flake white, Naples yellow, minium

Black:
From animal bones, vine stems, willow and oil lamps

Plant Colours:
Madder lake, Persian berry (yellow), Indigo, weld, Brazil wood

TRADITIONAL PAINT MEDIUMS;

  • Egg tempera, including mixed method of egg and oil
  • Gum Arabic
  • Bees wax – Encaustic
  • Hide glue – Distemper
  • Oil – Linseed, walnut and poppy
  • Curd cheese – Casein