I’ve finally completed the art studio area in my home despite moving boxes and unpacked items still hanging around. I just needed access to the creative process of color usage.
I wanted to share two things with you today. First, my new painting titled “Savannah”, being it’s the first canvas painting I’ve made since my arrival here and second, I want to tell you about the paints I used to make it. I located a family owned company run out of Oregon called Natural Earth Paint and they develop – you guessed it – natural earth paint. What is that? It’s actual earth crushed and sifted into a powder pigment you mix with various binders to create everything from your own oil paints to sticks of pastels. I was totally intrigued by the idea of making my own paints as I was of eliminating the toxic fumes I inhale from the conventional art supplies I purchase.
“Savannah”, Natural Earth Paint acrylic on canvas, 30cm x 40 cm
I painted “Savannah” as an acrylic so I mixed the powder with acrylic medium and went for it. The color palette is limited, which isn’t too far off the color spectrum I use with my pastels but with only 6 colors in the starter kit, minus white or black, there was a sense of being very restricted with what I had in front of me. I had a few moments of “Yikes!” However, that’s good because it provided challenge and who doesn’t like a good artistic challenge?
So here’s a little play by play of my Natural Earth Paint experience:
a. receiving the package – Omg I was so excited. I researched the website to its maximum, looked for reviews, and hunted for any info I could get about not only this company but natural earth paints in general. By the time I got the package I felt like Christmas had come and I was the lucky receiver!
b. photographing it for the blog – In my excitement I realized I should “product photograph” the package because it’s so great and I really wanted to soak it up. I loved the idea of setting it up against the playground because essentially it represented the play aspect of using the paints, AND being non-toxic, they’re great for kids. Cool, eh?
c. opening contents – When I opened those little brown packets and pulled out the powders and saw their real life colors, their vibrancy and their richness, I beamed delight.
d. feeling the powder – The powder is very fine, which to me has a sensual quality. I’m confident I can use these powders as a pastel straight from its powdered form but I just thought of that… Would only an artist get a ridiculous sense of pleasure from rubbing earth pigment between her fingers? I don’t know but let me know if I’m not alone.
e. painting – I was scared but excited. I was curious and intrigued. I was playful yet pulled back when felt the colors may go too far in richness or too muddy in blending. Wow, so much like good sex, I’m keeping these paints around.
f. limitations of color – A drawback to these paints was the limited color scheme of six colors in the basic kit. However, more are available a la carte but only using them will I be able to really know their range.
g. hmm, not liking the green – The biggest challenge I had using these paints was the green didn’t adhere to my acrylic medium well so I struggled with its consistency and application. The green is much darker wet than dry. It was much more absorbent than the other pigment powders and seemed to dry to acrylic medium too fast. I’ve not tried it with oil to see if it manages better but I did mix it with water and it worked well.
h. oh boy, a fixer-upper – Having some unfamiliar affairs with the paint mixing and consistency, I made some errors that needed fixing. I had no problems covering up a mistake and repainting it. Of course, I used a traditional white because I had not purchased a powdered one because I just bought the basic pack to try this out. I’m unsure how much coverage the Natural Earth Paint white offers but I’ll update this once I know.
i. amount/usage – I was very impressed at how little powder I used to create “Savannah”. I used a lot of acrylic medium but the powders seem to go a long way (except the green).
j. results - I’m very happy with the final results. The colors are rich and vibrant even through the transparency I’ve given this painting. The more I work with these paints, the better the paintings will be. That’s very exciting.
My review for this product is definitely an “A”. The idea of having a non-toxic product for myself and my children is fantastic and being able to make my own paint as I need it is incredibly handy. So long as I have the various binders on hand, I’m good to go oil or acrylic anytime and that’s a real advantage when the moment of inspiration strikes. Sometimes a particular painting just has to be created in one medium over another and it’s great to have that freedom to choose at will. I’m also a fan of supporting small businesses when I can. I love the design packaging and I feel as though I’m contributing not only to someone else’s entrepreneurial efforts but I’m also supporting a toxic-free environment and my longevity. Lastly, I love the idea of painting through Earth’s elements. I value and appreciate the pigments I put onto canvas so much more than when I squeeze a conventional paint tube. I’m very much liking this new approach to painting, both in process and in philosophy.
“Savannah” is 30 cm by 40 cm on stretched canvas. Contact me about purchasing the original piece.