Fine art, painting, teaching and research

On the island of Fuerteventura we find a landscape shaped by volcanic origins, comprised of an extremely subtle symphony of browns, moving from white-yellow to violet and rust red.

There is a dusting of bio on the island, but limited to lichen and ground succulents except for moisture traps in the numerous walled fields where aloe, agave and prickly pear are cultivated. Exploring the austere volcanic landscape I came across many various hues of mineral earth of volcanic origin, including lava-flow basalts, hematites, iron oxides, zeolites and river ochres.

Since this rock has sat where its been found for hundreds of thousands/millions of years it should be fairly stable!

This was a fairly useful resource in my exploration :

Here is my basic approach to making earth paint:

  • They have to be rocks soft enough to grind up.
  • Wrapped in fabric then hit with a lump hammer.
  • Ground in a mortar and pestle as fine as possible.
  • Put into a jar of water and shaken up.
  • The large particles sink, the fine ones will stay suspended or sink last. Those finer ones can be extracted (poured off, spooned off, or use a turkey baster) and dried out on tinfoil. (In this case I was able to pour off the finer layer, the thick gritty stuff had congealed at the bottom of the jar).
  • I put the goo into a glass baking tray in the boiler room of my home where it is warm, and the water had evaporated within a day so I could scrape up and store in a jar the powder-pigment.
  • This powder should be fine enough to muller into linseed oil (or egg tempera).

This particular batch of earth turned out to be not the most intense pigment, as you can see. However, I am intrigued by its particular hue and think it will be a useful and unique ingredient in skin tones.


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