Posted on

Working with natural ink and mineral pigment watercolors

I’ve been very excited about what is happening here in the studio lately. I’m discovering the joy of working with art materials that I make myself from found natural materials like plants and rocks. I received a grant this year from Minnesota-based Metropolitan Regional Arts Council (MRAC)/McKnight Foundation to travel and take workshops to learn about doing this. So far, I’ve traveled to Portland, OR, for a paintmaking workshop with Scott Sutton at Wildcraft Studio School, and to the bay area, CA, for a pigment foraging workshop/excursion with Heidi Gustafson. I’ve now got a little collection of watercolors made from mineral pigments, and a collection of iron ores to process into pigment myself, which I can then mix with different binders to make watercolor or oil paint. 

mineral pigment watercolor and India ink drawing by Cathy Durso

I’ve also been experimenting with making my own ink, and have been working with a subtle, warm yellow onion skin ink that crystalizes on paper and interacts with my black India ink in really beautiful ways.

onion skin ink and India ink moon drawing by Cathy Durso

Below are a few drawings made with the onion skin ink and mineral pigment watercolors. The black in the drawings is store-bought India ink and the other colors are the homemade ink and watercolors.

onion skin ink and mineral pigment watercolor drawings by Cathy Durso

I love the subtlety of the colors and the way that working with natural pigments is changing how I see color relationships. I also really enjoy this new interaction that I can have with nature, and getting to know how these materials behave. What do you think?

onion skin ink and India ink moon drawing by Cathy Durso
detail of onion skin ink and India ink drawing by Cathy Durso
mineral pigment watercolor drawing by Cathy Durso
mineral pigment watercolor and India ink drawings by Cathy Durso
mineral pigment watercolor and India ink drawing by Cathy Durso
detail of mineral pigment watercolor and India ink drawing by Cathy Durso
onion skin ink and India ink moon drawings by Cathy Durso
mineral pigment watercolor drawing by Cathy Durso
mineral pigment watercolor drawing by Cathy Durso
mineral pigment watercolor and India ink drawing by Cathy Durso
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.