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.
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.
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.
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?