If you think you received this blog yesterday, well, you did. A version of it without many of the images as I was having problems downloading photos from my iPhone onto my computer. I sorted out the problem – with much gnashing of teeth – and so was able to add more images. I’ve added to the text, so read on.
First, an uplifting and pithy quote. I can’t agree with it completely, but it’s a good attitude to adopt, even so:
“Life is a grindstone. Whether it grinds us down or polishes us up depends on us.” Thomas Holcroft
Covehithe Ochre, Gissing White. These are names I’ve given to two watercolour paints I’ve hand-made recently from foraged pigments.
As well as Covehithe Ochre I’ve made Wells Ochre from material gathered from the cliffs at Wells-Next-The-Sea and is slightly lighter in tone.
I made Gissing White from chalk foraged from a village near where I live.
The first picture shows it in the process of being ground to a fine powder with the addition of Gum Arabic and honey. These ingredients bind the pigment.
It’s not as beige as in the first picture, more an almost-white pinky-beige. It would have been lighter still had I used Acacia honey as recommended in the recipe, but I only had some very dark forest honey to hand.
I’ll have some of the lighter honey later today and am hoping I’ll end up having created Gissing White and Gissing White (Light).
I’m going to make some gouaches soon using these same foraged pigments (I have small bucketfuls of each) which will mean the addition of glycerine.
And I’ll be trying to make some burnt colours from my pigment harvest by oxidising some of it, using sunlight. That will probably be next year. We are now in the depths of autumn approaching winter. Today is typically autumn; it’s 2pm as I write and it’s dark, damp and shrouded in mist outside. It suits my mood.
I also made some Covehithe Brown from darker pigmentation gathered from the beach.
Using and making paints ground from locally gathered pigment makes artworks more authentic. It makes me feel more engaged with my own natural surroundings. And artwork. I’ll be posting pictures soon of how I’m using the paint.
I’m lucky to be living where I am and my next foraging expedition will be to Hunstanton, whose cliffs and beach are known for its pigmentations and fossils.
Here‘s a picture of Hunstanton cliffs and beach. I could eat them.
Grateful thanks for the photo to John Wernham.