Making Paint

Making watercolor paint is a special kind of alchemy. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of using paint that you’ve made yourself.

The process begins by making pigment from raw rocks and minerals, like this granite sand that I collected in Llano, Texas.

Wash the sand, remove debris, dry it, crush it with a hammer and then a mortar and pestle. Sift it finer and finer…and finer.

Add binder medium and then mull it on a slab until it’s just the right consistency. I like to make swatches as I go.

Here are swatches of the watercolors I’ve made so far, two of which were made with Texas pigments that I collected:

Someday I hope to have a whole palette of watercolors I’ve made.

I see these handmade colors as enhancing commercial colors, not as a replacement. Here’s a paint I made from limestone pigment mixed with others:

These colors have my heart.

I recently used this limestone watercolor and other watercolors handmade by myself and others to make postcards as a fundraiser to #keepfamilies together. Such an incredible feeling.