Hand Ground Paints


I begin by pounding the raw pigment using a mortar and pestle until the particles reach a fine sand like texture. The crushed pigment is then ground with a glass muller adding Walnut and Canadian Balsam Fir Oils until the mixture forms a thick paste. More oil is added and ground until the paint is the right consistency for use. The base colour is now ready be mixed to the desired shade. It is a labour intensive process, but what I end up with, are tiny particles of natural earth pigment suspended in oil. Light can pass through the translucent oils, bounce off the white of the canvas, and reflect off the tiny particles of pigment. This gives my paintings a luminous glow like no commercial paint can produce. Even darker colours made this way, will have a vibrant richness and warm glow to them. 

Working with Natural Earth Pigments also allows me to choose which country the pigment is sourced from. I can set them together in relationship to one another -  create sacred geometry with real parts of our earth. All the pigments are natural and untreated - they are pure raw stone, fresh from the earth.   


Semi-Precious Gems & Stones 

Azurite - Kazakhstan 

Dioptase - Kazakhstan

Malachite - Ural Mts. Russia, Africa

Lapis - Afghanistan

Amber - 150,000,000 years old -  Alberta

Quartz Crystal - Switzerland

Turquoise - Arizona, China

Hematite - Russia, USA

Epidote- Various sources

Quartz Crystal - USA

Tigers Eye - Various sources

Jade - Russia, China,

Jarosite - Used in the temples of Karnak - Russia

Tourmaline - Various sources

Selenite - Cyprus

Black Obsidion - Mexico

Fuchsite - Germany, Austria

Lizard Stone - Various sources

Amozonite - Various sources


Clays, Umbers & Siennas

Red, Yellow, Green, White, Purple, Apricot, & Brown Ochres -  Sourced in France, Italy, Cyprus, Canada, Australia, United States, Armenia, Belgium 

Vivianite - Rare Blue Ochre found in Russian bogs

Maya Blue - Used in Mesoamerican Temples of Central America

Raw and Burnt Umbers & Siennas - Russia, France, Italy, Cyprus

Cassel Earth - Germany

Glauconite - Baltic States

Green Earth - Italy, Cyprus

Goethite - Iron Oxide used in caves of Lascaux - France 

Brimisvellir Green, Snaefellsjoekull Red, Heydalsvegur Yellow - Volcanic Ochre Iceland

Grey Clay - Hand dug on the West Coast of B.C & NW Territories, Canada

Limonite - Cyprus

Volonskoite - Russia, a favourite pigment of Piccasso's   


Plant & Animal Sources

Woad - Germany, UK -  Used by the Celts to paint themselves blue

Charcoal - Canada, UK, Australia

Monks (Lamp) Black - Soot that monks used for manuscripts

Bone Black - Carbon from bones- various sources

Madder Root - Various sources

Vine Black - Germany

Buffalo Horn - found along river banks in S. Alberta

Rocks, Chalks, & Sands

Pipestone - United States 

Slate - Various sources

Chalks -  UK and Switzerland

Egyptian Blue - made from heated copper since 3,100BCE 

Bauxite Mummy - Russia

Shungite - Russia

Sands and Clays - Gathered in my travels

Tar Sand - Northern Alberta, Canada

© Therese Dalë-Kunicky 2014