The Paleo Paints
My husband once said my handmade paints reminded him of how the cave men made their paints for the cave drawings. And he was right! And so we called them Paleo Paints.
I make them by crushing rocks, clay, charred wood, and extract certain leaves to create pigments which are then added to a binder to make paint.
The type of binder used determines what kind of paint it is: gum Arabic for watercolors, linseed oil for oil paints, and egg yolks for tempera. Other binders can be used to serve the same purposes, but these are the three most people are familiar with.
I crush the rocks by hand with a mortar and pestle. But before that, I collect the rocks or herbs, or clay or char.
When I see a rock that looks like it’ll make good pigment, sometimes I’ll crush a part of it on a larger rock out in the field to see what I might expect from it.
You’ll often find me with bulging pockets because I’ve seen something wonderful that needed to be made into paint and didn’t go out prepared to carry more than a handful home.
The colors in my palettes are earthy, and rich with the essence of place. Each color carries with it a story that tells the origins of earth’s history for that particular spot where it lived.
By working with these materials to make paint, I feel a sense of collaboration and partnership – a harmony I have no other way to translate other than by making art.
I hope it brings the sacred tunes of ancient and ever-adapting life to your soul when you work with them, too.
Paleo Paint Workshops
Do you prefer hands-on learning? I offer workshops to share the information I’ve learned so far. Most are single day workshops, but some of the more advanced ones will meet more than once because the process can’t be finished in one day.
Where to Find my Paleo Paints?
They’re at the WildOzark online shop whenever any are available.
You can also see them (and try them out!) in person on Sundays when I’m at the Kingston Square Arts. Check my schedule to see when and where I’ll be.
I’ll try to keep them stocked at Kingston Square Arts in Kingston, Arkansas, but availability is usually limited. I ordinarily only make more paint when I need more for my paintings. There’s a corner of the gallery back by the register that belongs to Wild Ozark. Lots of excellent pottery and art in there, so it’s worth a stop if you’re going through town on the way to your outings on the Buffalo!
Some of my originals are for sale. You can see all that I’ve finished so far at my Paleo Paints page: www.PaleoPaints.com.
If you see one you’re interested in, contact me to inquire.
Madison Woods is an author, artist, and Paleo Paint maker living
with her husband in northwest Arkansas far off the beaten path. She uses Ozark pigments to create her paintings.
I have a lot of derivative products like prints, stickers, note cards! Those are all at the KSA gallery, and when I do events I bring some with me.
Wild Ozark shop
About The Artist
I live in northwest Arkansas with my husband on 160 acres far from paved highways. This gives me a front-seat ride with nature and is a huge influence on my life and work.
When I’m not painting or writing, I’m probably smashing rocks or out soaking up some nature and gathering photographs. I use the earth around me to create the paints for my works. My focus is on the Ozark pigments, but I will on some occasions use sources purchased, donated (people send me rocks!), or collected during travels. I love to capture the essence, the very soul of a place, with its earthy colors.
In direct contrast to that, my favorite subjects are creatures of the air. Raptors fascinate me because they’re gorgeous, yet deadly. I believe I like to paint them not only because they’re challenging, but also because they’re a dynamic opposite of the earth from which my paints are made.
When I choose a subject I look for flow of movement, intended movement, or an expression in the eyes that I want to capture.
Additionally, since most of the colors I use are created from wild-crafted rocks here in the Ozarks, I look for subjects with colors I can represent with the earthy colors in my palette.
I’m self-taught and only use the paints I make for paintings. I also use Prismacolor pencils for drawings.
Timeline: Paintings, Career Benchmarks, Awards and Accomplishments
- 2018 July – began making paint, began painting
- July – completed Kestrel No. 1, Kestrel No. 2
- August- completed Kestrel No. 3
- Sept- Pelican No. 1, Crow No. 1
- Oct- Fox No. 1
- Dec- Twisted Tree No. 1
- 2019 Jan- Goshawk No. 1, Goshawk No. 2 “Rhapsody”
- 2019 Interviewed by KUAF about the Ozark pigments and my art (https://www.kuaf.com/post/local-artist-creates-paints-using-ancient-methods)
- Feb- Fox No. 1 accepted into Artists of Northwest Arkansas Members Show, Faulkner Center for Performing Arts
- Feb- Kestrel No. 3, Pelican No. 1, Fox No. 1 chosen by curator Courtney Taylor for inclusion in the Arkansas Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts’ 2019-2020 Artists Registry
- Feb- Created a Vision Plan for the Ozark Birds of Prey project
- Sept 2019 – Nesbitt Gallery, Chickasha, OK
- Jan – Mar 2020 – Museum of the Red River, Idabel, OK
- May 2020 – Goddard Center, Ardmore, OK
- 2019 November- Heritage, Heart & Arts Exhibit, 1894 Gallery, Texarkana, AR
- 2019 November- Group Art Show, Jones Gallery, Kansas City, MO
- 2019 December (tentative)- Oral Heritage Interview with Missouri State University Libraries
Here’s where you can see the paintings I’ve done so far: www.paleopaints.com/paintings/
Follow me on Instagram to stay current with what I’m doing: www.instagram.com/wildozark