Collection No. 5, Soul of the Ozarks Series

Collection No. 5 is the latest color collection from my Soul of the Ozarks series is similar to the previous one (Collection No. 4 has six colors and will be posted soon to Etsy, and Collection No. 3 is still on display and for sale at the Walton Arts Center in Fayetteville, AR).

Collection No. 5

At the time of this post, there are two of these left over at the Wild Ozark Etsy shop, and one that might be added back to the inventory if it isn’t claimed soon by the person who reserved it.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Instead of nine fabulous shades, this one has four. Collection No. 5 has ‘Ancient White’, which is not included in the previous collection, although it is included in the Collection No. 3.

See this item at my Etsy shop.

Four colors are more than enough to make incredible art, though.  A smaller set is a more affordable entry point for artists new to the handmade watercolor experience, so I try to alternate between larger and smaller collections in my releases.

This Twisted Tree uses only a single color:

From Collection No. 5 and 4. The Whole Yellow Twisted Tree paint swatch in progress on my Paleo Go prototype.
The Whole Yellow Twisted Tree paint swatch in progress on my Paleo Go prototype.

“Whole Yellow” is included in Collection No. 4 and Collection No. 5 and I’ll have more of this color in future collections.

The Color Stories

Purple Heavies (textured)

All of the ‘purple’ colors I’m making are sourced from a single large rock that I found on our county road after the grader passed over it with his blades. It cracked open the rock to reveal an incredible purplish color. The paint is more of a brown, with some purplish undertones. The Purple Heavies sandstone paint has a bit of texture. These grits can be dusted off of the dried painting if you like. The color will remain behind.

Purple Heavies is a bit of a challenge because it does stain the paper and doesn’t re position well. But wow it is a rich pigment! If you put it down somewhere mistakenly, best find a way to incorporate.

Purple Heavies Gouache (lightly textured)

When I create a paint from a pigment-rich ochre, it leaves a lot of color on the plate once I’m finished scraping it off to put in pans. To avoid wasting the color I like to add some pure powdered limestone to the plate. It creates a lighter version of the same color, with more opacity and a different effect to the paint. It’s hard to achieve much shading but it’s great for things you don’t want to darken too much.

Whole Yellow Sandstone (textured)

This one also has texture. All of the ‘whole’ stone colors do. The yellow sandstone is an incredibly rich color that can achieve some depth of color if you layer the paint or apply with less water on the brush. The yellow sandstone yields a clean yellow color. It’s one of my favorites! Builds, lifts, and repositions nicely.

Ancient White

This is more than ‘antique’ white. It’s ancient because the color comes from limestone found in Felkins creek in Madison county, right near Wild Ozark. It’s likely the large chunk I found once was a part of our ancient sea corals.

Collection No. 4

One of the colors in this collection is taking longer to dry and solidify than I expected, so it’s not yet ready to ship. I do have it with me when I go to markets, though, and if I don’t get snowed in this weekend it’ll be with me at the Fayetteville (indoor) Farmer’s market.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Collection No. 3 (nine colors)

This one is on display and for sale at the Walton Arts Center until Dec. 16. After that, if any are left, I’ll list it to Etsy.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Madison’s Twisted Trees & Twisted Tree Swatches

When I make a new paint, I like to try it out on something in a monochrome painting. So I started making Twisted Tree Swatches. It was so much fun to create these twisted trees that I began a series. The first one is done, and I’m sure there will be many more to follow.


First, by doing a twisted tree with with each paint individually, it lets me easily compare it to others in how it moves on the paper. Does it build, or is the character mostly sheer? Can I lift it easily or does it stain the paper? What about thin lines? Can I move the paint and draw it out into very fine lines?

All of the paints have their own personalities. When I do a twisted tree I use the same sort of strokes, and some of them work well and some don’t so much.

Second, I like doing a painting that starts as a complete unknown. When I begin a Twisted Tree, I have no idea what it will look like. Once I get the basic structure of it down, then I begin to have a more clear image in my mind. It’s fun. They’re totally fantasy and some turn out to be very strange.

I like strange.

Twisted Tree Series



Twisted Tree Swatches

Soul of the Ozarks Collection No. 4 (6 colors)



What are Paleo Paints?

header for paleo paints blog post.

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.


Some typical rocks that look like good pigment rocks. I'll pick out the one between the two larger ones.
Some typical rocks that look like good pigment rocks. I’ll pick out the one between the two larger ones.

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.

A tested rock. Excellent source of pigment for Paleo Paints!
A tested rock. Excellent source of pigment for Paleo Paints!

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.

Crushed red sandstone that I'll use as a pigment for my Paleo Paints.
Crushed red sandstone that I’ll use as a pigment for my Paleo Paints.

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.

Some of the colors from my first set of handmade watercolor paints.
Some of the colors from my first set of handmade watercolor paints.

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.

Where to Find my Paleo Paints?

They’re at Etsy! Whenever they’re ready to ship, I list them on Etsy. Right now Collection No. 5 is listed. At the time of this post update, there are two sets left.

See this item at my Etsy shop.

I have 5 sets of Collection No. 3 that are reserved for an event from Nov. 23 – Dec. 16 (Walton Arts Center Holiday Market). Once that event is over, if there are any left, I’ll add them to the shop as well.

Collection No. 4 has one color that’s still not solidified enough to ship. Right now you can only pick it up in person on Saturdays when I’m at the Fayetteville Farmer’s Market (indoors at the Ozark Natural Foods). Check my schedule to see when and where I’ll be.

So far, I’ve sold most of the original paintings I’ve done using them, but I have a lot of derivative products like prints, stickers, note cards! Those are all at the Etsy shop, too. The shop is still under construction, but there are some stickers listed now.


Here’s my Etsy link:

Here’s where you can see the paintings I’ve done so far:

Follow me on Instagram to stay current with what I’m doing: