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.

Links

Here’s my Etsy link: www.etsy.com/shop/wildozark

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