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)



“Soul of the Ozarks” Collection No. 4 – Wild Ozark Paleo Paints

Collection No. 4 of the Soul of the Ozarks series of Wild Ozark Paleo Paints

Introducing the latest collection in my Soul of the Ozark series of handmade watercolors: Collection No. 4 …

The paint colors in my Soul of the Ozarks Collection No. 4

Whole Purple Sandstone (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. Unfortunately, it doesn’t translate so directly to paint. The paint is more of a brown, with some purplish undertones. The whole purple 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.

Whole Purple Gouache (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.

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!

Whole Yellow Gouache (textured)

This paint is also made from the leftover color on my plate after making the Whole Yellow paint. It gives a very nice antique, not quite white but aged white with a hint of light yellow. You can use the gouaches to build layers to give a third dimension to your works.

Late Summer (smooth, sheer)

This is a light-fast plant pigment made from the red leaves in autumn of the black gum tree. It’s a tree native to the Ozarks and is one of the two sources of plant colors that I’ve found to be light fast. It doesn’t have texture to it and can be used to create a sheer yellow-tan. It does slightly darken with exposure to sunlight.

Allyssa Brown (very textured)

The rock that makes this paint isn’t very common here. Most of the sandstones have a lot of red to them, but this one has less than the others, although the paint still has some reddish-orange tones.

Where to Buy

I’ll have them with me this weekend at the Give Less, Give More show at the Johnson Mill hotel in Johnson, Arkansas (between Springdale and Fayetteville).

popup show on Nov. 30-Dec. 1 in Springdale, AR

After the show, I’ll list any sets I have left on Etsy. There’s only five sets in this batch. All of my batches tend to be small because the process is time consuming, but eventually I hope to make larger batches.

Cost: 6 colors, Gift packaged tin for $55

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