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Gathering Earth Pigments Among the Floodwater Gifts

I went down to the Wild Ozark creek to see what gifts the water brought this time and found a whole new gravel bed! Once I’m done gathering earth pigments from it I can put some back on the driveway, lol.

Lots of potential for gathering earth pigments in here.
Wet rocks show the color really well.

Am I gathering earth pigments… or maybe artifacts?

When I first spotted this interesting rock, it was because of the color. It would likely make a nice tan. But when I picked it up, my thumb and finger fit on it so perfectly, I looked closer.

There’s a thumb print spot, and underneath is unnaturally flat. The end away from my finger is tapered to a wedge, and on the edge there is a worn concave depression.

Maybe this was once used to scrape sticks, to clean the bark and irregularities to make straight arrows? Or maybe it’s just a rock that fits perfectly in my hand that would just so happen to also work perfectly for skinning sticks. Either way, I think I’ll keep this one as the rock, and not crush it for paint. I find all kinds of neat things when I’m out gathering earth pigments.

Here’s a link to an interesting article about stone tools used in ancient America. It’s not about this particular rock, but will give you an idea of things that were done with rocks, and why I think this one might be something more than ‘just’ a rock.

The biggest gift

When it rains hard like it did this past weekend, the small gravel washes out from between the larger rocks on the driveway. Then I’m left with a cobblestone sort of path, but the cobblestones aren’t smooth, lol.

Usually the gravel all washes down the creek and gets deposited in spots I can’t get to very easily. This time, it’s right on the shoulder of the creek. I can easily reach it to gather some of it back up and put it where I want it back on the driveway.

But first I’m going to pick through the rocks, gathering earth pigments for future paints. It’s not like I need to save a lot of them… the rocks are always here, and new rains will bring new gifts. So I’ll restrain myself to just a handful. Otherwise, if I’m not careful, the house will collapse under the weight of all the rocks I keep bringing home.

This gravel bar left behind after the flooding is an excellent place for gathering earth pigments.
The biggest gift of all: gravel to put back on the driveway in an easy to access spot!

Author/Artist Info
Madison Woods is a self-taught artist who moved to the Ozarks from south Louisiana in 2005. In 2018 she began experimenting with watercolor painting, using her local pigments. She calls them Paleo Paints, and her artwork features exclusively the lightfast pigments foraged from Madison county, Arkansas. Her inspiration is nature – the beauty, and the inherent cycle of life and death, destruction and regeneration.

Her online portfolio is at www.MadisonWoods.art.

Click here to join her mailing list.

Photo of Madison Woods, artist and Paleo Paint maker, and her social media contact information.
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