Stacked rocks still life painting by Madison Woods

Stacked Rocks Still Life Painting- the Process

The Process Story of “Ozark Rocks and Leaf”

This painting started out plein air. The grandkids were visiting and wanted to go splash around at Felkins creek. While they played, I began painting these stacked rocks with a sycamore leaf.

When it was time to leave, I wasn’t finished yet, so I snapped some photos and packed it all up to finish later.

The painting as it stood when it was time to go back to the house.
The painting as it stood when it was time to go back to the house.

Time passed

It took me a little while to get back around to working on it. I’ve learned from experience that my rendition of an in-situ scene isn’t going to look like the real thing in the end, so this time I didn’t worry about it.

My goal was to make a painting that looked good to my eye, even if it didn’t have a lot of resemblance to the actual thing in the end. So my rocks are different, and the leaf is, too.

But, I didn’t know how to make the sand look like sand, or how to put all the many little rocks in the sand. And at this point, I didn’t the painting much. It sat on the easel untouched for a couple of weeks.

At this point I was stumped, and set the painting aside again. The stacked rocks didn't look the way I wanted, and I couldn't even imagine how to make the sand and small pebbles work.
At this point I was stumped, and set the painting aside again. The stacked rocks didn’t look the way I wanted, and I couldn’t even imagine how to make the sand and small pebbles work.

Try Again

I pulled it back out to take with me to the gallery on my work day. Since I like to paint between customers while I’m there, I decided to try working on it some more, to see if I could get to a point where I could at least feel it had promise.

Magic Happened!

My efforts paid off. The stacked rocks might finally work out. The sand drifts looked more like sand, and the pebbles looked like pebbles. Or close enough, anyway.

Whoo-hoo! Now I liked it. I wasn't finished yet, but I could tell it was going to work, finally.
Whoo-hoo! Now I liked it. I wasn’t finished yet, but I could tell it was going to work, finally.

So I worked on the leaf a little more.

Close up of a sycamore leaf painting

Delayed Again

I had some things come up that caused a delay, but this time when I pulled my stacked rocks out again, I really liked it. I finished the leaf and added a few more details to the rocks and sand, and called it done.

Still life of stacked rocks and leaf. Ozark Rocks and Leaf, in Ozark pigments. 9.75" x 7.75". Prints and original are available.
Ozark Rocks and Leaf, in Ozark pigments. 9.75″ x 7.75″. Prints and original are available.

Want a Stacked Rocks Print?

The original is for sale too. Email me about that if you’re interested. Unframed it is $250 and ships flat. Framed is $375. Prints are available through Fine Art America (linked below).

Photography Prints

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.

To see her paintings click here.

Contact Info:
Email: [email protected]
Instagram: @wildozark
Facebook: @wildozark

Banner for Wild Ozark Paleo Paints

Paint Making Tools of the Trade

When I first started experimenting with handmade watercolors, I didn’t have any special tools. I had some ideas, a little bit of information, and a whole lot of curiosity. Along the way I discovered these things that have become my paint making tools of the trade.

Paint making tools of the Trade
Pigment on the mulling board, a muller. Some of the Paint making tools.

Making Do

Some of the tools are pricey, and if you went out and bought everything at once, it could add up to quite a hefty tab.

Thankfully, you don’t need it all, and you can make do with a bare minimum.

Here’s the post that marked my first time making art with my fresh idea for making my own paints.

These are the things I’d suggest as minimal:

  • spatulas
  • mulling plate
  • pans
  • small jars
  • dust masks – VERY important!
  • gum Arabic

A note about the mulling plate. When you first get it, the surface will be smooth. That won’t do for mulling paint. So you’ll need to run several trial batches on it with a gritty pigment to etch the surface enough to be able to actually do any good with your mulling. If you don’t want to waste valuable pigment, use coarse rubbing compound to get it started.

Leveling Up

After you’ve made some paint and tried out the process, you’ll know whether or not you like the paints enough to keep using them. That’s when I’d suggest getting a tool like the muller. There are also much more expensive mulling plates, or boards. I am still using my inexpensive tempered glass cutting plate from Walmart, but wouldn’t turn down a large slab of marble, lol.

My Favorite Paint Making Tools (So Far)

Some of these items are only applicable if you intend to start with foraged rocks or bought mineral specimens to make paint. Those are marked with an asterisk. I’ve linked to the Amazon listing for these, because that’s where I usually order my supplies.

There are other companies that sell these things. You can often find mullers used or less expensive on EBay. I do get a small amount of change if you order through Amazon after clicking these links, and the prices for you are the same whether you click and order through this post, or go there separately to shop.

Pigments of Other Places

At the moment, I’m a purist and only use pigments I’ve made and in my art I try to only use Ozark pigments. On occasion when I really want a blue or green, I use lapis lazuli, azurite, and malachite- none of which are Ozark pigments. However, I’m in the beginning stages of collecting pigments from other locations.

I’ll be creating collections from those places and calling them “Colors of Place”. I’d like to also collaborate with other regional pigment foragers so I can offer colors of their places, too.

Future Paint Making Tools

There are a couple of items I’d like to acquire in the future. A larger rock tumbler/rock grinder and a roller mill. I’d need to start making much larger quantities of paints (and accompanying sales) to make those practical buys!


Paint-Making Supplies from Wild Ozark

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.

To see her paintings click here.

Contact Info:
Email: [email protected]
Instagram: @wildozark
Facebook: @wildozark

Paint-Making 101 Ad

Join me on a Forage?

I make paint from rocks. Join me on a forage and make your own handmade watercolors. Cost is $75 and all materials are included. on June 8. There are still 4 spots left if you’d like to join us. Here’s the link to sign up ( https://www.wildozark.com/shop/paint-making-101-2/ ) and the information flyer:

Flyer for the June 8 Paint-Making 101 class. Forage and learn to make handmade watercolors from rocks.

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.

To see her paintings click here.

Contact Info:
Email: [email protected]
Instagram: @wildozark
Facebook: @wildozark

Pigment Hunting at War Eagle

On Sunday we took a field trip out to the $2 hole at War Eagle Creek near the Mill where some of my paintings and prints are offered for sale. Rob wanted to look for arrowheads while I planned on doing a bit of pigment hunting. Of course, I wouldn’t pass up an arrowhead if I found one, though 🙂

War Eagle Creek
The gravel bar at the $2 hole at War Eagle Creek.

Most of the rocks I found were too hard to be very good for making pigment. But there was a lot of red flint, which I will try anyway. I know the gray flint makes a very light gray and is a fine paint. It’s just not rich in pigment and is very hard to crush fine enough.

The pigment hunting trip was successful, though. Nothing really new or different in the colors, though. The rocks I found that would be easy to make pigment from were very similar to the rocks I find around home.

Pigment Hunting in Different Terrains

Close to home in our own hills, the makeup is mostly sandstone. Just a few mountains over from us, the makeup is mostly limestone. So it changes from area to area around here.

War Eagle is about 40 miles north and west of Wild Ozark, as the crow files. The rocks there are more chert and flint and other things too hard to make paint from, with a few softer stones like sand or silt stone in between.

Pigment Hunting- Good Rocks for Pigment

Let’s crack open a few of the rocks I found that I thought might work.

A pigment rock
Let’s see what color is inside of this rock 🙂
Inside the rock. Not as rich as some of the rocks, but this one will probably make a nice color.
Some nice color inside.
Another good rock for making handmade watercolors.
This one looks like it’s going to be a really good pigment source.
Nice color inside the second rock.
Oh yeah. This one will make really good pigment!
Brown-Gold earth colors in this rock.
This one, too, will make a nice handmade watercolor paint.

So I found enough rocks to make a small ‘War Eagle Collection’ or three. It’ll be later on toward the end of June before I get a chance to make paint again, though. I’m always in some mode of pigment hunting, even when I won’t be able to use the rocks in the near future. It’s just too hard to pass them by when I see them if I have a pocket handy.

Website Woes

I would have posted about this earlier, but my website has been down for several days. Somehow I managed to delete the whole thing from my server and I have no idea what I did. Let’s just hope I don’t do it again!

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.

To see her paintings click here.

Contact Info:
Email: [email protected]
Instagram: @wildozark
Facebook: @wildozark

Make your own watercolor paints with the new DIY Paleo Paints kit from Wild Ozark!

She Delivers in Spades

I went down to see what gifts the creek brought when the waters receded from my favorite little spot 💕 She always delivers in spades when she rages 😁

Gifts from the Creek- she delivers in spades after a good flood!
Look at all that color!

Why the rocks?

If you haven’t already been following me, you may wonder why on earth I am so excited over these rocks. Maybe in the back of your mind you wonder that anyway, lol.

I’m going to make paint from them!

And so when I say the creek delivered in spades, I am referring to all the varieties of colors in all of the small (and larger) stones that got washed and dropped in the recent rains.

Pigments from Rocks

That’s right. Once I grind these rocks into powders, the various colors are ‘pigments’.

I don’t grind them all together, I’ll grind the same color groups and mix them all together. Some of them I’ll grind individually, if the color of it is unusual. Like that black one in the lower right in the pic below.

 She delivers in spades. Rocks after the rains that I'll use for pigments.

What’s the point?

Once I get them ground up in to pigments, I make watercolor paints by adding a solution of gum Arabic to them. And then I paint with them! The paintings below are a few of my latest ones.

So this little creek of ours delivers in spades in many ways. The gift of rocks leads to pigments which then leads to paintings.

Here’s one of my posts from back when I first started making paints from rocks: https://www.wildozark.com/weight-in-gold/

Want to Try?

I’m going to start selling some DIY Paleo Paint Kits. It’ll include little bags of rocks sorted by color. They’ll be small enough so that you won’t have to work so hard to crush them as you would if they were larger. And enough pigment already crushed to make enough paint to fill a few half pans. So you don’t have to crush the rocks right away if you don’t want to.

Also included will be a few rocks of gum Arabic resin so you can make your solution, and a little honey to add to give it the right humectant properties.

The only thing missing will be the essential oil of cloves, which isn’t going to be a problem for such small quantities.

You’ll need to supply your own palette knife, sifter, and mixing plate. And you’ll need a mortar and pestle to grind up the rocks. If you really decide to get serious with it, you’ll want to invest in a small muller, but if you’re just experimenting to see what you think, you can do without it for now.

Want to be Notified?

When the kits are ready to ship, if you want to get notified, sign up on my list. This isn’t my regular newsletter list. It’s only to let you know the kits are available when they’re ready. Look for them some time in June or July. Cost will be around $25 for each color set.

Soon our creek delivers in spades for you too!

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.

To see her paintings click here.

Contact Info:
Email: [email protected]
Instagram: @wildozark
Facebook: @wildozark

"Brahman Baby", in bone black, creek shale, and willow black. At the point now where I'll begin adding details, refining highlights and shadows. You can see the whole process by going to the post at my Wild Ozark site.

Brahman Baby in Gray-scale

© Gabby Phillips

So I’ve got something entirely new and out of my usual realm drying on the easel.

If you scroll down, you can watch “Brahma Baby” in progress, from start to finish.

If you’d like a print of this painting then click here.

There are several differences between this painting and the others I’ve done. First, I’m using a different paper. It’s Fabriano Artistico 300# hot press. Previously I’d been using Arches cold press. It does make a difference, and so far, I think I’m liking this one better, though I don’t know if its the brand that makes the difference so much as the hot vs cold press surface. I’ll have to try Arches 300# hot press next time to make a comparison.

Second, it’s a lot larger than my previous paintings. Also, the subject matter is different. The cow was a special request, but I got to pick which cow to do. I’ve always loved Brahmans, so this cute little calf was my pick. And last, I’ve never worked more than a swatch in gray-tones. I am finding that I like it.

Brahman Baby in Progress

Colors used are all Ozark pigments: Bone black, Willow Black, and Creek Shale. I may add some brown tints in there at the end, but I’m undecided on that right now. Here’s a post about how to make these paints, if you’re interested in that aspect of things.

Brahman baby in progress. Starting out with a little smudge and splatter using creek shale and charcoal dust.
Brahman baby in progress. Starting out with a little smudge and splatter using creek shale and charcoal dust.
I don't use pencil to draw in my rough sketch, because I don't want to have to erase mistakes. So I use a color of paint that's easy to lift if needed and do it with paintbrush.
I don’t use pencil to draw in my rough sketch, because I don’t want to have to erase mistakes. So I use a color of paint that’s easy to lift if needed and do it with paintbrush.
Adding some of the defining features to give me some direction going forward.
Adding some of the defining features to give me some direction going forward.
Blocking in the color, defining the eyes and nose better.
Blocking in the color, defining the eyes and nose better.
Brahman Baby in progress. Continuing to add layers of shades of gray and black. This will continue until I'm ready to begin adding the details.
Continuing to add layers of shades of gray and black. This will continue until I’m ready to begin adding the details.
Adding more color to "Brahman Baby"
Adding more color to “Brahman Baby”
"Brahman Baby", in bone black, creek shale, and willow black. At the point now where I'll begin adding details, refining highlights and shadows. You can see the whole process by going to the post at my Wild Ozark site.
“Brahman Baby”, in bone black, creek shale, and willow black.

My Other Paintings

If you want to see the other paintings I’ve made using Paleo Paints, click the button below to go to my gallery page.

Buy Prints

If you’d like to buy prints of my work, most of them are offered at my Etsy shop. They’re also at Kingston Square Arts in Kingston, AR and at the gallery in War Eagle Mill in Clifty, AR.

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.

To see her paintings click here.

Contact Info:
Email: [email protected]
Instagram: @wildozark
Facebook: @wildozark

P.S…

I do take commissions, but am booked until late July. Use the contact info above to get in touch if you want a portrait of your earth-colored creature. Sorry, I can’t do blue or green, as those don’t exist in my range of Ozark light-fast pigments.

All works will be done in Ozark pigments in my style. You can see other paintings I’ve done at PaleoPaints.com. Some subjects take longer than others. It depends on the amount of colors, shades, and details. This cow took a few days. The birds can take weeks. Additionally, if I don’t have the necessary colors on hand, I’ll have to gather the rocks and make the paint 😉

Prices for commissions or Original Works

These prices are subject to change without notice. Please contact me to confirm. I’ll try to keep this updated, though.

20″ x 16″ – $1200
16″ x 12″ – $800
10″ x 8″ – $375
7″ x 5″ – $250

Red-shouldered hawk in handmade watercolors using Ozark pigments.

Ozark Birds of Prey : Red-shouldered Hawk

Just finished this red-shouldered hawk (Buteo lineatus).

Prints available. Click here.

Progression Pics: Art in Progress

I post all of the steps as I’m doing it at Instagram, so if you want to follow along in real time, follow me there or on FB. Sometimes it’s a good bit later when I get around to updating the website.

Getting Started on the Red-Shouldered Hawk

I decided for this set (I’m doing two of this species) to use the gray-green silt stone for a background. So I went ahead and did both backgrounds at the same time. Here’s the first one with the rough sketch in place.

Background and rough sketch for the first red-shouldered hawk painting.
Background and roughed-in sketch in place.

Issues with angles

There’s always something to correct once the sketch-in begins to take shape. This time it’s the tilt of his head. The angle is wrong and it throws everything else off. The eyes are the first thing I like to do, but I can’t do the eyes until the head is shaped properly.

The head on my red-shouldered hawk is wrong... wrong angles, wrong tilt.
The head is wrong… wrong angles, wrong tilt.
I 'erased' the lower half of his head by lifting the black paint.
I ‘erased’ the lower half of his head by lifting the black paint.
Now the tilt is right, and I put the eyes and beak. I will work more on this later, but this is enough for now to allow me to move on.
Now the tilt is right, and I put the eyes and beak. I will work more on this later, but this is enough for now to allow me to move on.

Colors for the Red-Shouldered Hawk

The colors I’ll be using for this hawk are similar to the colors I used on the kestrels and the goshawks. For the goshawks, I used a lot more black, though.

I made paints specifically to get ready to do this set of hawks, though, and each set of paints vary depending on the rocks I used to make it.

  • Russet sandstone (Nirvana)
  • Red sandstone (Intoxicating)
  • Yellow Sandstone
  • Char-shale (a combination of creek shale and charred wood)
  • tumbled limestone (Ancient white)
  • Brown brown (from a really hard black sandstone)

Blocking in Color

First I added the russet on his chest and wings.

Then I added contour lines to his head.

Red-shouldered hawk in progress.
Red-shouldered hawk in progress.

Added more shadow to his head, added more pigment to the background. It’s going to be a few days before I get a chance to work on it again now.

As it stands on Feb. 15, 2019
As it stands on Feb. 15, 2019

I had hoped to get both of the red-shouldered hawks done this month, but it seems that life had other plans. February always feels like such a short month, even though it’s only a few days shorter than most. I am going to have to start reducing the amount of other things I commit to if I want to have time to work more on paintings.

Update 3/11/19: Finally I’ve had time to get back to work on the red-shouldered hawk.

Update 3/19/19: Took me a while, but I’m back to work on the painting. By the end of the day, I ended up one step forward and two steps back. The tail is blocked in better, and so are the feet. But then when I started working on the wings I realized the bars are just too wide on them. So I erased most of them and will start over on that part tomorrow.

These are just the place-holders for the feet. I still have a LOT more work to do on them.
These are just the place-holders for the feet. I still have a LOT more work to do on them. But they’re in the right place, in the right proportions, and at the right angles. That’s all that matters at this point.
Progress on Red-Shouldered Hawk by the end of the day
Progress on Red-Shouldered Hawk by the end of the day. Most of the bars on the wings are erased (lifted with a clean wet brush). I’ll put them back narrower so it is more accurate.
Red-shouldered hawk painting in progress, using handmade watercolors from Ozark pigments.
Still working on it… and sometimes I do work on it upside down, lol. But this pic is upside down because I can’t get it to orient right-side-up, even after editing and saving. I’m tired. It’s late. And I’m just going to leave it like this, lol.

Ozark Birds of Prey

My current project is painting of each of the species of raptors in the Ozarks. Some of them are full-time residents and some just visit. The red-shouldered hawk is one of our resident species.

Two Screech Owls in a Tree

This morning before I left the house to go to the post office, I briefly thought about whether I should grab the camera or not. I decided to not. It had been a few days since I’d last caught even a glimpse of the screech owl that lives by the gate. So I didn’t have enough hope to bother going back inside to get the camera.

Boy, what a mistake that was.

Screech Owls

I glanced over to the holey tree where the nest was, and like I thought, she wasn’t there. But then I saw the two spots of orange on the tree right outside the home-tree.

And there I was, owls in broad daylight, with no good camera on hand. So I got this pic with my iPhone in case I never got the chance for a better one.

2 little screech owls sitting in a tree.

I debated whether or not to bother trying to go back to the house for my real camera, wondered whether or not I could reasonably expect them to still be there when I got back down to the gate. Our driveway is not short, or smooth. So I’d have to go slow. But I decided to try.

Too Late

When I got back to the gate, after getting the camera, swapping out the lens, and making the slow journey down the driveway again, they were gone. At first my heart sank. My best opportunity ever for getting a good owl pic and I’d blown it.

But there they were, on the other tree, in a tangle of vines.

Two little screech owls hiding in a tangle of vines.

A Birds of Prey Project

I’m happy to have gotten the pictures for more than just because I love owls. The main focus in my art is birds of prey. Usually I have to get permission from other photographers to use their birds as subjects, but now I have one of my own. And that makes me happy.

Screech owls are on my list of Ozark Birds of Prey to paint. I’ll do a better one of them later, but I made a quick one for my grand-daughter Karter’s birthday. When I get the better one done, I’ll add it to this page, too.

Screech owl painting (quick version).

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.

To see her paintings click here.

Contact Info:
Email: [email protected]
Instagram: @wildozark
Facebook: @wildozark

If the Creeks Don’t Rise… Springtime in the Ozarks

Wild Ozark will be at Terra Studios tomorrow.

But with the rain we might get overnight and in the morning, the odds are looking poor. If I can’t make it there on Saturday, then on Sunday I should be able to make it. Springtime in the Ozarks usually means more rain.

UPDATE: I made it out in time so I’ll be there today 😁

Ordinarily we do get a lot of rain in springtime. But we’ve been getting a lot more rain than ordinary since *last* spring.

Framed some Paintings

All week I’ve been getting ready for this weekend’s South x Southeast Art Tour. I’ve framed a few more paintings, with the intention to sell some original art this time.

When I framed the last one, I thought I might do something a little different. The painting is a monochrome using only the pigment from a red sandstone. I named the paint “Intoxicating”, which is also what I named the painting.

So I added a little nugget of the same kind of sandstone to the frame, so the owner can see the kind of rock I used to make the paint.

Paleo Painting with the rock used to make the paint on the frame.
I think I’ll make a point to save some of the stones from each of the paints I make so I can add more interest to the frames. Paintings using more than one color will get graced by more than one stone.

Springtime in the Ozarks

Springtime in the Ozarks means trout lilies blooming.
Springtime in the Ozarks means trout lilies blooming.

Just in case I don’t get any pictures this year of the ephemerals, because springtime in the Ozarks sometimes has a tendency to knock the blooms down before I get to take their portraits, here’s a link from previous year.

Handmade, Wild-crafted Paleo Paints Mini Cubes

Paleo Paints Mini’s are mini cubes of watercolor paints using Ozark pigments. Each one is approximately 3/8 inch cubes. They’re wild-crafted and handmade. Smaller than a standard half-pan but far larger than a sample dot, these are perfect for creating watercolor travel sets.

The Colors

The mini cubes come in all of the colors I make. They are sold as singles or in sets. You can check to see what is available by going to my Etsy shop. When I have them available in the Wild Ozark online shop I’ll add a link here for that, too. Right now they’re only at Etsy, Kingston Square Arts in Kingston, Arkansas, and wherever the Wild Ozark booth is while doing a show.

My schedule is linked here, if you’d like to catch up with me in person to try them out before you buy.

Here are some of the colors:

  1. Cromwell’s Sunrise
  2. Pink Tequila
  3. Light Intox
  4. Earthy Delight

More to come!

Paleo Paint Mini's in wood-fired ceramic trays. (tray color varies due to the firing method)
Paleo Paint Mini’s in wood-fired ceramic trays. (tray color varies due to the firing method) The wet set is my own personal ones, so obviously, those aren’t for sale. But if you come by Kingston Square Arts on any Sunday that I’m there, you can try them out. It’s on the square in Kingston, Arkansas. We’re open on Thurs-Sunday, 10-6.

How to Use the Mini Cubes

As for how to use this sort of watercolor paint, it’s just like any other solid watercolor paint.

  1. Wet your brush
  2. Wet the paint
  3. Paint

Each color is slightly different from the other in characteristics. So you’ll learn more about how each one behaves as you use it. For example, it takes the black a lot longer to wet than the others. It’s easy enough to get a gray color, but to get a really dark black point, you’ll need to work a small spot for a while. To draw out really fine black lines, once there is good saturation on my brush, I’ll just barely touch the tip of the brush in water before applying it to the paper.

Some of the colors, like the red heavies, stain the paper and so can’t be lifted as well. Others, like the black, yellow, and gray-green are very easy to lift or move around.

In general, the heavies are more granular and the fines are smoother and more pigment rich.

Ways to Use Mini Cubes

As for how to store and use them, I have a couple of ways I prefer. For travel ease, I will glue the mini down inside a 2″ x 2″ tin. These tins are free with any order of 5 or more mini cubes. You’ll have to glue them in place, or you can leave them loose. I taped my swatch cards in a booklet fashion underneath the tin.

A little tin holding Paleo Paints Mini Cubes.

This other way is decorative and creative. Not so easy to carry around, but aesthetically appealing for desktop or studio use, are my Mini Cubes Driftwood Palettes. These aren’t available yet to purchase, but I should have some ready in a few months. But you can make your own driftwood palettes, if you want. Look how pretty they are:

A gnarly piece of driftwood is my favorite way to use the mini cubes!

How to store these little cubes

When you’re done painting, let the mini cubes dry out before putting down the lid if they’re in a closed container. For open containers, like on the driftwood, I don’t do anything special to them.

Where to Buy?

You’ll find them listed at Etsy, or if you’re local, they’ll be stocked at Kingston Square Arts in Kingston Arkansas. Here’s their website so you can call ahead if you don’t want to make the drive without knowing if any paints are in stock.

Artist’s Reception – Artists of Northwest Arkansas Members Show

Fox No. 1 (Little Rascal) is on display at the Faulkner Center for Performing Arts, located at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. The artist’s reception is Thursday, March 7 at 6 pm, hosted by the UofA. If you’re able to attend, I’d love to see you there. Here’s the painting of mine (it’s on the last page of the catalog):

Come out and see Fox No. 1 all framed and hanging on the wall at the artists reception for the ANA Member's Show at the Faulkner Center for Performing Arts.
Fox No. 1 “Little Rascal”, all Ozark pigments.

You can see the catalog below with all of the art that was selected to hang for this show. Many of the paintings (including mine) are for sale, so if you’re in the market to find some art, it’s a good time to see a lot of it in one location.

It’s my first art show, and the first artist’s reception I’ve ever attended, so this will be fun… I hope, lol. We’ll see! Hopefully I’ll get lots of more practice at this sort of thing in the future. I’m fairly introverted when it comes to social events, so it’s stretching my envelope to attend. I’d imagine I need to dress up a little… I guess I should get online see what to expect from this sort of event in our area. Most likely, I’ll just take my cues from what the others are doing. Many of my fellow artists in this group are old hats at this. Besides, it’s not like it’s New York City or anything.

Update after the show:

I worry too much. Most of us there were the artists in the show and their guests. I enjoyed talking with people I already knew and really liked getting to meet some I had only known through Facebook or Instagram.

 

The tour route for South x Southeast Art Tour 2019

South x Southeast Art Studio Tour

I’m thrilled and honored to be included as a vendor/artist for this art tour event. The Wild Ozark booth will be set up in the Education building at Terra Studios on March 30-31.

 

Print this flyer so you’ll know where all of the locations are. Here’s a link to an easy print 🙂 PRINT FLYER

Here’s the Facebook event page if you’d like to keep up with posts about this event. You can also learn more about the various participating artists here too.

My Artist’s Business Plan for Wild Ozark 2019

So, this isn’t a ‘formal’ business plan, but more of an outline of my goals, plans, and strategy for the year regarding my art. To see the outline of intended subjects for the paintings, take a look at my Ozark Birds of Prey page. It’ll give you an idea of the focus and scope of the project.

And just so you know, I *am* still writing on my novel, too. I just don’t have a plan for the writing business… I just keep adding words and I’m doing that on a nearly, but not quite daily basis. There’s a note posted on the shelf in front of my computer to remind me to at least write ONE sentence every day.

My Artist's Business Plan: Paintings by Madison Woods of the Ozark birds of prey as of Feb. 1, 2019.

Paintings: the focus of my Artist’s Business Plan

Producing new paintings monthly is the primary goal this year.

My focus for the works planned for this year, which will likely stretch into the foreseen future, is to complete a few series of Birds of Prey. Specifically, I am interested in painting the ones found here in the Ozarks. We have a lot of resident raptors and several that visit us only during winter or summer. But where we live represents only a small part of the Ozarks. Since the Ozarks spans more than just Arkansas, it includes a few species less common to my immediate area. The states included are Arkansas, Missouri, and far eastern Oklahoma.

Here’s a link to the birds on my list, and that list has links to the paintings of the ones I’ve done so far. I’ve only begun to get started and it looks like I have my life’s work cut out for me with only this narrow focus!

Paints

Before I make a painting, I make the paint if I don’t already have some on hand. When I do that, I put the excess into decorative containers to sell at the Fayetteville Farmers Market and on Etsy. I’ll continue to do this, but my main focus is on making the paintings, not necessarily selling the paint. I am only going to do the farmer’s market during the indoor winter market months. Once it moves outdoors (in April), I’ll focus more on Etsy and Downtown Roger’s Art on the Bricks, and contests/exhibits.

Selling my handmade watercolors is part of my Artist's Business Plan for 2019.

Prints

I’ll definitely keep making prints of my art. These sell quite well at the market and on Etsy I’ve sold a few. Anywhere I can make some money (while staying focused on the art) to keep funding the art is on my list of things to do, ha.

Stationery

I am loving my stationery sets and stickers and have been using them to send letters to friends and family. These haven’t caught on much yet (well the stickers sell, but they’re a very low-dollar item) at the markets, but I hope they will. If they haven’t by the end of the year, I’ll probably drop this from my list of products and just focus more on the original paintings.

The Strategy and Artist’s Business Plan

My production rate of new paintings has been averaging about one per month. I want to keep that pace and perhaps squeeze out two on some months. Once I have paintings, then I will enter them into exhibits, contests and shows. The paintings may or may not be listed ‘for sale’ during the exhibits or contests. It depends on whether it’s part of a completed series or one still in progress. Getting into exhibits helps to build my CV and gain exposure to more people.

The ‘getting into’ exhibits isn’t necessarily a straight-forward thing, nor is it free. Each entry has a fee associated with it, normally $35-$50. And just because the fee is paid, it doesn’t mean my entry will be accepted. So this is one of the expenses in an artist business, and the selling of other things helps me to afford those fees.

Not only that, if it’s a show, then there’s usually a booth fee if the art is accepted. If it’s an exhibit and not local, then there’s shipping costs associated with getting the art to the exhibit. And then home to me once it’s over.

At least the rocks I use to make the paint is free! However, the paper I prefer to paint on is not. It’s quite pricey, in fact. So there’s another expense. I’ve been very discouraged by how expensive it is to get a work of art framed properly for shows/exhibits. That’s a major expense I’ll need to plan for, because the painting can’t be displayed in shows, contests, or exhibits without framing.

Keeping Track of Expenses

This year I’ll do a better job of tracking expenses and income directly related to the art. I’m curious to see how that turns out. In general, it’s fairly difficult to make a living as a painter. There’s a reason for the phrase ‘starving artist’. I’m planning to buck that stereotype this year, though. The derivatives, like the paints, stationery, stickers, and prints are where I expect to make the income to fund the paintings. Perhaps if I’d finish my books, I could rely on a little income from that too… but it seems that ‘starving writer’ might be a pretty accurate phrase, too. But thank goodness I’m not relying on my art and writing for my everyday expenses! And when Rob gets to working in his workshop again, we’ll have woodworking to add to our inventory of things to sell.

 

Watercolor painting, Ozark pigments by Madison Woods

Goshawk no. 2 – The Creation of “Rhapsody”

For weeks before I finally started, I’d been wanting to get started on the second northern goshawk in my series. It’s amazing how many things suddenly just absolutely have to get done when I decide to get started on a project.

Procrastination?

We have some frigid air moving in for the weekend, so I needed to put extra bedding out for the dog.

Warmth for me too

Also wanted to bring in some extra firewood so at least tomorrow’s wood is sort-of dry when I wake up. The rick of wood is fairly green and the older wood in the pile is fairly wet. LOL, I can’t win either way with that. But, at least what’s inside the house will be a little drier by morning than it was this morning when I brought it in.

Put up the water

So after taking care of the cold weather outdoor stuff, I thought I’d better fill some containers in case the water freezes. I don’t want to have to move the horses to the other field if their water bucket line freezes. Because that would mean I also will have to move hay in the frigid temperatures. I’d rather just haul the water to their bucket if that happens.

Market display

Then I remembered I’d bought some peg board to make a vertical display space for my market booth. Before I could work on that it would need to be painted. So I painted the board and left it outside to dry. Except it didn’t. It was too cold for it to dry well and even after several hours had passed it was still tacky. So I brought it in to put in a warmer spot.

Check the mail

Just before noon I remembered a letter I needed to bring down to the mailbox, so took care of that, And when I got back up to the house, figured I’d better put the car in the shop in case we really do get some of that giant hail I heard mentioned in the forecast. Well guess what? Now it’s coffee time. I completely missed lunch and so just let that go. Once I had my coffee I finished the vertical display space. Then, once that was done I did-finally-get started on my goshawk.

Yep. Procrastination.

It was all just procrastination. Though all of those things did need to be done today, I could have started the goshawk and done those things while stepping back from it. I step away from it almost every time I do anything significant to the painting.

Here’s where I stopped on it today:

Northern goshawk. The eye is not finished. It's just 'good enough' to hold the rest of the painting together while I go forward. I can't do the bird until the eye is good enough.
The eye is not finished. It’s just ‘good enough’ to hold the rest of the painting together while I go forward. I can’t do the bird until the eye is good enough.

The northern goshawk (accipiter gentilis) isn’t commonly found in the Ozarks. Sometimes one might get blown off-course during migration, though. It is one of the raptors favored by falconers and I find them to be beautiful birds of prey.

Some Changes

I did a few things differently on this painting. Each new painting is somewhat of an experiment with me, but there were some things I wanted to intentionally do differently this time.

Drawing lines

On the previous goshawk I had a really difficult time getting the angles right. So this time, on the photograph I printed out to work from, I drew lines with my ruler. These lines show me where the various parts of the bird line up in comparison to each other. I think that helped a lot.

Better paper

Another difference is that I’m painting this northern goshawk on a much higher quality paper. This time I have #300 (640 gsm) Arches paper and it is definitely a huge improvement. As it very well should be, because it was a lot more expensive. The pricey paper added to my reluctance to get started, I think. I’m afraid to ruin a sheet on a wasted effort. On the other hand, I couldn’t wait to try it out.

Finer pigments

The last difference is in the pigments I used for the background. I used some of the fine powders I’d processed and it gives a much bolder, color-drenched effect. I like it. But the particular shade I used is much more inclined to stain the paper. So the areas I need to be white later are going to be harder to produce. But that’s one of the sweet things about this paper. I can lift on it a lot more often than I could on the previous paper. Lifting is when you take color off the page with a damp brush by touching the spot and then rinse and wipe the brush-repeated until it’s white. Or in this case, white enough. I’ll never get the stain completely off. To get whiter spots on the bird later I’ll have to use some of my limestone paint.

Photographer

For this painting, I’m using a photograph of a wild northern goshawk by @javiersanzfoto (Javier Sanz at Instagram).

Progression

Here’s the progression from start to current. As I can I’ll update the photo collection to bring it up to date. If you want to see it as I post them, follow me at Instagram (@wildozark).

Let’s hope I don’t ruin the pricey sheet of paper!

Finished:

Watercolor painting, Ozark pigments by Madison Woods
Prints available.

 

Selling my handmade watercolors is part of my Artist's Business Plan for 2019.

“I make paint from rocks…” A typical encounter.

Click HERE to go directly to my online gallery. All of the work you’ll see there uses paint made from rocks.

Click HERE if you want to see Paleo Paints at Etsy. And HERE for workshops on making them.

Talking about Paint from Rocks

When people see my artwork, they usually don’t realize the colors they’re seeing is paint made from rocks. I love the surprise I invoke when I tell them that. It makes for interesting conversation with almost anyone even remotely interested in nature.

During winter months I get to talk to people at the Fayetteville Farmer’s Market. From spring through fall, I’m usually at the gallery in Kingston, and that’s where I get to talk to people. Usually they’re visitors to the area, passing through on their way to or from the Buffalo River or out to see the elk at Ponca.

To see what other venues I’ll be at this year, check out my online calendar. And Wild Ozark is always ‘open for business’ at our Etsy shop.

A Typical Encounter

People come in through the doors, walk through the aisles, sometimes browsing the various offerings. At the farmer’s markets, some of them, regulars who come for specific things, walk right past other vendors as if they don’t even exist, making a beeline for the booth that carries their (usually) gastronomical delight. Some market-goers glance at everything they pass, just to see what’s new.

At the gallery, it’s a little different because mostly all there is in there to see is art of some sort or another.

An Interested Browser!

Finally I notice a person who’s eyes linger on my artwork. Usually i don’t pounce right away. Pouncing is not my style. I let them look for a little while. After a few seconds more, I know they’re interested and I will try to strike up conversation if I’m not already involved with someone else.

“All these colors you see are Ozark colors.”

“Oh that’s nice.”  And then they’ll either step away because they’re afraid I’m going to try and sell them something, or step closer. Most become more interested. So I give more information, little bits at a time until they’re really engrossed.

“I Make Paint from Rocks”

“Literally. I make the paint from rocks right here in the Ozarks.”

Then most of the time, the interest really flares. Oh? Their eyes light up. Now this is something they’ve never heard of, and if they step in to hear more, I’ll come around and go through the show and tell of how I gather the pigment rocks, crush them and then make the paint.

My personal pans of paint from rocks. They get pretty messy with use.
My personal pans of paint from rocks. They get pretty messy with use.

I get more satisfaction out of showing and telling about the beautiful colors than I do from trying to ‘sell’ art to them. The idea that I can get paint from rocks is still so fascinating to me that I like to share it as much as possible. But when someone walks away from my booth, treasure in hand, it is also very satisfying.

Keepers

The most favorite interaction comes from meeting those I follow or who follow me via this blog or other social media. They already know I make the paint from rocks. They’ve made a special trip to see my work or to meet me. It makes my most of the time otherwise slow day when one of these market-goers shows up. Even if they only came to look and don’t buy.

Paint from Rocks: Wild Ozark Paleo Paints

I bring whatever paint sets are available with me to markets, but they’re also at Etsy. Here’s something new I’m working on. This is the prototype, called a Paleo Biscuit. What is that? It’s a palette to hold paint. I made them from recycled paper and I hope to use them to replace all the plastic pans eventually. The idea of using flat rocks themselves as palette trays is also on my list of things to try.

The wood palettes are nice, too, but those I have to hire out, whereas I can make these paper ones by myself. Another thing I especially like about them is that they’re plastic-free, use recycled materials, and the base material (paper scraps) is freely available.

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My Art

Most of my work is uploaded to Etsy when it’s ready to sell. These awesome stationary sets, all works derived from my paint made from rocks, are the most recent addition!

 

To see art works as I do them, follow me at Instagram. To see them when they’re finished, keep an eye on my Paleo Paints website. I do bring some originals with me to the market.

Original Paintings for Sale

The Twisted Tree swatches and other small originals are usually for sale, but I’m holding on to most of the birds of prey originals now. I need to build a large enough collection of them to enter into exhibits or shows. I almost always have prints of everything available at my market booths, but email me to make sure the one you want is ready, if you want to be sure of a certain painting.

Even if you’re not looking to buy anything, come out to see what incredible art and colors come from our Ozarks. I still find it fascinating, every time I make paint from rocks.

Upcoming Events and Exhibitions

I usually do a good job of keeping my online calendar updated, but here’s the highlights of the months to come.

  • Fayetteville farmer’s markets on most Saturdays
  • Feb 9- Community Craft Show, Bentonville
  • Feb – April- Fox No. 1 will be on exhibit at the Faulkner Center for Performing Arts
  • March- unsure of date- Terra Studios fair
  • last 2 weeks of March-December: Kingston Square Arts on Sundays

My Interview with Jacqueline Froelich of KUAF (91.3 FM)

I was excited to have been interviewed by Jacqueline Froelich of KUAF earlier this week. She came out on Tuesday and let me show and tell my process of making paint and art from the natural resources of the land here at Wild Ozark.

Here’s a link to the show if you’d like to listen.

Local Artist Creates Paints Using Ancient Methods

There is one miss-speak in there I’d like to mention. I didn’t intend to imply that modern synthetic colors are not light fast. Most likely all of them are. However, modern synthetic pigments have only been in use for a relatively short while, so they haven’t withstood the test of time yet. All paint manufacturers do submit their colors to testing to simulate the exposure to light and passage of time, though.

You can see all of the art I’ve made so far with the Paleo Paints at the Paleo Paints website 🙂

What I meant to do was clarify the difference between the plant pigments I’ve found that are *not* light fast as compared to the very fastness of the earth pigments (those from stone, mineral, soil, or clay).

All in all, I had a great time showing Froelich around and talking about my obsession. We’ve interviewed before on the topic of ginseng, but this was the first public exposure of this scale for my art. Let me know what you think about the interview if you get a chance to listen.

Collection No. 6, packaged and ready to ship! Uploading to Etsy on 1/11/2019. These were in progress when Jacqueline Froelich came out to Wild Ozark to do an interview.
Collection No. 6, packaged and ready to ship! Uploading to Etsy on 1/13/2019, but I’ll have these 3 sets with me at the Fayetteville Farmers market on 1/12/19.

 

Goshawk No. 1, Northern Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis)

I’ve always been fascinated with birds of prey and the sport of falconry. One of the birds commonly trained for hunting is the Northern Goshawk. Here’s my rendition of a beautiful wild goshawk photographed by Nicoli Gianluca.

Goshawk No. 1

"Goshawk No. 1", 12 x 17", handmade watercolors using Ozark pigments.
“Goshawk No. 1″, 12 x 17”, handmade watercolors using Ozark pigments.

Right now the image is at the art shop getting scanned because it’s too large a sheet to fit on my own scanner. Once I get the files, I’ll have prints, note cards, and stickers available for it at Etsy. I’ll also have them with me on Saturdays at the Fayetteville (indoor) Farmer’s Market.

Goshawks in the Ozarks

Unfortunately, the goshawk doesn’t make an appearance often here in the Ozarks. There were a few instances reported of sightings, most likely when one was off course during migration. So I’ve never seen one in real life. I found lots of photos online, but could not reach any of the photographers to get permission. I couldn’t find anyone local who had a good photograph.

But Instagram is rich with photographers, and I found Nicoli Gianluca (from Italy) who responded to my permission request. If you are a fan of falconry or bird photography, you can find him as @accipiterhook.

Favorite Subjects

The first ‘real’ painting I made was a raptor, and so were the second and third paintings. So I love painting raptors. But after the third Kestrel I decided to try a few different things to see if raptors really are my favorite, or if it’s maybe only kestrels. So I painted a crow, a pelican, and a fox. And I painted a twisted tree.

I really liked all of those subjects too, but I missed doing raptors. Now I’m working on a new series of a different raptor, the Northern Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis). I’ve never seen one. But it’s Rob’s favorite. I had thought the kestrel was his favorite, but he’s since said it was a goshawk. So either he has favorite birds like I have favorite colors (can’t pick just one, lol), or he changed his mind.

At any rate, I began the first goshawk during the last weeks of 2018. It presented new challenges. Not only is it a different bird in appearances, but it’s a different size. This canvas is much larger than my previous largest thing ever painted. It’s 12″ x 18″. I had put off starting it because the size intimidated me. There’s so much more room for mistakes! Maybe that’s not true, but there’s more room to *see* the mistakes is closer to an accurate statement. It was the most difficult thing I’ve painted yet.

The Background

For this one I wanted to do something different than with the previous paintings. I like the rubbed and speckled backgrounds of the others, but I wanted *more* this time. But I didn’t know exactly what I wanted. And then, too, again being a larger canvas made me reticent to start on top of not knowing exactly where or how to start. So I decided to just paint something.

This is what I came up with.

This started out as a random painting with no image in mind. Once it began to look like something, I decided I rather liked it and decided to use this as the backdrop for my Goshawk No. 1.
A rather barren landscape in brown sandstone, with a rub and speckle before using a wet brush. I like the mist flowing into the scene.

That background started out as a random painting with no image in mind. Once it began to look like hills, I added the mist. Or rather I subtracted it. I decided I rather liked it and decided to use this as the backdrop for my Goshawk No. 1. Note added: Now that I’m nearly done with the painting, I think I’ll go back to my original type of background. I am not loving this washed out landscape much.

Sketch in location of the Goshawk

The goshawk is traced in with one of the colors that shouldn't interfere with final pic.
The goshawk is traced in with one of the colors that shouldn’t interfere with final pic.

The Eye

Before I can go any further with it now, I have to fix the eye. After the outline, the eye is the part that holds everything else up. It doesn’t have to be perfect, just good enough.

This is good enough for now. At least the shape and size is right. It'll take on more character after I get more of the surroundings done.
This is good enough for now. At least the shape and size is right. It’ll take on more character after I get more of the surroundings done.

Blocking in Color

Usually, I am adding too much black and have to take a lot of it back off. In this case, I’m finding it hard to add *enough* black. Part of that is due to the size of the canvas. It is physically a lot more paint than I’m accustomed to using. The other part is that this bird has a lot more black.

The Beak

The beak on this painting gave me LOTS of grief! I had to rework it several times until I was happy enough to leave it alone. During the effort of getting the beak right, I found that I hate this paper I’m using. It didn’t hold up well to lifting the color repeatedly and repainting, so I ordered some heavyweight paper from Arches to try. I’ve heard it’s the best. We’ll see if it holds up to my technique, lol.

Erased the goshawk beak and re-did more than once to get it right.
Erased the goshawk beak and re-did more than once to get it right.

Palette

Black- from wood char made here at Wild Ozark

Brown- from sandstone found here

Yellow- from sandstone found here

Yellow- from sassafras leaves

Gray- from shale found here

Greenish- from a sandstone found here (only found one of these so far)

The Goshawk Progress Pictures

The progression of Goshawk No. 1 from start to finish.
The progression of Goshawk No. 1 from start to finish. Shows all the ugly stages in between 🙂

 

 

 

These are large acorn caps. Burr oak and other oak acorns.

New Products Lineup for Wild Ozark 2019

Lots of new Paleo Paint products in the lineup for Wild Ozark 2019! Look for new handmade watercolors, new packaging (less plastic!) and more paintings.

Since I started making the paint in June of last year, I’ve experimented a lot. And I’ve learned a lot. The same goes for the paintings using handmade watercolors.

As I’ve never painted with anything except these paints I make, I have little to draw on from experience compared with store-bought versions.

However, in my work-play, I’ve come up with a few more techniques for using and making the paint. And I’ve found some better ways to package the paints and make them easier or more fun to use.

Plastic Reduction

The usual thing nowadays used to hold paint are little plastic pans. I’ve gone through literally hundreds of pans since I started making paint. When it’s paint for myself, I wash and reuse them. As I’m developing new products for the upcoming year, I’d prefer to use less plastic.

Originally, artists used whatever was handy to their region. Those who lived near bodies of water typically used seashells. If they purchased paint, it came in seashells, I’d assume. However most of the artists of old made their own paint.

While I don’t have seashells handy, I do have acorns with convenient little caps. And we have a lot of wood scraps when Rob is in the workshop making his art. Nature abounds with all sorts of ‘holders’, so I’ll keep my eyes open for other natural items that will work.

Paint delivery with no or little plastics.
Paint delivery with no or little plastics.

For the acorn cup holders, I still need to use the hot glue to attach them to the base. So not completely plastic-free, but much closer.

New Products in 2019

More Colors

While my main focus for new products will remain on local colors, the Soul of the Ozark series, I would like to start experimenting with minerals from other places. Whenever I travel, I’ll collect the soil, rocks, or clay of that place and make collections called “Soul of That Place”.

I’ve learned to make an incredible blue out of lapis lazuli, but that rock is expensive and in short supply here in my possession, so it most likely won’t ever be one of my new products to sell. However, there are other rocks native to the United States that will make blue. Same goes for green. So these won’t be included in a Soul collection unless it is native to the region I’ve collected, but I’d like to have those colors on hand.

Another thing I learned to do, and now consider standard practice when I have a large enough source, is to refine the colors. The whole rock gives a certain shade. But if you separate the fractions of the rock using water, other shades are possible. Some of the shades can be quite vivid, like this Russet from the fines of the rock I used originally to make my Nirvana color.

More Art

I’ve entered the only two originals I have left into a show for the Artists of Northwest Arkansas. Which means in order to enter any other shows, I’ll need more originals. Right now I’m working on a goshawk and hopefully it will turn out well enough to compete. Before I can finish the painting, though, I have to make the colors I need.

The next exhibit I’d like to apply to is at the Springfield Museum of Art. I need to have this goshawk done by February for that.

My little twisted tree swatches have been popular items at the market, so I will make more of those and add them to the new product line as they become available. They’re small and affordable for people who want to own original art rather than prints. And they look just as nice framed as any larger sized painting would.

Paleo Duos

Whimsical, yet practical. At the moment, I only have enough of the large acorn cups to make 4 sets. If these prove to be a popular way to deliver my handmade watercolors, I’ll find more of them!

Each acorn cup holds more paint than a standard full pan. If all I can find are smaller acorns, then I’ll add more cups and call them Trios or Quads.

The bones of a new product. This is what will become Paleo Duo sets. Look for these to appear at Etsy and at the market booth by the end of January.
The bones of what will become Paleo Duo sets.

Wooden Palettes

These wooden blocks are awesome, and contain no plastics at all. When I finish the paints in one of mine, I’ll try washing and re-using it, too. My son Garrison has been working with me on this design. He’s doing all the work of making them and I’m filling them with paint and offering feedback. The one below is a working prototype.

Not one of the new products, but a new way to package the products. No plastic!
Not one of the new products, but a new way to package the products. No plastic!

Paleo Go

This is a portable set based on the concept of ‘whiskey paintings’. It features small acorn cups with magnets so they can be swapped out for different colors. Will come with the first set of colors, a miniature paint brush, shot glass for water, and the wooden plaque. I have been using this prototype as often as I can so I can make modifications as needed. Once I have all the bugs worked out and beautify the presentation of it more, it’ll be one of the new products at the market too. Look for this mid- to late 2019. Maybe earlier if I’m lucky with the first round of modifications.

Paleo Go prototype in use for one of my twisted tree paintings.
Paleo Go prototype in use for one of my twisted tree paintings.

Where to Find Wild Ozark?

Look for me on Saturdays at the Fayetteville (indoor) Farmers Market until March. I won’t be there the first weekend in January, though. You can find out when and where I’ll be by checking my calendar here.

I’ll be at the Community Craft Show in Bentonville on February 9.

My Etsy shop is at Etsy.com/shop/wildozark and it’s open all the time!

Got Acorns?

If you have any burr oak acorn caps, I would be happy to buy some from you! Ditto the other large caps. I have lots of medium and small acorns, just need more of the large ones. Email me if you’d like to donate or sell to the cause: [email protected]

Have a wonderful, prosperous, and exciting 2019!

Popup venue

Give Less, Give More – a Popup Show at the Johnson Mill

That’s the name of a sweet little venue that is popping up this weekend over at the Johnson Mill in Johnson, AR (between Springdale and Fayetteville.) Give Less, Give More is hosted by Good Acres Life, a local company owned by Mariette Spedale.

Give Less, Give More Popup venue at the Johnson Mill
Click to enlarge

Pick up some Paleo Paints or Paintings

I’ll be there with my latest collection of Paleo Paints and a bunch of prints and stickers made from my original Ozark earth colored paintings. You can find out more about the Soul of the Ozarks Collection No. 4 at my Paleo Paints blog. I just made a post that tells about each color and what rock or source it came from.

These are the colors and sources for Collection No. 4 in the Soul of the Ozarks Wild Ozark Paleo Paints.
These are the colors and sources for Collection No. 4 in the Soul of the Ozarks Wild Ozark Paleo Paints.

At the same venue there will be other makers and holistic healthy kinds of business owners to visit. The weather forecast calls for rain Friday night, but I think it’ll arrive later than 7 pm, when our event ends for the evening. Saturday is supposed to be brilliant weather.

So What is the Meaning of “Give Less, Give More”?

I’m not sure, but here’s my interpretation. Rather than give a lot of inexpensive items that most often find their way to the neglected corner of a stash in someone’s closet somewhere, give them something that may cost a little more but delivers far more in value. My paints are not inexpensive. The set of 6 colors above will cost $55. But it’s the sort of gift that will definitely be used and appreciated by anyone who loves nature and likes to paint with watercolors. These colors aren’t going to be on the shelf at your local art supply store. These are Ozark colors, reflecting the very soul of these mountains. So, if all give is this one gift, it will mean more than giving lots of other little things that might add up to the same bottom line. How would you interpret the meaning of that phrase?

Stickers, Prints, Note Cards, and Paints

I’ll have prints in 8 x 10 and 5 x 7, note cards, and stickers with these images. And I’ll have five sets of the Collection No. 4.

Catching Up & Gearing Up for More Paint-Making and Paintings

For the past couple of months I’ve been busy with festival-going and getting ready for more festival-going for the Burnt Kettle Syrup. Then for the past couple of weeks, I’ve been enjoying time with Rob (Mr. Wild Ozark/Burnt Kettle). Paint-making and painting has been on the sidelines for a while.

But it’s time to get back to work now. Lots of events coming up over the next couple of months that involve my art.  So I am gearing up for that now. (See my Schedule calendar to keep up and get locations/times information).

  • Demo Day- the artists of Kingston Square Arts will be demonstrating their crafts. I’ll be making watercolor paint from local rocks.
  • Holiday market- my work will be on display and for sale at the Walton Arts Center/McBride Studio from Nov. 23 to Dec. 1
  • Give Less Give More- a popup market hosted by Good Acres at Johnson Mill in Johnson, AR
  • Fayetteville Farmer’s Winter Market- tentatively I will be back at the market on Dec. 8
  • Local Juried Event Applications- there are some art shows I want to enter for next year with deadlines in December this year

Before the Painting

First I have to make the paint. I need a palette I can use for my next project. Today I collected some rocks to use for the next round of paint making.

One of those rocks is the size of a flattened grapefruit, and I just know it’s going to make a fabulous color. It’s a soft sandstone, an ochre that left my fingers stained when I crushed a little of it in testing.

It’s a big enough rock so that I can make both a good sized batch of watercolors and test something brand new I want to try- my first handmade oil paint.

A flattened grapefruit sized rock that'll make some nice handmade paint!
A flattened grapefruit sized rock that’ll make some nice handmade paint!

I haven’t painted anything in a while and I’m overdue! The next picture is going to be my first attempt at an oil painting, with my handmade paints from Ozark colors. It’s going to be the first in a series of goshawks. The first one will be Rob’s, as all of the ‘firsts’ of any series always are. The northern goshawk is one of his favorite birds and I’ve been collecting permissions from photographers to get ready for this new line.

Future Paintings

Here’s one I’d like to do that I don’t yet have permissions, but I’m still trying to find out who the photographer is. I’ve found the photo in lots of places, but only recently found some that give credit to a photographer, so I’m waiting for response from an email I sent.

A female northern goshawk with prey.
A female northern goshawk with prey. I believe the copyright holder for this image is Jens Stahl of the Netherlands, but not sure. Waiting to hear back from this photographer so I can properly credit the photo, and if so, see if I can use it for a model in a painting.


Greens and Blues

I won’t be able to make this green, since we don’t have a light fast source for that kind of green. Blue is another color I can’t make from Ozark sources. I may decide to go beyond the Ozarks for stones I can use to make a good green, though. And to get a gray with the blue tones like this, I may need to use an outside source for that, too.

It’s hard to find good photos of this bird, although I have found some. Even when they are shown with photographer credits, it’s hard to get in touch with the photographers to get permissions to use it. If you know of one, please send me leads! Thanks in advance 🙂

The Latest Paint Collection

If you’d like to see more about Soul of the Ozarks Collection No. 3, I made a blog post at the Paleo Paints website about using the red leaves of black gum for one of the colors in the latest palette. I’ll have that collection of nine colors available to buy at the Holiday Market, and I’m working on the next collection now. Collection No. 4 will be ready for the popup on Dec. 1, or you can watch some of the process I use to make these paints at the Demo Day on Nov. 24.

Black Gum autumn leaves, leaching plant pigments

Plant Pigments- in search of a stable green, the latest painting and the next show

Between getting the house clean today, since it’s raining and I couldn’t be outside weed-eating, I’ve been making a mess in the kitchen. People have to not take things at face value in this house. What looks like refreshing tea… just might not be. My kids know by now that not everything they see in my refrigerator or on the counters is meant to be eaten. More often it’s something to do with an herbal remedy in progress. Or plant pigments. Or rock dust tea.

It might look like something delicious... but it's pink sandstone dust. Gritty.
href=”https://www.wildozark.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/rock-dust-tea.jpg”> It might look like something delicious… but it’s pink sandstone dust. Gritty.[/
The pink sandstone project was a few weeks ago. Today I had the same equipment out to do some separating of some different ‘teas’.

Still Looking for Green

I’m always on the lookout for some plant or rock that will give me a green or blue paint. Today, entirely coincidentally, I might have found my green.

Will it last? This new paint made from plant pigment will undergo light-fast testing to see if it's stable. Fingers crossed!
“https://www.wildozark.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/green.jpg”> Will it last? This new paint made from plant pigment will undergo light-fast testing to see if it’s stable. Fingers crossed![/captio
So we’ll have to wait about a month to know whether this is a success or failure in my quest to find a stable green color for my palettes. If you want to stay updated on that, check back here or check out my new blog dedicated to the making of Paleo Paints. When I get the post up there, it’ll go into a lot more detail on how I’ve made the paint and what I do to light-test.

Update 8/17: I’m sad to report that it won’t take a month to know the answer. It isn’t going to last. Both the exposed and the strip in the dark are showing degradation.

My Latest Painting

I finished this fox the other day. Originally, my plan was to do three of them quickly so I could give them to the grandbaby girls for Christmas. But this little fox wasn’t easy and it took far longer than I thought it would. So what I’ll do is make prints of this one for them instead.

All colors are from paints I made using local resources right around the house. All but the brown-brown are in Collection No. 1.
://www.wildozark.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/finished-low-res.jpg”> All colors are from paints I made using local resources right around the house. All but the brown-brown are in Collection No. 1. The reddish brown is Nirvana and Intoxicating, which are in the collection. You can see all of the work I’ve done so far at my gallery page.

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The next Appearance

The Burnt Kettle booth will be at War Eagle this weekend, so come out to say hello. I’ll be there, probably shivering and hiding out from the rain inside the booth.

Next stop for Wild Ozark is at the Walton Arts Center Holiday Gift Market. I’ll have prints, paints, cards, and stickers available for sale. The cards are an affordable way to get a print, if you frame them rather than send them 🙂 I’ll have signed/numbered prints of Kestrel No. 1, Pelican No. 1, and Kestrel No. 2. Maybe I’ll have the prints back for the fox and crow by then too, but not sure. The dates for that show is Nov. 23 through Dec. 16.

Making Paint from Pink Sandstone of the Ozarks

I’ve been busy as a bee lately making more and more paint. Even though this week my intention was to focus solely on getting ready for upcoming shows and festivals, the lure of a large chunk of pink sandstone seduced me. I couldn’t help it, and I gave in to make more paint.

Collection No. 2

Soul of the Ozarks
Collection No. 2

Collection No. 2 has some of my preliminary experiments with pink sandstone, though. There are three colors in this set. A full pan of Frenchie, made with French green clay, Brown Sands, and Pink Sands.

The color swatches for Soul of the Ozarks, Collection No. 2.
The color swatches for Soul of the Ozarks, Collection No. 2.

 

Frenchie

Although French green clay is from France, I included it in this palette for a couple of reasons. So far I haven’t found a good light-fast local source to make any shade of green.

But I don’t feel like it’s much of a stretch to include this color in my Soul of the Ozarks collections. France once owned the territory that includes the Ozarks, so it’s part of our rich history.

This isn’t one of my favorite pigments, but I use it a lot. The reason I am not so enamored is because the pigment is weak. It takes a lot of building to get a good green out of it, but it’s easy enough to get a sheer and light green tint.

Brown Sands

This color is a filtered one and the pigment is sheer tan brown. It is less textured than whole-stone paints.

Pink Sands

More Pink Sandstone Color Experimentation

I found a large chunk of pink sandstone last week and earlier this week while I had the help of my friend Allyssa, we started work on a good-sized batch of pigment.

The chunk of pink sandstone after I broke it into smaller chunks.
The chunk of pink sandstone after I broke it into smaller chunks.

Since I had such a nice amount to work with, I decided to separate this stone into the various weights that make up the shades of pigment in it. What I hoped was to get more of the pink somewhere in there. But none of them are truly pink.

What I ended up with were heavy weights, middle weights, and light weights. Then I also separated out super lights from the light end. This is a long process involving water washes and precipitation of the particles.

Separating the heavy, middle, and light color shades from pink sandstone.
Separating the heavy, middle, and light color shades from pink sandstone.

Shades of Pink

Here’s what I have so far. There weren’t much ‘middles’ so I made a gouache of that. A gouache is somewhat more opaque than watercolor because it contains calcium carbonate (limestone). If I add this to a paint, it makes it go farther. I’ll also make a gouache of what’s left of the ‘lights’, to see if it’s different than the middle pink gouache.

Shades of pink sandstone. Still waiting on the rest of my lights to settle so I can make a 'lights gouache'.
Shades of pink sandstone. Still waiting on the rest of my lights to settle so I can make a ‘lights gouache’.

Want to Buy?

If you want any of my sets of paints, for now either find me at one of the shows I go to, or email me for an invoice. The experiment isn’t finished yet and those paints aren’t available. But Collection No. 2 is (I have 4 left). They’re $30, and are packaged to make great gifts. 

Once I’m done with this year’s shows, I’ll set up the items in my online shop here and maybe also at Etsy. That should be somewhere around the end of November. By that time, I should also have another collection of 6 colors.

Brown paint from the hard rock.

Brown Earth Pigment for my Handmade Watercolor Palette

My son found a rock alongside the driveway, near the creek. He kept it to give me since he knows I’ve been smashing a lot of rocks lately. This one seemed like it would be a great rock to make some of my earth pigments and handmade watercolors. It was mostly black, with some brown.

I thought so too. It appeared to be black sandstone – and I need another source of black.

With some sense of excitement, I took out my hammer and pounding board (otherwise known as a chopping block to those who actually cut up things to cook).

That rock surprised me. It surprised me in a couple of ways. First, it wouldn’t break. I mean I pounded that rock so hard it broke the board beneath it.

So I took it outside. Finally I did manage to break off a small sliver. Considering how much effort it took to break even the tiniest piece of it off, doubts about making paint from it had begun to cloud my happy day.

Before I set to reducing the sliver to dust, I looked at it under the magnifying loop. Lots of little pockets of shiny, glassy, black were there. It looked like obsidian or glass. So I took some pictures of the rock and tested it to see if a magnet would attract to it. Nope.

One of the state geologists said it may be 'carbonated sandstone', which is typically very hard. Makes a nice brown paint, though.
One of the state geologists said it may be ‘carbonated sandstone’, which is typically very hard.

Just a really hard rock with interesting black glassy bits. Not to be deterred so easily, I put the sliver into my handy stainless steel mortar and used the hammer on the pestle to crack it some more.

It didn’t surprise me that it was hard to grind to a powder. In fact, I was only able to reduce a small portion of it to actual powder. The rest was far too grainy to use for paint.

But I took the powder I did get and made the little pile on my mulling board and put the media in it.

And that’s where the second surprise happened. That powder, which still felt very gritty to my fingers, mulled down to the smoothest paint ever.

And not only that, it made the brownest brown I’ve found yet. This part really excited me.

But not enough to make me try to grind any more of it. My wrists were sore from the first attempt.

I kept the rock and will see if I can make more brown later from it. This is one color I doubt I’ll ever sell, just because for one, I’m not sure where to get another rock like that. And two, because it’s just far too hard to grind.

However, the brown compliments my own personal set of paints quite nicely and I’ve used it in the pelican I’m painting now. It was the best color for the job and I’m glad I had it on hand. It probably gets the color from manganese.

Thanks, Garrison! Pick up any other rocks you might think I’ll like in in the future.

Brown paint from the hard rock.
I think I’ll call this one “Hard Rock Brown”.
Drawing the Eye of a Pelican

The Painting of a Pelican

Pelican No. 1, by Madison Woods in Ozark pigments.
Pelican No. 1. Prints are available. Click to go to product listing.

This painting of a Louisiana Brown Pelican was based mostly on a photo by Shelby Townsend , but I liked the feet on another from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, so modified them to drape over the edge of the post.

The Model for my Subject

Here’s Shelby’s story about the day he took the photo.

I remember taking that shot. We were riding a ferry across some small body of water somewhere in south Louisiana and he or she posed perfectly on that pole in some very good lighting so I could capture that shot… ~ Shelby Townsend

The Pelican’s Color Palette

These are the colors I’m using on the painting. All of them except the lapis lazuli for his eye and the French green clay I mixed with the gray are colors I made from rocks, clay, and sassafras leaves from here at Wild Ozark. The sassafras is the only plant-based paint that has good light fastness. All of the others I’ve tried have faded to nearly nothing in my sunlight tests within a few days. The sassafras actually intensified in color, and it’s my only source of really clean yellow. So far. I might find others sooner or later. But I’m happy with this one.

Getting Started

Click to enlarge.

The first thing I always have to do when I start a new painting is the eye. I’ve had the hardest time with the eye on this guy. Who knew it would be so hard to get a pelican’s eye just right?

Pelican Eyes

Turns out that a pelican has a lot of lines in his face. And his feathers go to a certain point on his face but then they stop and it’s just skin. So many little details. On my first attempt, I did a pretty decent job. I liked his blue eye.

Pelican's Eye #1. The eye as it turned out the first attempt. Not bad, but too large for a pelican.

Then I had to go and try to make it better. And what happened? Of course. I messed it up.

Messed up his eye with too much black.
Too much black.

So I erased his eye. And all of the black lines I’d added around his face. It was just too much black. I seem to have a weakness for doing that. The same thing happened with both kestrels. I can’t keep my brush out of the black.

Erased and will rework the pelican eye. Good thing the black lifts off relatively easy!
Good thing the black lifts off relatively easily!

Anyway, I got his eye erased and re-painted, and the second go around actually looks more realistic than the first, if you ask me.

Totally reworked the pelican's eye and face. Much better now.
Pelicans always have a look of ‘attitude’ about them, don’t they?

I’m using mostly Ozark colors on this Louisiana brown pelican. But I needed some blue for his eye and that’s not something I can get from our local stones. So I used a little bit of my precious lapis paint.

Moving On

Once I finished getting the pelican eye done to a point where I liked it, I began working on the bill, then his head, and finally to the color blocks for the rest of his body. Turns out that a pelican bill is pretty tricky too. There’s a lot of nuance in shape and lines, and it was very difficult to paint it in the way to make it look like what I saw in the photographs. And brown pelicans seem to come in all shades of colors with yellow, browns, black and russets. Perfect for the paints I make.

Color blocks in place on his back and belly, bill is pretty much done. Still need to add the feather details.
Color blocks in place on his back and belly, bill is pretty much done. Still need to add the feather details.

The Finished Painting

For this pelican, I did have to resort to a couple of outside colors, although they were still my own handmade watercolors. I used lapis for the blue in his eye and French green clay to give the gray the right tint.
For this pelican, I did have to resort to a couple of outside colors, although they were still my own handmade watercolors. I used lapis for the blue in his eye and French green clay to give the gray the right tint.

About the Painting

The paper  is heavyweight, sized 8″ x 10″. (Strathmore 400 series watercolor paper)

This pelican is a birthday gift for my sister. I’ve never really looked closely at a pelican before. They’re very odd looking creatures!

If you want to follow along and see the progress pics of other paintings as I do them, catch up with me over at Instagram. I’m @wildozark there too.

Have a great weekend!

A Call for Rocks and a New Page

Saturday I went down to Felkins creek which is near the end of our driveway. It’s not that I needed more rocks. I just wanted to see what the recent rains might have turned up. So I should probably have not gone looking.

Limestone and fossils.
Limestone and fossils.
Look at all of the fossils in this one little piece! There's that many more in the larger chunk.
Look at all of the fossils in this one little piece! There’s that many more in the larger chunk of fossil rock.

 

I only needed one rock. Or one color of rock. And I did get it. But all these other rocks wanted to jump in my bag, too.

It's the red sandstone without a black shell that I wanted. Not sure how all these other rocks got in the bag...
It’s the red sandstone without a black shell that I wanted. Not sure how all these other rocks got in the bag…

 

Have any rocks to share?

I’d like to make a collection of paints from other regions. A single colorful rock will work if it’s about hand-sized. I’ll send you a little pan of paint for a single rock (or handful of clay!). If you’d like to send me a medium-sized priority box of rocks (or clay) from your area, I’ll send you a whole palette of paints from those rocks. Choose a few rocks (or clays) of about 5 different colors if you can. Email me for my address.

How’s that fall in line with the ‘I don’t need any more rocks’ line of thinking??

New Page and Menu Item

I decided to put my paintings on a single page as I finish them. You’ll see that page now in the menu above. Next up will be a brown pelican, the State Bird of Louisiana. It won’t be for sale as it is a custom order but I’ll still post the progression of it as I’m doing it. Not sure I can do a pelican, so it’s an experiment!

A Book to Finish

I haven’t forgotten about the book I’m supposed to be wrapping up this summer. Summer is almost over… I know. If you’ve been waiting, please know it’s on my mind and I’m trying to work on it between making paints and painting.