I wear two hats with different names: Madison Woods when I’m wearing the artist hat, Roxann Riedel in real life and real estate. I'm a rock-smashing paint-making artist & a sales agent for Montgomery Whiteley Realty. Hailing from the wild Ozarks in Kingston, Arkansas where my husband and I work toward a sustainable lifestyle.

You can text or call to reach me by either name (see above):
(479)409-3429, or email madison@wildozark.com

The Orange in Osage Root Bark

The color in the Osage root bark is quite vivid and I’m trying to capture that pigment.

Osage root bark

My first attempt wasn’t very successful. I used water to try and extract the orange. I simmered it on low heat, then strained the still very orange bark out.

extracted from osage root bark

What little bit I got went into the gum arabic solution and offers a nice sheer kind of yellow. That’s alright, but not exactly what I was after. If you want to read all about my first attempt, I posted about that over at the WildOzark blog.

The next attempt is showing a lot more promise. I extracted into ethanol (180 proof). Yes, the liquor store probably thinks I’m a lush, but I buy this for making my herbal remedies and thought I’d try it on the Osage root bark, too.

Osage root bark is such a nice, rich color!

Much color into solution this time. Now how do I get it out?

Ethanol extract of Osage root bark.
This is showing a lot more promise. Now I just need to get the color out of the alcohol…

I added some water and the mixture clouded up. That’s a good sign. It means there might be some precipitation happening. Except it wasn’t settling. So I added a little bit of salt, and that made it start releasing lots of tiny bubbles. Progress, but still not much happening.


So I added a little bit of alum dissolved in hot water. That changed it from orange to a sort of rosy red. I could live with that. But still not much settling going on. After a little while I added a little bit of soda dissolved in warm water. Now we’re getting separation and settling.

Osage root bark lake pigment reaction.
Now that the layers are starting to separate, I might be making actual progress. It’ll be tomorrow before it settles enough to pour off the top layer. Hopefully the top layer will be clear by the morning.

Once this finally finishes settling, I’ll strain off the top liquid and keep the settled bottom portion.

Solids after filtering.
The orange pigment, after filtering out the liquid.

Then I’ll wash it with clean water and see if it will resettle. If it won’t, then I’ll have to figure something else out. If it does, then I’m in business and can get on with the next step.

If it does, then the next step is to let it settle again and wash again. Eventually I’ll want to dry out just the settled solids and use that for making the paint.

Making paint from Osage root bark

Check back later to see if this made good paint in the end. I’ll work on it some more tomorrow, but it’ll be next week before I’m able to make the actual paint. I have to separate the layers and let the sediment dry first.

In the meantime, if you want to read about the other colors I’ve cataloged so far, here’s the link to the category page: https://www.paleopaints.com/category/colors/

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