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.
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:
- mulling plate
- 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.
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.
- Mulling Plate
- 20-ml Vials* [ad]
- Mortar and Pestle*[ad]
- Rock Tumbler*
- Silicone ice trays
- full and half pans[ad] – you can also use acorn caps, clam shells, etc.
- neodymium magnets
- small jars[ad]
- reusable dust mask[ad]
- disposable dust masks[ad]
- gum Arabic[ad]
You can often find mullers used or less expensive on EBay.
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!
Finished Paint, Processed Pigments, & Kits
In the summer of 2018 I began making watercolor paints from the rocks, clay, and other resources of our land here in the Ozarks. My artwork is made exclusively with these paints. I call them Wild Ozark Paleo Paints, because they’re made in a way very close to the same way paints were made when man first put a handprint on the wall of a cave. My specialty is painting nature, specifically the nature that surrounds me here in the remote hills of northwest Arkansas.
My Portfolio is at MadisonWoods.art
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Soul of the Ozarks | Watercolor Pigments | 2021-04$75.00 $75.00.
Earthy Green | Color No. 2021-06 | Single 26mm Pans$10.00
How to Find Pigment Rocks | Identify & Forage | August date TBD$50.00 $50.00.
Watercolor Binder / Media – Ready to Use$35.00 $35.00.
Soul of the Ozarks | 2021 Collection No. 3$45.00 $45.00.
Soul of the Ozarks | 2021 Collection No. 1$45.00 $45.00.
2021-03b Whole Yellow Ochre Pigment from Wild Ozark$35.00 $35.00.
Red-Russet ‘Lites’ | 2021-01 (lites)$10.00 $10.00.
Red Lites | 2021-01c$10.00 $10.00.
Red Heavies | 2021-01b$10.00 $10.00.
2021-01 Whole Paleo Paint Pigment from Wild Ozark$10.00 – $35.00
Soul of the Ozarks | 2021 Collection No. 2$75.00 $75.00.