Wild Ozark™

~ Rock Foraging Nature Artist & Real Estate Agent in Kingston, AR ~

Slow Art, Back to Nature Art

There are a lot of parallels between the kind of art I make and the Slow Food movment from a decade or so ago. My style is also very much ‘back to nature’.

Why is it ‘Slow Art’?

Just as slow food is food prepared and served, as opposed to popping a processed tv dinner in the microwave, my art must also be prepared before I serve it. To start, I forage for pigments before I even have paint to work with. I gather the ingredients for my paints, then break, crush, and wash them. A chef or cook prepares Slow food ingredients by chopping and adding to the dish. Often those ingredients need further attention, like sautéing before going into the dish.

Slow art, handmade from foraged pigments.
Click here to see all of my available artwork.

Back to the slow art, with oil paints, I can use them as soon as I’ve gotten them mulled into the oil. From start to tubed, an oil paint might be ready to use within an hour, if I want a rough paint. To have a smooth paint, then the pigments undergo a washing process that can take a week or more.

Making the Art

Once there is paint on hand to use, I create a painting. However, before I begin applying color to my canvas, it needs to be primed. That usually takes a day for three coats of gesso. I try to prime several canvases (or boards) at the same time, so I can skip this step on some of the paintings. I’ll have already primed boards on hand. Depending on the painting I’m creating, I could have a finished small work within a day or even a couple of hours. But if I’m doing thin layers or a large painting, it could take weeks to a month for a finished piece.

This painting of a raven took about two weeks once I made the first stroke. But a blank canvas sat on my easel for weeks before I had a clear image in my mind for what I wanted to do. I knew it would be a raven, but I wasn’t sure what setting I wanted to use. Once I’d decided that the raven would be drinking beer from a flowing tap, I did sketches to figure out how to position the bird in an unnatural behavior that still looked natural for the setting.

My raven painting in a repurposed frame of excellent quality. My art is Slow Art and Back to Nature Art.

Back to Nature Art

My paintings have a natural, old-world look to them. That’s because all of my pigments sources (except for white and blue) are from rocks that I gather straight from nature. White is titanium dioxide and blue is soon going to be from lapis lazuli powders that I buy). Pretty much every day I pick up a rock I see that has a color I will want to use. My yellow is a lake pigment that I make from my garden thyme, although I have an earthy yellow too that comes from a local rock called limonite.

My goal with my art is to use as much of the local color as possible, and to avoid chemicals as much as possible. I don’t use paint thinner, except to wash my brushes once in a while. Most of the time, I keep them wrapped after washing them in sunflower oil.

For my supplies, I try to use what I can literally or conceivably source for myself here at Wild Ozark. That’s a large part of what makes it ‘back to nature’ art. The term ‘organic’ doesn’t apply in the physical sense, because most of my pigments are inorganic things. But it is ‘organic’ in the sense that it evolves from a handmade, natural process. It also contributes to why it is a ‘slow art’ form.

Most of the subjects I paint are natural. They’re either landscapes, birds, animals, or something in a natural state of decay (old tractors, old sheds, old cabins, for example).

So it is Slow Art and Back to Nature Art.

Nature and biodiversity reigns supreme at Wild Ozark.
Click here to see all of my available artwork.

What does the Slow or Back To Nature terms mean to you?

Have you ever heard of either of them? If so, do you think my art fits those descriptions or am I stretching?

A Little About My Paint-making Process

Since my paints are handmade and (mostly) locally foraged, I have to make sure I have the colors I need before I begin a project. If it’s a plant pigment, then I’ll need to harvest the plant and process it to make the pigment. The only plant sources I use at this time are thyme, and the root bark of Osage trees. The rest comes from foraged rocks, soot, bone, or purchased lapis and titanium dioxide powder.

Here’s a blog post I made earlier about making oil paints:

So, if it’s a rock, then I’ll break it to smaller pieces, then crush it as finely as I can. The crushed rock is the raw pigment. After that I put the powder into a jar and fill the jar with water. Depending on the source rock, I’ll either pour off the colored water into another jar to let it settle, or pour the rinse water out and keep the sediment for the paint. After the water clarifies and the pigment has settled, then I pour off the clear water and let the sediment dry. That is what I’ll make the paint from.

When it comes to plants, there’s more chemistry involved. I’ll make what is called a ‘lake’ pigment. Here’s a post that gives more information on that process.

I hope you love this earthy palette of color as much as I do! Thanks for reading ~ Madison

Contact Mad Rox: (479) 409-3429 or madison@madisonwoods and let me know which hat I need to put on 🙂 Madison for art, Roxann for real estate, lol. Or call me Mad Rox and have them both covered!




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