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.

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.

 

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.

Drawing the Eye of a Pelican

The Painting of a Pelican

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.

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

Brown Pelican, by Shelby Townsend.
Photo by Shelby Townsend.

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.

Wrapper for the Soul of the Ozarks watercolor paint tin.

Soul of the Ozarks

I’m sure you’ve noticed I’ve been making paint lately, ha. But I thought I’d try out the slideshow-making program that came with my computer. Here’s a short collection to celebrate my first release of colors called Soul of the Ozarks. It’ll hit the shelves at the Kingston Square Arts shop on Sunday, Sept. 16.

Locally Made, Local Business, Local Ingredients

This product is Made in Arkansas from almost entirely local ingredients. I do have to import the media base and essential oil of cloves. But all of the color, labor, and the honey used to preserve and condition the paint, comes from right here close to home. If my tiny little operation grows very much, I’ll be able to hire someone from right here at home to help me with the gathering, sorting, and grinding of rocks and mulling of paints.

The Soul of the Ozarks

If rocks are the soul, then paint captures the essence and embodies the soul of a place.

Since all of these colors were gathered from right here at home, this entire collection is called Soul of the Ozarks. There will be other palettes added as I find other shades and sources. Other collections will be created from other places, and those will be given the title to match their place. This way you will always know the source of your colors.

Sustainable

Never toxic ingredients, and I always harvest the colors with respect and gratitude. The rocks and clay I gather are from sources Nature made available without resorting to digging or mining. I basically gather them off the ground while I’m taking my daily walk.

I’m experimenting with a source of water-soluble resin close to home so I won’t have to import the base media.

Introducing …

Get Announcements

Sign up for my mailing list and I’ll let you know when new colors are coming out or when I’m having classes or workshops and field trips to make paint or gather materials.

The only required information is your email address. If you add your mailing addy and birthday, I send out dot cards with samples of my paints each month to the birthday folks.

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A Study in Sandstone

An entire painting done with a watercolor paint made from our local sandstone.
No photo to go on this time, just imagination.

The whole painting is in my handmade watercolor paint made from one of our local shades of sandstone.

Every Sunday I’ll be at the Kingston Square Arts shop with the colors I’ve made so far. If it’s not too busy I’ll usually be working on a painting and you’re welcome to pick up a brush and try them out, too.

Workshops on cleaning and using native clay and making paints or earth pigments are in the near future. Sign up for my mailing list if you want to get notifications. Or follow me and Kingston Square Arts on FB, because I’ll post it there too.

A set of Rada kitchen knives and cutlery.

Product Review: Rada Kitchen Knives and Cutlery

The best thing about Rada knives – well, I can’t say that. ONE of the best things about these knives is that they’re made in the U.S.A. The other best thing is that they’re terrific. Read on to find out why I think so. Of the set, I only have the paring knife, apple peeler/potato peeler, and the serrated – the first three from the bottom. So I’m basing my review of the brand on my use and experience with three of the blades in this set.

Pros

We got the three that I mentioned as a wedding gift in 2013. I’ve only just now had to ask Rob to sharpen the edge on the paring knife. The other two are still performing as well as they did out of the box.

The blades are thin yet sturdy. They hold an edge for an incredibly long time. They hold a very fine edge so the knife is super-sharp.

They’re made in the USA. It’s hard to find affordable products that work well that are also made here. I can often find great quality but can’t afford it, so I’m happy when I find a product that meets both expectations.

Affordability

The whole set pictured above is $41.99 right now at Amazon. They’re very closely matched in price at Wal-Mart and I’ve seen the same brand for sale at The Huntsville Pantry for those of you local to Huntsville, AR.

Cons

You shouldn’t put these in the dishwasher. The handles oxidize if you do and it makes them ugly but it doesn’t seem to affect their performance. I ran my through the dishwasher before I realized this. I think the handles are made of aluminum and the dishwasher detergent reacts with the metal.


Read my other product reviews.

Pixies – Miniatures by Madison Woods

Pixies are the most elusive of the unseen creatures that live at Wild Ozark. They live around you, too.

Most likely you’ve only seen the effects of them because they’re solitary creatures, working quietly in the background of nature, wherever that nature occurs.

There are pixies in the cities and in the rural areas and in the wilderness.

Pixies are Shy

They’re solitary creatures and prefer not to interact with humans if they can help it.

For a while I’ve been mulling over creating something involving pixies. Here’s a little bit about them that I’ve learned since we moved out here to the wilds.

Most of them work at things involving nature.

Lack of respect is their number one complaint. People just don’t consider them important. While they don’t want the attention, they are a bit jealous that elves and fairies get all the admiration.

All pixies have important jobs to do in the wilds and even urban settings.

They do not have the ethereal look of fairies.  By nature, they aren’t “beautiful”.

Most of them are literally close to the earth (short), and because of that they’re often are dirty little things. Not all of them have wings but they can all appear and disappear at will.

The mechanism of their ability to move quickly from one place to another nearby place without walking is not understood. I think it is magic.

Some of them, the ones that tunnel through the ground like moles, have double rows of teeth and can be quite frightening to the uninitiated. I have a short story about one of the more troublesome types of pixies. It’s a free story at most ebook retailers (except Amazon).

I decided to begin my crafting with one less intimidating.

Handmade Pixies by Madison Woods

This is Helga, the first of her line. She’s a mushroom gardener. Her hair is made from dried moss. In one hand she holds a shiny bauble (pixies love shiny baubles) and with the other she keeps her acorn cap basket balanced.

Helga was the first of the pixies ever created at Wild Ozark.
Helga was the first of the pixies ever created at Wild Ozark.

Inside the basket there are mushroom “seeds”. The set also includes a feather-lined leaf cloak for her to cover herself with while napping or wear over her head, a bauble on a stand and three mature mushrooms.

Unique Works of Art

Each creation is unique and each have their own name. The mushroom gardeners will all have the same accessories, but they’ll look a little different from each other. Well, as I get better at crafting them, they’ll look a lot different from poor original Helga.

Here’s Annabelle, under construction at the time of this photo.  She’s the second of her line, and also a Mushroom Gardener.

Freshly sculpted pixie in need of hair.
Freshly sculpted pixie in need of hair.

Annabelle with her basket of mushroom seeds. She's the second of the Wild Ozark Pixies.
Annabelle with her basket of mushroom seeds.

Here she is with her garden. Pixies use the baubles because they reflect light and they like the shiny flashes.

Annabelle tending her mushroom garden.
Annabelle tending her mushroom garden.

Each Wild Ozark Pixie set comes boxed and ready to relocate to your house. The terra cotta plate and moss are not included in mail orders, but if you pick a set up from the market booth, it is part of the package.

If you’d like to order a set of your own or for someone you know who loves nature and believes in the unseen world around us, let me know.

Your pixie will be created at the time of your order and won’t look exactly like these, but will have her or his own personality. You can request male or female and skin color.

Boxed sets make great gifts!
Boxed sets make great gifts! Website prices are discounted compared to Etsy’s listings.

To get it in time for Christmas you’ll need to order soon. If the response to this is unusually high, I’ll only take as many orders as I can be sure to complete in time.

These are backed by a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If you don’t love this little pixie (yours will be individual and won’t be identical to the one pictured, though it’ll have the same basic content), I’ll take it back and refund your money.