Learning to play with earth pigments


I’m currently in a learning process, trying to figure out the next step in my art practice, and that includes getting to know how earth pigments works. You see, I have always suffer from sensitive skin, I can’t even use things with perfume, none natural soaps are bad for me, and let’s not talk about harsh chemicals.

When I was in College I developed this skin reaction to some paints and inks in my silkscreen printing class. It began in one finger and then spread a little. Now and then I get skin irritation in the same finger, but since I began painting again full time a couple of years back, my hand irritation just got out of control. I use gloves the majority of the time, but sometimes I forget if I get in zone of if I’m giving a workshop.

Last year was the worst it has ever been, It even spread to my other hand. So a couple of months back, I decide to go to the doctor, and he told me I’m having contact with something that is aggravating the situation, and the only thing I thought, was acrylic paint. So he prescribe a fungus cream and some oral antibiotic. I took the medicine and I haven’t touch my acrylics in a long time, just some gauche now and then for some art journaling. And let me tell you, the skin is almost 80% better. This is something good and sad at the same time, because I know it will affect my art practice if I want to improve the skin condition.


I began researching methods for creating art that did not include touching paint. I did an art piece with found textiles, and it really sparked my curiosity, so I planned to do more of it. I also discovered natural earth pigments, and in a resent trip to Mexico (which I will blog soon) I went to a textile artist studio that dyed his wool with 100% natural pigments, and I was blown away. Is what I want to continue to study and learn, painting with something that will not harm my skin.


I know the process of experimenting will take time. I know it wont be the same as painting with acrylics. But I’m exited to see what will come out of my home studio. It’s a new process, the unknown, getting to understand what plants works better for ink and dyes, what minerals I can collect locally for some pigments. How to work with the right mordants and binders so the pieces last, etc etc.

So stay close, I will keep you posted of my discoveries!!!!! Have a great weekend!!