Lately, I've been working with a very magical pair of homemade inks- wild rosehip and rusted railspike. The rosehip color is a light yellowy-brown this time, with the faintest hint of blush. The rusted railspike ink is a bit more dramatic. Initially it goes onto paper as a transparent beige- sometimes I forget where I've painted because it's so very light! Then while drying, a strong, staining dark brown appears. That alone is exciting to see, but even more amazement happens when these two neutrals get together. My intention was to pair the rosehip and railspike together for a limited neutral palette. I had been working with lots of colorful berries and it was time for some subtlety. The neutral palette was indeed...
While earth pigments are more lightfast, colors from botanical sources are often fugitive, meaning they could change in minor or noticable ways over time. If you are considering buying an original painting, you should be someone who will delight in the shifts that may occur.
I followed the simplest berry ink recipe I know, and the Sarcococca made a beautiful deep blue-violet ink that dries in a range of cool to warm tones, depending on it's environment. The rest of the week, I have been painting with this ink and melted snow from our back porch. The qualities of the snow water cause the Sarcococca's hues to cool and allow me to add delicate, transparent details.
My hopes for the day were just to spend time outside with friends and find color-making materials. Three adults corralled four children down the sidewalk... gathered cotoneaster berries, rosehips, birch bark, privet berries. Ready to make natural paints and inks.