Archives for posts with tag: Pigment

a participant during Nuit Blanche in Griffintown trys out Snow Painting

This past weekend during the Montreal High Lights Festival, we participated in Nuit Blanche in the Griffintown Cultural Corridor. It was a great deal of fun to put our recent experiments in Herbal Snow Painting to the test.

Despite the cold, we had many keen public participants join us in creating some snow paintings!

the first image was a tree with robins on a hill

We began the day with a large canvas; on this we painted a tree and birds using alkanet and plantain, cabbage, nettles, blueberry, turmeric, coffee, beets, and hibiscus. We moved the activity along the expanse of our large snow-hill, stenciling some simple leaf-shapes in amongst the poles and pilons that poked up through the snow. This intervention would hopefully give people pause on their daily walks.

The Community Participation area was a lot of fun to fill with boldly painted graphic designs.

a participant paints a snowy garden

There was a little shed at the end of this (regularly a parking lot) space, and it housed a fibre arts installation. The fibre artists in this shed were a little frustrated that people were not making their way to their exhibit, so we went about remedying that problem.

leaves amongst the poles

Patterned, stenciled leaves, boldly painted arrows, and beautiful colours glowing in the snow enticed people to enter this parking-lot space. They could see that it wasn’t just barren and empty; it was alive and vibrant with activity, colour, and interesting smells!

Tammy used a delicate touch to pour elderberries, then sprayed hibiscus... a dash of Love

We encouraged people to try out snow painting for themselves, and we had many takers. Some very beautiful temporary paintings were made that day, and we took great joy in documenting the activity.

an herbal graffitist...

We will be continuing with our Snow Paintings. We will paint around the city, and host some workshops on the subject in the very near future (before the snow melts!)

One concern we have with sharing the work in public, is that unsuspecting people might assume that the work was made with toxic spraypaints. To deal with this, in the future we will tag our creations with a stenciled “fleurbain” signature, and the words “herbal pigments”.

Hopefully over time people will recognise this means that the pigments we use are not only non-toxic and natural, but are even downright edible.

dribbled heart

Keep your eyes open, Montreal, for renegade Snow Paintings… and keep your eyes on our Workshops Page for upcoming events!

To see the full album of photos from this day, go to our facebook page.

spiral and leaves

universal herbalism

pilon button

the impermanence of plant pigments on snow contrast well with the bright lights of an electric city

tasting the paint... normally you can't do this with paint.

Natasha Henderson and Tammy Schmidt, Montreal

Advertisements
Pigments for sale on market stall, Goa, India.

imagine pigments combined with snow... layered in the cold

Exciting times are ahead; this February 26th from about 5pm to 9pm (thorough details will come later…) we (Tammy Schmidt, Clinical Herbal Therapist and Natasha Henderson, artist) will be participating in Nuit Blanche as part of the Montreal High-Lights Festival!

Our objective: to paint in an unusual way, using nature within the city. We will be painting using natural pigments; pigments that are not synthetic nor harmful for the earth. The body of the paint, as well as the canvas, will be snow and maybe ice. We will invite the public to add to our Snow-Painting, and to learn a little about the natural, herbal-based pigments that we will be using.

This project will be the second joint-venture of “fleurbain”; the first being the Herbal Creativity Spa Weekend: Valentine workshops planned for February 11-12. Needless to say, Tammy and Natasha are excited to be able to share their knowledge about herbalism and the arts, and add to the cultural life in Montreal!

by Natasha Henderson, Montreal

In This World solo exhibition in BC a few years back

As some of you may know, I am a painter. I paint in oils, which are a lush and rich material. Pigment is suspended in oil, it slowly dries, it holds its body and texture and translucency… it is like painting with light. Who wouldn’t want to paint with light? It sounds like magic, like miracles. Like painting with rainbows. You layer this suspended pigment over other layers of suspended pigment, time passes, it dries so slowly… slowly. Because of the intensely slow drying time of oils, many artists add in products and other things that are not oil to make the oil dry a bit faster. Up until very recently, and then starting again yesterday, I used Alkyd Medium. There are a few options out there for that stuff, and I use the Gamblin one. With this “goo”, a layer of paint will be pretty much dry within a day. This is important for an artist who is always inspired to paint, and who sells her paintings to make a large chunk of her living. We’re talking practicalities, here. (Don’t even get me started on the feeling I get when I think about the painters who have come before me, the links to a shared history and a huge family of painters. Maybe some other time I will wax historical and poetic about that.)

I take issue, though, with needing to buy “product” in order to paint. I am even leaning away from the idea of using store-bought pigments. With my friend, Tammy the Herbalist, I have been discussing natural dyes and pigments. I like the idea of gathering plants and natural substances and using them to make my own paints.

Bucka! Bucka!

I recently saw (and was very moved by) the Otto Dix show at the Musee des Beaux Arts in Montreal. Otto Dix would use mixed media in his paintings, and lots of egg tempera. I want to paint with egg tempera! It is an age-old method of applying pigments to canvas. Why not? I would start with buying free-range eggs for the paint, and, hoping that the bylaw to allow chickens on the Island of Montreal will pass, one day might raise my own hens for egg-eating and paint-making!

Cluck 'N' Lurt, my cartoon chickens (Lurt is the round one)

I had chickens when I was a kid, an illegal arrangement in a small town. My Dad always wanted a farm, and this was as close as he could get. My neighbours enjoyed very cheap, excellent eggs for many years, ’til a newbie blew the whistle. Anyhow, I am interested in using a mixture of eggs, oils, and natural pigments that I would mix in glass jars all by myself. No more need to buy things in throw-away tubes, no more throw-away glass with resin hardened to the inside of it.

I had my first urge to go Herbal in my painting a couple of years back. While perusing all the little bottles of “stuff” that one could add to their paints at a major art-supply store, I saw a bottle of “Oil of Spike Lavender”. In with the toxic paint mediums was one of my all-time favorite scents/tastes/herbs. Lavender… oooh! So I bought it, thinking that it would add a lovely working-smell to my paints. It does, it did. However, I finally did read the small print (come to think of it, it’s all small print on this little tiny bottle) and what? What? It contains a petroleum product, and they actually say to not breathe the fumes. I will use Oil of Lavender in my works, in the future… just it will be a more pure extract!

Lavender... can't you just smell this???

A part of my rationale for change is based on health, outside of environmental concerns. I know I’d need to be careful about loose pigments, and I would buy a respirator. If I succumbed to buying loose pigment from the loose-pigment place, Kama, then I would most certainly do this. I would stop using cadmium and cobalt, no question about THAT one.

What changes will happen within my work? Only time will tell. Time will always be an internal and eternal aspect of painting, and especially of oil painting. Like many changes, this should be pretty exciting and a challenge.

%d bloggers like this: