Before we headed back after visiting Kettle Point, Reiner suggested that we stop by the Hungry Hollow in Arkona. This is a famous location for collecting fossils that is made up of the same geological formation as Kettle Point but at a lower level geologically. Besides, it sounded like fun, so we headed over.
After parking the car nearby, we followed the river up to where some clay is being dredged to make bricks. When we reached that spot I couldn’t believe the colour of the pond; it was a perfect turquoise! It was a colour I would love to have for my pallet, but it doesn’t exist in pigment terms instead it is a combination of salts, water and sunlight.
But there was a surprise here that was pigment based: Pyrite. Here, the same mineral we had collected up at Kettle Point was weathered into a form of iron oxide. It showed up in sheets about the size of your hand and I’m hopeful it will be useful in creating a nice colour. One thing I’m noticing about collecting iron-based pigments though, is that they are very heavy to bring back!
This was the only pigment we found here, but collecting fossils here was a boyhood dream come true. Going along we found fossilized coral and trilobites in great numbers. If you’re interested in learning more about Hungry Hollow Fossils, you should go to the Earth Sciences Museum University of Waterloo webpage
, which deals with the fossils in much more detail.
The weathered pyrite collected at Hungry Hollow in Arkona was a wonderful surprise. The next day, my children and I took a few pieces of what I had found and processed it into powder. After cleaning the samples (something that my two oldest did a very careful job of) we put our samples into my mortar and pestle and hammered these rocks into dust.
The weathering on the surface of these minerals had some very nice, bright colours but in breaking them up it became apparent that these rocks are not weathered through and through. When we were done, we had a very nice light brown pigment, which might be useful in an undertone for Adam’s flesh, but it isn’t really what I was hoping for.
I decided to leave this sample outside for the next few weeks to see if it could be encouraged to weather a bit more brightly by keeping it damp and exposing it to a cycle of hot sun and cool nights.
A lot of the work that I was doing during this time involved complicated processes in the hope of creating some brighter colours. These are quite fun, in their own right, but this process was something that turned out very effective and wasn’t complected at all.
I had been about a week since I had put a few pieces of weathered pyrite collected in Arkona on a slab outside where the rain and sun would get at it. We’ve had quite a mix of wet and heat in that time and these rocks have left dry, puddle-like deposits of wonderful yellow ochre. The mineral sample you see in the photo above is one that I turned over for the photograph and you can see that the underside is developing into a bright colour.
I don’t know why the white rings that are issuing from the pyrite, are present. Both this group, and one I started later, have both developed them. There isn’t enough to scrape off for pigment but they are visually really interesting.
I think this little experiment is ultimately fun because it makes such a nice colour and because it allows creation to just do it’s thing. If it continues, I’ll have a nice colour for my icon in short order.