Paint Pots Pilgrimage

I’ve wanted to visit the Kootenay Paint Pots since I first read about them a decade ago—and last week I did! Since a conference at the Banff Art Centre was bringing me to Alberta, I took the opportunity to cross into Kootenay National Park and visit the Paint Pots on three different occasions. Arriving in Calgary early in the

Tea Hill Red Pilgrimage

Until this year, Prince Edward Island had been one of the few  provinces in Canada where I hadn’t yet gone on a local colour pilgrimage — looking for potential earth pigments in a community. The island is famous for its reds, so I was especially excited to take this trip and see the colours for myself. My hotel

Luiseño Red

Last week I had a magical experience in San Diego … It involved beautiful people, a red landscape, and ancient tools! It was a joy to meet up again with Dr. Norrie—she is an amazing combination of child-like enthusiasm and deep knowledge! Together we headed back up to the mountains around the La Jolla Reservation. Once again I was

Making paint with the Luiseño People

Yesterday I had an amazing opportunity to paint with a group of Luiseño children on the La Jolla Reservation north of San Diego. For over a decade, Dr. Norrie Robbins has been running the Science Explorers Club at reservations around San Diego with the express purpose of nourishing a love of the outdoors and  sharing values that protect the

One ounce of Specularite: The end

After 10 hours of grinding the specularite specimen from Londonderry Nova Scotia, here’s a photograph of what I’ve revealed: The bright, fiery red inside it.  This vermilion coloured pigment is so fine that when dry it will float away like smoke on the slightest movement of the air. The ritual around creating this colour went

One ounce of Specularite: The beginning

The questions around different forms of processing, those that reveal identity and those that change it, has been circling in my mind for the past month, so I’ve decided to work with a piece of specularite that I collected years ago in Londonderry, Nova Scotia.  To begin with, I carefully weighed 1 ounce of this

Rockhounding: Eldorado

Before the snows come, I’ve decided that I want to get out for a least a couple days of rock hounding.  The connection with the earth is so important within my art that, as much as I love my studio, I need to head out up to the Canadian Shield and into the bush to

Exploring Potential Colours

Today I got to work exploring the colour potential of two different rocks I collected last year: Lemonite from Madoc and Annabergite from Cobalt.  Using intervals of 100°F, samples from both rocks were put into a small kiln and held there to change their colour (this is an old, primitive process that goes back to

McGinnis Lake Red

I worked a little today on the red earth I collected around McGinnis Lake near Peterborough.  Nothing fancy; just a simple wash (to get rid of the roots, etc.), and a basic decanting to get some sense of the colour. There’s something here that’s especially interesting to me: The idea that this dirt comes from

Superior Red

Before leaving for his trip to hike up around Lake Superior, Reiner promised he would try to locate a vein of red rocks he had found 15 years ago. He wasn’t too optimistic about it because he had looked for it since and never been able to find it, but he would try nevertheless. I