Pigment Maps: Ground pigment samples

The firing of my local rock and soil samples was only the first step in creating colours for my pigment maps — next comes grinding!  Every soil sample from every set needs to be ground so that it can be made into paint (a single set of ground pigments is photographed here).

I think it’s amazing how much more to colour there is than just it’s hue.  For example, the sound when grinding is also unique to each colour.  Each sample’s hardness is different (and their impurities are also a factor).  Sometimes grinding a pigment is soothing and can sound like the swish of the waves on Lake Erie, but other times its decibel ranges into that place where your ears start to crack like my 20 year old (and horribly abused) ghetto blaster.  In those cases it’s painful to listen to, and I don my earplugs …

But it isn’t just the sounds that I think are so amazing that sets these colours apart; they even smell different.  The sample from Eldorado, Ontario (in the photograph) has a wonderful smell like the side of a hill on a warm day, until around 600°F.  I’ll be pulling that sample out again just to enjoy it’s scent!

It took the whole day to render this single set of Eldorado samples, calcined between 100°F and 2000°F; but it has a nice range of colours and now I can begin work on my pigment map.

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