These are all crushed stone pigments from the Wild Ozark area, specifically eastern Madison county, Arkansas. I collect the rocks sustainably, from the surface. When it rains, a new crop of rocks are deposited on the shores of the creeks. That’s alike a pigment smorgasbord!
Once the rocks are gathered, I crush them in my Phenomenal Rock crusher.
It’s a prospector’s crusher that my husband put together for me. He built the cart and belt guard, and wired everything… this is such a work-saver! It allows me to process a lot more pigment than I would if I were doing it all by hand with a mortar and pestle. Some pigments still require the mortar and pestle, and those, when available, will be a lot costlier.
Whole or Washed, What’s the Difference?
Whole pigments are when I crush the stone and make powder and put it directly in a jar. Washed pigments are further processed by separating fine particles from coarse particles by washing them. I call the separated parts ‘heavies’ and ‘lites’. Sometimes, the color difference is significant between the two fractions. But the main reason I wash pigments is to make a smoother, more pigmented, paint.
Whole pigment powders are great for making a textured paint. Washed powders are best for making smooth, easily wetted paints. Both have a place on an artist’s palette.
Wash Your Own
In 4 ounces of whole pigment powder, there’s enough for you to wash half of it to make smooth paint and retain half for making more refined paints.
Washed pigments are time consuming to prepare and I don’t have as much of this available as I do whole pigment powders. The washed pigments are only available in vials. There’s enough in one vial to make at least one 26mm pan of paint, maybe more.