Self Made Paint: Mars Red


Two things finally happened- I got my internet access back after not having it for a couple of weeks (I had to resort to books!) and I got a glass muller so I can start making some proper paints.

This one is the large muller from Natural Pigments. I ordered this over the phone (I hate phones!) because my internet was down at the time and the Russian lady I talked to was very nice. I have to say though that when I first unwrapped it I was kind of worried that the handle was too thin. It’s a lot thinner than the one in the photo on their website, but maybe it’s an old photo or maybe there’s variation in production since it is a handmade product (from a monastery in Russia!). Once I started working with it I felt like the handle will work out just fine, and in fact may even fit my hand better than the thick one in the photo.


Here’s the small blob of watercolor paint I made. I have a variety of pigments from Natural Pigments, but earlier this week I had gotten some from Blue Ridge to try out and I decided to go with the Mars Red (PR101) for my first paint.

I didn’t get any photos of actually making the paint though because this is all new to me – thus far I’ve just been mixing things with a palette knife – and I was focused on figuring out just how to get the paint to come out like I wanted. I ended up using gum arabic from Daniel Smith since I already had a bottle of it, a drop of glycerin, and a drop of honey to make this.


Here’s a scan of the paint on soft press paper from Fabriano. It dried duller than I had hoped, and I’m not sure that the color in this scan is accurate, but I like the softness of the color in tints. It was surprisingly hard to lift out of the paper. At the top I tried lifting the paint with a wet brush a few minutes after it had dried and at first it refused to even move or bleed at all. The most I got was eventually picking up enough paint to spread it around a little.

I have a lot of different pigments from a few sources and I’m really looking forward to trying out more of them with this muller and then posting my results.

2 thoughts on “Self Made Paint: Mars Red

  1. Your creativity and courage to try new things, make your own paint, etc. are truly inspiring. And clearly, you love foxes, as I do. :))

    1. Thanks 🙂
      I realized recently that I’ve always been one to customize things, whether it’s my order at a restaurant or the things I build to protect my plants from deer and squirrels. Most paint brands produce the kind of paint that’s the most marketable, so there’s not a huge amount of variety, but there’s a lot of room for making interesting things.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s