Lately I’ve been experimenting with grinding various stones into powder and then making watercolor from that. Some of the stones I found myself but here’s two that I bought.
I’ve had this tiny piece of lapis lazuli for many years. The actual process of extracting lazurite from this is more than just hitting it with a hammer. From what I’ve read it involves oils and clay that’s used to remove impurities like pyrite and clear minerals, but I don’t have all the needed materials and my piece is so small that there wouldn’t be enough pure pigment for me to make paint. Therefor the impurities are going to stay, even if only to add some bulk. Grinding this was surprisingly easy.
The paint I made from it was a gentle smokey blue that’s very granulating. You can’t see it in the photo but there’s little glints of sparkle from the pyrite. If it looks a little greenish it might be because the water I was using had already been used for other paints and needed to be changed. Maybe the impurities are a factor too.
That little stone ended up being just enough for a full pan of watercolor. Some of the paint swatches it’s sitting on are from store bought tubes and some I made myself from dry pigment I bought, but there’s a few in the top right corner that were made from stones I found. These swatches are all from me trying to figure out which colors I want to include in my new travel case.
This is red jasper that I mail ordered. It was completely different to grind because it was so much harder. The card that came with it said it was a hardness of 6.7. I don’t know the hardness of any of the other stones I’ve found but none were as hard to grind at this one.
The pigment was a little duller than the stone itself. A lot of pigments become lighter and duller as they’re ground more finely. The lapis lazuli was the same way.
Here’s the finished red jasper paint. It’s not as red as I was originally hoping, more of a brown, and still a little gritty. It has a nice granulation though and a good amount of darkness and opacity to the paint at full strength. Maybe someday I’ll order some yellow jasper.
There’s a lot of other stones that I’ve tried turning into paint and I still have more to experiment with, but I thought these were two of the more successful ones.