Monthly Archives: October 2012

Eco Friendly Earth Paints

Non-toxic water-soluble Earth Paint kit for children

My friend Leah Fanning Mebane has produced kits of non-toxic water-soluble paints for children and kits of non-toxic oil paints for adults and professional oil painters.

Leah, herself, is a professional oil painter. She found out she was pregnant with her first child at the same time she was invited by a local gallery to hang the largest one-person show of her career. She needed to create 25 new large-scale oil paintings. Being pregnant, she did not want to be breathing the fumes from toxic paints every day throughout her pregnancy. Luckily she had already begun researching natural paints and eco-friendly oil painting techniques for environmental reasons and had already started taking steps to reduce these toxins.

Leah got rid of all her toxic solvents and resupplied her studio with natural clay pigments and walnut oil. Turpentine, paint thinner, mineral spirits and varnish emit Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) as they dry, so out they went. Long-term exposure can lead to cancer and damage to the liver, kidneys and central nervous system.

Leah painted with her non-toxic paints throughout her pregnancy. She even went out and dug up clay to make some of her paints. Her show was a success and the reception was a week before her due date.

Django and Leah painting with water-soluble Earth Paints

After Leah’s son, Django, was born, she discovered that most commercial “non-toxic” kid’s paints contain biocides such as pesticides and fungicides. Some paints contain formaldehyde to extend the paint’s shelf life and yet are still called “non-toxic.” She also learned that conventional paints may contain hundreds of different chemicals, many of which contain carcinogens or neurotoxins. After more research she was delighted to find out that natural earth paints are not only eco-friendly, but have a far better track record of quality, archival durability and UV-resistance than any synthetic paint on the market.

Leah found that other mothers were asking where they could find truly non-toxic paints for their children. She realized there was a market for safe, healthy paints for children as well as adults. Thus, she launched Earth Paints.

Painted Hills in Eastern Oregon

Earth Paints are created in much the same way that our ancestors made their paints. The clay pigments are collected from the ground, and they are crushed, sifted, and sieved into a very fine powder. There are a surprisingly large range of earthen colors in nature, including blues, greens and violets. Look out your window as you’re driving down ativan roads that have been cut into the earth. You can sometimes see the layers of colors formed over millions of years. I was reminded of Leah’s Earth Paints when I took a trip through Eastern Oregon this past summer and stopped at the Painted Hills.

Mothers can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that only the simplest and safest earthen paints are touching their child’s skin.

Leah’s children’s paints can be used on rocks, paper, fabric, wood, shells and more. They have a creamy, tempera-like consistency that is easy for toddlers to use. Unlike many other children’s paints on the market that are transparent or dull because of added fillers, preservatives and low quality pigment, these are very high quality, opaque and can be enjoyed by older children and adults as well.

Earth Paints oil painting kit

Leah’s Earth Paints Eco Oil Painting Kit is designed for artists from teens to professionals. Included in the kit is a booklet that tells how to eliminate every single toxin from the oil painting process.

To find out more about Earth Paints, nature-inspired art projects, DIY natural art supplies, recipes and move, visit Leah’s website at www.NaturalEarthPaint.com.

Enjoy, Candy

A Gift: The Beautiful Blogger Award

I’ve been gifted the Beautiful Blogger Award!!! I am so honored!

I give a big thank you to blogger From Brain to Brush for nominating my blog for this award. From Brain to Brush is a visual art blog for lovers of art and art educators. It is a wonderful blog and a must for anyone who makes art with children.

Rules for Nominees:

1. Thank the person who nominated you

Thank you From Brain to Brush

2. Post the award image to your page

3. Tell 7 facts about yourself

Creativity is my 1st language, English is my second

I enjoy forests more than beaches

I try for simplicity, though she often eludes me

I learn a lot about myself through journaling

My two sons taught me a lot about multi-tasking

I think of my art as play and as life therapy

My mountain bike has actually been on mountains

4. Nominate 15 other bloggers, and let them know about the nomination.

Here I have included blogs of friends, blogs that I follow and a couple of new blogs just keep it all fresh.

          Elaine Frenett – Elaine is an amazing watercolorist. This blog looks at her journal pages. She teaches watercolor and journaling workshops.

          Leah Fanning Mebane – Leah paints with non-toxic oil paints that she makes herself. She also has a line of non-toxic watercolor and oil paints called Earth Paints.

          Sarah F. Burns – Sarah tries to catch the spark of life in her paintings and drawings that elicit feelings of empathy for the complicated and simple and beautiful and sad and interesting world of humankind. 

          Silvia Trujillo – On her blog, Silvia’s Studio, Silvia highlights her latest paintings.

          JoAnn Manzone – Dreamweaving Designs – JoAnn is a felt maker extraordinaire. She also teaches classes.

          Rachel Austin – Paper and PlanesThis is an absolutely delightful blog. I especially like the How To Paint Like A Kid post.

          Alisa Burke – Alisa is an incredible artist. She has online classes and has retreats at her studio in Seaside, Oregon.

          Luann Udall – I have admired Luann’s art for years. It’s hard to describe, but it reminds me of old artifacts.

          Bonnie Christine – Going Home to Roust – Bonnie is a blogger extraordinaire. She blogs about things that are handmade and homegrown.

         Justine – Upon A Fold – This is the most incredible blog about folded paper that I have ever seen. Even if you are not a paper fanatic, this is a must to see.

         Cookus Interruptus – This is a blog about how to cook fresh local organic whole foods despite life’s interruptions.

          Paula Beardell – Playful Bookbinding and Paper Works I love that this blog combines playfulness with instruction and wonderful photos.

          Elissa Campbell – Blue Roof Designs – Elissa makes handmade journals, photo albums and guest books. Be sure to check out the video of a 4 year old making a 10 signature book!

          The Milkman Goes To College – This blog has great drawing exercises.

          Ginger Burrell – Midnight Musings – Ginger is a wonderful bookbinder. In her blog you can read about how she built her new studio.

 

2013 Lotus Flower Calendar

2013 Lotus Flower Calendar
showing the individual pages and the stand that comes with the calendar

My 2013 Lotus Flower Calendar is here. Each month has a photograph of an actual paper lotus flower that I made. I made lots of lotus flowers throughout the year and photographed my favorites. I ended up with about 50 photos and had to narrow them down to just 12 for the calendar. Not only did I need to narrow the photos down to just 12, I needed each lotus flower to represent its month in some way.

October 2013 from my 2013 Lotus Flower Calendar

October’s lotus flower is made from a marbled paper I found at Paper Source in Portland. It reminds me of a pumpkin. July’s lotus flower is made from a paper I found at the U of O Bookstore in Eugene. It is red, white, black and gold, but it reminds me of the American flag (think 4th of July here). For February’s lotus flower, I did a graduated wash on the petals. They go from pink to pale pink to white on the tips. April showers bring May flowers. Each flower was carefully picked for its month.

2013 Paper Lotus Flower Calendar cover

It was a labor of love that had great results.

Click here if you are interested in seeing the steps involved in making a lotus flower.

I have calendars available at the Ashland Art Center.

Enjoy, Candy

Making Paste Papers: Part Two

Paste papers drying

If you haven’t read part one yet, you can find it here Making Paste Papers: Part One.

Once I’m happy with the way my paste paper looks, it’s time to let it dry. I transfer it to another nonporous surface (and clean up the one on which I made the paste paper). To save space, I set up a drying rack in the bathroom to hold the paste papers on their drying boards (see above photo). Why the bathroom? Because the bathroom floor is linoleum. Cleaning colored paste off a carpet is not easy, just take my word for it!

While the papers are drying, I have to regularly lift up each paste paper to make sure it doesn’t adhere to its drying board. Failure to do this results in a ruined paste paper, which is just one more reason why I prefer making them in the summer. The drying time, as well as the constant checking and lifting of each paste paper, is a lot shorter than at any other time of year.

If you’ve ever had to dry out a piece of paper, you know that it warps as it dries. Paste papers are no different; once dry they need to be ironed flat. I like to iron them on a wooden board, with a piece of an old sheet on both sides of the paste paper. This protects both my iron and the board from getting color or paste on them, just in case. I use a dry iron, and I iron both sides of the paper.

Two books I made which have paste paper covers.

Now, I’m finally ready to make art with my paste papers. I originally made paste papers for bookbinding, either as end sheets or as covers for books. Now I use them for all kinds of paper crafts, and I keep finding more!

Three boxes made out of paste paper.

If you are interested in learning more about paste papers, my favorite book on the subject is The Art of Making Paste Papers by Diane Maurer-Mathison. It’s currently out of print, but you can find it on Amazon for around $40 used. That’s pretty expensive for a paperback, but it’s the best book on making paste papers that I’ve ever come across.

Enjoy, Candy

October 2012 Lotus Flower Calendar Page

This is what the October calendar page for my 2012 Lotus Flower Calendar looks like.

The above photo is the October page from my 2012 Lotus Flower Calendar. To me it says autumn is here, the trees are changing color and it’s time to decorate for Halloween. It’s time to put pumpkins on my doorstep and in my windows.

It’s still harvest time here. My tomatoes are still producing. I am making organic apple cider and it tastes wonderful. My paste papers are all made and waiting to be ironed and made into wonderful art. I have lots of new art ideas. As the days get shorter, I will be playing more at my drafting table in the evening.

My 2013 Lotus Flower Calendar is done. I didn’t think I could produce a better calendar than my 2012 Lotus Flower Calendar, but I believe I did. It is available at the Ashland Art Center.

Happy autumn, Candy