Painting with earth colors is nothing new…

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Rust is red

Found all over the world in shades of brown and red, orange, yellow and green, earth colors have been used by artists for more than 40,000 years. Deposits of iron-rich earth yield iron oxides in red and golden yellow. Non-precious and inexpensive, they are lightfast and stand the test of time because they are “inert”, or non-reactive. Known to artists as ochres or oxides, they are found in any paint or crayon set.

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Green Sea Turtle, fresco by Krista Anandakuttan

Green Sea Turtle, fresco by Krista Anandakuttan

I painted with muralists in southern Asia who refine their own earth pigments, and I still use this palette in my frescos.

All the content in this post is included in a display I created about earth colors for the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History, CA.

Happy Earth Day!