Step 1: Step 1 Finding the Rocks
Streams are great places to find rocks that make good paints for a couple of reasons. 1 They tend to contain a selection of stones and 2 the light ones that crush easily are usually on top. If you happen to be located in France there is supposedly the best Red Ochre in the world there.
Many of the stones that make good pigment are sedimentary but not all, malachite is a transitional I think and and there may some igneous pigments.
If you're in town not to worry just head out to your local lapidary and buy some, I've got a piece of Congolese azurite that is a absolute blue, but it's gem quality so I'll never use it for paint, but a guy can dream can't he.
OK you got me, it's not a stream it's a gravel road, but I got some great Kentucky Ochre on this road, like I said rocks are where you find them.
Step 2: Preparing the Rocks/pigments
Next in a container that can take the abuse break them into small pieces about 1 cm cubes or so.
Then go in and sort the small pieces, put the darkest in one pile and the lighter colored in another pile, and maybe grades in between.
I'm using an armoring form here, there about $40-50 plus shipping from Iron Monger Armories, he's got a lot of good stuff for those who like to relive history. Granite or basalt mortar and pestals probably will work fine, just watch that you're not abrading away, and don't use it for food after that. Arsenic and other heavy metals are very common in the most of the minerals you use for pigments.
If your stone is all the same color then you don't need to sort.
Drip some water on your rock pieces and decide what you want to use, you'll learn how to blend the more often you make you own pigemnts.
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Step 3: First Grind
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Step 4: Burned Ochre
After burning go to next step.
Step 5: Second Grind
Put your dust in the mortar and start grinding, pressing down on the pestle and moving in a circular motion no twisting, just circles. Grind until you have powder. You've got it when you put a pinch in your hand and gently blow on it and it flies away, if there is any residue keep on grinding.
When it blows away go to next step.
Step 6: The Wet Grind
You can get thickened linseed oil at most art supply stores. I don't recommend that you try to thicken your own unless you like the idea of boiling burning liquid exploding all over the place.
Usually with American ochres the best you can do is a reddish or rust colored cinnamon brown of course if your using yellow ochre or you found some blue chalk it will be appropriate to those pigments.
If you're not happy with the color go to the next step, if you've happy go paint something like a shield or a rune stone.
Step 7: Changing Hue
If you want to stray a little from the DIY path then buy some linseed based primary colors which is what I do instead of working with toxic stuff.
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Step 8: The Last Grind
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Step 9: Paint Something
Now give it away, inspire somebody else, if you like them a lot give them a little thing that they can keep with them, if you don't like them make the project absolutly beautiful and spectacularly huge and heavy.
This stone was a memorial to a friend who passed away a couple of years ago, it went to Pensic War out in Pensylvania and then spent time with her family, I carved it out of Tennesee slate which is like carving glass, you don't get to many oops'. I'm told that it brought some smile to peoples faces who hadn't smiled since she passed on.