Alchemy of Colour Workshop

The Tower Room

Five Day Work Shop: Alchemy of colour, cosmology of colour and making pigments from nature.

The earth is the natural apothecary of the arts, hidden within its depths are all the variety of pigments as seen in great works of art throughout the world. During this workshop students will explore the traditional processes by which these pure pigments are extracted from their natural sources in the form of earth, rocks, roots and berries, and how these are then purified and transformed, through grinding, washing and levigation into pure pigments.

The traditional methods used to transform these raw materials were, in earlier times, a natural part of the traditional training of the artist; the process of the preparation of these natural materials was understood as an integral part of the painting process. These craft practices take one on a journey into the very heart of the creative processes, preparing the artist both outwardly and inwardly.

Working with the semi precious rocks: Malachite, Azurite, Cinnabar and Chrysocolla, as well as certain plant colours (Madder roots, brazil wood and Persian berry), students will discover first hand the miraculous processes by which these raw materials are ground, washed, purified and, in some cases, heated and precipitated, and slowly transformed into luminous jewel like pigments. In the second part of this workshop students will learn about the traditional mediums and recipes used for making paints – watercolour (gum arabic), egg tempera, encaustic, casein and oil paint.

From this workshop students will have knowledge of how to make their own paints from nature, where these pigments occur and how they are formed in the earth.

Tutor Biography:

David Cranswick is an M.A. and PhD tutor at the Princes School of Traditional Arts, as well as on their public programme. He lectures internationally on traditional painting methods and has been giving workshops in traditional painting materials and techniques for twenty five years. David is currently writing a book on traditional painting materials and techniques.

Please contact David directly to book your place on this five day workshop.

This course is due to take place at the Tower Room.  Download map here

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