School Programs Explore Painting Materials!

Earlier this week, the School Programs team experimented with and explored the possibilities of using natural mineral pigments and bovine hide glue to create our very own paint!

Mixing the pigments in with our mortar and pestle

We mixed up four powered pigments (made from ground minerals) with water using a mortar and pestle. Then we added the hide glue that had been mixed with water and heated, to help dissolve the powered glue.

Hide glue + ground pigments + water = paints!

Larissa and I used those freshly mixed paints to create small paintings of stylized clouds, lotus flowers, and rock formations to use as examples for future projects with students and educators.

Himalayan Stylized Cloud Painting

The paint was rich in color, and mixing the paints together created vibrate shades and hues. Applying the paint to the canvas, it felt very smooth and was easy to spread around. A little bit a paint really went quite a long way on the primed canvas surface.

Lotus and palate of paints

Table FULL of materials!

The paints used to create most of the paintings found in the collection at the Rubin Museum of Art were made using a similar process. While we started with pre-ground pigments and hide glue, in traditional Himalayan paintings- the artist would often start the process by grinding the mineral to get the ground pigment and use Yak glue as the binding agent! Here is a video demonstrating the traditional process of creating paint in Himalayan Asia:

Stay tuned for more exciting blog posts about School Programs and Ground Pigment Paints! Larissa had the opportunity to work in a classroom this week using all of these materials- can’t wait to see the students final works and hear about the experience!

About Marilyn

Marilyn Casey is the Assistant Manager of School Programs at the Rubin Museum of Art. With a wide range of teaching and arts experience, she has worked in outdoor education administration, art classrooms, and a variety of ceramics studios around the tri-state area. She currently holds NY and NJ State Teacher Certification for Art K-12.
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