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Green is such a flirty colour! It will offer just a hint of itself in natural pigments; really just enough to get the desperate artist feeling excited. But when that same artist tries to share the tantalizing bit of terre-verte pigment with another, it seems that green quickly covers herself up—rather than be publicly observed—and leaves only an unexciting shade of grey (leaving the artist to wonder if his fantasies simply ran away with him!).

If forced to reveal more of herself, green moves from flirt to fatal-attraction. No colour has killed more people than green: Bright green pigments tend to have a truly toxic personality. A bright sexy green killed Napoleon in his prison cell on Saint Helena’s island, and in the Victorian era the same colour killed hundreds of children in their newly wallpapered nurseries. Even moving beyond the realm of pigments, in alcoholic form it was the green-fairy which drove an entire generation of artists, writers and actors to insanity.

I think green is therefore both the most lively and deadly of colours, maybe because it’s nature is to always amplify itself. The lively green of spring leaves freshly greets both the eye and nose—the more you draw in the more alive you’ll feel—but if you intensify a dead rock’s green, it will toxically repay the attention.

A few years ago I fell in love with a bright green, but the encounter left me very ill. Today I satisfy myself with the tease of earth greens; abandoning any vamper temptation.

Green Entries

Northern Ontario Greens

August 19th, 2014

As I wrote about in my previous post, my family and I spent a couple of weeks exploring northern Ontario last month. While the residency at Pukaskwa National Park was a big part of that experience, we also took the opportunity to take a number of local colour pilgrimages along… Read more

Nova Scotia Pigments

April 10th, 2007

It has been 9 months since my brother, Aaron, and I spent the week collecting pigment/rock samples from old mines in Nova Scotia and the verdict is in as to which of these samples are usable. While I am excited about these colours, not all of them were what I… Read more

Nova Scotia: Finding Colour

October 29th, 2006

While the gross work of pounding the pigment into colour was done, there still remained the work of finely grinding them. This work was done during a demonstration at the Homer Watson Gallery. When grinding with a glass muller, one can’t help but notice that some rocks grind up with… Read more

Nova Scotia Pigments: Mortar and Pestle

September 23rd, 2006

  After collecting all the pigment samples from my trip to Nova Scotia a lot of work still lay ahead: The grinding and testing. Today I did that grinding. Using my wonderful, 20 pound cast iron mortar and pestle, the rocks were ground up one by one. Some of the… Read more