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News from Leah Mebane and Natural Earth Paints

Earth Paint - Leah Fanning Mebane

Earth Paint – Leah Fanning Mebane

Dear friends,

I have some super exciting news about my business, Natural Earth Paints! You probably remember 3 years ago when I started this business in my garage with just 2 natural paint kits. We’ve been slowly and steadily growing and have now filled 2 bedrooms, an outdoor workshop and our kitchen and have now created 15 products. We have lots of exciting things happening next year: our first trade shows, new international distributors wanting to take us on and six new eco-friendly art supplies in development! But we’ve reached a kind-of bottle-neck where we don’t have an inch of space left to grow in my home and also not enough income to rent a warehouse or hire employees or develop new products. 
It’s so hard to ask for help sometimes but I’m so excited about the upcoming possibilities for Natural Earth Paints that I’ve decided to take the plunge and reach out! I’ve just launched a fundraiser which will last for one month. Check it out and also check out our JUST released new video by Oneal Latimore here….

GIFTS FOR YOU… For every donation, you can choose from a large variety of gifts in return – everything from original oil paintings, Earth Paints products and private lessons.

If you’re not able to donate, please forward this link on to anyone who you think may want to help support a small, mama-owned, eco-conscious company. Share the love and have a beautiful Fall.
Sending lots of gratitude!
Leah Fanning Mebane
Owner of Natural Earth Paints

Contemporary Fine Artist

Aboriginal Ochre

The Aboriginal Ochre Wars
There was a time when all of Australia was a network of trading posts. And good ochre was one of the most prized items to trade. “Wilga Mia” in Western Australia is one of the most sacred ochre mines on the continent. If

you want to collect any you have to ask permission from the traditional aboriginal owners and also from the sacred beings who live beneath it’s ancient chambers. It was still being mined and traded in the 1980’s, although by the end of the 20th century it was being collected in plastic buckets instead of bark dishes.
In the Flinders Ranges of South Australia, there’s another famous ochre deposit. For thousands of years Aboriginal expeditions (70-80 men) would walk for two months to travel the thousand- mile round trip to collect their red-gold ochre at a place called Parachilna. They would return with 20 kilos of ochre each in possum or kangaroo skin bags, and on their heads they’d carry huge grinding stones from a nearby stone quarry.
Then in 1860, guess what happened, you guessed it, the white guys arrived. Farmers arrived with land and sheep ownership claims and obviously didn’t want the Aboriginals to eat their sheep or walk across their land. But the natives continued to take sheep meat for their journey and walk across their land which soon became punishable by hanging. In 1863 there was an “ochre massacre” when scores of Aboriginals were killed by angry settlers. Then someone from the South Australian administration suggested a solution! They decided to “move the mine to the Aboriginals” so they wouldn’t have to make the journey. But they moved the wrong mine. They removed four tons of ochre from a mine owned by another tribe on the coast and spent weeks hauling it back. It was a completely wasted effort because the Aborigines wanted none of it.
The white settlers missed the point that it was a pilgrimage involving elaborate ceremonies in collecting the ochre and bringing it back. Also, the sacred ochre was essential for trading which happened when one item is seen as equal in value to another. But free ochre had no value. And lastly, the sacred ochre was used for painting ritual designs and this other ochre from the coast was not good enough or sacred enough and didn’t contain the hint of mercury that made it sparkle.
• From “Color” by Victoria Finlay


Some of these alien looking shapes are spores belonging to the…

Some of these alien looking shapes are spores belonging to the sporangia of a fern. This painting happily sold during it’s first outing away from the studio.


eARTh Day News from Leah Mebane!

eARTh day 2013 news from Leah Mebane

The Art Inspector: Saving the Earth by Changing Art

Creative industries have changed standards and best practices to adopt sustainable and environmental techniques in design and production. Architecture has adopted LEED Performance design into standard practice, and Industrial Design begins with thinking about the end of life of a product and how to leave the least amount of impact on the environment. Both of these industries fought for decades, since the 1970s, against changing habits, systems and academic content. Resistors during the transformation proclaimed they would all go out of business; it was impossible to get all stakeholders on board; and they didn’t want to be creatively strangled.

This shared history of transforming creative industry leads us to a problem we are facing within the Art world. Can artists change the way they create work to make a healthier planet? Personally, I believe so, however, with the inclusion of all key players from the art world, including: art institutions, art media, academia, retailer/manufacturers, collectors and artists. Art seeds culture and influences public behavior. If artists can change their standard of practice then the rest of the world will follow.

Art Inspector assessing quilters studio. Photo by Wendy Crockett.

How is this transformation possible? Incorporating a triangle approach to such transformation isThe Art Inspector, a social practice artwork I founded during my candidacy for a Masters in Fine Arts at San Jose State University, uses aHealthy Art Program (education), Legislative Reform (advocacy) and Third Party Inspections (studio assessments). This project started a few years ago when I noticed fellow studio mates as well as the art school itself seemingly unconsciously teaching and using harmful applications and techniques, disposing of waste, and ineffectively ventilating rooms. I noticed piles of plastic thrown into dumpsters, studio lights left on for what seemed 24 hours at a time, and complete negligence when using harsh chemicals. In my studio, a rusty cabinet labeled “Store Harsh Chemicals Here” written upon faded masking tape hosted a dusty plastic binder labeled MSDS Sheets. Taking a closer look, I realized no one had taught me whatMaterial Safety Data Sheets meant and how they might apply to what I do. I asked around to other artists what they might know about these sheets and what they thought about what they were using and how they were disposing of extra material. Many artists noted that they knew someone, or had experienced themselves, long term health problems from misuse of chemicals in the creation of artwork. Most artists intuitively believed that there was a better way to develop their work and acknowledge the harm of some of the materials, but did not know what to do about it or did not see change as a high priority.

Inspired by artworks using methods of Intervention Art which take on the roles and aesthetics of corporations and disrupt systems in unexpected ways, such as theYes Men andLuther Thie, I decided to become an Art Inspector. Within construction and manufacturing, unaffiliated auditors determine if a building or product can be certified as sustainable. If deemed so, doors open for prospective buyers and subsidies. I wanted to take this method to the Art World.

But how does a third party inspection work? There are at least two inspections to take place. The initial inspection starts with an intake form that asks questions to each artist about their studio environment, materials they are using, and the type of machines or equipment that use power. During this process a series of tests are conducted using similar equipment used for energy audits in residential homes. The Art Inspector tests power outlets, lighting and occupancy, ventilation and Volatile Organic Compounds. Once the inspection process is finished The Art Inspector will write up a report based on the data collected and make suggestions for alternatives and improvements to artists studios and the working process. If the artist makes the recommended modifications, The Art Inspector will return for a re-inspection and award a Healthy Art Certification if the artist passes.

Paint waste from inspection of painter’s studio. Photo by Wendy Crockett.

Artists who fail inspection or those who are interested in diving deeper into changing their habits can join the Healthy Art Program. Various workshops ranging from green materials, sustainable wood products, energy efficiency, lighting and safety are available to artists at varying partner institutions. If the artists are supplied with resources and knowledge, they will be empowered to change. The final part of The Art Inspector is to advocate for change in policy and curriculum on both an institutional and government level. Working with academic and museum institutions to adopt new values and requirements for artworks to be created sustainably will create a shift in the resources for production of art. If a major contemporary art museum such as the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art sets a standard for new works to be exhibited using a significant amount of low impact materials and works with third party agents such as The Art Inspector, then other practitioners will follow. With this same concept, Public Art Programs can adopt LEED standards into creation of artworks in the public realm.

Even today these concepts of change in the Art World are seen as radical and frightening to some. However, many artists are willing to do what they do best, experiment with new ideas. With the vision of The Art Inspector, we will open up the avenues to sustainable living, healthy living, and simultaneously, changing the way we make art.


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Spring 2013 Mandala Workshop

                            Freedom is Letting Go
              Spring 2013 Mandala Drawing Workshop

This one day workshop focuses attention on creating mandalas to facilitate letting go of anxious thoughts, false concepts, wants, and desires in order to experience more peace of mind and happiness.  Participants will have the opportunity to examine

Eco Oil Painting Tutorial Video

I’ve recently recorded an 8 minute video of me explaining how to eliminate all toxins from your oil painting practice. There will be tips and techniques and info on how to use only natural materials (nothing synthetic or petroleum based). Enjoy!


Leah Mebane Announces New Videos, Winter Studio Sale and Holiday Discount on Earth Paints!

 Leah Fanning Mebane

Winter Art & Paint Sale + New Videos

NEW Eco Oil Painting Tutorial Video

This video is about 8 minutes and describes non-toxic and natural painting techniques with demonstrations and resources on how to create high quality works of art with all natural materials and absolutely nothing toxic.

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NEW Children’s Earth Paint Video

This is a short video about the Children’s Earth Paints, what toxins you find in most commercial children’s paints, the history of Earth Painting and more.

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Perfect Gifts for Children, Artists and Crafters

15% OFF ALL Earth Paints & Materials – Site Wide

Leah Fanning Mebane
(Offer Expires Dec. 22, 2012)

Holiday Shipping: Packages are guaranteed to arrive before Dec. 25th if placed by Dec. 19th.

Crafting & Scrapbooking

Leah Fanning Mebane

We’ve been getting orders for the Children’s Paint Kits lately by Crafters and Scrapbookers. I never even thought of this but they are apparently working great as a water soluble and natural craft paint for many types of craft projects and decorating scrapbooks!

For Discounts, Tips & Free Giveaways, Follow Us on Pinterest & Like Us on Facebook: Visit our listing at SOAR for links!


Happy Happy Holidays
Love, The Mebanes

20% OFF All Abstract Paintings – Site Wide!

Blue Throat, by Leah Fanning Mebane

Every two to three years I have a sale on my abstract work and this is it! This allows me to make room for new inspirations and ideas when my studio begins to clear out. This offer will expire in two weeks (Dec. 22nd) so don’t miss your chance to save up to $400 on each painting. There are many recent Earth Paintings and also older work from the Chakra Series and Medicine Wheel Series. I’ll also be offering 30% off my wild, 3 dimensional paintings in the Flight from the Box Series.


Eco & Non-toxic Gesso Recipe

Leah Fanning Mebane

I spent years looking for an alternative to so-called “non-toxic” acrylic gesso to prime my canvases and wood boards. After choking on the fumes that come out of these gesso bottles for years, I finally investigated what it was actually made of and officially decided to find a better option. I’ve  always been stumped by the only “natural” alternative being rabbit skin glue. It turns out there is a vegan, animal-friendly option using methyl cellulose (which is made from plant fibers), whiting, and honey! Try out this recipe below…

Mix 1 part whiting (Plaster of Paris or chalk) with 1 part hot water. Add 1 part methyl cellulose glue to 10 parts whiting mixture. Add a few drops of honey. Voila! (To make the glue, mix 5 Tbsps. methylcellulose powder and 1 cup water. Then add enough cold water to make one quart of mixture. Let it sit overnight; then pour it into a jar.)

Land a Magazine Feature Teleseminar Dec. 11th, Sign up HERE

Latest Updates from Leah Fanning Mebane

Eco Art, Green Crafts & Artist Retreats

Artist & Writer Retreats

Now that Winter is coming on, the idea of a Balinese Artist Retreat sounds amazing. These 2 great artist/writer/yoga retreats are incorporating Earth Paint into their natural and holistic offerings.
  • The Meditative Arts School has a Meditative Art & Yoga Retreat in Ireland that sounds incredible. They offer daily painting, creative movement, yoga, sculpting, writing, and meditation. They use only nature-based art supplies.
  • The Wellness Immersion Retreats incorporate writing, painting, and yoga for their retreats in Bali, Tuscany, and Big Sur, CA.

Earth Paint 1 Year Anniversary!

This week marks the one year anniversary of Earth Paint! We can’t believe how much we’ve learned after diving in head first last November. We feel so incredibly grateful to all of the amazing people who have helped us in so many ways to get this small business off the ground. The generosity of our friends and community always astounds me. Watching this business grow and hearing how excited people are when they learn about us has been gratifying, too. So many artists tell us how they’ve been looking for years for a non-toxic alternative to professional (yet toxic) oil paints without losing any quality. And parents tell us how they’ve been searching for a natural kids’ paint that paints like “normal” paints – rich, opaque colors that radiate. Earth Paint has been tested and reviewed by over 40 blogs in the past year with 100% rave reviews. And three magazine articles have  been published including our latest one in The Mother Magazine.

We’ll Plant Trees While You Paint

While we’ve done all we can to not harm the Earth with our business by using only locally made, biodegradable, post consumer recycled packaging and vegetable based ink printing, we want to go one step further. We want to give back to our Mother Earth and use this business as a vehicle for positive change. We’ve been brainstorming some ideas but would love to hear any ideas you may have or resources that may help us achieve this goal. Our first idea is to plant one native tree sapling for each order of Earth Paints placed on our website. As we work on this goal, please contact uswith any suggestions or thoughts you may have. Thank you!
Are you looking for the perfect gift for an aspiring artist, professional artist, hobby artist or anyone with toxicity sensitivities? The Earth Oil Paint Kit is perfect for these types of people…
• Painters who are sensitive to, or simply want to avoid exposure to solvents (mineral spirits, turpentine), heavy metal toxins, petroleum based pigments and toxic preservatives.
Students and teachers in schools and colleges where the use of oil paint is prohibited because of the solvents and heavy metal toxins.
• Artists working in shared studio space or small home studio where the build up of solvent levels could lead to a harmful concentration of vapors and an unpleasant odor.
For travelers, all Earth Paints can be easily transported on airplanes and come in convenient powder form packets that pack easily.
* Anyone wanting to paint without harming the earth.
* Artists who want more vibrancy and luminosity in their paintings without fillers and preservatives to dull the color.
* Artists wanting the most archival, UV resistant and long lasting paints available.
* Cost Conscious artists who want high quality paints for less money.
Offer expires Dec. 15thIn the Works!We’ve been working for the past 5 months on a Natural Egg Dye Kit using fruit and vegetable dyes. These will be available in early 2013! Stay Tuned…

DIY Gift Wrap

Instead of buying China-made, petroleum-based wrapping paper this year, make your own and add twice the value to your gift! Here’s some ideas!
  • Go to a thrift store: you’ll find great vintage fabrics, cool wallpaper, sweaters to cut up; scarves make great bows
  • Recycle an old map
  • Use old brown grocery bags and decorate
  • Wrap in newspaper
  • Decorate your grocery bags & newspaper with Earth Paint prints (leaf prints, cut apple prints, bottle cap prints; the possibilities are endless)
  • Wrap in your child’s drawings or paintings (if you have a million like me)
  • Make leaf rubbings with a crayon on newsprint

Free Giveaways & Discounts

Like Us on Facebookand you’ll recieve monthly Free Earth Paint Giveaways, Limited time Discounts, Eco Oil Painting Tips, Natural Craft Activities, and more.

Have you tried Pinterest yet?

If not, beware! It’s addictive but also a great way to organize your ideas and projects and create vision boards to bring what you desire into your life. By Following Earth Paint and Leah’s Earth Art, you’ll have access to all of my “pins” including Natural Home Ideas, Natural Wellness Recipes,  Recycled Crafts for Kids, Nature Art Projects, DIY projects, Gardening Tips, Green Living Tips, Eco Art and more.

Art Marketing Teleconference on Dec. 11th

Mark your calendars for an upcoming teleconference that I’ll be giving on how to “Land a Magazine Feature by writing about your art or product”. This will be hosted by Alyson Stanfield, the author of “I’d Rather Be in the Studio” and the popular “Art Biz Coach”. Contact Me for more info on how to listen in.

Earth Paintings on Eco First Art is a new one-of-kind website that sells only eco-friendly art, hand made gifts, furniture, artistic clothing and more. All of the materials used in the art and other items are either natural, recycled, reclaimed or earth-friendly. My abstract, natural earth paintings are now featured on the site as well as the Earth Paint Kits. Check out this great site.

New Paint Kits for International Customers

We’ve created a more streamlined Earth Oil Paint Kit & Children’s Earth Paint Kit for International Customers. The kits are discounted and have 1/2 price shipping! Click HERE for more info and to order.


Our individual children’s and oil paint packets make great stocking stuffers! Each packet makes 16 oz. paint.
BUY 3 Colors and receive a FREE Earth Paint Booklet (with nature based art projects, ancient history of Earth Paint, Eco Oil Painting Tips and more).
Offer Expires Dec. 31st
Visit Us at
www.NaturalEarthPaint.comfor Eco-friendly and USA Made Holiday Gifts
Have a Beautiful Winter Season
Much Love,
Leah and Family



The Rogue Gallery & Art Center—southern Oregon’s premier non-profit community art center—will host the “Spirit in Hand” Holiday Boutique November 16-December 22, 2012. This is a juried show and sale of hand-crafted, one-of-a-kind gift items including fiber & wearables; pottery & ceramics; glass, metal & woodwork; jewelry; leatherwork; mixed media and upcycled & repurposed items; candles; and body care products will be considered. Small framed artwork (no larger than 12” in any direction) will also be considered.

Rogue Gallery and Art Center Call to Artists for Spirit in Hand Holiday Boutique

Image: Pottery by Penelope Dews and fiber work by Pat Ollivier

To apply, artists will submit photographs or a CD of 10 items for the jury’s consideration. For details and application form, go to our website,

Submission Deadline: October 12, 2012 by 5:00pm (Postmarked or hand-delivered to 40 S. Bartlett St., Medford, OR 97501)
For information, contact Brooke (541)772-8118 x.301 or email [email protected]
The Rogue Gallery & Art Center is the Rogue Valley’s premier non-profit community art center, founded in 1960 to promote and support the arts in the Rogue Valley. The Gallery offers local artists an opportunity to display their work, and because of its non-profit status can display a wide range of artistic styles and mediums not seen in commercial galleries. Aspiring artists, both children and adults, take classes from local artists and are exposed to a wide variety of artistic mediums.
The Rogue Gallery & Art Center is located in Medford at 40 South Bartlett Street. The hours of operation are Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and every third Friday from 5:00 to 8:00p.m.