ArtistsBillofRights.org reviews competitions and appeals seeking creative content, listing those that respect your copyrights and highlighting those that don't. Art Matters! publishes calls to artists, and not all of them may be compliant with ABoR's standards. Visit their site to learn more.
“One Artist Changes His Art & Saves His Life” Interview, Video and Discount Codes from the Studio of Leah Fanning Mebane and Natural Earth Paints
Artist Inger Jorgenson, uses Eco-Solve to create beautiful drip effects.
ARTIST FOCUS: ROBERTO PARADA
One Artist Changes His Art and Saves His Life
Artist Roberto Parada
Note from the Author: Natural Earth Paint sent Roberto a complimentary bottle of Eco-Solve to try after hearing of his health troubles. We look forward to hearing his feedback!! Roberto Parada is an internationally known oil painter and illustrator, having been published in Time, Newsweek, Rolling Stone, ESPN The Magazine, Entertainment Weekly, Esquire, and Huffington Post. Few people know that his art process came close to ending his life in 2004. I had the honor of interviewing him about his journey in discovering which of his art supplies were literally killing him, how it happened and what he did to change his process while continuing to paint very high quality, archival and professional paintings. Were you ever taught about the toxicity in art supplies in art school?
I went to a very prestigious art school in the late 80’s and early 90’s and was never taught about any hazards in art supplies by my painting and illustration teachers. I did have one sculpture teacher who adamantly forbade the use of fixatives, solvents and chemicals because he had gotten lymphoma from the use of those chemicals. He never really explained why we shouldn’t use them but just told us not use them in his classroom. My painting teachers all used toxic materials themselves and probably just didn’t know the health risks involved.
What was your painting technique throughout your school years and career?
I have always been an oil painter and I’m guilty of never wearing gloves or having adequate ventilation or even thinking that I should. Noone ever taught me the risks and on the warning labels on paint thinners I only saw warnings about difficulty breathing and respiratory issues. There was nothing about the fact that it can get into your bloodstream and cause death risks. The warnings are very ambiguous and limited considering the fact that I can list 5 different types of cancer that come from paint thinners. For example, 3 kinds of leukemia AML, ALL, CLL, and Multiple Myeloma and Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. I also used all of the heavy metal based paints – cadmiums and cobalts – and didn’t think much about it. In the 90’s the “Odorless Mineral Spirits” came onto the market and we all thought that this was a healthier alternative. Now I know that Odorless mineral spirits still have petroleum based distillates and benzene which is exactly what brought about my illness.
Spring News: DIY Art Supplies Recipes & New Products
I recently met a local artist/ printmaker, Shannon Yost, and asked her if she’s ever made non-toxic printmaking ink (because I know it’s very hard to find). To my delight and surprise she had actually studied with visiting Japanese Master Printmakers and learned a very ancient and little-known technique called the Moku Hanga technique of making your own inks. This ancient recipe has always used all non-toxic ingredients and we had fun including natural earth pigments in the mix! This ink is for wood block prints but can also be used for linoleum cuts and mono prints.
Materials Needed: Rice Paste (Nori), Natural Earth Pigments, Magnesium Carbonate -optional, Alcohol (Gin is best) – optional (makes ink more archival and durable)
We’re excited to introduce our newest product after many customer requests for a more complete oil paint kit. $44.95This kit contains:
Ten natural earth & mineral pigments in 2 oz. packets: venetian red, orange ochre, yellow ochre, terre verte, ultramarine blue, ultramarine purple, black ochre, burnt sienna, titanium white rutile and burnt umber.
4 oz. jar of refined walnut oil.
4 oz. jar of Eco Solve: non-toxic and plant-based paint thinner/ brush cleaner.
Eco Oil Painting Guide & Mixing Instructions
Paint like the Old Masters with these 100% pure and natural earth and mineral oil paints. These naturally non-toxic paints create the most archival, UV resistant, durable and radiant paints available today. This kit includes top-quality pigments, sustainably harvested from around the world. Each has been carefully ground to enhance the beauty and luminosity specific to each pigment. They provide a texture, radiance, and subtlety of color that synthetic pigments simply can’t equal. When mixed with oil these paints are free of fillers, preservatives, toxins, petroleum-based pigments and heavy metals. NEW!
Now Available in 1 Gallon Metal Containers
Enjoy a very high cost savings on Eco-Solve with our new 1 gallon option. Try our revolutionary non-toxic and natural paint thinner and brush cleaner. $69.95 / Gallon
My 4 year old son loves home-made play dough, but in the reality of our hectic days, I never find myself with time to make new batches for him. So when someone gave him a set of modeling clay that permanently stays moist and malleable and infinitely re-usable, I was very excited. I noticed though that there was a toxic smell and it stuck to his hands and dyed them colors. I did a little research and found that most modeling clay is made with polyvinyl chloride (PVC) mixed with phthalate plasticizers, which helps keep them soft and maleable. Since these are associated with several scary, potential health risks, I decided to make our own with all natural ingredients and natural earth pigments. As an extra bonus, this modeling clay actually nourishes your skin as you play with it!
Recipe: -1 cup beeswax pellets -3 tsp. coconut oil or olive oil -2 tsp. Lanolin (found in baby sections – commonly used for nursing) -1 Tbsp. Earth Pigment (Color of your choice) -plastic ice cube tray or any silicone “mold”
Step 1- Get a double boiler or fill a large pot with water and place a smaller pot with all ingredients inside. Heat ingredients and stir until melted and liquid.Recipe continues HERE
Buy 2 Natural Egg Dye Kits, Get 1 FREE
20% OFF Wooden Egg Craft Kit
Coupon code: eggs2015
Emerald Green Brilliant Yellow
Ultramarine Purple New Earth & Mineral Pigment Colors Now available in 3 oz,, 1 lb. and 2 lb. containers.
I wanted to give a final update on our Earth Paints fundraiser and search for a warehouse. After searching for the past month and not finding a single warehouse space even available in our small town, I was feeling pretty disheartened until I found the perfect space this afternoon! Very synchronistic as a friend’s friend decided to move out of their space and told me first. It’s the perfect size and location and available for us to move in on Jan. 1st (which is perfect timing so we don’t have to scoop thousands of natural dye baggies in our freezing, tiny shed all Winter)!
Our fundraiser has a few days left (ends Dec. 10th) and we’ve raised 22% of our goal to pay for the warehouse and hire 2 employees. By the way, this isn’t a kickstarter fundraiser, in which you have to raise the full amount to receive any funding, but a rocket hub fundraiser where you’re given everything that’s donated. Check it out, we have lots of great Earth Paints gifts and original oil paintings for everyone who donates and we would of course be forever grateful for any support. This is the only fundraiser we will ever do and will help to get us through this rocky patch and then I’m confident it will be smooth sailing as we keep developing more and more non-toxic art supplies so that eventually everyone on the planet can express themselves creatively without harming the earth or their health!
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….
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
“When I began this journey of completely non-toxic oil painting 5 years ago, with a little baby in my belly, the only missing link in my artistic process was a completely non-toxic paint thinner. Like most artists, I liked to start a painting with a thin wash of color, then an under-painting, and also lots of drips and splatters (which I always had accomplished using toxic solvents in the past). I searched and searched and found a few natural brush cleaner options but never a high quality paint thinner. So for several years, I resorted to using water soluble oil paints (which aren’t natural and the toxicity is questionable). UNTIL this year! I am personally so excited to offer this product to all artists to make your art process 100% Non-toxic, natural, archival, AND professional quality!” -Leah Mebane, Co-owner & Artist
Recent 40″ x 40″ Earth Oil Painting (using Eco-Solve) by Leah Mebane
We proudly present our non-toxic, all-natural Eco-Solve, the finest professional paint thinner on the market. Representing a major breakthrough in art material technology, Eco-Solve is a sterling example of Natural Earth Paint’s commitment to provide artists with earth-conscious, professional painting materials. When used with our Earth Oil Paints and walnut oil medium, Eco-Solve opens yet another door to completely non-toxic oil painting.
the Benefits of Eco-Solve: • 100% natural and non-toxic • Archival, non-yellowing, professional artist-quality • Subtle, fruity licorice scent • Does not irritate the skin • Does not emit harmful vapors. • Soy-based and vegan. Cruelty-free. • Superb for creating washes, under-paintings, glazes, drip effects, etc. • Excellent brush cleaner! Can be used to clean all oil painting tools, palettes, brushes, containers, and work surfaces • Does not pollute the soil or waterways
When it comes to crafts, I always like to go back to basics – simple and natural. That’s why I love making good, old-fashioned Potato Prints with Natural Earth Paint! This activity can be enjoyed by toddlers, older children, and even adults. Give your loved ones a beautiful, earthy Valentine, and enjoy their smiles.Step 1: Cut some potatoes in half (I like to use different sizes). Fingerlings are easy for a toddler to grip. Step 2: Cut in the heart shape with a sharp knife, and then slice away the edges to reveal the full shape.
Step 3: Mix up a few colors of Children’s Earth Paint (See 20% Off Discount Below). Either use a brush to apply paint to the potato shape, or simply dip it into paint. Stamp away!
Django, the resident craft tester!
To See a full blog version of this craft, click HERE.
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!