This weekend I travelled to the Oregon coast, near Brookings. The sights are spectacular, and so are the mineral deposits!
As I explored the beaches and hiking trails, I almost immediately found what I was looking for – stones that can be ground up for pigments. On the beach I found one piece of a stone that I know very well from my time in San Francisco. It’s a step in the process of creating serpentine. At this stage, it’s a soft soapstone. There are some places where this is the hardest material in hillsides made of blue clay. They’re all just stages in the process – clay turns to soapstone which turns to serpentine which, I hear, eventually turns into jade. Finding one of these stones perked up my senses to see if I could spot the area where it this beautiful blue-green came from.
Well, I didn’t have to look far. Here’s a photo of a hillside right next to the road, just a minute’s drive from that beach. Yes, that’s a reflection of the car dash in the sky. And yes, the hillside really was just that blue.
When I stopped to scoop up some of that amazing clay, I took a little two-hour jaunt down the beach and found a whole hillside that was made of iron-rich sediment layers. These were tumbling down to the beach, yielding all different colors of ochre.
Next, I’ll have to start labelling and storing these stones so that I can remember where the colors came from when I use them in my art. Then, it’s time to powder a few of them up and see what I get. I can’t wait to see how that blue-green works in an ink!
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