Natural Earth Paint

March 16, 2018

Natural Earth pigments were among the earliest recorded materials used by our ancestors to make paint, and their use pre-dates recorded history.

Starting at least 100,000 years ago, ancient people from all over the world, including Prehistoric People, Egyptians, Native Americans, ancient Buddhists, Medieval monks, and Renaissance masters used earthen pigments to make their paints. Humans on almost every continent ground up earthen clays and minerals and mixed them with a binder such as honey, urine, blood, sap, grease, or oil. This basic technique, with numerous variations, became the prevailing method of oil painting until the Nineteenth century’s introduction of synthetic pigments and petroleum-based paints.


Early painters who foraged for earthen pigments could usually find red, orange, yellow, brown, black, white, and sometimes green as earthen pigments, but blues and purples were more elusive. Each culture used a different technique to make blues and purples. Prehistoric people used manganese ore, the Egyptians used copper frits, the ancient Chinese ground up malachite and azurite, and the Etruscans ground up Lapis Lazuli stones. Natural Earth Paint creates a blue made from a specific type of ochre that turns blue when cooked in the oven. 


Today, N.E.P. offers a selection of natural earth paints as a tribute to all the ancient foraging painters who came before us.


For more fascinating bits of history, read about:


Prehistoric Natural Artists

Natural Art & Painting in Ancient Egypt

Natural Artists of the Middle Ages

The Colormen of the Renaissance


Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Please reload

Featured Posts

Honorable Mention for Mass Audubon's Picture This: Your Great Outdoors 2018 Photo Contest

December 11, 2018

Please reload

Recent Posts

March 10, 2020

February 18, 2020

July 29, 2019

July 12, 2019

July 10, 2019

Please reload

Please reload

Search By Tags

I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!

Please reload

Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square