Recently, since taking a class with Cecil Collins taught Lily Corbett I’ve been rediscovering colour by making watercolours from minerals and plant sources.
Cochineal is a lake colour which we produced whilst taking a class with David Cranswick (who also studied under Cecil Collins). It was made by precipitating the dye made from the bugs in dried form (which you can buy from dyers suppliers) and once the solid matter was dried thoroughly we ground it up into a powder.
This powder is then ground together with Gum Arabic and a little honey and placed into half pans to make watercolour cakes.
With the leftover colour after making up the pans I played around with the watercolour on a large scale. Using various techniques I covered a large watercolour sheet using a large goat hair brush.
After the watercolour had dried I also applied a design with water based Lino printing ink, this ink is soluable in water and works well alongside watercolour. This is less conventional, considering the ink is not a traditional material but I find it useful to experiment with modern colours none the less.
Other handmade watercolours were added in patterned areas, including Persian berry, Egyptian blue and azurite.