Plant Origin Natural Pigments Watercolour Set


Much like making gnocchi, where you want as little flour as possible - making good watercolour should involve the bare minimum of ingredients, bypassing fillers and additives, revealing each pigment's own unadulterated expression in colour and texture. It is indeed in the face of declining quality and increased mass manufacture that two artists, Rebecca Wallace and Pip Seymour, began making paints to their own tastes and recipes looking to emulate art materials from the past, with more variable grain and natural appearance.

Produced from the finest ingredients, Sudanese gum arabic and Italian Acacia honey and many rare, unusual and including now defunct pigments, the paint sets presented here are built around a common origin - either geographical place or material compound, to provoke more consideration for pigment, its history and effect in art history, as well as a starting point for artistic exploration of colour. 

Here presented are 8 tubes of plant-based pigments. They are the most fragile and least light fast of the three sets we offer but offer the most luminosity, transparence and ethereal property. Particularly recommended for botanicals and naturescapes. 

Material: 8 Plant origin watercolour 5ml tubes 
Included: 8 colours in small cardboard box
Vegetarian: Yes
Vegan: No (contains honey binder)

Stil de Grain; formerly known as 'pinke', this transparent yellow is rich and warm. Made from buckhorn berries which are processed by hand, it is rare to find this natural pigment (which is not out of place on medieval illuminated manuscripts) in modern paint recipes.

Weld-Reseda; a light, lemon yellow which is hand processed from the reseda luteloa plant, commonly known as 'dyer's rocket' for its use in the production of weld which is a natural dye thought to have been used since the first millennium BC. 

Madder Lake; used as a textile dye by the ancient Egyptians, madder is one of the most widely used pigments in antiquity. A deep red-brown; it becomes a warm red-rose as a wash. This is an exceptional small batch production. 

Orange Madder; developed in a dye vat from the roots of madder and the plantstuff of Reseda, this transparent colour is a lighter, peachy counterpart of the classic madder lake.

Carmine; the base of this powerful red is developed using the Cochineal beetle which was first used by the Aztecs for dying and painting. Now used by top cosmetic houses in lipstick, as a watercolour it is rich, intense and very transparent. 

Indigo; whilst there is written evidence of the use of Indigo in Ancient Rome, its first reported use in India was by Marco Polo in the 13th century. Still produced in India today, this natural Indigo creates a dense, dark blue which is quite permanent and semi-transparent. 

Kendal Green; this soft light green is a blend of Ginesta and Indigo which are milled together to create this bespoke natural green, used locally in textile production in the Kent Valley, Westmoreland. The colour varies batch to batch and when used the indigo blue tends to show through over time as the yellow component fades. 

Woad; another ancient pigment, woad is the European alternative to Indigo which is now cultivated and processed by hand in Italy. A semi transparent and soft blue-grey. 

Illustration courtesy of Claire Fletcher