Have you ever smooshed a marigold or buttercup across a page in your journal or sketchbook? Maybe it left a yellowish smudge… And while you may have done it by accident, a couple weeks ago I smooshed plant parts onto the page on purpose.
It was part experiment, part “artist date” a’la Julia Cameron, and a whole lot curiosity. I wanted to know would blue pigments in my bachelor button blossoms smear blue pigment on the page? Would the centers of oxeye daisies make as nice a yellow as buttercups?
I began by collecting a variety of plants that I thought might provide some color:
bachelor button flower
bleeding heart flowers and leaves
oxeye daisy flower
buttercup flowers and leaves
yellow hawkweed flowers
creeping charlie leaves
I knew I could extract pigments by boiling the flowers and adding a mordant (a mordant is a chemical that helps keep the pigment from fading, such as vinegar or alum). But I wanted something more immediate. So I pressed and smeared, smooshed, and squashed petals and plant parts directly onto the paper.
Results: Yellow hawkweed and buttercup petals left bright yellow smudges; the yellow center of the daisy left only a faint mark. Bachelor button petals left a bright blue. Strawberries left pink smears, not the red I expected. Bleeding heart flowers left no pigment on the page. As for the leaves, creeping charlie and bleeding heart leaves left different shades of green.
What an interesting experiment. Sometimes we get what we expect and sometimes not so much. Thanks for sharing your process and your results. Turned into a pretty picture! :) ~ JessReplyDelete