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Pigments from Provence
Ground Sand in Little Glass Jars
For the longest time, my closest encounter with pigment was whenever we went to swim in the orange "lake" nearby and got our towels and swimwear discolored. The area where we stay in Provence has loads of old ocher mines where you can find sands ranging from perfectly white, through reds, to deep purple. Purple and white are so rare that they are forbidden to collect, but you can still see the hues on the cliffs in nature. That "lake" we swim in was once an ocher mine where one day, while drilling, they hit water and suddenly the entire place was submerged. Of course today's fear is the mine will collapse and the water and everything in it will be sucked into the depths of the earth. This leads to a very touchy swimming situation if you are the panicky type. But what the heat can do! These colors represent the tones of the Vaucluse, the nature itself. You can mix them with water or a binding agent, casein paint, etcetera. Many, many years ago in my first apartment I mixed similar pigment with paint and painted my bathroom (only a toilet; the sink and shower were in the kitchen) a wash of red to orange to yellow. One day a friend came over to my tiny hovel and called it tequila sunrise. I loved that, and will never forget that my first toilet in New York was named after a drink. The colors you can get from a natural pigment are much more special than any blended paint colors.