NMSG Watercolors

A tilted world of shadow and light, wind shiny grasses and water in flight

Watercolor Paint Containing Ground Mummies?


In a previous post , I mentioned that the pigment charts at the back of James Gurney’s book Color and Light made very dry reading, being mostly abbreviations and chemicals. Mostly.  There are comments, and this being James Gurney, some of the comments are pretty interesting. Or upsetting, depending on your point of view.  The Egyptians who were mummified so they would last for eternity probably did not intend to wind up on some Pre-Raphaelite’s canvas.  The Historical or Not Recommended Pigments chart says, “Mummy Brown – Discontinued not for lack of mummies but for fear of illness.”  Hmm…  Food for thought, that.  Wikipaedia says mummy brown was made of white pitch, myrrh, and ground up human and cat mummies, and that it was popular until artists learned the ingredients.  One artist  is even said to have ceremonially buried his last tube of Mummy Brown.  Maybe this was insurance against a curse?

(For those curious, mummy brown still exists.  Today, it is a mixture of kaolin, quartz, goethite, and hematite.)

Changing subjects – It was sunny so I decided to spend the morning photographing and numbering my more recent paintings.  I have a better shot at getting the colors right if I do it in bright weather out in my studio, where the walls and ceiling are painted gloss white.  Here is yesterday’s landscape, a quick color study:


Pink sunset of Chebacco Lake Essex Cape Ann

Ice Reflections
Original watercolor painting by NMSG
5 1/2″ x 7 1/2″
Arches coldpress 140lb. Paper


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