Pigment Explorations: Painting with your pantry!

If you have ever used turmeric in your cooking, you likely noticed that it stained everything it touches yellow. Turmeric has incredible pigment properties, and is fun to play around with in non-permanent ways. You simply mix it with a bit of water (so it forms a paste) and paint on paper with it using a dedicated set of brushes. I use watercolour brushes, and stick to my old ones that aren't necessarily my favourite but still do the trick! I save my good watercolour brushes for actual watercolour paints. In the video, I am using 100lb watercolour paper, so it won't bend during the drying process.

Here is a video compilation of painting with kitchen staples: turmeric, beetroot powder, spirulina, dandelion root, and mixing some together to create more shades:

Here is a video of painting with hibiscus tea (pink) and pea flower tea (purple/blue). The drying process took hours, which was filmed via hyperlapse. The colours changed a bit during the drying process, which was pretty neat to witness!

I encourage you to try out other pigments you think of that may not be on the list below. Here are some fun pigments to start out with:

Spice suggestions:

Beetroot powder


Dandelion root


Chili powder

Ground cloves


Cayenne powder

Ground cumin

Tea suggestions:

Hibiscus flower tea

Butterfly pea flower

Orange pekoe tea

Earth suggestions:

Sacred clay from your favourite river or lake

These pigments are not permanent, but if kept out of direct sunlight, many of them will last months if not years. If you are seeking a fun way to make art using natural materials, this is a great place to start. Start with what you already have! You can tell what the general colour will be by looking at the tone of the spice or clay. With tea water, this typically fades quicker than spices and clay, and often changes colour as it dries. It's a delight to witness! I like to create using these materials when making postcards or thank you cards for my friends.

I even used clay and spices in some of my pigment explorations, which you can learn more about here.

The below images were made in 2019, and their colours are still just as vibrant as the day they were made.

Did you try this out for yourself? I'd love to see what you've created and hear about your experience. Feel free to send me an email via my contact page or DM me on Instagram.

Kaitlyn Beugh's mission is to assist you in fostering a soulful connection to self and the natural world through creation and intention. She is an interdisciplinary visual artist. Her art practice plays on the ephemeral, and is intuitively channeled and created in a flow state.

She lives, works, and plays on the unceded land of the Coast Salish First Nations. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Visual Arts with a minor in Social Practice and Community Engagement from Emily Carr University of Art and Design, and has a background in social services.

Kaitlyn is a practicing artist and has some of her artwork for sale in the form of original pieces via her website here. Kaitlyn is currently studying herbalism and connecting deeper with the energies of plants and natures cycles.

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