Creative Mindfulness: Amazing Earth pigments, Visual Art in Texture and Color | Mary Jane Miller | Skillshare

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Creative Mindfulness: Amazing Earth pigments, Visual Art in Texture and Color

teacher avatar Mary Jane Miller, Egg Tempera Painting With the Earth

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

7 Lessons (46m)
    • 1. Intro Earth Pigments are unlike any other medium

    • 2. Class 1 Needed materials: Earth Pigments, board and egg preparation

    • 3. Class 2 Choose a reference photo 3 colors sample texture and color

    • 4. Class 3 Second Demo with Layers technique

    • 5. Class 4 Pigments are stones, Journaling the character of Egg Tempera

    • 6. Class 5 Final lines finishing, Visual art drawing selection

    • 7. Final Class Your project, your challenge and a few more tips on texture and color

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About This Class

Use earth pigments to go deeper, look longer, and understand the potential for finding God within. For 30 years I have given myself permission to play in the dirt, to practice and experiment with new textures and colors that appear in life. I hope to provide an opportunity for Creative Mindfulness using Earth pigments. Visual Art in egg tempera using texture and Color will enliven your  spiritual nature through using earth pigments. This egg tempera technique has been used for centuries. The Amazing earth pigments reveal  secret knowledge revealed in silence.

Experimental painting with earth pigments, seeing them dry, and writing a journal require no special skill. These lessons will teach you spirituality is a breath away and a stroke of color to be seen and celebrated. I will focus on painting egg tempera as a vehicle for self-knowledge. If you are a painter/artist you will quickly note how your emotions are reflected in the pigments.

Egg tempera is the process of pushing small particles of dirt around to create visual art. You are the person who does the work, who creates beauty, and who makes decisions to do so. We will begin by using reference images like a menu,  an image is a place to begin and see what is available to taste and explore. A sample image allows you to follow an outline as a launchpad to freedom and creativity.

  • Egg Tempera application; We will play with the colors of mother Earth, she has a great deal of texture and color wrapped up in the ancient million-year-old dirt we call earth pigment.  
  • Record in your Journal; We will write about our thoughts, insights, and observations that break through the crust of what you thought you were and how you exist in the world.

Meet Your Teacher

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Mary Jane Miller

Egg Tempera Painting With the Earth


Hello, I'm Mary Jane.

Mary Jane Miller, born 1954 in New York, is a full-time iconography artist with over twenty-five years of experience using the ancient technique of egg tempera. She has been a prolific painter of sacred art, exhibiting in museums and churches in both the United States and Mexico. She lives in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.

Mary Jane Miller, an icon painter and writer and one of the most compelling modern iconographers of the modern world. She is known for her contemporary sacred art collection.

The Sacred Art collection reflects modern life through modern icon painting techniques. Yet, her painting process is rooted in actively watching the paint. As an icon painter and writer, she often finds her inspiration in the works of the ancient Byzanti... See full profile

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1. Intro Earth Pigments are unlike any other medium: Hi, my name is Mary Jane polar and I live in Mexico. I'm a full time painter. I paint was stone, and I look at the world as I do that. For me, the world is a little bit like looking through a window. Any one of these paints as a great example. We look through the world because we are the witness, because we see special things that are happening and wonderful experiences we have. I'd like to take you on a journey of how to paint what you see and document how you feel about it. Good morning. Today since we're talking about a temper, I wanted to go over a little bit about what rocks are about and where they come from and why it is so important to me that you understand that we're painting with stone. I've collected stones. And last we will collect stone. And you can't help but look at the stone like this and see that assumed that happened there in the middle. That goes all the way through, all the way around. I think about the continuation of all peoples lives on Earth. I like this stone because it's a lot like painting with a tempera all filled with particles. Now, all of those stones in there, all those colors in there are not the same element. They're not the same color or quality or hardness. And I think of my own self as being made up of all those different kinds of textures and colors. I mean, by me, myself, how I am in my life, How many kinds of personalities I have, how many reactions I have. You may want to take a stone and outside if you find one and grind it up on a little piece of paper and you'll get a fine dust, mix it with your egg tempera, and you'll have your own pigment. Granted. We don't need to do that anymore. They did that 2 thousand years ago. We can just go to the store and buy it, which is nice, but it is a fun experience to grind down the old color and see what happens. I wish this Iraq was dry, but for the sake of our conversation here, this is spectacular rock. If you look at it closely, it has a lot of different layers to it. It's the history of that particular place on the planet. Let's say the rock was in the world here a million years ago and here a 0.5 million years ago, and here a quarter of a million years ago. I don't really know enough about geology, but I can tell you if we're gonna think we're eternal spiritual people, we ourselves have all of those layers within us because we have the DNA of thousands of generations before us and we contribute to those thousands of generations that will come after us. I think it's all in the personality of a rock. For the course, we're going to use several materials that are not very complicated. You know, not very hard to find. One is earth pigments and earth big midterm made of coarse rocks. And we're going to need an egg to make emulsion, to mix with the pigments. We're going to need a board to bring out our image. And then we're just going to have fun seeing what evolves. So I've been painting icons for 25 years with a tempera. Over that course of all of that time, what's become very apparent to me is my love of sacred image. And now we've, humanity has always tried to portray while we are here, how are we here? And as a result of being here now, in this era, we are on a planet. And so my work is taken on a dimension of wanting to include the Earth, how I walk on it, how I feel about it, how I sense its presence in everything that I do. I hope you'll join me in my class. I hope you'll post any comments. Share your photographs, have a conversation with me. I want to make myself available. And after this introductory course, maybe we'll start another one. Deeper and more involved. Have a nice day. 2. Class 1 Needed materials: Earth Pigments, board and egg preparation : Good morning. It's very date Miller here in Mexico and I'm going to welcome you to the first-class. These lessons are going to cover a great deal of material. And I'm glad that you summed up. I think that the two things I want to offer you is one painting with a temporary and a little bit of an introduction to how that's done. And also an experience of watching your interior self and knowing that you are a participant with creation and God. So before you get going here, you're going to need a certain number of things to beginning of the lesson within your boards. I suggest you buy flavoured. Is a Jessup panel already prepared for you and you ought to be able to find it in any fine art supplies gore, If you have another board, just be sure that he has a jest, so on and that is acrylic base. Just so boards don't work well with a temper. They don't combine, they don't integrate. It has to be organic, organic with organic and acrylic on acrylic. After you find your board, she might have to quarter some paints, and many of you may have some earth pigments around your studio that you have used or you have not used, or you'd like to experiment with any kind of pigments, time, synovial cells, small jars. California earth pigments is another web site. And I would suggest you start with small assortment. I use basically 20 pigments. That's all I've ever used in 25 years. I might as pay rent from time to time, but for our lessons, you're only going to need three or four payments. You'll need a try. I like to use these little glass trays, plastic trace in and move around. And he trained will do. You'll need a small brush. And when I say small brush, it's not that we're to use a large rush with a temper, but this is too big. This is too big. And it's just a vague, it's only because the more intimate URL if your paint, the more you'll learn about your interior self, spiritual person that's pushing events around. I would like you to keep a journal. You can sew together a couple of pages just for the next couple of lessons. Keeping journals for artists is an excellent idea no matter what medium you're using. Divided up so that you will have a place to record what you're doing with your medium and what you're doing with the energy, and also what you're doing in your interior yourself, why you do things, how you do things, just small thoughts that you want to record. And finally, you're gonna need because it's a temper. It will take you a little while to get together all the materials. In the meantime, if you do get the materials together or you already have them together, you can move on to the scene and egg. So I'm going to show you how to do that. So here's your little egg. And what you wanna do, break it into a cup. Oops. Alright, so what all into the cup? Your hands really gently and just take out that lovely egg yolk. It has some gooey stuff on it, which we want to get rid of. Here we have the egg yolk. It's just the egg yolk on a napkin. And as you can see, it has this lovely little membrane that hold onto it. Pinch just the side of it. Whoops, and outcomes, all of essence for a chicken. The essence, the raw essence for life. You're going to want to put 12 by parts, three parts of water. You want to mix it really well. And there you go. There's your emotion. So just a little idea. We'll preparation on how to mix pigment. Little bit egg. Pigments are really dense, so you don't need much brush boys pull any. If you have an eye dropper and that's really helpful. Basically there's your pigment. It's kinda thick. View needed to be a little thinner. Let's get a little more EQ. It's advisable to use a mixing brush. At a fine brush, you will paint with this brush, but you will mix with this one. Otherwise you're growing, you're really expensive, beautiful brushes. I hope to see you all next week or whenever you tune in again. And we'll actually get to the painting. Enjoy. 3. Class 2 Choose a reference photo 3 colors sample texture and color: Good morning. This is our second class together. Today hopefully you have your pigments tray and your board's already. And what I'm gonna do is make a few suggestions and then I'm going to give you a demo. I suggest that you pick something that you can use as a reference, reference photo, something you can quasi copy. It gives you a guideline or just play in the pigments. So they interact out there floundering on what should I do? What's, it causes too much anxiety. These are all very abstract in this part of our plastic. And just to experiment with things, just to find out what they can do. What they liked to do, what their tendency is. Here you see a couple of samples from earlier students. This was a really good one because it shows you a little bit more about how we're gonna do this. This is not done with one litre. So let's get started. I've prepared a board. Hopefully that all of you experiment creative board is similar to this. I don't care about the size necessarily, but just to make it so you have enough space to work with. I've got three samples. This one I said piece of plastic, but this is how they look when they're driving. So right now, I'm going to go over each one and show you how I got that affect. My paints mixed. First I'm going to do the red one. These are two pigments and with a lot of sand in it. When I say sand, I mean these pigments are ground really fine. Perfectly. They are standing. They are the earth. They are particles that you're pushing around with a small brush. What's revealed when you tip it or when you make them thin? Is the character of the paint. Now, this is drawing, and this is what happens. But you'll want to tip your board slightly to make it move around evenly. And you want to fit in one area. Very thin. In which case just let it doesn't look very interesting right now, but as you can see, it's beginning to dry even noun. And it's taking on the shape of the earth like two marble, stone iterative minimum for years and years and years. You get to be the witness of how you lay them down on your board. And then you get to be the width is going to have a dry. And hopefully you'll get to see how creation was made. You are the creator. It has been created. It, it's all it's protecting. So now I'd like to try the green one. This sample here, done in a different way. I'm adding a lot of egg yolk to my pigment because it was too dry. Well, drive while we were working before. Little waterway B, again will be omega square. My, my objective here is to get to this particular style. If you look at it carefully, you can see there's a little tiny white rim that goes around each little piece. Fabulous and exciting. I think you'll be surprised at how this happens. I discovered quite by it. I was just sitting around my studio one day and I thought, boy, this flat color is kind of boring. So I turned around, I picked up a piece of plastic, crumpled at all up tiny. And then I laid it on the egg tempera. And then the phone rang. And when I came back and I took the piece of plastic off, i this incredible pattern. I've never shared it with anybody in my 30 years of painting. But today you guys get to be the recipient up it now. I'm not going to pull that up immediately. I got like I said, the phone rang when I came back, it had dried enough. In the meantime, I'm going to go on to this. Normally when I teach, I have 30 hours to convey a small idea to somebody. I've got a concept of God through meditation. Remember when I said Don't use the brushes. Well today I'm going to use a big brush just to help you guys go along and take up too much time. This needs more pigment. Now, that's a good thing to notice while you're working to get that effect, I'm going to need more pigment in my paint, which means there are more sand granules in each brushstroke. If there aren't enough, you won't be able to get that effect. You want to lay it on. Nice if you can. And I'm going to tip it just slightly to even it out like we did in the first demo. It will dry spot right there. I don't like that and try to get rid of it. You think, well you could use your finger or that rush. You cannot. Part of this whole technique of egg tempera IS leaving things the way they are. I mentioned God. And it seems like all of us are trying very hard to be more God, but in part we're working with God. So you have to kinda leave, just leave God alone and let God be what God is. And you just participate in the potential that God has given you. So you'll be surprised at this, but here we go. It isn't that fun. Little tiny exposures, little logins of being touched by the finger of God. Now, if I keep going, something else seems to happen depending on how deep the paint is, depending on how dry my thinker. It's what I've asked you to do these experiments on your own. This is the kind of experimenting you'll wanna do. Try and figure out how it best works. Sometimes it's too much liquid, sometimes it's too much pigment. Anyway, here, it's dry enough. I think I'm gonna, I'd rather have a dry a little bit more. I'll see it's not quite triumph for this experiment, but if we had let it dry, wouldn't come out exactly like that. So we'll have a nice day if you do that, you can take it off. And I'll show this to you next week. One thing I want to show you how I use it in my own work. I'll be curious to see how you all do with your individual sample boards. Applying one layer on top of another layer and seeing how your colors progress and how the application is done. There's a great amount of diversity that can be found in egg tempera. I encourage you to post your pictures so that I can see him and so we can share with one another. And we'll all learn a lot more about the limits of goods on. I don't think there are any limits. I think the color, the texture, the way they dry, all contributes to beautiful painting. Look at that tiny little detail right there. But I hope we see you next week. Enjoy your work. 4. Class 3 Second Demo with Layers technique: Good morning. Again. I'm glad that you're staying with me on this journey. There's an awful lot to learn and not realizing that it's hard to do it in four or five minutes, ten or 12 minutes. It takes weeks, months, a year. It made an icon to paint layers and layers and layers to give that fullness and richness to your artwork. Part of the reason it takes a long time is because it needs to dry. It needs to become stable since you're working with organic materials. They need time to rest. If you try to apply your layers over and over fast, fast, fast. All in one day, you're going to do is pull up the bottom. It's like walk into the sand at the beach. You just make holes, one footprint after another, after another, after another. It's exciting, but it's very hard to lead that way. Hopefully you have a sample that you created in the first or second lesson. And it's had enough time to dry at least a day. After their dry. There have a little bit of sadness. Wipe him off, make sure there's no crud on there. This layer changes quite a lot. With the next layer. You apply that pavement abundantly. But don't go back. The reason you cannot go back because the minute that next layer reaches and touches the layer beneath, it makes the layer beneath unstable. And if you go over and over here a columns, there's your board underneath. And you do not want that to happen. You can play here all you want and you'll never get it exactly how you want it. You'll get something else in orange, but you won't get the variation of the layer beneath. Like I said, that rock has a layers and layers of history and time waiting. Ok, so you see that this is drying and as it dries, it'll become more transparent. I'm going to show you what happens with two different veils or two different glazes. This is the blue that we mixed up before. And it's very thin. Your constant bag. This will be our second layer on our sample. And I want to show you something rather interesting. I think when you do your layers, remember, they are transparent. They are not opaque. On the other hand, if you don't want to see something down on the bottom layer and you want to cover it. Really the only way that a temperate to do that is to use a pigment that has white in it. Because white, although it's the color of God's presence in our lives, because it is pure white and has no color. It also opaque and it will hide, as they say, a multitude of sins or a multitude of past behavior. One of the reasons I love egg tempera is because these layers allow us to see the whole history of your painting. When I look at my work, I remember each layer I did and how I applied the paint, how I was feeling, whether I understood what I was doing or not. So why don't we let this dry? And we will see you in the next sample. But you can see the difference, right? With white, which is opaque, and without White, which is a clear color. 5. Class 4 Pigments are stones, Journaling the character of Egg Tempera: Good morning and welcome back. Perhaps you've come up with an effect that looks a little bit like this, don't. Or maybe you've found something that's a little more spiritually or textured. Perhaps gone for subtle. Or maybe you went with a whole variety of all the different colors. Layered one on top of it another. This is really the way creations made. Wasn't made in one setting. It was made gradually over time, over in eternity. And it'll keep going with humanity is here or not. What we're painting is exactly what's happening in this stone. One era, one amount of time in Florence happening and embed it in stone. Over millions of years. We're painting with stone and egg yolk. A good idea would lead to document what's going on, what's going on beneath your brush, and what's going on in your head or in your heart. Sometimes you walk in your studio and you're just inches and you're crazy and discombobulated and you just feel like I cannot deal with this is a great thing to record some of those emotions in your journals. Whenever I travel, I periodontal. So I've got figure little boats and flowers and but I've also got journals that are about a Kemper. I kinda mix them all together. Well, can't help it. But what I'm doing is I'm working out color. I don't work in AP shapes. And we'll work it out textures and looking at the world, how it is. So as I said it you, in the beginning, you don't really need a big journal, you know, small or you could do a Vaillant depends on how prolific UR got recording your own behavior. Recently, I wrote this house paint icons book and it's a journal that goes with the course itself. And in it, it has graphs and details. More graphs on recording your recipes, recording drawings that you did, how you get from one place to another. This is for people who just want to buy more stuff for their studio. But anyway, enjoy that. So here we go. And tempera, as I've been telling you, is stone. It's ground of color in a dust form in order for it to stay on your painting. So it doesn't come off in your hand. It needs to be tempered, which means it needs something to bind her pigments together so that they don't disappear. When we were kids and we used timber paints as children in kindergarten. That was paints actually were not tempered and they came off on our clothes, but they also came off in the Washington Xin. They didn't get stuck to a part of the paper or ourselves. Each pigment behavioral but differently now these have been sitting here in my tray for 15 minutes. And you'll see that the pigment floats, sinks to the bottom. And it makes these beautiful little circular. So that's actually blew. This one has a little bit of white pigment on top of it. And you can see the pigment has separated the blue at the bottom and the white is at the top. Make us together. That's a light yellow. This is an ogre, one pigment only. And it also has a great deal of sand in the bottom of it. And you can see the top colors a little bit different than the bottom come. It also needs to be mixed. Well, I've noticed that my students, they don't mix their painted not until they get in the habit of realizing that everything needs to be mixed together. Where that translates into the god factor is everything in creation is mixed together. We are connected to the day and the night. We're connected to the earth, are connected to the PSTN, are connected to each other. Anyway, layer screen. So what are the other things you'll need to know is this pigment is a, has a little bit of cobalt in it and you can see it's a I would call it a problematic pain triggered because it kind of doesn't do what the other ones due. In part it's because it doesn't have enough big yoke, broken water. But it also is a pigment that it doesn't, it doesn't dilute easily and had a lot of particles that are big in it. Whereas this blue dot another kind of cobalt and has some marine blue and then culture where marine comes from. But I would highly suggest you make yourselves a little board, a lawyer, different pigments, you can actually see how they behave. Some of them are rainy and some of them are not raining. If you take your collar and you put it on a color that's already there. It's really going to need to wait until it drives because drying time is crucial to a temper. In part. It reminds us that all things be time. God's world needs time, our lives with each other and the time. Watching your paints dry, waiting for them to dry. So a part of the process, it's what makes it a meditation. It's not a fast art form. You get an effect like that is probably six or seven layers. So enjoy what you're doing as you apply all the layers with stone. See you next week. 6. Class 5 Final lines finishing, Visual art drawing selection: Let's see where we are today. I am going to run over a few more details about a temper. The fact that I don't know how many you have many pigments, Egypt you haves. So it's a little hard to deploy anything specific because we're not doing a project. What I'm doing is trying to give you the intro. I think I'll do this again in another couple of months. But for the meantime, I suggest that you do a couple of samples. I've been saying sample, sample, sample. Today we're gonna do a drawing at the end of the class and we will get you started on a real project. But this his filled with detail and it really only came out of four colors. White being one of them. But this is a blue. This is the blue, Muslim blue, and this is the white edit each of the booze. It's this many, this, it's this image in 12345677 layers. So you're not doing this just one painting. You're doing your ground layer, then another layer in the knee, and you enter details, which is what we're going to go over a little bit today. I can't stress enough how important it is to do something 50 times. If you do something 50 times, you really learn how to do it. People who ride bikes, you can ride by. But if you ride a bike for 50 miles, you will know more about bike riding and just ride it for five minutes. So these will one day have these cool little spaniel surfaces on them that my husband makes in order to do one. Why do one do 50 at a time? And then I would like to teach you or show you how to finish. And I so why don't you come over here little bit closer. So this idea of a temporary is really cool. This is a lot of pigment. You could use this pigment over 15 years. You only need a brush full to make one huge amount paid. So I'm just going to put on my final lines there, the black accents. And they will give absolute depth and drama to any kind of blurriness that I know. These are layers and layers and layers and layers to get those skin tone. So it allows you to black tones. Your blackest next to the white. The wider the eye. A little bit of blue in there. Okay. So maybe you feel confident enough now to tackle a whole image from beginning to end. Since we don't have a project that we're going to work with together. You'll each have to choose your individual drawing. Use it as a reference photo. It's good to have a reference photo because it gives you the details that you'll probably need to do your painting. This is going to be my reference photo, so my need blue, a little bit of green, black and some white. With those four colors, maybe a little bit of brown withdrawn in. I'll be able to actually do this image. I suggest that you start with something small and about this side, let's start with a great big canvas. This is play this joy. This is you want it to be successful, so keep it small. First thing you wanna do is on your board, place your image, put it on a piece of tape up there. Find some carbon paper. Slide the carbon paper underneath the image, and then draw all the way around each of the areas. You do not have to use a lot of detail. You'll use your eyes for the detail. Because we're doing layer on layer on layer. All that extra detail that you dried up, put in will get covered up over time. But that's also why you need a reference photo. Because a reference photo is your final product. It's the it's the image you're going to have at the very end. Oh, look at this. They have little people in here. I didn't recognize those when I wish. When I picked out the image. As you do your image, you'll find there's all kinds of details that you didn't notice. And this is a good thing because it's about learning and living and seeing in thinking and remembering small epiphanies that happen in your life. Every day in a whole lot of different situations. Anyway. Once you get your drawing on your satisfied with it, you will take the drawing off and take the paint away, the paper away. So I lost a couple of lines. I can put the lines in and a little person in here. Okay. I think I'm ready. So next week when you turn in, have your drawing. Do a couple of layers, do three or four layers at different colors. As you're painting. Enjoy yourself, document what you're been going on in your head, what's going on in your emotions? Keep a clear understanding of what your focus is. Next week, I'll do a few more details on how to do layers and how to do details. Have a nice week, TEN player. By 7. Final Class Your project, your challenge and a few more tips on texture and color: Okay, this is going to be our last lesson together. And I'm going to do just a little bit of review, a little bit of painting. I had mentioned that we work small. And I mentioned eyes. That damage of that AI is going to go in these little eyes that you see here. Eventually. That seems like it's going to be hard for your course is going to be hard, but I don't have any idea what your image is going to be, what you chose to do originally. Maybe you chose something simpler like this drawing that we did in the last class. If you did that spine. But even here I said there's only four or five colors you'd need. And in this one you really only need four or five colours as well. This was my ground background. It's just modeled, had several colors. This was my beginning of my line drawing. This is the image that I'm copying. These were the first highlights. And then this is the third or fourth layer. Again, I can't stress enough that egg tempera isn't done in one layer, it's done gradually with several layers. So if I'm going to introduce this person right here, I've got several colors to choose from. Lay that in. Use your egg to push the paint around, to thin it out, sort of moves out to the side. Maybe you'd like to throw another color in there. Brown. Gave me a little more depth, more variety. Remember, because we're doing this in layers. You don't have to get it absolutely right the first time. The absolutely right happens when you've got a lot of layers on there and you're up to the very, very end of your icon. And then you put in your absolute final veils, final highlights, final lines. But keep them within, you know, it's just a little bit of here. We're going to pull it in this little shadow member. If you're working wet annex too wet, if it touches the other one, it will bleed like this watch. Now going to be that much gold experience. I can darken this one's lightly. Same thing. If I wanna put those little eyes in there. That's when you're gonna go back to woo book. I put my finger in it. That happens all the time, you know, when you trying to rush. Okay. Good luck. When we do a class altogether from beginning to end, we'll probably use all of the same images. All of us will download the same image, will go one at a time. But for right now, go away with what you learned. Enjoy experimenting. And I hope some of the tips that I've given you will help. Please post your images. I would love to hear from you and write a review. Thanks, goodbye.