The Physics of Color

Sources for natural colorings can be found all over the place. Many may already be in your pantry or fridge. There is more on how to turn these ingredients into colors to paint with below. You will find resources used in my research and videos on how to create your own pigments and palettes. Let's get down to the science: When we change the hydrogen ion concentration, we experience oxidation and brilliant color changes. Enzymic browning is an oxidation reaction that takes place in some foods, mostly fruit and vegetables, causing the food to turn brown. Oxidation reactions occur in food and non-food items. Enzymic browning is a reaction which requires the action of enzymes and oxidation in order to occur. There are different changes in tea and coffee than there will be in blueberries and beets. 

What do cranberries and chameleons have in common? They can both change color! Cranberries and many other fruits contain chemicals called anthocyanins, which change color depending on the acidity of their surroundings. They are natural pH indicators! Since cranberries are naturally acidic, they normally look red, but we can neutralize the acid to find the berry's true colors. Much of my work with color is about trying to find the true color and it's reaction to other natural elements introduced to the paintings.

Ingredients: blueberries, oolong, water and salt. 
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Detail: Moral Mushroom Inspired, 8x8", 03/13/22  

Boil your blueberries and strain them into cheese cloth. This makes a beauitfully deep dioxane purple.

Organic Painting

Apples and other produce (e.g., pears, bananas, peaches) contain an enzyme called polyphenol oxidase or tyrosinase.) When you slice open or bite into a piece of fruit, this enzyme reacts with oxygen in the air and iron-containing phenols that are also found in the fruit. This oxidation reaction causes a likeness of rust to develop on the surface of the fruit. You will notice browning whenever a fruit is cut or bruised because these actions damage the cells in the fruit, allowing oxygen in the air to react with the enzyme and other chemicals inside. The reaction can be slowed or prevented by inactivating the enzyme with heat (cooking), reducing the pH on the surface of the fruit by adding lemon juice or another acid, reducing the amount of available oxygen by putting cut fruit under water or vacuum packing it, or by adding certain preservative chemicals like sulfur dioxide. 

Pink Turkey Tail Recipe: 

Pink Oyster Recipe:

Lion's Mane Recipe


Lion’s Mane, 8x8”, on watercolor paper made from 100% post consumer waste, recipe: blueberries, coffee, carrots, clay, blue mica and dirt. The Lion’s Mane Mushroom was made with clay, mica powder, carrots, coffee, and salt. 11/27/21.


Blue Mica