Friday, May 27, 2011

Art from the Amazon

Art made from natural mineral pigments hand made on banana paper and canvas.
The art is for sale and 10% goes to the NGO Nawpa Runa (facebook) (blog) to create a medicinal plant book.

Click painting for larger viewWarmista Bonita
on canvas
50.5 x 70 cm
Abuela en el Castillo de Lamas
25 x 35 cm

Polilla de la Noche
23 x 14 cm
via Trueque in exchange for some
handmade pottery and donation to Nawpa Runa

Niño Curioso, Chazuta
14 x 23 cm

Maribelle y su Hermano de Comunidad Nativa Chunchihui
50.5 x 70 cm

Niños en el Rio Huallaga, Chazuta
47 x 32 cm

Sabiduria Lamista on canvas
28.5 x 36 cm

*prices don't include shipping from CA

Art in progress and details shots

The Natural Pigments

I collected the rocks from a local river. The rocks are hand crushed and added to a binder to make paint. They are minerals and won't biodegrade or fade like plant colors. The banana paper is made by local women and this too will last just like any other paper. Of course, like any piece of art, be careful to keep out of direct sunlight.

As a new medium, there was a definate learning curve for me. Especially because some paint on very light or clear then dry much darker. I had to use many layers and wait for them to dry to see the results. The paint encouraged me to learn to paint in a new way.

The images of the paintings are done from photos that I took in the area and some are from a local professional photographer, Javier Quintana.

Trina, the founder of Sachaqa Centro de Arte, taught herself this technique of paint making and is now selling her natural pigment paints here

Some Thoughts

My airy loft/studio where the occasional giant deadly tarantula fell from the big deal.

One of the things my painting teacher, Lela Harty, told me when I picked up my first oil paints was that you can make art with a stick and mud if you know what you are doing. Well almost ten years later perhaps I can see it as a right of passage that I have literally accomplished this feat. Below is a series of paintings created out of natural paints made from clay rocks, picked from the waters of the Huallaga River in Northern Highland Amazon Jungle of Peru. They are hand crushed and applied to local handmade banana paper. A local artist, Trina Brammah, showed me where to find and create these paints myself. Trina also founded the sustainable Art Center Sachaqa that I have been working in.

My travels to get where I am now have been a journey of self discovery and revelation that will carry me to my future to come. For almost a year now I have been trekking sola from Colombia, through Ecuador to Peru, searching out alternative ways of living, building, thinking, being. I see the town I am in now, San Roque, as a wonderful rest point that has brought together my thoughts and skills attained on this search. Here I have been working full time to help build two houses using the local indigenous method of dried mud called Quincha. I also traveled to local farms to help with coffee harvesting.

In my spare time I have been experimenting with the local natural paints. My residence is a bamboo and leaf house at a spiritual center called Hunab-Ku. Here there is ample time to realize my ideals of acceptance, non-attachment, intuition, being, curiosity and excitment about life. A mix of strong community, connection to the land, and respect for nature makes this a fufilling environment. My days are full but I have never felt rushed through my tasks. I feel I have time, cook healthy meals, read, paint, sleep, hike and all the while ot seems as if I am just hanging out with friends and together we are helping each other manifest the life we envision. Returning to this mindset has reminded me of a natural flow and continuity in life can be achieved no matter where I am. Wise friends have told me, when you are in the right place, reaching your potential just flows and your goals are manifested, not perhaps without effort but without struggle. Everyday I feel I get closer to being in this right place.

The paintings themselves are a manifestation of my desire to create beauty that is derived more directly from nature. To see where all the materials come from and know they will go back someday not harming but enriching the earth. The colors of the river match the skin tones of the people here a reminder to me that we are all made of the same thing, we are all the same.

I am mailing my paintings home and selling my painting to help donate a portion to the Ñawpa Runa Foundation who supports the continuation of local art traditions such as pottery and paper making. Nawpa Runa has just started a project to create a book to share ancient medicinal plant knowledge. A medical student I met agreed to study under a woman in the region to learn and translate her knowledge into a book. I hope to help do the design and the proceeds made from the art will go to help publish the book.. If one piece speaks to you and you cannot pay I am open to Trueque (an exchange of goods, services or knowledge).

I hope you enjoy them and everyday find that space to match mind, body, and lifestyle.


  1. You are SO talented! Love the artwork!

  2. Im in love with your blog, your adventures and your art. Its amazing what you are doing, truly inspiring.
    Visit Abracadabra Farm on Bahia, Brazil if you are around.

  3. Amazing blog! I am planning a volunteer trip to South America. I want to practice environmental farming, community building, art and Quincha maybe you could give me some advice or places to check out? Thanks if you get the chance. I am worth your time :p ...
    ps. Your beautiful!