Red Pictographs

     Paula Sayers monochromatic pictograph art is produced with ancient techniques utilizing natural red pigments containing iron oxide. For traditional work, the artist employs plant or hide glues to affix images. On some outdoor projects, Paula will, on request incorporate Acrylic binder to help preserve images against weather, and pollution.

Pictograph Mural 24" x 48"

     Painting with red ocher is one of the oldest art forms on earth. Since the dawn of man, early peoples have used red earth mixed with various substances to create images we call pictographs.

     Red earth occurs naturally as hematite or limonite, and can be found all around the planet. Prehistoric folks harvested it in large amounts and then stored it for later use. Native spiritual leaders often carry a small amount in what is called a 'paint bag,' when healing or helping people.

Assorted paint tools and bag used by the artist

     In prehistoric times paint tools were made out of anything at hand; sticks, bones, hair, plant fibers, and feathers. Later, tools became a bit more practical and paint bags were embellished with quillwork, beads, or decoration.

     Some small bags, found in pre-contact Native medicine bundles have contained powders believed to have been used for painting. These include dust from red pipestone (Catlinite), dried Cochineal bugs, different colors of ocher, and charcoal powder.

     Interestingly, Cochineal bugs, used to dye fabrics and hides, were often found on Prickly Pear cactus, and the use of cactus sap as a binder may have been a natural progression in pictograph painting.

     Other binders, used to affix pigments to stone or hides were made from animal fats, marrow, yucca plants, and hide glue.

Anish Clans - a stylized painting by the artist

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