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Earth Elements with Robin Whitfield


This watercolor-based workshop took place during the Leland class reunion events, as well as the Greenville Arts Council’s Brews and Blues on April 25, 2015. Downtown Leland was be the place to be!

Earth colors have been used by humans for thousands of years to express, explore, and celebrate life on earth. Whether it’s the intricate dots of Aboriginal painting, fluid animals on European cave walls, refined oil paints of the Renaissance, ceremonial body paint for tribal dancing or a spectrum of color for dying fibers and fabrics—-earth colors define human creativity. They are a basic way to connect with local natural materials and places. In just a century, our culture has forgotten that the biggest art store is right outside our door.

Understanding plants, geology, and habitat is helpful in the beginning but is not necessary. The process of gathering and using natural materials is its own education and offers a connection to earth knowledge and spirit that can’t be found in a book or on the Internet. This Earth Color Workshop offers entry level experience with hunting, gathering, refining, and using found color  to compose and create in the moment on paper.

Our schedule for the day was such:

10:00 - 12:00
Introduction to working with natural pigments (exploring, selecting, and gathering natural materials for color, shape or texture using time, pressure, moisture levels, natural processes to create or capture marks, colors, details and shapes); exercises designed to become familiar with using various forms of natural materials on watercolor and Japanese paper; design and cut a set of personal stencils to use in earth color composition

1:00 - 4:00
Demonstration of Robin's personal process with creating Earth Color pieces; work on personal pieces; group critique / discussion


Robin lives in Grenada, Mississippi, practicing art from her downtown studio and in surrounding rivers, swamps, and forests. Her work explores relationships of form and color as well as the ecological. Noticing and sharing the beauty of biodiversity is a driving force in her creative life.

Her studio gallery offers original artworks as well as her product line: Earth Color - “made with Mississippi mud and plants” featuring designs inspired by geometry and ecology.

Robin graduated from Delta State University in 1996 with a BFA in Painting. She has been juried onto the Mississippi Arts Commission Roster since 2006, is an artist-in-residence for ArtPlace Mississippi since 2002 and is an Audubon Master Naturalist of Mississippi since 2007. She has given creative workshops and has exhibited her work widely across the state for the past 15 years.


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