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Painting with Mother Nature: Natural Earth Paint

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Imagine foraging through the dirt in the woods, searching for painting materials. Going to the store and buying mass-produced paint is easier, no doubt, but is it as healthy as what the Earth has to offer?

Leah Fanning, professional painter and founder of Natural Earth Paint, isn’t afraid to dig for healthier, better paint. Between portraits and abstract pieces, her blends of colors and textures create ethereal images.

I like to capture the person’s spirit with color––meaning bold splashes of blues, greens and purples throughout the face,” says Fanning. “My abstract paintings are large and similarly full of color and light. They are inspired by the curving, branching, swirling patterns I see around me and they are also very calming.”

She founded Natural Earth Paints when she was looking for ways to continue her painting toxic-free while pregnant. Utilizing what the woods of Oregon has to offer, she gathered pigments of yellows, browns, orange, grey, black, and white.

“I have lots of photos of myself with a large pregnant belly climbing up steep hills with a trowel and baggie, happily collecting colors from the earth,” she says.

The heavy metal and other toxins found in regular paint are common to produce more paint, but quality is lost in the recipe.

“The pigments are not archival and fade over time and since they are produced in a lab, every particle is uniform and flat,” says Fanning. “Natural pigments are the most archival, permanent, UV resistant, and humidity resistant pigments in the world. By simply mixing oil with pigment, you have the purest, most color saturated, natural and non-toxic paint available.” She says, “We now have over 20 products including Natural Face Paints, Natural Craft Kits, Eco-solve, Non-toxic Gesso, Eco painting tools, and more.”

Fanning’s desire to share her natural paint with others has also affected her art.

I have reconnected to the natural origins and source of my materials,” she says. “I’m not just squeezing paint from a tube with a disconnected feeling towards my materials. I no longer have to wear face masks and gloves and I no longer get instant headaches and health issues from breathing the fumes. I can rest easy knowing that my paints when disposed will not harm the Earth, but will turn right back into earth.”

To learn more about Natural Earth Paint, visit https://www.naturalearthpaint.com.


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