Earth Painting


Painting with dirt, mud, sand, and rock satisfies on a primal level. The entire process of collecting colors of earth, breaking any rocks down to a usable substance, and then feeling the gritty texture between your fingers as the colors come to life has a grounding and calming effect on the entire system. 

More and more studies are coming out about how playing in the dirt helps boost children's immune systems; how being outside reduces stress; and how creating art enables people to feel empowered. Why not combine all of these?!

Above are the zoomed in images of a few of my Earth Paintings. The three on the left were created in my home town in Ridgway, CO from the dirt and rocks found on Red Mountain. The two on the right were created from the sand found in Port Washington, NY. The process of creating them is so very simple. 

You will need:

  • Buckets, bags or jars to carry the different colors of earth
  • Buckets or bowls as your mixing stations
  • Water
  • Elmer's glue or something similar
  • Loose canvas, various sizes and shapes, to paint upon
  • Brushes of all shapes and sizes (optional)
  • Shovel or hammer (optional)

To Do: 

  1. Search for and gather colors of earth. This may be easy in the area you've chosen or it may take a little bit of exploring and possibly even gathering colors from various locations before actually painting. If any of these are in a more hardened rock form then you can use the hammer to break off smaller dust-sized pieces.
  2. Mix each color in separate bowls with 1 part water and 1 part glue.
  3. Use hands or brushes to scoop the mixture onto your loose canvas and paint to your heart's desire. 
  4. Let dry.
  5. Shake excess dirt or sand and take home.

The last fun piece is hanging these pieces on the wall. Using thumbtacks you can hang them flat or squish areas of the canvas closer together so the piece hangs 3-dimensionally! 


Have you ever tried anything like this before? Share your stories and/or your creations.