As I explored the beaches and hiking trails, I almost immediately found what I was looking for - stones that can be ground up for pigments. On the beach I found one piece of a stone that I know very well from my time in San Francisco. It's a step in the process of creating serpentine. At this stage, it's a soft soapstone. There are some places where this is the hardest material in hillsides made of blue clay. They're all just stages in the process - clay turns to soapstone which turns to serpentine which, I hear, eventually turns into jade. Finding one of these stones perked up my senses to see if I could spot the area where it this beautiful blue-green came from.
Well, I didn't have to look far. Here's a photo of a hillside right next to the road, just a minute's drive from that beach. Yes, that's a reflection of the car dash in the sky. And yes, the hillside really was just that blue.
When I stopped to scoop up some of that amazing clay, I took a little two-hour jaunt down the beach and found a whole hillside that was made of iron-rich sediment layers. These were tumbling down to the beach, yielding all different colors of ochre.
Here's a creek I had to wade across as I walked down the beach. Look at those colors!
There's another stone that caught my attention. We have slate in my part of the state, but it's a darker black and much more difficult to powder. This stone looks like it will yield a rich grey and take no time at all to powder.
There were other deposits that simply taunted me. Here is the most vibrant orange I've ever seen come from the ground. And it was ready-to-use, being a clay instead of a stone.
But, alas, there was only one tiny piece of it in an otherwise brown landscape. Can't win them all, eh? Maybe one day I'll find a place where this gorgeous color is the predominant feature.
Next, I'll have to start labelling and storing these stones so that I can remember where the colors came from when I use them in my art. Then, it's time to powder a few of them up and see what I get. I can't wait to see how that blue-green works in an ink!