SYMEON VAN DONKELAAR
Symeon Van Donkelaar is an artist whose 100 Mile Pigment Project was the start of many thorough investigations into pigments he could obtain using plants and minerals within 100 miles of his Ontario, Canada-based studio. He’s grown indigo and produced Maya blue, fired bones to make bone black, sought out many different ochres in the landscape, and worked with soil scientists and community members. He paints sacred icons using his hand-gathered materials, and teaches icon-making workshops regularly.
He says this, of his work:
“As an artist, I forage the local colours of the land and make art.
My local colour portraits disclose the land as full of personality, myth, history, and spirit. Some are the result of sacred pilgrimages, others come from the scars of industry. Each reveal the life of the earth in its colour. Seeing such ochres as alive is an ancient approach, going back to a time when more people listened to the earth as a teacher. In these local colour portraits the land is something still worthy of our attention today.
Because our modern lifestyle blinds us to the land’s presence, we are destroying the environment and ourselves. Through these local colour portraits we see the earth anew and are challenged to rethink our effect on the land.”