Today in class was like the rest: awesome. We crushed up red rocks into fine sediment that was then mixed with olive oil, or alternatively egg yolks, to make paint. Obviously, violently crushing rocks with hammers could possibly create safety problems but no need to worry; protective eyewear was required. I found the best way to thoroughly crush the rock was to first cover it with some type of cloth so as to prevent the dispersion of red dust. After all the rocks were crushed and the hammers were put aside, we mixed up the olive oil with the red dust. This created a deep maroon paint mixture, something you would expect to see painted on a pre-historic cave wall only lit by a dwindling fire.
I learned that it’s the iron oxide in the rocks that gives off the red hue. I also learned it takes a surprising amount of dust to make a modest amount of paint. Now I appreciate the amount of work required it must have taken in ancient times to express art. Although this idea has some merit to it. If it was hard to create art then maybe every piece of art would be that much more thoughtful. Alternatively, you would miss out on the creativity and spontaneity of art.