Ree, of Dreaming Tree Ranch Studios in Prescott, Arizona created this intriguing workshop in which she teaches how to make cave art the ancient way. Her workshop instructs how to make natural tools, natural pigments, and how to paint on a cave wall bringingart from the contours of the rock.

When I saw this offered, I am mediately called my parents and asked if they would sponsor this experience for me as a birthday present! I was so excited! This is totally my bag of chips!

I just completed the workshop and had a wonderful time. Of course, because it is an art workshop, there’s a lot of freedom to create whatever you want. I didn’t end up painting something looks like shamanic rock art, and by the way, Ree’s paintings don’t look like they belong in cave either. But that isn’t really the point. The important part was learning the ancient ways of making the materials. What fun!

We started by making brushes from horse hair and feathers.

We made guache from earth pigments and other simple, even edible, ingredients like honey and clove oil. The paint smelled so alive.

Ree’s Elements of Nature style art

Ree explained that the shape of the crystals in natural pigments is angular, so painting with them gives luminescence to your art that doesn’t show up when using synthetic pigments which have round particles.

This is what I ended up creating. It isn’t cave wall style, but who cares?! What fun I had!
Painted by Ree Altavilla

We had this magnificent creature hanging in her studio. She painted it using natural pigments. Look how it glows! And the glow changes as the light in the room changes. Just wonderful.

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