Cardmaking, Essentials By Ellen, Stamping

Happy Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day! In honor of the day, Lisa is here to talk about Daniel Smith EARTH pigments and share her tips for working with these granulating watercolors.

Hello hello! Happy Earth Day to this beautiful planet we call home! Today I’m going to talk about EARTH pigments and how to get the most out of them. Earth pigments are historically made from — well yes, you guessed it — earth! Daniel Smith also has a line of pigments called PrimaTek that are made from rocks and minerals — some are even gemstones! These are usually super granulating paints and so cool to use. I love learning about the origins of these special paints.

Before we further, here’s a look at the finished card:

I thought the Hero Arts Beautiful World set was just perfect for the day!

Before we dive in further, here are some general tips when using Daniel Smith PrimaTek paints:

  • Add a few drops of water to your paint 10 minutes before using them — I like to use my mister bottle for this. Some PrimaTek and earth pigments dry hard in the pans and you’ll really save wear and tear on your brushes by wetting them first!
  • Make a big juicy wash of color with LOTS of water — the more water you use, the more the pigments granulate. Try painting a rectangle with clean water and then splashing on some color to get a feel for how the paints move.
  • Experiment with different kinds of paper. Papers that have more of a rough surface will show the granulation more, although there’s a tradeoff with stamping detailed images on a rough surface. I’ve found Arches cold press paper to be a happy medium. For this card I used Canson XL paper since the stamp are so detailed.

Now for some more tips and tricks!


Did you know the earth is 96.5% ocean? That number just blows my mind!

Here’s how I painted the ocean on this card:

  • First mix up some juicy puddles of Fuchsite genuine, Cobalt Teal Blue and Cerulean Blue Chromium — you’re gonna want to work quickly so that the pigments all blend together, and having some puddles of paint ready to go really helps!
  • Next, prewet the ocean areas with clean water. You want the paper to be damp but not dripping wet.
  • Drop in Fuchiste Genuine around the center part of the earth — oh my, this color has a subtle shimmer in real life that’s impossible to capture with the camera!
  • Working quickly, drop in Cobalt Teal Blue and then Cerulean Blue Chromium along the edges.
  • Be careful not to overwork this — you can practice a bit by making some swatches on scrap paper.
  • Compare the swatches on the left that were done on Arches cold press paper vs the ones on the right on Canson XL — Arches is so much more forgiving when it comes to these super granulating pigments!


The land masses are one of my favorite things to paint!

Here are the colors that I used and a few tips:

  • Serpentine Genuine is such an amazing green and super granulating to boot! I love this color so much! It’s from Australia — I hope to get to travel there someday.
  • Lunar Earth — this color granulates readily and is really active wet-in-wet and creates cool texture.
  • Monte Amiata Sienna — a beautiful glowing yellow earth pigment. For some of the land masses I first colored in the whole mass with this, then dropped in other colors.
  • Violet Hematite Genuine — I just started using this color last year and I have to say that I really love it! Daniel Smith calls it “A stunning and rugged violet! ” and I have to agree.


To keep with the Earth Day theme I colored the flowers with two earth pigments: Sedona Genuine and Venetian Red. I think this gives the card a kind of “shabby chic” look.

Sedona Genuine is made from rocks from Sedona, Arizona — another place on my bucket list of places to visit.

Now here’s another look at how the card came together:

Just look at all that lovely granulation!

The brass embossing powder really sets off the paints well, don’t you think?

Here’s the full list of supplies — I put some more of my favorite earth pigments in there as well!


Thanks so much for joining me today — and Happy Earth Day! — Lisa

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  • Reply Barbara-Jean Kubik April 22, 2021 at 7:42 am

    Beautiful card and great to learn about the water colors!

  • Reply conil April 22, 2021 at 8:39 am

    Wonderful tutorial to match this gorgeous card. Sending an appropriate message for Earth Day. You color mixing is simply lovely.

  • Reply Happy Earth Day! – sideoats & scribbles April 22, 2021 at 10:09 am

    […] Hello hello and Happy Earth Day! I’m guesting over at Ellen Hutson today with a blog post all about Daniel Smith EARTH pigments — come join me for more! […]

  • Reply Shelly Birkwood April 22, 2021 at 10:27 am

    Wow, absolutely gorgeous!! Very detailed and easy to learn from, tutorial. Thanks!!

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