The Power of Natural Pigments: Issue 4 by Edward Bulmer Natural Paint

Discover again this month more about the natural earth and mineral pigments we use to create our colours which are far more sophisticated and subtle than synthetic AZO dyes used by most paint companies.

Introducing the show stopping ‘Violet Carmine’

Carmine has become a generic term for deep purplish reds and has been in use since antiquity. It was originally derived from organic sources, such as the roots of trees like Indian Madder or plants like Dyer’s Bugloss (Alkanet) or even from crushed Cochineal beetles . The dye produced was not very opaque and the resultant colours were often known as ‘Lakes’. There was and still is, a significant trade in Cochineal for food, makeup and pharmaceutical colouring, but it comes at a high cost for the female beetles as 70,000 are required to make 1lb of pigment!

An illustration of cochineal collection below shows how early Mesoamericans discovered that pinching an insect found on cacti yielded a blood red dye, seen a Mexican priest and scientist José Antonio de Alzate y Ramírez, 1777 (Newberry Library, Edward E. Ayer Manuscript Collection).


Illustration of cochineal collection by a Mexican priest & scientist Jose Antonio de Alzate y Ramirez, 1777 (Newberry library, Edward E Ayer Manuscript Collection)
mixing red pigments, making natural paint

Edward has selected a Violet Carmine that is a Spinel pigment from the latin for thorn, referring to its crystaline structure, processed from oxides of magnesium aluminate.  It is a more reliable and happier outcome for beetles and vegans. It is also a useful addition to colours where Red Ochre or Vermilion do not impart enough blue in colours like ‘Rose‘ and in ‘Navy Blue’ it imparts more red to the shade.

Rose pink sitting room styled by Oka
Navy Blue natural paint

Violet Carmine gives its all in the new deep red ‘Pompadour’ in this dining room and the lovely ‘Lavender’ on the cabinets and island of this family kitchen.

If you would like to try some of these we now have A5 painted swatches available as well as the sample pots in each colour.

We really recommend that you test our colours in situ before you make a final decision and observing how the time of day, type of light and different aspects of the room affect the colour. Our natural paints are packed full of these earth and mineral pigments and have an extraordinary and unrivalled response to light with a super soft finish so we know you will be pleased with the result.

Pompadour natural paint in a dining room
Lavender kitchen island


For more colour inspiration please follow us on Instagram @edwardbulmerpaint and @edward_bulmer and if you love Pinterest @Edwardbulmerpaint 

Our social network has never been more important. A safe place where we can all support and inspire one another. We will continue to share our colours in your wonderful homes. Watch this space for more design tips from Edward and brilliant creative ideas for your home.

Please keep in touch and keep sharing all your paint projects and rooms #edwardbulmerpaint​

Posted: June 2020