Today we made some paints from the colored clay like soil of Santa Maria. It was Etienne's idea, inspired by reddish dirt pigment sent to us from another family who were staying in southern Portugal. They sent it as a gift - their children to ours - sharing with Etienne and Maks a piece of their experience- a sample of earth crushed from a mountain hike - with the idea that we could use it as paint.
Inspired on our usual walk, Etienne stopped by some red dirt. She collected it into a small glass jar. Excited, we then remembered that the earth on a hill further down was saffron yellow, so we walked onwards; Etienne climbed the hill and collected it, along with some gravel in shades of mauve and maroon.
At home, we used a mortar and pestle and ground the chunky dirt into a fine powder. With the addition of water, voila(!) home-made paint. It sort of looks like mud, and technically it is, but for our children (and Catherine) it was paint - paint to color a landscape, color for face-painting, pigment to rub on stomachs and smear on the freshly power-washed porch...