WRITING ART, Working With Pigments: Mummy Brown

In the not-so-dark of a crescent moon, I painted a man, his face in mummy brown pigment–no longer ground from real Egyptians, but from pigments simulating human flesh. He had no shadow, no emotion. That seemed to be his truth? My skin crawled as I thickened his night pupils and set them in an iris of yellow ochre, wisp-thick. Real amber eyes don’t glow in darkness, but readily reflect weak light.
Wearing a black coat, he held a bottle–not of poison, but of milk with a nipple. Goddammit. Why can’t anything I paint make sense?

Visit the Wessex Ancient Egypt Society to learn more about the strange fates of mummies.
Visit the Wessex Ancient Egypt Society to learn more about the strange fates of mummies.

I enjoy using the history and mythology of pigment in Adele’s painting scenes.  When I began researching pigments, Mummy Brown was actually the first one I centered on for its value in fiction, though I decided against using it in the first book.  Once made by grinding the flesh of Egyptian mummies, it now is manufactured from  kaolin, quartz, goethite and hematite.  Glamorous, no, but Mummy Brown retains its creepy connotation through color.  If art and fiction use feelings to build a message, I can use this pigment for foreshadowing, hints of murder, and even to draw a brutal image in your mind.

People ask me more about the painting scenes than any other parts of my books.  No, I am not a painter though I have painted.  Yes, I’ve done a lot of research.

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