Nature’s Palette: Foraging Natural Pigments With Hayley Dayis & Alexander Fals - Atlas Obscura Experiences

Nature’s Palette: Foraging Natural Pigments With Hayley Dayis & Alexander Fals

Mon, Oct 7, 2024
3 sessions
$210 per person
Up to 35 people
See Dates
$210 per person
$210 per person
See Dates
What We’ll Do

In this three-part workshop, learn the art of DIY paint-making from foraged pigments and create a work of art with your new paints.

Course Description

In this practical workshop, join Colombia-based artists Hayley Dayis and Alexander Fals to create your own paint using foraged mineral pigments anywhere in the world and take that paint to the canvas! Over the course of three weeks, we’ll explore the origin of color, mineral pigments, and ecologically sustainable art forms. Students will be guided on how to respectfully harvest colors from nature, and gain a greater appreciation for and knowledge of where color originates and the cultural context and history of painting with pigments. By the end of our time together, you’ll walk away with an original painting using the DIY paint you sourced during the course and a deeper understanding of the positive ecological and creative impacts of natural pigment painting on our modern day communities.  

Syllabus at a Glance

This course includes three total sessions on consecutive Mondays, each lasting 1.5 hours, starting October 7.

Session 1 (Monday, 10/7, 7:30–9:00 PM ET) | Introduction to Mineral Pigment Painting: History, techniques, and contemporary context

Session 2 (Monday, 10/14, 7:30–9:00 PM ET) | DIY Paint Making: Foraged pigment preparation and paint creation

Session 3 (Monday, 10/21, 7:30–9:00 PM ET) | Guided Painting Class: The practice of painting with mineral pigments

Between Sessions

Participants will be assigned light tasks in-between each session. Between the first and second session, students will be collecting pigment samples from their region, using guidance and foraging tips provided in class. This could take anywhere between 1-4 hours depending on the terrain, distance traveled and number of pigments harvest. Between the second and third class, students will be asked to brainstorm, reflect on, and sketch what they would like to paint in the final class. Exercises for this reflection will be provided. We recommend setting aside 1-2 hours for planning and sketching.

Course Materials

Students will need to acquire the following materials. Most supplies required for this course can be found at local arts and craft and gardening stores such as Blick, Home Depot, or on Amazon. 

  • A variety of paintbrushes of your choice. We recommend one round brush size 3, one angled or flat brush size 6, one angled or flat brush size 11, and one 2 inch base coat brush for background washes
  • 12x12 inch cold press watercolor paper or a stretched 12x12 inch canvas
  • 5-8 sealable receptacles for natural pigment paints. Could be anything, but we recommend wide-mouthed screw top or rubber seal tupperware. Make sure the receptacle leaves enough room to mix up paints–nothing tall or with a tapered neck
  • A small gardening trowel and thick plastic bags for collecting pigments
  • Buckets, bowls or any low flat containers to place foraged pigments to dry
  • 1 fine mesh sieve
  • Hammer
  • Tape and pen for labeling 

Pricing Options

In addition to full-price tickets, a limited number of no-pay spots are available for this course. Please note that these tickets are reserved for those who would not otherwise be able to take this course and who expect to attend all sessions. No-pay spots are distributed via a randomized drawing two weeks before each course begins. For more information and to apply for a no-pay spot, please click here. To learn more about our pricing model and randomized selection process for no-pay spots, please visit our FAQ page

Community Guidelines for Students

Please take a moment to review our community guidelines for students, which aim to share our classroom ethos and help set the stage for the best possible learning experience.

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Where We’ll Be

Once registered, you’ll receive a confirmation email from Eventbrite that will provide access to each class meeting. Please save the confirmation email as you’ll use it to access all sessions of your course via Zoom.

About Your Instructor
Hayley Dayis & Alexander Fals
Hayley Dayis & Alexander Fals

Hayley Dayis

Hayley Dayis was raised with an appreciation for philosophy, the arts, and the rhythms of land. Her work slows down time to invite curiosity, deep thought and catharsis. The natural pigments that she uses in the creation of her current work infuse each piece with the subtle majesty of the Earth’s color spectrum while paying homage to the innate, yet too often overlooked, reciprocity and dependency between humans and land.

After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing and Literature from Purchase College in 2014, Hayley traveled extensively throughout the United States and Mexico, and in the process discovered her love for painting as a way to visually log her experiences and discoveries. In 2017, after attending an event in Mexico that raised awareness about water health and pollution, Hayley quickly became interested in finding non-chemical painting methods. This search led her to her partner Alexander Fals, natural pigment painter, who introduced her to his family’s technique of painting with foraged pigments from the region of Cauca, Colombia where she now lives and paints for half of each year.


Alexander Fals

From a lineage of artists, scholars, and revolutionaries for social justice, Alexander Fals is a genre all his own. His paintings are not just wall hangings, but windows into a magical world where all things have beauty and mystery. The mineral pigments he uses are colors that have been underground in ancient volcanic deposits, lying dormant for centuries. Each color has a unique mineral composition, many of which are naturally flecked with Mika, stones and crystals.

Born in Naples NY, 1990, to mother Lauren Sherwood (Naples, NY), and father Roberto Fals (Popayán, Colombia), Alexander spent his seventeenth year as an exchange student living with his Grandfather, Dr. Jaime Fals Borda, in Colombia. He then returned to New York to study Environmental Conservation and Ecology at Finger Lakes Community College. After leaving school in 2011, Fals decided to blend his love for ecology, evolution, and Colombia. He moved to Popayán and began painting, using a technique regionally pioneered by his Uncles, Henry and Billy Fals: foraging for vibrant naturally occurring pigments and processing them into paint using a strong yet biodegradable adhesive.

What Else You Should Know

This is an interactive, small-group seminar that meets over Zoom. Students may be encouraged to participate in discussions, work on assignments outside of class, and workshop projects with their instructor or classmates. Due to the interactive nature of this course, we strongly recommend students attend as many live sessions as possible. Within 72 hours after each session meets, students will receive access to a recording of the live session, which they can watch for up to two weeks after the course concludes.

Instructors may use Google Classroom to communicate with students outside of class. While students aren’t required to use Google Classroom, instructors may use this platform to post resources, discussion questions, or assignments. This platform also offers a space for students to connect with one another about course material between sessions. 

We provide closed captioning for all of our courses and can share transcripts upon request. Please reach out to us at if you have any questions, requests, or accessibility needs.

Group Size

There are 35 spots available on this experience.

Dates and Availability
  • Mon, Oct 7, 2024
    7:30 p.m.–8:30 p.m.
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