The Mayan pigments are a special collection of modern pigments based on ancient traditions. These special pigments are eco-friendly and made in America. Mayan pigments are made from organic dyes bound with diatomaceous earth, resulting in stable and bright jewel-toned colors. These pigments are transparent and light. They mix well with each other resulting in a wide variety of possible hues. They do not have pigment numbers or official lightfastness ratings, but are lightfast according to the manufacturer. I am currently conducting my own lightfastness tests and will share the results with you when I have them. The Mayan people of Central America used a unique blue color in their wall paintings that for many years left scientist and art historians baffled. This special blue, despite being exposed to high humidity and varying conditions, hardly faded. Created from the indigo plant, a special clay, and processed in a way that may have also involved tree resin, the blue of the Mayan people was extraordinarily stable, lightfast and deep.
The Mayan pigments can be a bit different than regular watercolors. I find that they need a stickier binder, or they will crack and dry out in the pan more than usual. This stickier binder can sometimes feel different on the brush when picking up paint from the pan and sometimes can feel gummy even in the pan. On paper they are glowing and transparent. Not quite as high in tinting strength as traditional manufactured pigments, these colors are great for sketching and journaling. These Mayan colors stay put on the paper more than other colors, making for interesting textures to play with. I would not use them for large flat areas of color, as they don’t flow like other colors. Another thing to note is the Maya Blue I sell in the shop is similar, but not quite the same as these Mayan pigments. It is much more like indigo, a deep neutral blue, and behaves more like regular watercolors. The Mayan Royal Blue leans more towards green.
The Mayan colors are unique, deep tones for the painters palette. They are eco-friendly and non-toxic, containing no heavy metals. More affordable than other pigments, they also make wonderful colors for children to paint with. (Under supervision of course. Although our binder contains food-grade ingredients, paint is not meant to be eaten or used on skin.) The transparent nature of the Mayan colors make them a wonderful addition to the palette for urban sketching, plein air painting and nature journaling.