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GeneralMineral Watercolor Paintings!

30th Dec 2019 15:42 GMTTama Higuchi


As a sister-thread to my Mineral Pixel Art thread, I'd like to create a new one for my more "traditional" artwork: my oil and watercolor paintings!  I'll be updating this thread with all the mineral art I make :-)

First up:
I took out my watercolors for the first time in three years to paint this lil piece! Watercolors aren’t my favorite, but it sure is less time-consuming than oil paints, not to mention watercolors are more popular in the mineral community.  It might be fun to paint minerals with both mediums from now on.

Aquamarine, Schorl, Albite
- Erongo Mts., Karibib, Erongo Region, Namibia

Watercolor and Sumi Ink on paper, 8 x 9 in

30th Dec 2019 15:54 GMTDavid Carter

Very nice indeed, better than a lot of my photographs!! Looking forward to seeing more of them too.

30th Dec 2019 16:18 GMTAlex Homenuke Expert

How do you, if you don't mind me asking, create the black background with watercolours?
Superb painting!

30th Dec 2019 16:33 GMTTama Higuchi

The background was actually painted with Sumi Ink (a traditional Japanese ink used in calligraphy), it's extremely pigmented and fluid, so it's easy to paint deep black backgrounds with it :-)

30th Dec 2019 16:25 GMTPaul Brandes Manager

Fabulous Tama!!!!

30th Dec 2019 16:57 GMTDonald B Peck Expert

Tama,  Absolutely beautiful.  I will eagerly look forward to your future work!


30th Dec 2019 20:41 GMTFrank K. Mazdab Manager

very nicely done! I love watercolors, and I personally think the illusion of transparency (of course, critical for rendering a transparent mineral like this aquamarine) would likely come across much more effectively with watercolors than with other paint media.

30th Dec 2019 21:11 GMTThomas Lühr Expert

Wonderful work, Tama! 

31st Dec 2019 17:20 GMTTama Higuchi

Thank you everyone for the kind words!

Here's another one, a painting of excellent Rhodochrosite scalenohedrons, with a super bright red color!  My home scanner didn't really do a great job of capturing this one haha.

Rhodochrosite - Uchucchacua Mine, Oyon Province, Lima, Peru

Watercolor and Sumi Ink on paper, 6 x 8 in

31st Dec 2019 17:57 GMTThomas Lühr Expert

Looks like a photo! Just stunning. You are so talented, Tama! 

31st Dec 2019 21:35 GMTGareth Evans

Hello Tama:

I had a look at these wonderful paintings in Photoshop and noticed the background looks like black canvas. Did you superimpose the painting onto another (layered) background?


1st Jan 2020 02:47 GMTTama Higuchi

Nope!  The backgrounds are painted with Sumi Ink (a traditional Japanese ink used in calligraphy), it's extremely pigmented, so it's easy to paint deep black backgrounds with it :-)  That texture is just from the watercolor paper that I use (Strathmore).

1st Jan 2020 02:52 GMTPaul Brandes Manager

And very beautifully done, I might add...

1st Jan 2020 03:30 GMTGareth Evans


I had a look at your YouTube page, and noted that you trace to create your pixel art. What software package do you use? I suspect you use an Apple PC or clone?


1st Jan 2020 08:48 GMTTama Higuchi

Wrong thread ;-)
Yeah, I only do that for the basic outline in the beginning, because of the nature of using pixels, rather than a brush; it’s important to get the angles consistent with pixel art.  The vast majority of the pixel art is done with only a reference on the side.
I use Clip Studio Paint and an iMac.

20th Jan 2020 19:32 GMTTama Higuchi

Got some more artwork done during winter break!  I wanted to try painting a more complicated piece, so I chose my favorite Erongo combo specimen.

Aquamarine, Schorl, Albite - Erongo Mts., Karibib, Erongo Region, Namibia

Watercolor and Sumi Ink on paper, 9 x 12 in

20th Jan 2020 21:03 GMTPaul Brandes Manager

Looks like a photograph, Tama.
Great job!!!

20th Jan 2020 21:11 GMTRalph Bottrill Manager

Wonderful, Tama!

21st Jan 2020 14:24 GMTTony L. Potucek Expert

I agree--the detail and the dead-on color is captivating.  These mineral portraits remind me of the masterful "trick of the eye" paintings done by other artists.  Thank you!

21st Jan 2020 15:11 GMTTama Higuchi

What an interesting idea!  Maybe next time I'll try painting in the cast shadow, and see what that does to the overall effect :-D 

23rd Jan 2020 14:10 GMTTama Higuchi


This is the very first mineral painting I've done for someone else as a commission! I love those classic Calcite 'spikes.'

Calcite - Florida Rock Quarry, Floyd County, Rome, Georgia, USA.

Watercolor and Sumi Ink on paper, 14 x 11 inches.

Specimen is 16 x 15 x 11 cm, collected/owned by Wade Mullin.  There is a similar specimen of the same find in the Tellus science museum.

23rd Jan 2020 17:03 GMTwade mullin

Incredible painting Tama.
As you stated, one of the sister specimens from this find is a center piece at the Tellus Museum in Cartersville, Georgia. Thanks for posting.

5th Feb 2020 01:08 GMTTama Higuchi


This was a challenge!  Watercolor painting of a large Tourmaline, Cleavelandite, and Quartz combo specimen.

Paprok, Kamdesh District, Nuristan, Afghanistan

Specimen and painting in the collection of Ryan Klockner.

11 x 11 inches
Watercolor and Sumi Ink on paper

5th Feb 2020 11:18 GMTPaul Brandes Manager

Might be challenging, but we'd never know it!
Beautiful work once again, Tama!

17th Feb 2020 02:53 GMTTama Higuchi


Here's a neat one!  This is a painting of the very first (and only, at the moment) European mineral in my collection.  I love that little "crab claw" on the left side of the piece.

Aragonite var. Flos Ferri - Kamariza mines, Agios Konstantinos, Lavrion Mining District, East Attica, Attica, Greece.

Watercolor and Sumi Ink on paper, 9 x 12 inches.

Not sure what I'll paint next... perhaps an Elk Creek Baryte, or a Pyro?

17th Feb 2020 13:12 GMTPaul Brandes Manager

Again, looks like a photograph.
Wonderful job!

22nd Mar 2020 22:16 GMTTama Higuchi

I recently completed this painting of a great Neptunite, Benitoite (a shy one haha) and Natrolite specimen.  I have a version with a black background as well, since it was really difficult to decide which background color I preferred.  I think the white makes the Neptunite crystals stand out better, even if the matrix gets a little lost.

Watercolor and Sumi Ink on paper, 8 x 10 inches

24th Mar 2020 17:52 GMTTony L. Potucek Expert

Superb--even got that little benitoite peeking around the corner!

24th Mar 2020 19:24 GMTPaul Brandes Manager

Amazing work once again young lady!!!

23rd Mar 2020 08:24 GMTKeith Compton Manager

Your ability to capture depth and reflections off crystal faces, and in earlier pieces, the transparency is remarkable.
Very impressed.

24th Mar 2020 01:42 GMTTama Higuchi

Thank you so much Keith!  Specimens with transparency and reflections are tricky, but often are the most fun to render.

5th Apr 2020 19:44 BSTTama Higuchi


Definitely my favorite painting so far! Here is a nice Rhodochrosite from the N'Chwaning Mines.  This piece is ex. Currier as well :-) 

Specimen is in the collection of my friend Allan Ruyters.

Watercolor and Sumi Ink on paper, 8 x 8 inches

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