Gamblin Reclaimed Earth COLORS

March 20, 2020

Every speck of pigment in these tubes has been painstakingly reclaimed from waters tainted by iron released from mines. Iron oxides make lightfast, natural, and safe oil paints.

We want to put them where they belong. On your palette.

©2018 Ohio University, All rights Reserved. Photo by Ben Siegel.

Three years ago, a man walked into Gamblin with a dream. His dream was to restore life to the most polluted rivers in America and in doing so, create pigments that painters and others could use to create art. Gamblin loved his idea.

©2018 Art Boy Inc. All Rights Reserved. Photo by John Sabraw


John Sabraw and engineer Guy Riefler figured out how to extract iron from the polluted rivers, restore ecosystems, and create economic opportunities in small communities struggling with unemployment and environmental damage left behind by the coal mining industry. This project, known as the Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation Economic Development Program, has shown that once iron is removed, plants and aquatic life can return in as little as one year.


©2018 Carrie Judah/Gamblin, All Rights Reserved


The process begins with collecting contaminated water in large tanks. To neutralize the water’s acidity, a base is added, then oxygen. This causes the dissolved iron to crystallize and settle. The result: clean water on top and non-toxic iron oxide pigment on the bottom. The clean water is returned to the river where it is safe for aquatic life* and the iron oxides are dried into lightfast and safe artist pigment. The pigment is heated to various temperatures to achieve each color.

The team has discovered that within just one year after cleanup, life returns to these once barren waters.

©2018 Art Boy Inc. All Rights Reserved. Photo by John Sabraw


As a colourhouse that promises to be kind to artists and the environment, turning this pigment into paint was something Gamblin felt both compelled and honoured to do and in 2018 Gamblin officially joined forces by making one full batch of paint with the reclaimed pigment. The process to collect the pigment worked, and an oil paint manufacturer was on board. The concept was no longer just an idea, it was a reality.






Photo by Gamblin




Photo by Gamblin

Rust Red: In its transparency, it carries the warm colour of rusty water. From the tube and in mixtures, Gamblin Rust Red is exactly what you’d expect: an earthy red.








Photo by Gamblin

Iron Violet: Meet the first mauve colour Gamblin has ever made. Straight from the tube, it’s a deep, earthy violet. Add white and it becomes the violet you see in the clouds at sunset or dawn.







Brown Ochre: Naturally opaque and warm with a golden undertone, the pigment in this tube isn’t heated like the others in the set; it’s raw reclaimed pigment.




©2020 Carrie Judah/Gamblin, All Rights Reserved



These tubes are nestled in a 6″x6″ primed panel made in Oregon by American Easel. The masterfully constructed panel has poplar cradled sides and a Baltic birch face, the ideal painting surface (Baltic birch has the least number of voids and the least amount of tannins). Recyclable sleeve and insert. No outer plastic wrap.

By purchasing this Limited edition Reclaimed Earth Colors Set you are supporting hard-working communities and helping make the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers healthier ecosystems.


Learn more about how Reclaimed Earth Colors at & Ohio University Fine Arts. Along with this video, a beautiful and interesting video can be found on their kickstarter here.



Written by: Carrie Judah and Pete Cole from Gamblin – Reclaimed Earth Colors