Greenleaf & Blueberry
Greenleaf & Blueberry produces handmade materials and supplies for the traveling artist. We make a full line of artisanal handmade watercolor paints, available in both half and full pans. We also produce hand-bound watercolor sketchbooks and watercolor brushes with intricately designed handles carved by hand. In addition to these thoughtfully crafted items, we also offer Paintable Projects: digital projects for you to download, print, and paint. These are accompanied by a detailed tutorial with painting techniques, instructions, and more. There are always new projects in the works as well…
Greenleaf & Blueberry was forged in the crucible of strange abodes. It is our love of adventure and our stubborn insistence on creating – no matter where we happen to be – that has lead us to what we have become: paint-mongers.
We have lived in bungalows in tiny towns, tents on mountains, our truck as we traveled, a yurt at the edge of the forest, and of course in a basement as well.
It’s a good thing we enjoy rum and sardines. (The sailor’s version of champagne and caviar.) The secret of the starving artist is that they know how to suffer with gusto.
G & B is Jess and Matt, a paint-slinging duo currently based in the Grand Valley of Colorado, where the Rocky Mountains meet the Red Desert. This is in sharp contrast to our previous home of the last half-decade up in Washington State. Greenleaf & Blueberry was born in the Chuckanut Mountains of the Pacific Northwest, where the Cascade Mountains meet the Salish Sea. We are drawn to those special areas of geographic transition, the unique areas created by micro-climates, jagged mountain, and the great expanse of wilderness that is the American West.
Jess has always been an artist. She was exposed to watercolors early, growing up surrounded with paintings by her tough-as-nails great-grandmother Greenleaf (also her namesake), and started formal private watercolor lessons at age 8. She fell in love with travel after visiting Jerusalem and the Dead Sea, then studying Art History while traveling through Italy, France, and Switzerland. Certain patterns emerged: a taste for adventure, a passion for painting, and a love of the wilderness. She recently hiked the 100 mile Wonderland Trail with her watercolor set packed alongside her topographical map.
Matt has always been a climber. He spent his childhood frightening his mother. He was that cute little towheaded boy dangling from the highest thing he could clamber up to. Not much has changed. He leads rock climbs and heads to the mountains on self-powered adventures, riding his bike hundreds of miles with his ice axe and trad rack packed in his backpack. He is happiest in the alpine. However, his formal educational background is in laboratory sciences, having studied microbiology and organic chemistry. He has also worked professionally in a high-end woodshop as a carpenter and finish painter. He could be a true Renaissance man, but he can’t sing worth a damn. He has become a modern Colourman, putting his skill set to work paint-making: essentially an alchemical reaction turning rock into a quality artists’ material, turning pigment into paint.
Mountains and trails, minerals and rocks, pigment and paint, history and chemistry, travel and adventure. At the intersection of Jess and Matt’s interests and obsessions is handmade watercolor paint. Made traditionally in small batches with muller and slab, and only using natural pigments that can be traced to geographical areas and geological sources. They create tools and supplies for the traveling artist: colors from the earth, portable paint sets designed to be a companion on your adventures, treasures for your pockets and purses, and tools for your imagination.
They believe that creativity is an essential lifeskill. Creativity is where dreams and reality merge. It is why cave paintings and tree houses and nail polish exist. To paint something is to really see it. You trace each color, line, and detail with your eye and then your hand, and the moment becomes stamped into your mind as a raw and palpable memory. To create, to really see is to live life in full color.