Harvesting dew water in the very early morning near the city of Arles, using one of the methods recommended by alchemists. When the atmospheric conditions were met to allow the deposition of dew during the night, the artist Dominique Peysson slid a cotton sheet over the grass and the leaves to impregnate it with this water coming directly from the clouds.
Alchemists have always favored dew, rather than spring water. For them, this water has special properties: like storm water, it would contain natural “Nitres”, which result from lightning discharges. These compounds recovered in the Dew Salt have a behavior that is not found in the usual chemical products. They are meant to be more dissolvable and less permanent. The alchemists fortify them by exposing them to the light of several successive rising moons, while protecting them from sunlight. After collecting the dew with the help of a sheet, they have to filter it several times in the dark. . It is then kept under cover in terracotta urns, and stored away from light in cellars. This dew water makes it possible to collect the philosophical salt, after several successive stages of evaporation and dissolution. It is a silver-white salt, with small refracting crystals, which can dissolve glass.

Dew harvest in the Arles region, summer 2020, Dominique Peysson
Dew harvest in the Arles region, summer 2020, Dominique Peysson

Landscape under a stormy sky, a painting that Vincent van Gogh painted in Arles in April 1889. The image is formed of drops which are composed of dew water collected in a field like that of the painting, during the summer of 2020. The water is viscosified so as not to evaporate.

Landscape under a stormy sky, Vincent van Gogh, 1889.

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