Monday, July 30, 2012

Celebrating the Medium

After trying so many different approaches using the alcohol ink, I wanted to create one piece celebrating the unique qualities of this medium. This painting hopefully showcases just that. For all my experimenting, I have to concede the same results could've been achieved with watercolor or fluid acrylic. Maybe not on Yupo but certainly on paper.

I applied the blending solution to the Yupo, dropped on the inks and simply let it do what it does. I got some lovely movement and colorful blends. I used an alcohol pen filled with blending solution to create the grass blades and the little flowers.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Making Friends ~ completed

I managed to lower the 'heat' by removing some of the ink. I dropped in some Pool, a very cool blue. It's a potent color so I tried not to over-do it. A shadow was created beneath the center cat for a horizontal element in an otherwise diagonal composition.

I made a few corrections and additions. The painting was much too 'hot', the red/orange too intense so I lifted some of the color between the cats in the foreground with a small amount of rubbing alcohol on a paper towel. I did this not only for esthetics but also to highlight the 'exchange' between these two animals. The little onlooker in the background is for composition sake. I guess this cat decided to hang back and watch the goings on.

Having my own cats and watching their behavior when another, strange cat approaches I think I've succeeded in recreating the posturing that takes place. Cats are very territorial and are slow to accept another cat on their turf. They're very selective when making new friends. The 'new' cat usually approaches cautiously with a curious, slightly submissive attitude if it's interested in joining the group. I've been witness to various outcomes of these exchanges...some good, some not so much.

I added this image to my Imagekind Gallery. It looks amazing on canvas so I hope you will stop by and check it out:

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Making Friends ~ WIP

This one is still in the works. I'm feeling my way as I go along. I find it's better not to have a solid goal in mind when working with alcohol ink. It's similar to watercolor in that way. Add the Yupo factor and try not to plan at all. Just see what happens and go with the flow. I think this needs some cool color. Maybe Pool, similar to Phthalo blue in hue.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Soft Pastel on Yupo?

The pastel has been added throughout this piece but is mostly visible on the left side. I turned the stone wall into a stone cliff and added the cliffhanger(a little tree) and the opposing mountain in the bottom right corner to aid composition.

Yes! I had to try it and it worked. I've been pushing Yupo to it's limits with all my experimenting. I scored it with an awl, inked and wiped, re-inked and wiped again. I think eventually the surface does abrade creating a very slight 'tooth'. I was going for a stone wall affect, using the awl and black marker to depict the edges of the stones. At that point I wondered what I hadn't tried yet and soft pastel popped into my head. Hey, why not? I sprayed the surface with the blending solution, then as it was drying I added grey and blue pastel. Somehow when the solution dried completely the pastel was sealed to the surface. It can be removed with alcohol or blending solution just like the ink but it's there to stay otherwise.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A Cool Site

The site is called { Design Seeds } (link).  Anyone visiting can open the Palette Search page and create their own color combinations based on a single color. Many times I'm inspired by a certain color rather than a subject and I sometimes struggle with a complimentary palette for that color. 

I'm posting a screen cap of the palette page and have added colored arrows for reference. This nifty little site allows one to recreate their chosen color by adjusting the RGB levels indicated by the black arrows. You may even choose a theme such as Floral,  Edible, etc. (indicated by the green arrow). Fun! Hit 'go get it' which I pointed out with the blue arrow and various complimentary color combinations will appear below. Scroll down to see them all. Maybe you'll find some combinations you never imagined.

Monday, July 23, 2012

If at first you don't succeed...

The after

The before

...keep on trying. With Yupo that isn't difficult. Man, is this stuff forgiving. I wanted to try watercolor on this surface to see just how much trouble it would give me. You can push watercolor around on Yupo all day and into the night but I didn't want to spend the time so I got out my inks, an Exacto knife & some markers and started playing. I scanned my original results (which were boring, BTW) and I'm posting both the before & after. I think it's much more exciting now. I may even continue playing with this one. I'm not the least bit happy with where the stems cross so I should correct that mistake while I'm at it.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Ants on my plants

I got up earlier than usual today. I'm a night owl so I normally sleep late. It's a glorious summer morning. Perfect temp, humidity level and the sun is shining. I took my Canon S5 IS outside and took a few floral macros. I won't say what flower this is. I'll let you guess. It wasn't until I uploaded my photos that I noticed a surprise...two ants enjoying the summer flowers as well.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

A Cat of Color

My latest alcohol ink project. Yup, another cat. I noticed when I wiped a failed painting off the Yupo with isopropyl alcohol it left behind some pale color. A pleasant, rather neutral watercolor affect emerged. A perfect background for many subjects. I lightly scored the shape of a cat into the Yupo with an Exacto knife. Then I added more ink. I made sure to use one of the darker inks, (in this case, Eggplant), then wiped that away. The ink settled into the score lines as I had hoped. When this was dry I filled in the shape of the cat with more ink, using a small paint brush. I'm very pleased with the results!

7/27/2012 - Prints of A Cat of Color are now available via Imagekind:

Thursday, July 19, 2012

It's Tulip Time Again

Another alcohol ink painting, this time a group of red tulips. This style is so far outside my wheelhouse I'm not sure where it came from but I had fun painting it.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

A Few Old Crows & a Feather

These crows are painted on Yupo with Speedball ink. I let them dry completely before applying the alcohol ink to my stamper and tamping it right on top of the birds. I did notice the Speedball ink eventually began to lift in spots so I stopped, then made a few corrections with a black Micron pen after everything had dried.

This crow was drawn on Yupo with a black permanent marker. Then I applied the alcohol ink over top same as I did with the first crows.

This one has a little bit of everything going on. I wanted to see what the inks would look like on a field of black so I painted an area with black Speedball, let dry completely, then tamped on some red and copper alcohol ink. That's the dark area you see. I created the feather by squeezing a large drop of white fluid acrylic onto Yupo, then used the tip of the handle of a paint brush to 'pull' the acrylic into a feathery shape.

I've been trying other mediums this evening with the alcohol ink to see what effects I can achieve. I didn't actually mix each medium with the ink. I did try the other day and found out alcohol ink and fluid acrylic do not mix! However one applied on top of the other can get you some interesting results.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Alcohol Inks ~ more supplies & colors

I've been waiting for more supplies and they have finally arrived. Most of them anyway. Still waiting for the alcohol pens from Nona Designs. I think they were on back order.

I now have a few new colors plus two mixatives... metallic copper and pearl. I played with the copper mixative last night and combined on Yupo with Clover ink, which is very similar in color to Pthalo green, I managed to pull off a decent facsimile of verdigrised copper. Got some nice texture going on as well. I posted an image of my results above. Not the best image but metallics are difficult to photograph.

I also took time to start a color chart. Ranger alcohol inks have a total selection of 48 colors and 4 mixatives available. I detest taking the time to create color charts, trying to make them look halfway decent. All the measuring and drawing of lines, labeling...yuck. Lo and behold I found Ranger inks offer a color chart template (link) in PDF form. Print it out on a sheet of glossy craft paper or Yupo and just add a drop of the ink under the corresponding name. Voila! Wish I had found this last night.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

les compagnons


I can't explore a new medium without getting a few cats involved as subjects. This is alcohol ink on Yupo again but this time I added some Micron pen and black permanent marker. Both pen and marker ink will move and blend nicely with a little rubbing alcohol so I was able to soften edges/harsh lines where needed. The violent yellow in the background is actually a soft golden yellow IRL. I've been scanning these small pieces rather than photographing them and scanners tend to blow up certain colors. Unfortunately the photos I took were even worse.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Alcohol Ink on Yupo ~ still going

My latest ink painting at the top. This time I went a little larger, roughly 8" x 10". Honestly, I've tried a lot of mediums but never ran into one I could not leave alone. I can't say that anymore. 

More about the products and supplies: Tim Holtz has a blending solution that Wendy highly recommended. The blending solution is applied to the surface of the Yupo prior to adding the ink. She also suggested it be used liberally(I stress liberally) before the inks are added to create lovely soft color blends and edges. It also helps the ink move across the surface of the Yupo and delays drying time. Alcohol ink on it's own dries very fast. You can use plain rubbing alcohol in place of the blending solution but the results won't be the same. I know this because I've tried.

The stamper has Velcro on the ink side and comes with removeable felt pads which the Velcro holds in place. By dropping small dots of ink on a felt pad and gently stamping it on your painting, lovely little colored blooms are created which can indicate leaves on trees, small flowers in a field, etc. Straight rubbing alcohol can also be spattered on the ink to create various textures.

FYI, the bottles of ink are small, .05 fluid oz. each, but a little goes a long way.

Right now I'm waiting for another tool to arrive. An alcohol pen which can be filled with blending solution or ink and used to produce even more effects. Tim Holtz online carries this product but they are currently out of stock and I wanted to catch the free shipping deadline(which ends today) for my next order of ink. I found another online supplier, Nona Designs. Their prices are a little higher but they have what I need now. I'm impatient sometimes.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Alcohol Ink on Yupo ~ continued

I was introduced to alcohol ink on Yupo by Wendy Videlock who I chanced to meet on Facebook. I thought her work was exciting so, of course, I wanted to know more. I checked out her blog, The Fifth Element (link) and was happy to discover she sells DVDs demo-ing her process. I ordered the demo which was very well done and full of information.

Wendy buys her supplies from her local Michaels store but we don't have one nearby so I ordered from Tim Holtz online (link) . She recommends his line of Ranger Adirondack acid free inks, claiming they are the most vibrant of any she has tried. When I went to the Tim Holtz store online, I searched 'alcohol ink' and a page opened with a list of most all the supplies needed. I've been intending to try my hand with Yupo for a few years so this was the impetus to order a few sheets from Blick and since all my supplies have arrived I've been hooked. Playing with ink on Yupo is addicting.

As Wendy recommended in her demo, I've been experimenting on small (4" x 4"/ 4" x 5") squares of Yupo, getting accustomed to the way each different color of ink reacts/behaves, alone and together with other colors. I'm posting today's samples to see what they look like on screen.

To anyone who would like to try alcohol ink on Yupo and is interested in Wendy's DVD, here is a link:

Note: You can contact Wendy via Facebook or by email

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Alcohol Ink on Yupo

I've been playing with a new(to me) medium today. It's called alcohol ink. Normally used by scrapbookers and crafters, it has potential for the fine art world, IMO. I'm going to post some samples I've been working on today and I'll do a follow up post with more information, some links and hopefully more results very soon.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Miss Willmott's Ghost ~ 2012

Miss Willmott's Ghost (link) (aka Eryngium giganteum aka giant white sea holly) has graced my moon garden this year with not one but two blooming stalks, each roughly 36" tall and both are loaded with blooms. This doesn't happen every year. These plants come from the seed of a parent plant I added to the garden back in 1997. Here are a few photos I'd like to share.