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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Discovering the Joys of Adirondack Alcohol Inks

...and painting everything in sight :)
Actually that is not quite true...the cats won't sit still long enough heheheh

Here is my latest batch of eggs painted with alcohol ink, permanent marker and gold and silver leaf pen
What a variety! 
 
I was especially pleased to learn that you can thin alcohol ink with.....alcohol! When you do this you can achieve softer pastel colors like in this little bumblebee egg
First I drew the bumblebees on the egg with gold leaf pen. Then I waited (forever) until the gold leaf paint was dry. Next, I diluted blue ink with alcohol and began painting it on the egg. The gold metallic paint acted as a barrier (as I had hoped it would...whew!) so that my little bumblebees didn't turn blue. I love it when an experiment works! (just be careful not to put too much ink down at a time of it will run all over you design and you will not be happy!) Although I only used one color, I varied the amount of alcohol that I used to thin it down and still got a wonderful soft mottled surface.
 
Below are some step by step photos to show how I painted this egg:
 
 
Steps 1 to 4
I decided to forgo the messy wax process. This was a previous experiment where I used drips of candle wax as a mask. It worked but it was messy to clean the wax off the egg and left an oily residue. This time I decided to try using a clear acrylic floor finish to see if it worked to mask off parts of the egg. 
 
In the top left photo, I painted on polka dots of the clear acrylic finish (Future brand to be exact) :D 
It took a while for the little polka dots to dry so I had to paint on a section of dots, wait for them to dry and work on another section until the egg was covered.
In the top right photo I dipped a paper towel in butterscotch colored alcohol ink and began dabbing it on the egg hoping that little polka dots of the egg shell would show though. 
In the bottom right photo you see that, not only did the acrylic finish NOT repel the ink....it ATTRACTED it. 
Well durn it. 
Okay, well at least you can see them and it wasn't a total wash. My plan was to paint on polka dots of acrylic finish after each color was added so that I would have a rainbow of dots when I was done. It didn't work out like planned but I moved on. (I have another idea that I will try later heheheh)
In the bottom right photo, the polka dots show up even more when I add the next color. I'm kind of liking them more now. 
 
Steps 5 to 8
Now these photos show what I really love about alcohol ink. They react with one another! I dip my paint brush in sunshine yellow ink and dab tiny bits on the painted surface of the egg and these drops spread and do wonderful things. I love the mottled  texture this creates! The inks react differently depending on the colors and whether the surface ink is dry, damp or wet when you add the tiny dots of color. It's fun to experiment! (I really am a mad scientist!). I think I added dots of butterscotch, sunshine yellow and a green to my egg. You may be able to tell in these photos that I also dabbed blue on the top and a bit of green on the bottom of the egg. Dripping on color gives you awesome effects too.
The bottom right photo shows a little quail egg I was working on at the same time.

Steps 9 to 12
When the ink was completely dry I began drawing shapes on the egg with a Sharpie permanent marker. I am partial to leaves for some reason....and circles. Don't know what's up with that but I digress. I draw leaf shapes all over the egg and fill in the wider gaps with circles. I want as much of my beautiful painted egg to show as possible.
Then I take a very fine black Sharpie and fill in the spaces until the only painted surface that shows are my shapes. You can choose any shapes you wish of course. In the very top photo you see I also made some eggs with....circles....go figure. In the future, I am sure you will see that I have also painted some eggs with swirls. It's just my thing. ^^
 
Swirls and circles and leaves...oh my!

The finishing touches
On a previous egg, I drew in some detail on some of the leaf shapes and I really liked how that turned out so I repeated that on this egg. You can see that I left some without any detail too. I like variety!

Now shame on me but I forgot to take photos of the next few steps. What I did was spray on a matte sealer (mainly because it was all I had available at the time). I had to do this in sections of course and let each dry before moving on. Once completely dry it looked too drab so I grabbed the acrylic floor finish and painted the leaf and circle shapes leaving the black borders matte. This really makes the leaves and circles pop. They almost look like they are floating on the surface of the egg. Cool! 
In hindsight, the acrylic dots I first applied weren't worth the trouble as you don't even see them anymore. So, if you were going to attempt this yourself, you might want to skip that first part. :)
The finishing touch was to take my gold leaf pen and stipple tiny dots of gold outlining each leaf.
 
Here is a closeup of another similar egg that I painted the same way. The only difference is that I did not spray the matte finish on this one but left the whole egg with the satin gloss created by the ink
Here is another view of this egg
The tiny bit of gold chain you see is what I used to keep this naughty egg still while I photographed him. He kept wandering all over the table.

Well, there you have it. A glimpse into my creative process. XD I hope you enjoyed it!

Until next time!

Sunday, March 16, 2014


Experiments of a Mad Scientist

....err, Artist that is...

I am taking a short break from clay and I decided to paint some eggs! Here is the first egg I worked on. 
I started out by dripping candle wax on the surface. (note to self: take pics as you go...this step in the process was funny :)) 
Then I stained the egg in strong black coffee. I dried it off, popped all the wax off the surface and dripped more wax on in different areas then stained it some more.
I popped the wax off, dripped more on and began sponging on ink in various colors.
Enough of the wax I decided. (my work table was covered in wax flakes as was I and possibly even the cat!)
I removed all of the wax from the surface and sponged on more ink.
I still didn't like it so I doodled on the surface with gold leaf pen and india ink.

Still didn't like it.
Hmmm.....

It needed something...something...
Aha! Maybe if I break up the surface with a design and only let portions of the dyed surface show it will be better. So I began drawing leaf shapes on the surface (and some "bubbles") and filled in the spaces with black ink. Ah...much better.

The whole wax thing was a pain and no matter how much I scraped with my craft knife I couldn't remove all off the wax so drawing on it was tricky.

I really liked the effect of sponging the ink on the surface so I decided to forgo the wax and just ink the next egg and here is the second egg.

Yes! Just as pretty (actually prettier in my opinion) without the painstaking and messy wax steps. Alcohol ink is so fun to work with.
The egg is different depending on which side you are looking at so, instead of posting photos of each angle I went to Ribbet an online photo editing program and created this collage
Isn't it fun and spring-y?

I had a new idea and I am painting more eggs. Photos coming soon. Ooh, step by step photos! 
(this time I will wear gloves when inking the eggs...sheesh, I have to go to work tomorrow with rainbow fingers)

Bye for now!