At last I committed the recent ink and wash sketches to canvas. From all the sketches, I had an idea of what I wanted to try, but the new surface created a different rheology with both the ink and the paint. The paper I used for the sketches seemed to draw the ink from the dropper allowing for extended lines. This didnt happen on the gessoed canvas and it was hard work creating the flowing lines that I wanted. Splattering the line work with water created far more diffuse effects than I had previously experienced, mainly because the ink sat on the surface and then reacted more dynamically to the water. And before that, the underpainting took a lot of effort to control, particularly on a more extensive surface, so from the start, the colour fields I had wanted were quickly abandoned in the pursuit of simply avoiding mud.
So I finished with this breathless piece which took on a horticultural demeanour as I struggled to control the paint – like herding cats, though at least I wasnt scratched or bitten in the process.
With the lifting of the complete lockdown I went into Liverpool and got myself some acrylic inks this week. I am thinking of putting some of these line and wash style images onto canvas. Up until now I have been using standard inks for the line and watercolours to add washes and I feel I need acrylic inks to apply to canvas. This one above is done in acrylics on paper with acrylic ink, liquid acrylic and heavy body acrylic. I am happier keeping it simple than adding layers of complexity as I did in the one below.
In this one I used black and white inks to create the lines and I feel that has some mileage for developing.
I am still playing around with standard ink and watercolours as they are quick to do and here are a few more below.
The one above is a more complex version of the first painting and I dont think the complexity adds much value.
Putting ink onto a wet surface can give an overpowering effect especially with black ink, so it needs to be done sparingly. I did buy some red, yellow and blue inks and havent yet started using these. They look more potent than the liquid acrylics I use.
I wanted to try and further develop the ink experiments I showed in a previous blog. Keeping things simple in this new set, I didnt prepaint the paper before inking and also left the ink to dry rather than adding colour whilst it was wet which had resulted in bleeds invading the paint. Though, this time, where the ink appeared dry, when I applied the paint, I still got some bleed, giving interest, but not so that it was overwhelming.
I wanted to leave open paper and be influenced by the lines to give a stained glass effect. To emphasise this I mixed colours in some of the cells to give the impression of light shining through. This one above had a more organic feel to the lines so I limited myself to yellows, blues and greens.
I suppose in contrast this had a more urban feel with the lines in a gridded pattern and they now took on a slightly more subordinate role with the paint crossing intersections. Though, even in this busier piece, I have left a large amount of white paper.
I am thinking of transferring this to a canvas or A2 sheet when I get a design and approach that is worth scaling up.
Recently I saw a documentary on the artist Maggi Hambling. In one scene she was demonstrating what she does in the studio at the beginning of the day. On a sketchbook page she drew freely in ink, using a dropper.
She was able to create a great variety of marks easily. I have done a lot of work with ink and use an italic nib to create broad and fine lines but this has limitations. Hambling’s approach seemed to offer wider options.
Naturally I gave it a go. Above are some calligraphic doodlings. But having a few watercolours around I was soon adding colour.
On this one above I also sprayed the wet ink with water to create other marks. I used acrylic paint on the one below.
Hambling explained that she might work up these quick drawings into paintings. Unfortunately she didn’t give any examples.
In this one above the brush took over and I finished up with what looks to me like birds in a bush.
I then decided to prepaint the paper and leave to dry before adding the ink. This gave another dimension to the possibilities as you can see above.
Though I must admit I was running out of ideas when I worked on another preprepared sheet.
I have used ink in many life drawing sessions, using a dip pen with an italic nib. It is quite a heady process as once the mark is made it is there for good. I took an old life drawing and copied it to see how the dropper compared to the pen when drawing in a more constrained manner – though I used a brush to add some form to the figure. I must certainly give this a go when life drawing resumes around here.