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Alcohol Inks

I’m having the greatest time, playing around and learning about alcohol inks! The fun started by incorporating the inks and fusing layers of color into encaustic medium. The translucent qualities of the inks mesh beautifully with the similar translucency of wax medium. After an initial introduction to inks by combining them with encaustic medium, I decided to become a “purist” and focus on using the inks alone, working on papers, (so far, different weight Yupo papers as well as black card stock).

Tulips 16″x20″ ink collage on medium Yupo
Shadowbox frame with UV glass

I have needed to better educate myself, reading about different ink techniques on social media and other informative websites (the world wide web really does offer unlimited knowledge at your fingertips).

Favorite web source – Alcohol Ink Art Community

Right now I am learning about the archival qualities (or lack of them) and how to protect finished paintings. I use several layers of Krylon spray varnish followed by several layers of Krylon UV protection. I decided to also frame the Tulip collage above along with the Peonies painting below under UV glass even after using both protective sprays. I will watch and see if there is any fading over time.

Peonies 12″x9″ ink on card stock
Shadowbox frame with UV glass

The element of collage, adding literal depth to the visual depth, is a good fit with many of my recent works. It brings me back and reminds me of watercolor painting, the way I would add heavy spatter to create texture and translucent layers.

Full Harvest Moon from the Full Moon Series 30″x22″ watercolor on Arches

Creating collage, I cut up ink paintings that weren’t successful, mount pieces on foam core, and incorporate them until it feels like a good fit and composition.

Still Life 12″x12″ ink collage on card stock
Orchids 12″x12″ ink collage on card stock

I hope to attend an ink workshop taught by local artist Helen Dannelly next month, and will continue to pursue as many ways to learn more about this fascinating medium.

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Teacher as Student

This winter I decided to take an oil painting class with Nina Weiss at the Evanston Art Center. Oil paints are a medium I have avoided for my entire adult creative life! The reason I want to learn now is to be able to incorporate them with the encaustic medium. I also hope to combine oil paint with cold wax medium… either way, I want to learn and improve my overall painting knowledge and skills by taking this class.

It’s always interesting to see how other teachers lead, and it’s unavoidable that I compare their teaching style to mine. I think being a student with a new medium is a clear reminder of how new students might feel in my class the first time they experience working with the encaustic medium.

So far, I’ve only been to two classes. A still life was setup (I dislike still life immensely!) and the goal was to learn about ground color, underpainting, and mixing color. The class is also color theory; if I had chosen to work with gouache or acrylic things would be going much quicker but neither of those mediums combines with encaustic or cold wax.

I have probably spent more time working at home than I have in the two classes but I know for me the best way to learn is by doing it… over and over and over!

First painting from class:

Still Life, 12 x 12
Still Life, under painting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I decided to start a small landscape study at home in order to better prepare for a larger version during class. It is the opposite way of thinking… applying layers of oil paint, as opposed to applying layers of watercolor. My background as a watercolorist goes back 30+ years. Painting with encaustic is also a different mind set from how I am learning with oils. I lean toward being self-taught but the color theory does not always sit well with my brain and I need guidance. I know all of this is a good lesson not just with the creative process but also with discipline, humility, and patience. It’s hard not being the expert!

The Burren, small study, 6×12
6×12 underpainting