The Beauty of Alcohol Inks

A little about me:

I am a passionate educational administrator for a public school district!  As a former middle school principal, instructional coach and teacher, I was always drawn to the creative aspects of teaching and learning.  Now, as I spend time studying and writing for my PhD, I find alcohol inks give me the opportunity to play, enjoying the freedom, flow and spontaneity of the inks.

 Karen Walker has awakened the artist in me!  I serendipitously found Karen’s work through a curiosity with alcohol inks.  Prisms of color leapt off the page and all I wanted to do was learn how to use these magical inks. Karen’s expert and patient instruction guided me each step of the way. I continually watch her online instruction to pick up new techniques.  Every time I share a new painting or technique with Karen she joyously celebrates my accomplishments while encouraging me to try new approaches.  She is always eager to support my growth as a budding alcohol ink artist. 

As soon as I created my first dropped-ink paintings, I was in love!  I was astounded at the eye-popping colors and the way the inks formed their own pictures, begging for me to zoom in with my eyes and see the beautiful images that appeared on the Yupo paper.  I tried a few interesting techniques that I picked up in watercolor class to see what how the inks would react.  And, boy did the inks love wax paper and blending solution!

In Underwater Sunset and Underwater Seashells, the Pisces in me found peace among the gorgeous stones and seashells in the sea.  I wondered how I could add a little detail without using a brush.  I tore off about six inches of waxed paper, crumpled the paper into a ball, and dropped a few splashes of various colored inks above the stones and shells. I began to lightly press and lift the waxed paper until I achieve the look of lacey foliage and intricate patterns. Once I saw how this technique worked, there was no stopping me!



In Burst, I used waxed paper to my heart’s content.  You can see the dappled effect and the almost stained glass and impressionistic feel of the inks.




Another interesting technique that I’ve recently tried was using blending solution to create luminosity in the work.  In Lush, I simply took one of my favorite watercolor brushes, dipped the brush into blending solution, and “brushed” the solution onto the paper to bring the flowers to life.  You can also achieve this look with small pieces of felt used for stamping. Once I achieve the look I wanted, I used a very thick black marker to outline the flowers making them zoom into focus even more.  The possibilities are endless.  Have fun enjoying the treasures you can uncover within yourself using alcohol inks.


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