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My first love….Yupo!

I’ve always loved working on Yupo as a substrate and have recently returned to it as I work with inks again. Working with textures and colours to create backgrounds has been fun although I’ve been left with two paintings that I love as they are. So I’m putting them aside for a few days and I’ll revisit and add to them if necessary.

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Keeping it Simple

imageI’m a member of quite a few Facebook groups dedicated to alcohol ink artists and am so in awe of some of the art they produce. Most artists love the way the inks move and merge and react to each other to create fabulous abstract pieces, others paint to create simple pieces that are full of vibrant colours but others take it that step further to incorporate alcohol ink pens like Copic and Spectrum to create absolute masterpieces. Just google alcohol ink paintings or check out Pinterest and you’ll see what I mean.

I prefer to keep it simple although I have dabbled with pens too in creating more realistic paintings. When I actually find some time to do some larger realistic paintings I’ll post them here. The beauty is when you are working small the painting and inks are very portable so you can work anywhere. As they dry so quickly you can always be creative during a quick break. Now it’s cooler in Texas I can even work outside early in the morning or during my lunch break.

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Straws and inks

imageI love working with alcohol inks simply because they are so unpredictable and because you can get so many effects. One of the things I like to do is create abstract florals using just a straw, inks and a piece of Yupo. This is the same technique I use for creating flowers on coasters. It’s such a simple process yet you get the most amazing effects.

imageI start from the outside and work in towards the center. In this painting I decided to use a couple of different shades of green dropped ink near the edge and blew through the straw spreading the ink to the edges.

imageOnce I’ve worked around the entire edge I’ll move on and add coloured inks, sometimes layering a couple of colors

If you want you can also use canned air, the sort you buy for a couple of dollars, to clean keyboards. Just make sure you have a few practice blasts first and watch those curtains😱

imageI will continue in a circular path until I reach the center and voila you have a beautiful abstract flower. Easy peasy !!!

 

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Temple of Peace

imageSometimes you just create some thing that turns out far better than you expected and this to me, is one of those paintings. I love the way tthe sky looks with all those fantastic pinks and tangerines and moody purples while the temple turned out way better than I could have hoped for. Usually I’ll work with a couple of inks but this particular sky was created using layers of coloured ink interspersed with white inks until I got the effect I wanted. The temple I was going for was the kind you see in adventure movies like Indiana Jones or those old Johnny Weismuller Tarzan movies where the temple has fallen into ruin and is covered in vines. This too took quite a few layers of more subtly coloured inks, covered with white ink then washed with alcohol to create that vine covered look.

Size 5 by 7 inches matted to 8 by 10 inches

To see this painting in my store click here

 

 

 

 

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Poppy fields

My obsession with poppies continues. This painting was created when I couldn’t decide what to do with a painting that was “too busy” and toned it down by outlining poppies with acrylic paints. I love the way it turned out ❤️

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Inspired by Betty Krause, Flora Bowley and Tracy Verdugo $450 plus shipping
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Latest works

I’ve been doing yet another thirty in thirty challenge and admit to cheating on some days. When I create a painting I usually put it away for a while or stare at it on my wall for a few days before determining if it’s finished or not. Alcohol inks afford you the chance to add more inks or alcohol and change your painting or even start over. A couple of times in this challenge I’ve looked back at the paintings I created and decide to “up cycle” them. For example the pink floral in the selection below started as a pink and purple abstract but after a few days of looking at it (and running out of time to create my daily artwork) I took a straw and some Piñata Blanco Blanco ink and created flowers over the top. The inks are great because they absorb some of the colour from before and create delicately translucent petal effects.

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What are Alcohol Inks?

I’ve always loved working in acrylics but recently rediscovered alcohol inks as a painting medium. Alcohol inks are highly pigmented inks that are available in a variety of colours.  Traditionally used by crafters and artists to enhance their works they are now coming into their own as a marvelous painting medium. They are acid-free and fast drying and when applied to a non-porous substrate like Yupo paper, photograph paper or even glass and ceramics they produced the most amazing abstract effects and vibrantly coloured paintings. If you do a search on an social media site for “alcohol ink art” you will find gallery upon gallery of beautiful art.

11377220_1583978641872662_5965598502153123453_n They are an amazing medium which you can use to create some quite spectacular and colourful art with. Just by dropping, pouring, stamping, moving the inks around with paint brushes. cotton swabs, blowing them through a straw or just allowing them to flow into each other by lifting and turning the surface you are working on to direct the flow of the ink, you can create beautiful effects which are art in their own right or to use as a basis for more detailed paintings. If you look at the painting here which is part of my Peacock Painting – The Prince you can see the almost marbled effects you can achieve. The tail feathers on The Prince were created by firstly masking out the feather shapes using a masking fluid then I dropped small amounts of inks into each individual area. The inks move magically and blend creating new colours. Any areas which remained white I simply used a paintbrush dipped in 91% rubbing alcohol and dropped either alcohol or more ink into those spaces which allowed the inks to move further and create more effects. Once the inks were dry I simply rubbed off the masking fluid to reveal the shapes of the feathers.

imageThe best thing about alcohol ink is the fun you can have in creating wonderful art. If it all goes wrong and you have an accident or “inkcident” you can always wipe back the inks and start again especially if you are using tiles or glass. Ceramic tiles are available for just a few pennies in hardware stores and always a good surface to play around on and have fun with. Some of my favourite paintings have emerged out of happy little inkcidents. Why don’t you give it a try?

Art Supplies

Alcohol InksAlcohol Inks can be purchased in packs of three for around $10 and you will get a lot of use out of them. A little ink goes a long way. You can purchase Adirondack inks directly from Hobby Lobby stores in the craft section or online. Often there are coupons and sales which will discount your purchase even further. For more information click here.

Yupo Paper 11 by 14

Yupo Paper.

Yupo is a unique alternative to traditional papers. It’s an incredibly durable stain-resistant non-absorbent synthetic paper that holds ink and watercolor with razor sharp precision. This extraordinary surface also resists tearing and buckling and it remains perfectly flat. Yupo’s ultra white color and super smooth finish makes all of the colors of the rainbow sing when applied to this revolutionary surface. Colors are brilliant and they lift off completely. It is an extremely forgiving sheet! This synthetic paper made of 100% polypropylene offers a unique alternative to traditional art papers. As a watercolor paper it has the advantage of being non-absorbent so colors lie on top of its surface producing brilliant vibrant effects. Colors retain their true clarity and brilliance. Yupo requires no soaking stretching or taping flat. Best of all it allows you to wipe off unwanted sections of your painting and start again with a fresh surface. Neutral PH hot press 74lb. 10 sheet pads- 100% Polypropylene.

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Alcohol Ink Coasters Step by Step

When I started making decorative tile art I used to just seal them with a gloss spray but when I wanted them to be a little more functional I looked into resins. It’s definitely one of those projects where “you can buy these in the store for $35 or make them yourself with $100 of art supplies”. Now I have the supplies like the sander and the heat gun the cost is not quite so bad but if you want to make just a few then I recommend going shopping in Macys lol. Seriously though you can create some wonderfully unique art and gifts. And it’s fun❤️

After mostly trial and error these are the steps I follow for creating alcohol ink coasters.  Ensure you wear gloves and work in a well ventilated dust free area.  I use ArtResin as the epoxy resin when I seal my tiles and it is pretty much odorless but you still don’t want to be breathing it in. There are plenty of other resins out there but I like ArtResin because it’s guaranteed not to yellow and I have found mixing it and using it extremely easy.

image1. Wipe the tiles clean. I use alcohol or glass cleaning wipes to ensure I get rid of any grease or fingerprints.

2. Time to be creative. Create your patterns on your tiles with alcohol inks. I’ve found that if I use 4oz of the resin with 4oz of the hardener I can easily cover 16 tiles so I make 16 at a time and that’s just about the right number that you can easily work with without going crazy. You get about 45 minutes to work with the resin. I usually allow the inks to dry for at least 24 hours. If I use red inks I leave for up to 72 hours as I’ve had problems with red inks still being tacky days after I thought they were dry.😢 image

3. Seal your artwork.  Once the inks are dry I seal my tiles with engine enamel or Krylon’s Crystal Clear to ensure that when I pour the resin over it doesn’t react with the inks. I leave the sealant to dry for 24 hours.

4. Tape off the underside. I’ve made tiles and then had to spend too much time sanding off the resin that drips and hardens on the underside of the tile. Tip: Use decorators tape to cover the underside edges of the tiles then when the resin has hardened you can just take that off and saves all that sanding!

image5. Make up enough resin. Once the sealant is dry I mix the resin. As I said I usually work with 16 tiles at a time but if I have a commission for a set of four then 1 oz of each of the resin and hardener is more than enough. ArtResin recommend you stir the mixture for three minutes. I usually stir very slowly to minimize introducing bubbles into the resin. I also allow it to stand a couple of minutes to allow bubbles to rise to the top.

6. Apply the resin. Once I’m ready to apply the resin I place the tiles onto something like a votive, small tin or even small flowerpots to keep the tiles off the surface they are standing on. I usually put them in a box which I can then close when I’ve finished working the resin to ensure a dust free environment while the resin cures. I pour the resin into the middle of the tile then spread to the edgess using a sponge making sure there are no parts that are not resined. image

7. Burst those bubbles. I use a small heat gun to skim just above the surface of the resin which helps burst any tiny bubbles.

8. Cure cure cure.  I cover the box and leave the resin to cure for at least 24 hrs before I pull off the masking tape and then leave the tiles to cure for a further 48 hours.

image9. Add the cork. Once cured I spray the underside with spray adhesive and apply cork that I’ve cut into whichever shape tile I’m using. The cork sticks pretty well if you do it this way. If you don’t want to use Contact you can buy cork tiles to cut up or even 4 squares of cork cut perfectly to fit 4.25 inch tiles from places like Joann’s.

Update 2016. As of 2016 I use a new resin developed by artists for artists and have updated the post to show this.  ArtResin is available in a starter kit which is quite expensive compared to buying in larger quantities but if you like it as much as I do and you are going to do lots of resin art then it’s worth the cost.

Here’s the link to the ArtResin website where they have lots of other projects you can try.

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More coaster projects

Stencil and Scrap Book Coasters 2012

Photo Coasters with cork backing 2011