Another experiment from the mad scientist! (You’ve come to expect them at this point, right?) This time with permanent, transparent acrylic ink and watercolor. This is 5 1/2″ x 8 1/4″ Arches 300 lb. cold-press watercolor paper:
I recently met an artist named Andrew Seal of The Changing Palette blog through Debi Riley, an inspirational artist, teacher and all-around wonderful human being here on WP. Debi recommended a watercolor book titled “Painting Landscapes from your Imagination” by Tony Smibert, and Andrew has been completing and posting exercises from the book, including quotes and examples. Needless to say, he sold me on it, and I recently received a secondhand copy in the mail. I have only just begun to read it, but I thought: Why not try a landscape from my imagination today? And so I did.
I began by laying in a quick sky working wet-in-wet with a mixture of M. Graham phthalo blue (mostly) and ultramarine blue. I went back in with some watered down purple Dr. Ph. Martin’s Bombay ink, which I mixed from Magenta and Blue (there is a purple bottle in the set, but I wanted to mix my own for this). Coming forward with darker and warmer tones, I laid in the other mountains in my mind’s eye. Wherever you see purple here, including the reddish-purple on the tops of the mountains in the foreground, that is the purple ink. I really like the granulation produced by this ink. It was so easy to drop into the damp paper for the vibrancy of acrylic paint, with only one wash. All of the inks in this set are transparent, lightfast, permanent, and non-toxic, a pretty nice combination in my book. (I have Set 1; there are three sets of 12 bottles each available at Blick.)
This ink is very highly pigmented, and so I found it helpful to use disposable Glad mini food storage containers to water down the ink at times. (This comes with the added bonus of being able to put the lid on when I’m finished for the day, so I can keep it from drying out.) I was experimenting to see how the ink mingled with the watercolor paint, and found they played together well. As I’ve said, the ink is permanent when dry, which can be really useful when building up layers, or if you don’t want to worry about your background blooming or moving on you, for example. Plus, it gives me the really bold acrylic colors I have been missing at times while painting in watercolor this month. (Note: As a Blick Art Materials affiliate, purchases from these links will support my site and a fledgling art business. Enjoy and thank you!)
Things I noticed today:
- I used a flat brush for this entire painting – an acrylic brush, actually, made by Princeton. I usually use a round brush when painting in watercolor, but I was really pleased with the effects I got from this 1/2″ flat. I need to work with a flat brush more often in watercolor.
- Phthalo blue makes a really wonderful sky when watered down a bit and mixed with just a touch of ultramarine.
- I am growing to love Arches 300 lb. paper more and more, the more I use it. It is luscious and forgiving, which is helpful for this beginner!
- I think I am going to really love that Smibert book by the looks of things; thanks much to Andrew and Debi! I’m looking forward to incorporating acrylic texture products into some future “imaginary” landscapes. Tony explains everything you need to know, with a bit of Zen, and without lots of flowery language. I think I’m going to enjoy reading this book quite a lot.
- Now that we’re just about at the halfway point, I find I’m getting into the swing of painting daily. My body is learning how to get up at 5:30, or thereabouts, on its own, which helps! This, oddly, seems to give me more energy in the day. I’ve also added yoga before breakfast, which is definitely helping with the energy bit.
- Maybe watercolor isn’t so bad……..I think going in with a playful attitude is key; thanks to Margaret, Jodi, Jill, and others who have been coaching me up! I start to wonder will I leap back to acrylics in August, or stay with Watercolor awhile and see what surprises may be in store? Stay tuned to find out. I have no idea where this train is going! Which is part of the fun.
So now that I’ve written my first novel, I’ll say hasta manana for now. Peace and Happy Almost Friday to you!