Dr. Ph. Martin’s Bombay Ink and Watercolor (World Watercolor Month 14/31)

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:

  1.  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.
  2. Phthalo blue makes a really wonderful sky when watered down a bit and mixed with just a touch of ultramarine.
  3. 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!
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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!

68 thoughts on “Dr. Ph. Martin’s Bombay Ink and Watercolor (World Watercolor Month 14/31)

      1. Ha! I liked what you said….painting with WC every day would nearly kill you….just what I was thinking too when we started almost two weeks ago. But everyone is killing the WC big big time. πŸ™‚

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  1. YIPPPEEEE! great painting Laura !! THAT Sky! don’t you just love it!
    I say this so many times, my hubby must get jealous… but I love Tony Smibert! you just can’t …. nope… go wrong with his book!! highly recommend it for every one!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Debi! Oh, I was so bummed when I couldn’t get any of his books through our library system, even in the whole state, not one of his books, but after seeing this one I bet I will buy more of them! What is the next one I should buy? Does he have anything on composition alone? I noticed there is a chapter in this book on composition and can’t wait to get there – I just might skip ahead. Bless you for sharing info on him!! And I’m glad you like the painting! :))))

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      1. you did that wc sky……… like M a g i c ! Gollum had his ring out! tony has another book, i bought it, forgot the title right now. getting old! lol but you got the 1 WC book – that beats every other one by 100 miles. so happy! glad Andrew got it too πŸ™‚

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  2. Those inks look a lot like the Luma dyes I use. I always water them down in a metal palette that I have, and they mix and layer well too. Your combinations of media always blend into a coherent painting…I can feel the coolness of the mountains now. (K)

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    1. Yay, thanks Kerfe! I kept hearing that old jingle from my childhood – head for the mountains of Busch beer – as I was painting. Don’t ask me why, but whenever that jingle pops in my head we’re gathered around in front of the fan back in the old days at night in front of the tv watching the O’s games. That’s the only show we saw that had that commercial. Great memories of the ’79 and ’83 O’s. πŸ’œ Boy, so glad the break is over tomorrow!

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    1. Aw, thanks Kathy! I was humming so many mountain songs while painting this. It’s been awhile since I’ve tried mountains but sometimes painting them can make me feel I’m there, a nice bonus of painting. Glad you enjoyed this. πŸ’œ


  3. WOOOHOOO Loo! Look at you ROCK the landscape! YAY! YAY! YA! This is awesome! I am in a hurry today – busy work day – but had to come see this and let you know how FAB it is!!!!!! Now I must check out this guy and book! Oh – I need more hours in the day! LOVE this landscape – and I know how you’ve struggled in your mind with them. I hope you are super pleased with this! Hugs from Mars!

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    1. Jodi, my morning just doesn’t get started until you come in here with your happy exuberance lol! Thank you. Yes, you will love the book, I can promise you that, you don’t need to research it, just click add to cart, my friend! (Ok, check the library first, I tell everyone that lol, nothing like trying it out for free. Ours didn’t have it.). Happy work day and yay for Friday coming soon! Thanks as always for making me feel great πŸ’›πŸ’›πŸ’› I’m learning so much from WWM!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your link, Dawn, need to check it out. I didn’t think there was that much of a difference between U and FU (lol sorry that sounds weird πŸ˜„) but I guess there is. Honestly, I barely added any ultramarine in this. Hmm. Not sure how much of this translates to oils. I really watered down the phthalo because it’s so strong! I guess you have a vehicle for “watering down” oil paint too?

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      1. I am still confused about all blues. I know my phthalo leans green, my cobalt seems to be kinda more neutrally (warmer than French ultramarine, but not as warm as phthalo?) not sure what cerulean does and my French ultramarine almost looks like a blue purple….it’s like I can tell where the blue leans when I make purple because the redder blues make a really pretty purple. The greener ones make a more toned down less vibrant purple and the opposite goes when I mix different greens.

        I would think water colors and oils would translate the same just because pigment is pigment…but I I don’t know.

        Yes, you can thin oils with things like solvent or linseed or whatever. I experimented with that for a few months, but I really like thick paint. I might use a little linseed to do finer lines or little dots or something, and if I do a dead layer I will use some turpenoid with raw umber, but other than that I pretty much just use oil paint and save the solvent for cleaning the brushes.

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      1. Okay. That would make sense. Your blue in the sky definitely leans more toward a turquoise-y color in the pic. Would you say the pic is pretty representative of the real life color? So hard to tell in pics.

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        1. This is not true to the color when I hold the painting up to the iPad. I was surprised! My painting is more to the green side due to the phthalo. It looks more purply here. I hope that helps? What you said makes sense re pigment should be pigment in either medium. I’ve returned paint to Blick if I didn’t like the color, Dawn, not sure if you’re thinking of buying the ultramarine. You do have to pay for postage if it’s not defective, but it’s really nice to be able to return with no questions asked, I don’t think anyone else allows that. My local stores definitely do not (Michael’s), which is why I hardly ever shop there. Also Michaels rips you off when buying most anything with a brand name. Not that I’m telling you anything new there.

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          1. I’m wondering how different ultramarine is from other blues I have and whether I can just tweak and color mix. If I bought some, I would use it and would just get a little tube when I need to order other colors as well from Blick. As far as Michaels, I have not totally written them off…like emergency situations with a 50% off coupon, but then again, I have never checked their price on turpenoid. Hooby Looby charges almost twice what the art store by the university charges…and their selection stinks.

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                1. I hate that. The way it was explained to me is that cameras push all the colors towards eachother. I have the hardest time getting my blues to photograph true to life. They always look more blue than what they really are which is more of an aqua, turquoise leaning shade. I can have a very obvious aqua photograph as a denim color.

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  4. As I viewed your painting today, America the Beautiful kept playing over and over in my mind. You know, “For purple mountains majesty, above the fruited plain”! 🎀 Your painting was very inspiring.

    Also, your dog you painted yesterday was amazing. You are able to apply so much detail with a brush. Is that more difficult than drawing or sketching the dog?

    I want to see an ABSTRACT VENUS FLY TRAP! 😜 Sent from my iPhone


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  5. Those two mediums mixed well together! I can’t tell it’s not wholly watercolor! You did great on this landscape.

    I have been wanting to paint more from my head, but rarely get what’s in my head down on paper well. I’ll have to check out that book, and Andrew’s work through the exercises. Thanks for sharing that info!

    You cracked me up with your good-bye today. πŸ™‚ Hasta manana!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. STAY! give it another whole month, either you will thank me or hate me, at least I hope not. πŸ™‚ your painting is very cool and I have to check into this book that I keep hearing about. I have been wanting to experiment with india ink combined with watercolor. I have a painting that I recently framed that was given to me and the artist had used india ink in it brilliantly, so I am intrigued. Hey, early riser…..I slept in till 6:45 am! gasp! lol a year ago I would have thought that was early!

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    1. haha, me too, Margaret! It’s nice leaping out of bed with joy, huh? OK, I’m surprised you’re suggesting I stay with wc another month. Oh, I miss my acrylics, truly I do. How do you know when you’ve found your medium? I kinda thought acrylic was mine…….but I honestly love everything I’ve tried (except soft pastels so far, interestingly). There is a range of love though…..I am in love with Golden fluid acrylics. There’s nothing like them. I am enjoying WC though, again, and never thought that would happen after last July’s (almost) paintbrush throwing and tears lol.

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      1. oh the quandary of it all…..I love the playfulness and the excitement of wc, I don’t get that with pastel. I think that I am still more proficient with pastels and I can get the results I desire (most times) but wc is great for my adventuresome side that needs excitement and outrageous color. I need to try out fluid acrylics….I have Golden but they are airbrush. Know if that is any different than what you have? do they mingle and create the same affect as wc? that is my question

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        1. Margaret, I don’t know anything about the airbrush side, but you could call Golden directly and they have techs that are so helpful and knowledgeable. Re: the fluid acrylics, yes to your Q re watercolor which is part of the reason that I love them. The official “line” is that you can water them down to a 1:1 ratio with water without breaking down the polymer bond, but I’ve gone further than this, I think when you’re working with watercolor paper, those fibers will hold pretty tightly to those paint materials. 800-959-6543 is Golden’s number, and they truly are wonderful. I bet they would send you a sample of fluid acrylics if you asked them, also! And the next time I call them, I’m going to ask for this too – they apparently have people that hand paint color charts of all of their colors and you can request those for free from them as well. I really need one of those.

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  7. Well if you are thinking of staying with watercolourA, but think you might miss acrylic, just mix them up, both can go together so well, although you have already discovered that, mad scientist! Or try WC and pastel….WC and oil pastel, WC and ink etc πŸ˜€

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      1. Remember in art anything goes, what are rules for, who decides them? Who continues to follow them, the best rules are your own broken rules, he he…..oh and having fun while breaking them. Art should always be enjoyed. we might critique ourselves harshly, but if we enjoy the process -even if it’s a broken rule process and learn, that’s all that matters.

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