Saturday, 13 September 2008

Experiments in Acrylic Inks

One discovery on my recent painting course in Malham was the versatility of acrylic inks , both for drawing and adding different effects to mixed media . A piece of kit that Katherine uses a lot is a Dahlia Mister which delivers a fine controllable water mist, used to move paint and ink around the surface, even to draw with. She graciously allowed us to borrow it and on any excursion, Dahlia came too and there would be frantic calls of 'where's Dahlia?' when we'd come to a crucial point. They are however rather expensive so I was experimenting instead with a £2.95 Ideen 'Funpump' from Art Van Go. My palette of inks has also increased to include Sepia and Payne's Grey (much less harsh than black)
I have it in mind to try a scale up of the studies I did of Gordale Scar ( detail above) on fabric, planning initially some Journal Quilt trials of sections of rock. My first experiments with Payne's Grey and the 'Funpump' were on watercolour paper(below) - I love the feathering you get and the separation and granulation of the ink. The 'Funpump' was not as controllable as a Dahlia mister but was still superior to a standard spray bottle being slightly pressurised. For practising on fabric I had a sample of 3 different fabrics sown with a variety of machine and hand stitching and then painted over with acrylics. The result had been very boring and I'd attempted to cut it and re-assemble with no noticable improvement - nothing to lose in drenching it in inks.
The results pictured here are rather interesting. Although any glimpse of the underlying fabric has been lost, the ink has concentrated in the stitching and emphasised it. Ian has already ear-marked it for his office - it reminds him of the snowy landscapes we saw in Northern Iran . I thought it looked coastal but I suppose that's the beauty of abstracted landscape, each viewer sees something different.
The combination of ink and water mist acted quite differently on fabric compared to paper. I thought the acrylic painted areas might act in a similar way being water resistant but most of the ink soaked through along the stitching lines as you can see from the back!
And a considerable amount soaked into my unsealed drawing board - a thing of beauty in itself but I'm afraid I'll have to scrub it off . Might print the photo on fabric though.
What I might try for my next experiment is painting some fabric with gesso before and after stitching to see if that resists the soaking through, to seal my drawing board or failing that, putting a piece of fabric or paper underneath to absorb the watered inks.

3 comments:

THE WEST COUNTRY BUDDHA said...

This is fascinating. I've been pondering an investment in a range of acrylic inks and it was lovely to read about your experiments. It was interesting to see how the ink clung to the stitching after you had painted the fabric with acrylics. Using gesso will be lovely because I think it gives some a fab texture and surface for other things, but have you tried the acrylic gels? In case not, the ones marked either matt or gloss medium (rather than gel) are very good on fabric. One coat will seal without altering the hand too much and of course it's clear should you want fabrics and paint to show through. I've used a structure gel on fabric. putting it on with a palette knife and doing a rough smooth over, then used a watery wash of acrylic, then a layer of gloss medium before finishing with another wash. It looks a bit like wax! You can stitch before or after of course but you need a strong canvas needle.

Olga said...

These experiments are most interesting, and I like the effects you are getting so far. I used to paint with acrylics and always loved them as a medium to mix with others. I have not tried nor been tempted to paint on my fabric work, but the idea of using wax has buzzed about my head for a while, and one of these days I shall get round to doing some experiments with encaustic perhaps. Reading about your experiments always nudges me nearer that day.

neki desu said...

Mags,
these are great.love the depth you get. are you aware you might start a trend? ;)

neki desu