I don’t know why I never thought of it before!
Acrylic transparencies and alcohol have been part of my creating toolkit for quite a while now, and seeking more saturated colors, I added acrylic inks to the mix. Without the binder’s presence, the inks’ hues were clearer, brighter and when exposed to alcohol, offered felicitous effects. So it seemed natural to heed one of my student’s suggestions and explore alcohol-based inks in class.
With gusto, I dove into the vivid palette and explored ways to use the quickly drying, yet easily changeable medium. I tried them on canvas and on Yupo; the latter, a synthetic non-porous and non-absorbent machine-made paper, used by watercolorists, allowed me to more efficiently practice the many ways to affect and move the inks. As soon as I began to post mine and my students’ art, I received teaching requests from outside my studio.
The first attempts, using cellophane paper to create texture, watching the inks react to each other and easily create masterpieces were such fun that I moved on to painting on ceramic tiles, to the oohs and ahhs of delighted students.
Inherent in using the medium is the element of surprise.
The inks are fluid and fast-drying. Recipes are few, and the best intention a newbie can put forth is to work with what shows up. Thus, if one is willing to suspend judgment and see the results of the inks on the surface as colors, textures, shapes and interact with them as play, the results are always outstanding.
The card on left was created by moving the inks using a straw while they were still wet, and after the art dried, dots were added with the tip of a cotton swab dipped in alcohol. Additional marks were made with water-based pens before sealing the art.
In the tile on right inks gets layered to create new effects. They bloom when clear alcohol or another color is added and the size of the dots is controlled by mastering the amount of ink absorbed by the cotton swabs. Misting causes another texturing.
And then, I stumbled upon silk fabric and I was hooked!
The scarf above was created with alcohol inks and markers set by heat. When cooled, the fabric retains the familiar softness and lustrous feel. The inks vivid hues add luxury to the mix.
Here is an example of a scarf that started with a linear design, got a heavy dose of alcohol and was sprinkled with salt while still wet, then the fabric was swooshed around and when dried, it turned out with a really interesting mottled texture in a gorgeous blue tint. The student later added amorphous shapes by randomly dripping alcohol. She finished it with silvery dots inside the random shapes, and the effect is truly celestial.
And then I got it.
This technique was not only the easiest way to teach people to paint intuitively and encourage presence; it helps students engage in play, observe ego-based thoughts as they surface and assists them in managing the mind with courage and joy. Everyone left the class proudly wearing their creations and asked for more instruction.
I began to see scarves as another way to become intimately involved with the art I create and experience its transformative and healing energy.
Just as I do with my students, meditation and grounding precludes encountering the materials to be used. In the stillness, my heart opens fully and I invite Spirit to guide my hand. What is created through me has a powerful message embedded in each color, shape or texture.
When a viewer or a wearer beholds the art, the energy produced by the combination of all the elements becomes available. It gains power when users intentionally open their heart to what is there to learn.
When this happens, it is an “aha” moment. Something becomes clearer as the wind catches their scarf; and a solution to an issue is found, or a new viewpoint is suddenly available, when carrying an item blessed with the artworks.
Everything is energy and we are all connected to it. When you select a painting co-created with Spirit, you have begun to heal, although you may not know what needs healing at the moment. If you are attracted to a particular painting, or a scarf, maybe a tote bag; Spirit beckons!