AI Abstract and Landscape

While trying the stencil and alcohol ink techniques earlier this week I also returned to techniques I’ve used before. The Grafix white craft plastic panel above was a grey & blue one which wasn’t very interesting. I added warm tones either side and using tilting and air blowing to create a pattern that looks a little like a rock cross section.

I used some clear gesso to seal this one but it did drag some colour and leave some texture lines so I wouldn’t recommend it as the best sealing solution. I could use a spray sealant but it is very, very cold outside so I’m not popping into the back yard to use aerosol cans right now!

I would tell you the ink colours I used if I knew. I picked up a panel with ink from a previous session then start putting more ink here and there and in no time I saw colours and patterns appear with no idea which ink went where!

On this second panel I have a bit more of an idea of the landscape colours. I began with a previously inked panel and added pesto, ginger and sunshine yellow inks along with generous amounts of rubbing alcohol to move the inks.

As I tipped the panel and used an air blower I was able to create stripes across the panel which looked a bit like hills. I feel like this is still a fluke for me; I wish I could give you exact instructions but it works sometimes and not others.

To add the look of trees and crops I used an alcohol ink paint brush and a very small amount of alcohol ink or isopropyl alcohol. I wanted to add texture to the ink that was already there rather than add more ink because when you add more ink it tends to displace the ink you already have on the panel. With this in mind I added a drop of sunshine yellow at the end to be the sun. It did not expand neatly in a circle so I used a paint brush which meant the sun was a bit larger than intended! I finished both cards with sentiments from the Paper Rose Studio ‘so extra supporting sentiments’ pack.

Alcohol ink art seems to be equal parts fabulous and frustrating but I will keep on persevering and see if I can come up with some processes I can recreate and share with you.

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Alcohol Ink + Stencil

This card was inspired by the wonder and wizardry of my friend Ardyth who just happened to be the Featured Stamper on SplitcoastStampers yesterday. Ardyth has been doing quite a few alcohol ink techniques lately and I have been loving them while waiting for an opportunity to get my own inks out again. Take a look at Ardyth’s videos here and here for inspiration and instructions.

When I pulled out the inks and the substrates I found several panels from another session. The panels hadn’t inspired me enough to make them into cards when I first made them so I decided to work over the top of them. The panel for this card is Grafix white craft plastic and was originally covered in blue patterns, you can see a little remaining in the top right corner.

I lay the Paper Rose Studio ‘little swirls’ stencil on top of the panel and sprinkled ginger, pesto and sunshine alcohol inks over the stencil along with some rubbing alcohol to move the inks a little further. I was impatient so I pulled up one corner to check on the pattern before the inks dried. That is why the top left corner does not have distinct detail like the lower right. Once dry I removed the stencil and was left with this amazing pattern. Thank you for all the inspiration Ardyth!

Those sharper swirls at the bottom are my favourite part of the design but I love the whole effect. I will definitely be playing with this technique again. I finished off the card with a stacked PB die cut and a sentiment strip from the black Paper Rose Studio black ‘so extra’ set. I ended up sealing this panel with clear gesso. I haven’t done this before but some of my alcohol ink panels end up a bit sticky so I wanted to see if clear gesso worked as a sealant. I’ll will keep testing the process and let you know more next time I post about alcohol inks. Meanwhile head over and drool over all Ardyth’s clever cards!

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Christmas baubles

Here are a few more cards made from patterned panels I had sitting around. The panels were very pretty experiments using brusho, paint poring and alcohol inks but at the time I made them I didn’t have a plan for them. Last week they came into their own when paired with Penny Black dies and a few of my favourite embossing folders.

The background above is from an acrylic paint pouring day I had with a friend. The result looked like peacock feathers but works well as a northern night sky too.

The purple panels above and below right were brusho & cling wrap on photo paper another technique taught to me by a friend.

The blue background below is alcohol ink; you probably recognise the patterns made possible with just one or two colours plus some isopropyl alcohol.

The dies are listed below and the embossing folders are a mix of currrent and retired. Above is ‘weathered’ from Taylored Expressions. The tiny squares folder is a retired Spellbinders one (SEL 006), the woodgrain is Tim Holtz/Sizzix also retired but there are plenty of new options around. The Tim Holtz/Sizzix Snowfall fade folder at the top of the page is still available and I often reach for it.

I enjoyed using some scraps and samples that were too pretty to throw away to make simple but unique Christmas cards. I think I almost have enough for this year so I will start next year’s stack early!

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Trees on Alcohol Ink backgrounds

Today’s additions to the Christmas card stack are on alcohol ink backgrounds. If you have been visiting my blog for a while you will have seen the backgrounds before. I posted the panels back in June and asked you all for your thoughts on how to use them. Some of you suggested adding a quote or verse, others thought they would be good as backgrounds for cards. I liked both ideas but have chosen to cut up two of the panels for cards.

The backgrounds on the three cards above are all from one panel; I popped them up on the card base and added trees. As there was gilded alloy alcohol ink on the original design I cut the centre of the modern trees from gold shimmer cardstock.

The backgrounds on the two cards below are cut from another panel. You can see where they joined up originally.

All the die-cut elements are neenah solar white cardstock (and the shimmer gold) and the card bases are also neenah solar white. This is as close to mass production as I get, same basic design but some variety within the backgrounds and added elements.

I thought about adding sentiments, just little ones below the panels but decided I liked them plain and simple. I’ll add a sentiment inside and hopefully they’ll be written and posted this week!

There are a few more alcohol ink pieces plus some paint pour scraps that have become backgrounds for die-cuts. They are still in process on my work table so you’ll see them soon.

Have a great day!

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Creating a Swatch Book – Video

Recently I received a 6″x9″ Mixed Media Journal from Grafix and decided to turn it into a swatch book. It’s maybe not the most artistic use for the new mixed media journals but I am hoping it will be useful for me as I create projects and teach classes using alcohol inks and non-permeable surfaces.

As you can see from the top photo the journal is disc bound which means I can add new pages as I buy more products! I filmed my swatching process so you can see how I am using my mixed media journal.

So far I have swatched alcohol inks, including mixatives and alloys. In doing so I realised how many were almost empty, which means of course I can get a few new ones!

I’ve also swatched alcohol markers and paint markers. I’m not swatching all my markers on the craft plastics and dura-lar pages as many of my markers are made for paper. (that’s another swatch book waiting to happen)

I work with the paint markers on craft plastic and glass so I swatched on black craft plastic and clear dura-lar.

The mixed media journals also come in 6″x6″ and are a new product so I can’t tell you exactly where to find them right now but I do know DeSerres, Crop A While and Foiled Fox all carry Grafix products as do most art stores so you could ask them to get one in for you.

I am excited to keep adding to mine and to use it when ever I’m working on plastic surfaces.

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Alcohol ink experiments

I’ve taken a bit of time in the last week to experiment with some neglected mediums in my workroom. It has been both enjoyable and challenging as I try to remember process and techniques I haven’t tried in a while. These three alcohol ink panels used different combinations of turquoise, eggplant, currant and gilded alloy inks. The panels are larger than my usual card size, more than double at 6″x 9″ and I’m wondering how to use them.

I could cut them up and put them on card bases but I thought I would ask you what you for ideas. They would probably make nice journal or notebook covers.

I used a different type of paper for these. It is made by Nara, I ordered from Amazon just to see what it was like. It was very similar to yupo or grafix white craft plastic which I have used in the past. To create the patterns I used copious amounts of isopropyl alcohol and a hand ink blower to move the ink forwards and backwards creating dried edges and soft diluted ‘clouds’.

If I don’t come up with any ideas right now I may end up cutting circles from the panels to make Christmas cards; the patterns make very pretty Christmas balls. Let me know what you think and if you would like to see a video of any of the above processes.

Before I go thank you so much for your enthusiastic response to the pencil coloured animals. It seems we have animal lovers as well as plant lovers around here which is wonderful. What about lovers of abstract colourful patterns?!

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Alcohol ink gel print

I tried a technique this week that I’ve seen demonstrated by gel printing wizards but never tried myself. In some ways it’s not that different from making abstract alcohol ink patterns on yupo or craft plastic but I found that I ended up with more of a distressed look which is rather nice.

I started with a not entirely clean gel plate and three or four alcohol inks, I’m not sure exactly which ones I used as I was very much in experimenting mode. Obviously there was a green and some blues in there and in real life you can see I also had a silver. I dropped dots of the different colours on the gel plate added rubbing alcohol and blew it all around with the air blower. It dried quite quickly so it took several additions of inks and rubbing alcohol before I was happy with the coverage. Once the AI had dried completely I brayered white acrylic paint over the painted area and took a print on some white cardstock. You can see the usual overlapping patterns of alcohol ink blobs but also some white patches and ‘grazes’ from the acrylic paint.

I trimmed the panel and added a three layer PB die cut sentiment along with an additional sentiment strip. I will definitely be trying this technique again.

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Alcohol Ink Flowers – Video

Last week I posted a video showing my method for abstract alcohol ink backgrounds. This week’s video is less abstract. In it I show you how I created the purple flower in the card above. I’ve been experimenting with creating flowers and sometimes have more success than other times. I’ve included four cards in this post but there are several panels that I will probably wipe clean.Did you know you can wipe your yupo or craft plastic clean with rubbing alcohol? I don’t always get the panels back to pristine white but so close it doesn’t matter.

To create this rose I used only two alcohol inks, eggplant and gilded alloy along with plenty of isopropyl alcohol. You can see my process in the video below.

The next flower is on black craft plastic, messier and more experimental but a similar process of moving the inks towards the centre leaving rims of gilded and indigo ink as I went.

On the panel below I used Ranger flamingo and gilded alloy inks. The pattern is a bit lopsided but it’s definitely floralish. I added a gold mat and gold die cut from the PB set ‘celebrations’.

Have you tried alcohol ink flowers? Do you think you might?

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Moving Alcohol Inks with Air – Video

I’ve had the alcohol inks out recently and spent some time trying to get soft wavy patterns on craft plastic. I have seen several artists who do this technique beautifully but I am very much still a beginner with it. I have a few cards to share today along with a video showing my process for two of the panels. I worked on white craft plastic from Grafix which is heavyweight and totally opaque. For most of the panels featured today I used only two alcohol inks plus plenty of 99% rubbing alcohol; each panel was created with a metallic and a non-metallic ink.

This first panel was made with turquoise AI and gilded alloy AI; I love the range of blues when diluted with rubbing alcohol. The ‘for you’ Penny Black die cut is two layers of turquoise cardstock topped with one layer of pale gold.

This warm toned card was made with honeycomb AI and mined alloy AI then die cut with a WaffleFlower square nesting die. I used the WaffleFlower additional square dies to cut a larger copper square then added the PB ‘light as a feather’ die cut and a PB birthday sentiment embossed in Brutus Monroe penny embossing powder.

You can see the process for both cards above in the video below.

As I am working on alcohol ink panels I am evaluating my process and working out what I want to try next. I just bought a cheap lazy susan to work on the blown flowers and I’m pretty sure I don’t need to use as much coloured ink when I make the initial drops. You can be sure I will let you know what I discover.

I have a couple more cards made off camera using the same technique shown in the video. The card above features juniper AI and statue alloy AI with the PB ‘many thanks’ die cut from antique gold cardstock and stacked twice.

When this panel was finished it reminded me of photos of the artic and far north where the icebergs and glaciers are made up of beautiful shades of blue. It’s kind of a cross section perspective where we can see below and above the ice the bears are walking on. I did use two blue inks plus a silver for this one, ranger turquoise and stream with pinata silver. The bear die is ‘polar bears’ from Penny Black.

We’ve been watching Cecilia Blomdahl’s youtube channel about her life on Svalbard, an island off the north coast of Norway. She lives in the world’s northern most town. Polar bears are definitely around so you don’t wander outside the village without your weapon!

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Marbled hearts

These hearts were cut from another alcohol inked panel, this one done with only pitch black ink from Ranger. The ink was diluted with rubbing alcohol and moved around on the panel with air and tilting. I also added some bubbles or circles by splattering some rubbing alcohol over the pattern.

I didn’t add foil straight away after completing the panel instead I came back to it days later and ran the panel through the minc with some red foil over the top. The red foil stuck to some nice fine lines as you can see as well as some chunkier sections. What you can’t see is an area where a large blob of foil attached itself. I avoided that area when cutting six hearts using a small heart die from the Penny Black set ‘all my hearts’. I cut six hearts from red foam to pop the hearts up on the card base.

I tried several times to take a photo which would show the dry embossed background behind the popped up hearts but I didn’t succeed. It seems you’re not going to see the shine of the foil and the dimension of the background in one photo. If you click on the photo above you might be able to see the texture a bit better. I used the embossing folder that came with the Gemini Junior, it’s called ‘Regency Swirls’ and it is one of those very detailed 3D folders. I am wanting to add to my embossing folder collection, I’d love to hear your suggestions for some subtle ones and some really fancy ones.

I completed the card with a sentiment from Penny Black’s ‘trust me’ set stamped in red ink and popped up on a narrow banner. Thanks for dropping in today; I will be back tomorrow with an alcohol ink tutorial video.

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