Saturday 23 March 2019

Spikes Revisited, It's Not The Putting On It's The Wiping Off, More Beads and Happy Accidents

After a few months of working on other things, I had an urge to make some more spikes using my turned look technique. They always sold well so that was another reason to return to them. 

I never quite know what colours I will use until I start painting, and because I use alcohol inks I have the option of layering colours and diffusing them with rubbing alcohol. You can get nice blends this way.

The other cool thing about alcohol inks is that they subtly and not so subtly change colour when diluted. They seem to be dye based and have a sort of base colour that lies under the main colour which is revealed when you paint over it with rubbing alcohol, or a paler ink colour. For instance, some shades of brown revert to a sort of light blue, which seems strange but can look good.

I also find that wiping the ink off gently with a cloth reveals this under/base colour too. It also is a way of softening the hard line that forms where two areas of ink meet. It's fun to experiment with this, and that way learn a bit about the quirks of the medium. You can then use said quirks to your advantage.

I have been messing about with acrylic paints and acrylic inks too. Combining them with alcohol inks and wiping bits off here and there. An idea triggered by what turned out to be a happy accident with some rubbing alcohol ;-)
It's a bit drastic at first but a gentler touch makes the effect a bit more subtle. I'm a bit obsessed with it right now so various distressed looking beads and spikes will no doubt appear in my listings before long. . .
Oh yeah, and I also found a good background to photograph things against. An old roofing slate from the treasure trove of inspiration that lurks behind our shed. . ;-) It makes colour matching in Pshop or equivalent so much easier too, white backgrounds are OK but they are a pig to get right colour wise. So many of my shots against white had a pinky tinged or a bluey tinged background even though the bead colour was pretty accurate.

Thanks for checking out the way my work is heading. More in about a month's time.
Jon x


  1. Questions and an share.

    But first - Every single one of these are stunning Jon! I actually gasped at the ones with the little ring of purple - the ones with the teal points - and the ones with the splash of orange across the top. They are gorgeous - they all are!

    So here's the question. Do you use a paint brush with your alcohol inks? Looking at these pics it suddenly made me think of that - and I've always sponged....

    And have you considered making your own? or do you already?

    I'd love some slate shingles. Oh my.

    I was at an art show with my brother and we came across this woman who was painting the primitive horses running on slate tiles. We hemmed and hawed over buying them and then didn't. As artists we aren't wealthy - right? So the next time we came across her a year later her prices had more then doubled and she couldn't keep up. Could have kicked myself..... But I don't paint - just love the look of slate.

    I know you are starting into spring there - right? I need updates on ducklings and foliage as they happen. :0)

    Here? We might have another dump of snow but we are pretty much passed the -40C temps. Thank gawds! Brutal! Here's the benefit of that tho. No snakes!

    A month? Sigh....

    I keep talking about your work to everyone who will listen. I sure hope it helps!

    1. Thanks Dolly, the colours start off as fairly random, but get refined as I go. . I use a paintbrush, a small one, and I apply the paint while turning the spike. But enough of my secret technique! ;-)
      Yeah Spring is under way (weigh is the correct word i think, a nautical reference but anyway. . ) Quince blossom about to appear, daffs all out and skylarks just starting to sing in the fields behind our garden. No 'Beast from the East' this year so no unseasonal snow. Not real snow by your standards of course ;-)
      I hope you have seen the last of your winter too.

  2. BTW - this is me now that it's warming up!

  3. Well I've honestly never thought of using my alcohol inks on a paintbrush. What a dolt I am!

    I use Vintaj Patina - a metal paint - using toothpicks and wire to paint it on with - painting up etched metal....but again - no paintbrush.

    I've - always - sponged on my alcohol inks. I wonder why I never thought of the traditional way of applying anything like that.

    Ah well.

    I appreciate your little tips here and there. I don't make spikes and tubes and things like that - but bigger objects - like horses and big beads.

    I haven't touched my polymer clay in half a year. I even have 2 of my master courses waiting for me to sit down and study - but - you know - distractions.

    I've been playing with a new technique since the beginning of January. It's been a huge rabbit hole! Call me Alice.....