Monday, January 13, 2014

Negative space

Effective use of negative space has always been a challenge for me.  It's the idea of defining space and form by creating boundaries; it's allowing the viewer to infer shape and substance from the spaces you left blank.  To me, effective use of negative space is a sort of "addition by omission" in the same way that carving or etching is "addition by subtraction."
Here's an example from a master:
Arthur Melville (1858-1904), "Kurrachan"
Here are some examples from some guy with a blog (me):

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

A few more words on black walnut ink

I did some looking around, and it seems that many people who make their own ink have noticed two wonderful properties:

1.)  Excellent light-fastness (resistance to fading over time with exposure to light)
2.)  Increasingly waterproof over time.  This is great, because it allows for some tinkering before the ink completely sets permanently.

Most recipes also, it seems, include a dash of clove oil or whole cloves (to help improve the somewhat funky smell).  

30" x 22"
black walnut and gouache on 140 lb. Winsor & Newton Cold Press sheet

Monday, January 6, 2014

Homemade ink!

These are my first paintings of 2014, done with my first ever homemade ink (black walnut - see previous post).

All of these were done on 22" x 30" sheets of Winsor & Newton Paper (Hot Press, 140 lb.).  This is probably the finest paper I've ever used...I bought a bunch on-sale during Thanksgiving break from an art supply store back where my parents live.

Having such large quantities of ink available (and large sheets of paper) allowed me to experiment with some new techniques and tools.

I also tried using some gouache I had bought on-sale along time ago.  I love the vibrant, opaque color, and I'm excited to experiment further.

Apparently, the color is "Carmine"
Happy New Year!!!1

Juglans nigra

pretty gross looking in here.
This is a cast iron cauldron of black walnut husks, happily simmering away on the stove (I waited for Elin to leave for lab before I began).  This process started last fall, with the collecting and de-husking of several pounds of black walnuts.  I packed the fresh husks into a bucket and let time and nature work their magic.  After all the husks had oxidized and turned black, I transferred them to the cauldron, covered them with water, and left them to marinate in their own putrescence for a couple months.  Things got pretty moldy (but surprisingly not-stinky), and this is what I ended-up with:
Can you believe this stuff is free??
So, one day, I decided it was time to take the next step: on to the heat.  After a few hours of boiling and reducing, I strained off all the liquid and was left with:
A few jars of homemade black walnut ink!  I added salt to some jars and methanol to others, to prevent mold.  I packed the husks back into an empty paint can and stored it for a possible Round 2 of ink-making if I run out before the next crop of walnuts starts to fall next autumn.