Gerbera: inks, 11×8″

Gerbera: coloured ink on black inked paper

I’m posting something from my hoard of old drawings and unfinished work. Every so often I pull out old pieces of card and paper that have been worked on; in pencil, pastel, watermedia. Many were never framed or exhibited simply because I felt they were too incomplete or simply not up to standard. However, sometimes they can bring back memories of previously-tried techniques, including invented ones. They may also remind me that I was trying to achieve something in the picture, such as a certain effect, a contrast, or atmosphere….and this can be the stimulus to try it again, or pick up with the subject-theme.

I have a liking for black and white work. “Gerbera” was first painted in white ink on a sheet of watercolour paper that had been coated with black ink. The end result is not perfectly white because minor differences in the white-ink thickness permits the black background to show through; thus creating grey shades. In this picture the white ink was allowed to dry, before brushing a coloured ink over the flower. The medium was acrylic-based inks (try FW or Magicolor, for example).

The second picture is of seed-pods, painted with white ink again on a black ink ground (watercolour paper). By varying the thickness of the white ink with a little water, it is possible to get grey gradations; the stem of one of the pods here worked out particularly well, with thin white lines on a grey background created with diluted ink.

Seed Pods; white ink on black, 11×8″ approx.

By reducing or removing colour, the picture can focus on forms and shapes. It is a form of drawing, in a sense. Getting the black background done can be a trifle laborious because you don’t want it too thin and looking streaky; I’ve used a nylon/Dalon 2″ brush to gently spread the black ink to get an even coat.

There is a new paper product available now….black watercolour paper. I haven’t tried it. I don’t know whether or not it is lightfast. It would need to be, otherwise the contrast effects of black and white would be ruined. Similar results can be achieved with scratchboard, although the diluted white ink effects would, I think, be very difficult to match using a scratch technique.

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