I make little abstract landscapes with alcohol ink.
It's a very enjoyable and highly rewarding hobby. I say hobby, because although I sell them sometimes, the purpose is not a monetary reward for my efforts. The reward is the journey, the time spent while the paintings are unfolding.
Some people are able to meditate or do yoga to get into that uber-relaxed mental state. I do yoga but in a left-brained kind of way; while stretching my mind is planning my next move or thinking what I want to accomplish that day. Yet when I am painting with alcohol ink, that state is easily and almost automagically obtained. It's a time of wordless, worryless bliss. It's a feeling of being in the flow in with the universe. It's allowing the paint to go where it wants to go then discovering and delighting in scenes that seem to paint themselves as I watch.
I just sit down and provide the tools needed, such as the paint and the canvas and any tools that might help the ink move around. I start with the sky and poof! next thing you know I am whisked off into right-brain-land and at some point, left-brain-land awakens and says, 'I think this one is finished'.
Alcohol Ink is similar to (but different from) watercolor. Whereas watercolor is pigment in water, alcohol Ink is pigment in alcohol. By alcohol I don't mean the drinking type, it is technically Isopropyl alcohol, commonly known as rubbing alcohol. Alcohol Inks are highly pigmented and fast drying inks that are at their best on non-porous substrates. They mix well with each other, creating thousands of colors on the spectrum with very vivid results.
When I first started painting with alcohol inks, I painted on ceramic tiles. First I used reclaimed tiles from the Habitat for Humanity ReStore. After I exhausted their supply, I started buying them in case-quantities at local home improvement stores such as Lowe's and Home Depot.
I also like to paint on Yupo. Yupo is a recyclable, waterproof, tree-free synthetic paper. Because it is non-porous, it is a great substrate for alcohol ink (and many other paints). The ink flows easily across the page, yet it has just enough tooth, so the ink doesn’t slide completely off the edge.
Another favorite substrate is Graphix Craft Plastic. For alcohol ink artists, it's similar to Yupo and Dura-Lar (a polyester film that's a mix between Mylar and Acetate) but is much less expensive. I get them in 12x12 sheets and cut them into 4x6 sheets which I then paint on. I can't find this locally so I buy it either direct from the Graphix or on Amazon if I'm in a 2-day Prime hurry.
I also sometimes paint on clear glass, to make stained glass window hangings. This is a little tricky because the glass surface has virtually no tooth, so the ink is easily scratched off by accident with a fingernail. I must take multiple additional steps with clear coats of various other stuff to protect it from scratches, make it UV resistant so sunlight doesn’t fade it, then a final coat of clear to make it glossy. It’s definitely doable but takes longer to finish a piece then it took to paint it in the first place, so I don’t do those very often.
Some of my artwork is currently on display at:
Art For Goodness Sake Gallery
1810 19th St, Lubbock, TX 79401
Open: Monday - Friday 1pm-5pm, and 6pm-9pm for First Friday Art Trail (the first Friday of every month.)
Alcohol Ink Gallery Page 1 - AI on Yupo paper
Alcohol Ink Gallery Page 2 - AI on Ceramic Tile
Alcohol Ink Gallery Page 3 - AI on Glass and Acrylic
Alcohol Ink Gallery Page 4 - AI Trading Cards