Natural Inks

Yesterday a friend invited us over to pick blackberries. I ended up sketching some flowers and plants in her backyard. I was promptly loaded up with clippings from a variety of plants to take home with me. One flower (whose name I don’t know) had petals with a vibrant, nearly flourescent blue-purple. I boiled some of them to make a thin ink. I also made some 2 strengths of Blackberry ink and used some of my morning coffee to round out my pallete.

Sketching a quick composition of some leaves from a Bleeding Heart plant, I just began layering the drawing from light to dark with my natural pigments. I did add a little baking soda to the various mixtures since I don’t know what the pH values were and I didn’t want any acids eating into my sketchbook paper too soon (I have no idea if my logic is sound from an archival perspective, but I know that coffee is acidic so a base should neutralize it , right?).

I mixed linseed oil with the darker blackberry ink so it would stick to my chop.

I also scanned some negative washed paintings of the actual Bleeding Heart leaves that were my model as well as scanning the leaves themselves. I took those and messed around in Photoshop using various blending modes to get the final composition.

Below is the final composition followed by the 4 painting stages:

  1. Coffee
  2. Petals
  3. Blacberry thin
  4. Blackberry dark



2 Responses to “Natural Inks”

  1. Beth Says:

    Wonderful paintings of the flowers. I like it very much.

  2. Helen Melvin Says:

    I love the fact you have used natural inks as I make them too but have never tried blackberry.

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