One of the techniques I had great fun with during Inktober was making a background with acrylic paint and a brayer. That was the starting point for this piece; that and a journalling prompt “Autumn to winter…”. There are still a few leaves on the ground, but the mornings are frosty, and I wanted to capture the colours of the autumn reds and browns with the more wintry whites and greys. I started journalling with black and brown Copic markers, beginning with the prompt and writing whatever seasonal thoughts came into my head.
Then I put blobs of craft acrylic paint straight onto the canvas and worked them in with a brayer, varying the direction and mixing the colours. The first layer involved a warm and cool grey and some brown, then later red, green, gold and some white. I tried a few other techniques as well; not all of them came out how I expected, but they all add something to the detail. A bit of masking with leaves, ink applied with a storecard to give a branch-like effect in the foreground, some fingerpainting in green and red to evoke leaves and berries. I had great fun flicking white paint everywhere, to give it a frosty feel.
Next I dug out some white tissue paper to sketch some images of garden birds. Tissue paper goes nicely transparent when glued to a canvas (and is sufficiently transparent beforehand that you can use it to trace an image if you want to). Then you can play about with placing your images before gluing them down. I did this at the pencil sketch stage, and added pen lines and coloured ink after I’d glued them down.
Finally, I used a white pen to add a bit more journalling, deliberately keeping it a scratchy as possible; the illegibility gives the feel of writing without making you focus to closely on it.
I like how dynamic some of these expressive techniques can be, and it’s a great way to practice setting a particular mood through use of colour. And as my collection of acrylics somehow seems to grow with every visit to a craft shop, there are plenty more experiments to come…