Tag Archives: alcohol inks

Yarrow and Cone Flower Paintings

Yarrow Flower Painting by Lillian Connelly 9x12 alcohol inks on Yupo Paper
Yarrow Flower 9×12 alcohol inks on Yupo paper.

Today I am going to share with you my Yarrow and Cone Flower paintings! I am really excited about them for a couple of reasons. To start with, alcohol inks and Yupo Paper are kind of tricky to master because they refuse to have a master. Yupo paper is basically a thin sheet of recycled polypropylene plastic. The alcohol ink does not get absorbed by the paper so it runs in sunburst type directions unless you tilt the paper to encourage it to flow in a particular way. In short, this is not a medium for people who prefer to be in total control of the medium they are working in. Which, I have to admit can be my downfall. I am a bit of a control freak, perfectionist type, artist-mom-wanna-be so I struggled at first. I struggled a lot.

Then I started thinking more about how the ink works. I had to, seriously. With this medium it’s adapt or die and I was not about to give up because, well, because of those colors. I cannot get enough of this vibrant, glowing, gorgeous, alcohol ink color! I love it. Don’t you? Can you imagine walking past all of this color in your home and not stopping for a moment to soak it all in? Well, I can’t. I’ve probably been stopping to bask in the glory of color a little too often lately. There is a reason my sink is full of dishes and Tiny-Small is wearing mismatched socks, you guys.

Lillian Connelly - First attempt at painting Cone Flowers 9x12 alcohol inks on Yupo paper.
My first attempt at Cone Flowers 9×12 alcohol inks on Yupo paper.

The only way to paint with alcohol inks and Yupo paper is to think of it as a full-body sport. It also helps to work in stages. I use masking fluid to map out areas I want to keep white or might want to fill in with a lighter color later. Then I have to wait while that dries (sometimes I do multiple paintings at a time so I can shuffle through them all day long). Luckily it dries quickly in our hot, dry climate. Then I start on the background which means pouring ink onto the Yupo with one hand while tilting the paper in multiple directions with the other. I stand up, I sit down, I wish I had at least four arms. Did I mention I am wearing plastic hospital  gloves the entire time? That adds a new layer of awkwardness. For someone who has no problem painting with her fingers this can be a strange experience and I have to be very careful unless I want to walk around with ink-stained hands for days and days. Once the ink is poured I have to let it dry again and then I use masking fluid over parts of the background, let that dry and add another layer of ink.

Then I have to remove all of the masking fluid (royal pain in the butt) and get my paintbrushes out. Once the masking fluid is removed the flowers are just white blotches. Painting the flowers is the tricky part because the ink runs wild. Some colors seem to spread across the Yupo faster and wider than other colors. That’s why I spent so much time experimenting before I started to have success. I really had to get to know each color before I could get even a little control over them. I use the term control loosely here because the inks still do what they want to. I mean, I can coax them a bit and be careful to use smaller ink amounts, or larger ink amounts, but there is always an element of surprise. Not to mention, the weather is a factor too. If it’s humid, the inks behave a little differently than they do when it is hot and dry. These  alcohol inks have multiple personalities. Surprisingly, even though I have art medium control issues, I still enjoy the surprises. I mean, even when it goes all wrong there is still gorgeous color to mesmerize me with. There have been times when I didn’t achieve the look I was going for, but over all, I haven’t been able to make anything actually ugly using the alcohol inks, so in a way, it’s a good medium to work in if you can’t draw well or like abstracts and color.

Cone Flower painting by Lillian Connelly 9x12 alcohol inks on Yupo Paper.
My favorite Cone Flower painting so far. I am sure I will paint more! I love painting this flower. 9×12 alcohol inks on Yupo paper.

I am really excited about my Yarrow and Cone Flower paintings for another reason. They feel like they are all mine. My style. They aren’t that different from my watercolor flowers, just more intense. When I start learning a new technique or art medium I often find myself imitating the work of my teachers. It’s how I learn I suppose. That’s how art has been taught over the years. You begin by copying the work of someone else. Students try to recreate the art master’s work. Once they can do that well, they start growing and experimenting. They develop their own style. Even though I have only taken a few formal, college level, art classes in my life I still work that way. If you are patient and stick with it and practice I am pretty sure you can teach yourself to do just about anything!



Birds Of A Feather Flock Together (Paintings)

Birds of a feather flock together. I can’t stop painting the birds this week. I am cycling through my obsessions. Apparently, this is the season for birds. Just when I thought I couldn’t add the word birds to this paragraph one more time I managed to do it again: Look at these birds!

Birds of a feather: Bee Eater
Bee Eater Alcohol ink on Yupo paper 9×12



Birds of a feather: Hummingbird
Close-up of Hummingbird on Yupo 9×12.


So, I’ve been having a lot of trouble getting my photographs to be sharp and focused lately. I can’t decide if it’s my improper camera use or if my eyes are going to the dark side. I’ve been experimenting with different camera functions in the hopes that I can fix my problem. It hasn’t been working. My photos still have a bit of blur to them. At least they do when I look at them. Jim ordered me a camera clicker thing and a tripod so I can set up the shot, stand back, and take the picture with a remote. We’re hoping the blur comes from my unsteady hands. I feel very high-tech just thinking about it. It’s like I’ll become robotic without actually having to be a robot. Where else can you get art, birds and robot talk all in one post, but on this blog? I know, it’s like I get weirder by the month, right?

Humming Bird Painting.
The entire Humming bird painting.

Jim also made me an appointment with the ophthalmologist to get my eyes checked. Boooooooo! He knows I will put it off until I’m completely blind. I can’t help it. I don’t like to go to the doctor unless I have to. It’s expensive and they usually just tell me whatever is wrong is just in my head. It seems like I could tell myself that for free, right? Or blame my camera. Anyway, this Thursday I’ll know for sure. Sometime soon you may see me sporting reading glasses or worse. Getting old(er) is for the birds, seriously.

Anyway, I do love painting birds and I do love alcohol ink on Yupo paper. It’s so luxurious and bright. It’s quickly becoming my favorite medium to work in. Plus, it’s fast which works well with Tiny-Small and her anti-nap or I’ll nap tomorrow schedule that she has been clinging to lately. I miss the days when there were two naps sometimes, but that kid is so funny and silly that it’s nice to have her awake and getting into trouble for more hours each day. Plus, she is a fan of my bird paintings which makes me feel a little famous and inflates my dream of being known as a super-talented mom artist with a fashionista daughter on the verge of taking over the world like a dynamic duo. There, I said it. Now you know my plans. It really is important to have people who believe in you and what you are doing, even if they are only three years old. It’s also good to have a partner that demands you get your eyes checked and go to the doctor once in a while.

Also, it’s good to have birds. What will happen to the bee eaters once the bees are all gone?

Yep, birds, bees, robots, ophthalmologists, art, environmental science,  and a little gratitude all in one post. I’m not a niche blogger if you haven’t figured that out by now. I’m a bit all over the map these days. Just look at the pretty art and pretend not to notice. That’s what I do.

Happy Wednesday!