Part 5 Exercise 2 – Dripping, dribbling and spattering (1)

We are given some pointers as to how we should create a few paintings using the techniques of dripping, dribbling and spattering very high-flow paint onto paper or cardboard. The idea is to work large. I am very limited for space and cannot splatter large amounts of paint inside this house, no matter how well protected the floors and furnishings are. So, needs must dictated that I work smaller for my first tentative attempts at the techniques, which i’ve done very many times before (and often in a large area like a garage). I have divided this exercise into two sections because once the weather has improved a bit, I will go outside to do the larger splattered painting and work with the paper laying flat on the grass.

In the meantime, I thought it would be fun to try out the technique first in my sketchbook using watercolours and some inks. I tore off paper to mask the ‘sky’ area and sponged a light wash of ultramarine watercolour onto the paper. This sketchbook isn’t very responsive with wet medium, so the result was not how i wanted it to look but I carried on nevertheless.

working in sketchbook – masked off area

Once I’d done the sky, I turned the mask around and used it to protect the sky area just created. Then I used a lot of water, isopropyl alcohol and watered down paint. I dribbled, drizzled and splattered the paint using brushes and my fingers, as well as pipettes. I used a straw (erm, a paper one) to blow the paint around on the surface.

sketchbook exercise

I liked how some of the paint had blown under the mask and created some shrubbery or a hedge and it looks like theres a green elf walking across the foreground! The paper in my sketchbook is not very responsive to inks, so I decided to use up my last remaining piece of YUPO paper and have another go at this, using the same basic idea for the composition.

Again, I tore off some paper to create a mask for the ‘land’ and concentrated on creating a sky.

I first put a few drops of isopropyl alcohol on the sky area and smoothed it over with a brush. Then I applied pin head size droplets of the ink onto the paper surface, I immediately spritzed it with water and moved it all about until it was dry. I used a hairdryer sparingly as I didn’t want to blow all the ink away or create too many puddles. The inks dry much lighter than they look when wet. There was an interesting pigment dispersal, which almost looks like ‘ghost’ trees, which is visible in the final pictures of this piece.

I again moved the mask to protect the sky area and also allowed a small gap, which would be created between the sky and the land, as I didn’t want the splattered paints to mix in with the sky. I lightly dabbed watercolour (Cotman Yellow) mixed with sapphire blue ink, then dropped tiny drops of alcohol onto the surface, which created the ‘flower heads’. I didn’t blow dry with the hair dryer, I waited for it to air dry. I scratched into the surface a little with the end of the paint brush to get some texture going / mimic grasses etc.

creating the flowerheads with isopropyl alchol

I used various reds and orange inks to create the ‘Poppies’, by dropping tiny amounts of the ink onto the Yupo in the spaces I’d created with the isopropyl alchol.

creating the ‘poppies’

I decided to mask off the main poppy shapes, so that i could creaate some interesting texture.

‘Poppies’ loosely masked off
close up of spattered texture and ‘ghost’ trees

I noticed that if I first mixed the acrylic inks with a drop of alcohol on my palette, they spread really nicely on the Yupo surfiace and the colours remained vibrant. I dried the whole painting from a height with my hair dryer, as I didn’t want to move the paint around too much. I used the end of a paint brush (the stick end) to create stalks in the wet paint.

The inks I used were mainly Difusion Resin Pigment inks – Grass green, lime green, red, orange red, brown, sapphire blue, blue. I also used acrylic inks and Pergamo Pintura Paint – red, black and leaf green. I used Cotman watercolours – primary yellow and ultramarine.

‘Poppies’ inks and watercoclour on YUPO about A4

I resisted the urge to put something in the area between the ‘sky’ or horizon line and the field of flowers and I think that works quite well. I love working with YUPO paper, it’s so responsive and you never ever know exactly how it’s going to turn out. You can plan the idea and colour scheme as much as you like but the paper really has the final say! I love the spontaneity of working with YUPO. Need to get me some more – perhaps bigger sheets next time.

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