Scribble Painting with Image Transfer

Mixed Media Painting Class: Mistakes and More Mistakes

Where I have continued problems with image transfers in my Mixed Media Painting Class…

• If you are using cheap canvas panels, paint the back with medium to stop the panel from warping, and the front with second layer of gesso. This is needed because the original gesso is so thinly applied there isn’t enough acrylic in it to create the ‘stickiness’ needed to transfer images.

my scribbles
scribbles created while trying to get my plotting pens to work

• My ‘scribbles’ transfer went slightly better than my previous ones, with only a few holes!

image transfer of scribbles onto a painted base
image transfer of scribbles onto a painted base

• I had it with the black inverted scribble area on top but my friend Sandy decided she liked it sideways better, said it looked like two bramble-covered cliffs plunging into the sea.

• Thinking I would add some big splotches of black ink to cover up the holes in my transfers, I started splashing ‘India Ink’ on the ‘mistakes’ when I noticed that the label, barely visible under a smear of ink, said ‘China Ink’. But China Ink and India Ink are the same, right? Wrong! India ink is waterproof; China ink isn’t and will smear when you try and paint on top.

India ink is supposed to be waterproof, but isn't on acrylic.
India ink is supposed to be waterproof, but isn’t on acrylic.

• LATER: actually it was India Ink, and it IS supposed to be waterproof ( I had been looking at the French part of the label). However it isn’t waterproof when applied to an acrylic surface which is a type of plastic, and if you want waterproof ink you have to use another product I have never heard of called ‘Acrylic Ink.’

• To try to seal the non-waterproof ink I sprayed it twice with ‘Crystal Clear’, foul stuff with poisonous vapours. The last little bit I wiped didn’t smear like earlier but did ‘crack’ off.

the ink runs but I like the bluish colour of the acrylic medium dribbles
the ink runs but I rather like look of the bluish acrylic medium dribbles

• Next I tried spraying it with acrylic medium but my little windex bottle sprayer almost immediately clogged up and ran gray drips all down my painting. I wiped off the most offensive drips, and took a photo. I kind of like the bluish tone of the drips on the black but of course they eventually dried clear.

Now what? I am turning to an established artist for inspiration: Cy Twombly’s great ‘scribble’ and ‘dribble’ paintings.

Our super instructor’s site: On her site she has her work and offers lots of different workshops and courses.

Mixed Media Class Experience:

4 thoughts on “Mixed Media Painting Class: Mistakes and More Mistakes

  1. I love your scribbles and how you’ve used them! I am fascinated by this sort of technique. You have a wonderful result in the positive/negative black scribbles, and I would love to know what the black paint or ink is that you used to get this effect. I have used etching ink and lino ink for this sort of technique but it doesn’t give the results you have, it is alot stickier. Looks like a great course to follow!

    1. If you are asking about the scribbles themselves they were done with plotting ink, a fast-flowing ink that is no longer available because it was used for now defunct plotters which were replaced by large scale ink jets. For the transfers I merely used the ‘reverse’ button on the fancy photocopier they had at the art school, but the same effect can be had by ‘inverting’ in Photoshop and printing out on a black and white laser printer.

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