How to Paint with Natural Inks : Part 2

Painting onto canvas with natural inks.

In the few years that I have been on this journey of handcrafting and painting with natural inks, I have developed my own pathways and discovered a few new trails along the way. Recently I was inspired, from a practical perspective, to collect recycled bottle caps and lids to use as ink vessels in my natural inks workshops. But filling avocado shells and milkweed pods with natural inks helps me to establish a much more organic atmosphere as I create in my studio.

In my last post, I focused on painting natural inks onto watercolour paper. But I have had quite a few enquires asking if natural inks can be painted onto canvas. I was directed by a fellow artist (Pamela Bates) to experiment with painting watercolour ground onto canvas. Watercolour ground is a primer that can be applied to a multitude of surfaces. The finish and appearance is very much like cold press watercolour paper.

Although painting onto a canvas with watercolour ground certainly doesn’t have the same magical absorption of watercolour paper, I found that there was an upside. Unlike watercolor paper, I was able to wipe off the ink with a damp rag if I wasn’t happy with the placement. Please note though, that even with a ground, canvas doesn’t typically like water and can create buckling (thank you Lisa Mclinden Art for the tip).

A watercolour painting by Lisa McLinden

Since natural inks are water-based, you may need to experiment with how much water that you add to the canvas.

Fellow artist Carrie Ann Hall has created gorgeous paintings with my natural inks on both gessoed board and unprimed canvas and she doesn’t add water.

natural inks on canvas by Carrie Ann Hall
natural inks on canvas board by Carrie Ann Hall
natural inks on canvas board by Carrie Ann Hall

What about you? Have you had success painting natural inks onto canvas?

2 thoughts on “How to Paint with Natural Inks : Part 2

  1. Hi Melissa,
    It is so exciting to see fellow IG artists meeting each other on IG. I love your account. Thanks for sharing what you learn. I met Carrie thru IG. And now to read how you two are teaming up makes me so happy. Keep up the great work ladies.
    Bonnie Davis, San Antonio

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