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).
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.
What about you? Have you had success painting natural inks onto canvas?
Are you looking for unique, creative AND sustainably-minded Valentine’s cards for your child’s class? Here is an easy, eco-friendly DIY Valentine kit designed to create with your little one. You can purchase this kit (with free shipping) here.
You will create your own sustainable stamps (only revealed once purchased) and using the avocado ink supplied, you and your little one will decorate mini organic cotton bags and a larger linen bag, designed to carry all the valentines to school in.
You will then paint two avocados and stamp a heart onto the natural paper provided using the avocado and buckthorn berry ink. After the ink is dry, you will use the Uni Ball pen to add in arms and legs.
Next, you will choose from a collection of fun avocado themed sayings and you or your child will write these sayings onto the cards. Finally, your child will write his/her name on the cards and tuck the cards into the mini bag.
Place all the mini bags in the larger bag and cinch shut. Your child will now be ready to take all the adorably handmade, yet sustainable Valentines to school.
When an artist friend showed me her avocado ink painting a year ago, my artistic life was absolutely transformed! Avocados play a major role in our home. I have avocados in my morning smoothie, my lunchtime sandwich and we have guacamole once a week for Taco Tuesday! I have an abundance of empty shells and stones (pits) so I am constantly creating new ink for my paintings. Creating avocado ink is very simple and I often create a batch as I am preparing meals or cleaning the kitchen.
large cooking pot
avocado stones and empty shells (the more stones and shells, the stronger the colour)
fine mesh strainer
small paper samples
mason jar with lid
Scrub all the green avocado remains off the stones and shells (I find that using my finger nails works the best).
Fill your pot with all of your cleaned stones and shells and then cover with water.
Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. After about 20-40 minutes, the water will begin to change colour from clear to pink to a reddish brown. I like to stir the contents occasionally. The skins will begin to come off the stones.
Use a tiny piece of paper to test the colour and when you are satisfied, strain your ink with a fine mesh strainer. Inevitably bits of shell will make its way into your ink, but I love the texture and authenticity that it provides in my paintings.
I store my ink in mason jars in the fridge and you can also help preserve the ink by adding a clove to the sealed jar.
Each batch that you make will produce a slightly different shade of pink depending on how many stones and shells that you use. Have fun experimenting and be sure to label each batch with a colour sample and date. Try a batch with just one stone and shell, or just stones, or adding less water or simmering for different lengths of time. You can also freeze the stones and shells if you aren’t able to make the ink right away.
The holiday season is edging closer and I have been very happily creating new ornaments in my studio. These ornaments have been inspired by the earthy colours that I find foraging each day on my walks with our puppy Mylo. They will be launching first at The Canadian Makers Holiday Online Marketplace from November 15-26 where where I will be offering FREE SHIPPING on all my products!
Sara Clark is a multidisciplinary maker living in Winnipeg, Manitoba. All pieces are crafted by Sara in her home workshop or studio.
Marrying materials such as wood, natural fibers and resin, she creates unique designs for the body and the home with an emphasis on neutral colours and clean lines. Sara’s work is currently focused on creating contemporary designs influenced by simple, primitive art. A portion of all online sales are donated to local organizations committed to the safety of and empowerment of women.
White River Company is an Ontario based print shop.
From beautiful prints to decorate your walls or greeting cards for any occasion, our mission is to make beautiful pieces that elevate any home. We love simple clean imagery that supports positivity and nature, whether that’s through an original painting or captured in a simple illustration. All products are designed and printed in Canada.
(This was a collaboration piece with Charissa Rais, a graphic designer who hand-painted the plate @aceramics_ )
Ayu Larasati was born in Indonesia and moved to Toronto to earn her bachelor degree from Industrial Design program in OCAD University. She was holding her full-time job as a product designer when she found herself continually making ceramic and fell completely in love with the material. She established her ceramic studio in late 2014. She is back recently in Toronto after residing in Indonesia for two years. Making ceramics has served her as an experience where she can push a reset button, recharged and coming back to herself. She feels that there is nothing more joyful and rewarding than to see her creation being enjoyed and out in the world.
Etsy Canada and House & Home have joined forces to create a quiz to help you determine your decorating style this spring. The quiz is filled with gorgeous handmade and vintage items, all from Etsy Canada. And even better, when you complete the quiz you could win a $500 Etsy gift card. Plus, be sure to watch the video featuring three stylish looks for spring (including my “ring around the rosy” abstract painting). Contest open to residents of Canada only, excluding Quebec. Contest closes June 6, 2017.
So big news in my world…I reached 1000 followers on my Instagram account! I know to many of you, that seems so minimal (but hey, I am on a bit of a minimal art kick right now, so it works for me) but the IG community has been so powerful for me. Why, you ask? Well here is a bit about me that might give you a few clues:
I have struggled with Lyme Disease and a few nasty co-infections for about 3 years, and before that a minor bout with non-invasive breast cancer. This has caused lots of havoc in my body and my mental health, so most days I really don’t like to leave my house. I have a few really good friends in the “real world” who I try and make an effort to visit and laugh with as energy allows, but the IG community has also been an integral part of my life in the last year or so. It has been a daily boost to my creative spirit, an immense support as I strive to sell my art and an encouragement to see that others can “push through” their challenges with kindness and grace.
So head on over to my Instagram account @melissamaryjenkinsart and follow the Giveaway Guidelines where you can win this “stripy” painting and one for a friend!
Today was a day like many others. After a few hours of painting, I was forced to stop due to pain and fatigue caused by Lyme’s Disease and a co-infection called Bartonella. But today I choose to reflect on how blessed I am to be completely passionate about being creative. In fact, a year ago my brain was in such a fog some days that it could hardly process just getting through the day, let alone an art project. If I didn’t have such a burning drive to create, then I am not sure what mental state I would be in. I am reluctant to leave my house as it has been embedded into my psyche that going out and interacting with humans will tire me out and cause pain.
But I actually love being home and listening to podcasts and talk shows and learning about the world around me. I am so grateful for social media because I can interact with other creatives, be inspired and sell my paintings and wall hangings without having to leave my home. I consider it a miracle that I still feel charged every morning to go into my studio and paint. I feel blessed that despite the tremor in my hands, I can still hold a paint brush. I feel gratitude that my brain is able to create goals and think about the “big ideas” in life. I feel such freedom to spend a few hours a day doing exactly what I have always dreamed of doing.
A year ago, my life was very different. I was like the walking dead. I had just enough energy to make meals, spend time with my children and lie in bed. I am so looking forward to a pain free life and a life where I don’t dread a day of being out and just doing simple errands. I look forward to being able to do something as simple as writing a blog post in the evening without such intense pain that forces me to end this post. But until that day, today was good day because I chose gratitude.
“Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love.” – Hamilton Wright Mable
November, 13th – January 3rd: Join us this holiday season at Noodle Gallery for a selection of unique, whimsical and imaginative gift giving.
A number of local participating artists, fine crafters and authors; Cheryll Collins Designs, Josephine Condotta, Melissa Mary Jenkins, kukucaju, John Leenders, Peyton Leung, Katie McLellan, Nicola Ross, Keri Rounding, and Stone Cottage Industry. Find inspiring gifts for all your loved ones and we bet you’ll even be tempted to pick out something for yourself!