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Thursday, 30 April 2015

Using the Mouth Atomizer with Ink

The main aim of today’s project is to show you how to use the mouth atomizer with ink. I am going to make a page for my art journal commemorating a painting I have done repeatedly for clients (albeit every time with small changes). The scene is of the Knysna heads in the Western Cape province of South Africa. If you ever make your way anywhere, this is high on the priority list of places to see.

I start by preparing a sheet of paper with gesso. Gesso will allow just about any paper to take paint. This is a normal 80 gsm paper. Simply paint 2-3 layers of gesso on the paper. You can learn more about strengthening paper with Gesso from an earlier blog by clicking here.

I will need the mouth atomizer, ink and newspaper for the project. I use Dala’s Acrylic Ink for today’s project, since it is not something I intend to sell (in which case I recommend using Daler-Rowney’s FW Acrylic Ink). Since Dala’s ink is much cheaper than its counterparts I am less worried about the ink that will necessarily be wasted. This is because the mouth atomizer has a high velocity spray that will send the ink flying all over. Make sure you cover your work surface to protect it before you start.

Put the thin end of the atomizer in the ink. Open the atomizer to a 90° angle. Hold the atomizer so that the angle is aimed at the spot you want to paint. Take a deep breath and blow hard. The ink will shoot up the tube and your breath will push the spray on to the spot that the angle is aimed at. I used a newspaper to cover the parts of the paper I wanted to leave unaffected. The first colour I sprayed was Sepia.

I moved the newspaper up a bit and put the atomizer into the blue ink. I sprayed this onto the paper, not minding that the colours to the bottom would mix.

I repeated the process using Magenta ink.

The last section was sprayed with violet ink.

I then ‘dirtied’ this section with the colour I started with, Sepia, to bring it together.

Since I worked quite hastily, none of the sections had had time to dry. I now lifted my paper, allowing the ink to run down. When I was satisfied with the effect, I put it aside to dry completely before I continued.

While the ink was drying on the paper, I made a point of cleaning the atomizer very quickly. Wet acrylic ink is very easy to clean, whereas dry ink is tremendously stubborn to come out. To clean the atomizer you can simply wipe the outside down, or wash it in clean water. Then hold the atomizer in the water and spray the water onto a newspaper, the same way you sprayed the ink earlier. Once the water comes out clean, the atomizer’s tube is also clean. (Did you notice how dirty my hand got from holding the newspaper down so I wouldn’t blow it away while spraying the ink?)

Once the background had dried completely, I used a small filbert brush to paint the rest of the design onto the page. I started with Sepia again to paint the mountains and land areas.

I used white ink to paint the buildings and sailboats with their reflections.

I used yellow ink to paint the foliage and then painted blue on top to mix my own green.

I used magenta to put roofs on the buildings.

Finally I signed my name with a feather and black ink. If you don't like the idea of using a feather, you can also use a dip pen.

I waited for the ink to dry completely before I added the journaling with a metallic marker to the project.

Here is what I wrote: “Most places are reached when you physically show up to fill a space. Knysna is different. This is a place you reach with your soul. Here you will linger long after your body has already reached a new destination.” Because Knysna is memory in my soul, I opted to do this page in the manner it was done, which is much more an illusion of the paintings I’ve done than it is a replica of it.

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