Blue vase painted with acrylic inks

sketchook-vase-1Back in April I taught an acrylic inks workshop at the Focus on Fiber Florida retreat in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, and I had the opportunity to extend my stay by 3 days to paint and spend time on my own work.

I made the sketch on the left as an idea for overpainting a piece of red fabric that I had made during a demo.

red-vaseI used a pencil to sketch the vase and plant forms on the fabric and then painted the negative space with darker reds to bring the shapes to life. And I used white acrylic ink to paint over the area of the vase. Because acrylic inks have a lot of transparency the the white just lightened the colors instead of covering them opaquely. The table top is painted with Golden brand quinacridone nickel azo gold which is not metallic but a lovely transparent burnt orange color.

I really like how this red floral painting came out and decided I wanted to explore this theme further, so I started with a piece of blue painted fabric similar to this one painted with an octopus.octopus-on-blue

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The first thing I did was draw a design based on my sketchbook drawing on the painted fabric with pencil.
sketchbook-vase-2 I never worry too much about having pencil lines on my fabric because a lot of the lines end of getting obscured by paint as the painting progresses, and other lines will get covered by thread when I add the stitched quilting designs. And lastly if any pencil lines still show through, I’m not that bothered because it shows the artist hand and I think that’s a good thing. I don’t want anyone to think my work is so precise that it looks manufactured.



Like the red floral painting, I decided to keep the color limited to a blue analogous color palette. Meaning, I would use shades of blue edging into greens and purples.

blue-vase-2I also wanted to add interest with additional textures and patterns by using stamps.

I love using stamps in my work with acrylic inks. I use a combination of carved wood stamps from India, hand carved rubber stamps and foam stamps that I make.

I use a foam brush to apply acrylic ink to stamps so that I get even coverage on just the surface of the stamp. Using a bristle brush can push paint or ink into the crevasses of the stamp obscuring the printed design.

After I placed a variety of sizes and colors of blue and green stamps over the surface of the fabric I began to bring out the shapes of the plant forms.

On the tall central plant, I used green, mixed with colorless extender to lighten the color and make it more transparent, to start to define the petals from each other. Notice that I don’t completely paint over each petal, just enough to bring definition and shading.

Next, I defined the outside edges of the plants by painting the negative space with deeper shades of blue.

I used a bluish-purple to make the tall central plant look more green. Did you know you can alter the way colors appear by the colors you place next to them?

When you see purple your brain actually sees the compliment yellow and projects it back onto the surface making the colors around it appear tinted with

.I felt like the purple was a little strong, so I tamed it down by painting some white over it.
I painted over the top part of the vase with blue, darker near the front edge of the vase and gradating lighter towards the top, for the illusion of depth.
I left the vase completely unpainted, allowing the stamped images to show through. I also did not paint the table top area opaquely everywhere, just around the edges of the vase.

Then I came back in with stamps on the background, but I also stamped a few crossing over the plant imagery. I kind of like the idea that the patterns are floating up from the background into the
I haven’t decided how I’m going to quilt this painting yet, I’m going to quilt the red painting first, and as it progresses I will probably get some good ideas for how to quilt this one. I’m going to use wool-rayon felt as my batting, because I want it to have a bit more stability, due to it’s long narrow proportion, I think regular wool batting might not have enough body for it to hang as straight because it’s a smaller piece.

10+ techniques with acrylic inksIf you’d like to learn a lot more about painting on fabric with acrylic inks, check out my book

10+ Techniques with Acrylic Inks. 

By the way I’m teaching a 3 hour Foam Stamp workshop at Craft Napa. We’ll be using stamps in both my Paint and Print-A-Palooza, and Prayer flags workshops. This is a fun and easy way to create stamps using your own personal imagery.

I’d love to spark your creativity at one of these upcoming events:

January 12-15  Craft Napa – Sign up Now!
Jan 12 Painting Imagery with Textile Paints
Jan 12 Fast and Fun Foam Stamps
Jan 13 Paint and Print-a-palooza
Jan 14 Blessings in the Wind, mixed-media prayer flags

May 5-7 Paint and Print-A-Palooza 3 day workshop, SLO Creative Studio, San Luis Obispo, CA

Keep creating, Judy

IMG_5538Judy is an artist, explorer, image wrangler, knowledge seeker, instructor, speaker, creative alchemist, and purveyor of inspiration, helping others channel creativity on a daily basis.


3 Responses to “Blue vase painted with acrylic inks”

  1. These are both lovely, Judy. I particularly love the effect of the white on the red and can’t wait to see how stitch transforms them again. Have a lovely weekend

  2. Marjorie says:

    Hi Judy. Many thanks for such an informative post. I’ve got your book . It’s great! I’m a beginner at all this… It’s so exciting to see what the possibilities are.
    I think your work is beautiful.

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