How often do you watch a tutorial, and think “I can do this! This doesn’t look too hard!”. Only to find out, when you try it, it is harder than it looked! Yeah – feathers, not so easy. I spent some time this past weekend watching a tutorial in the Alcohol Ink Society group on Facebook. The very talented Laurie Williams did a tutorial on alcohol ink feathers, showing a few different ways they can be done. I took some notes, and went to paint, acting like I knew what I was doing.
NOT THAT EASY, NOT THAT HARD
Really, if you accept that you’re not doing hyper realistic feathers, and relax, they are fun to paint! First, there are 3 ‘basic’ shapes and ways to paint them. Here they are, on one piece of 5″ x 7″ Yupo.
From left to right, here are the 3 basic techniques. First, paint the shape, leaving a white line down the middle, for the Rachis. Yes – I decided to look up the anatomy of a feather – which I should have done before I started painting! LOL. I think I’ll change LOL to LAL – Live And Learn! After getting the shape down in Raspberry ink, then blend in a darker colour at the bottom – I used Amethyst. Also add in the ‘after feathers’ and ‘downy barbs’ at the very bottom.
For the middle feather, paint a middle line, and then the feathers on each side. Leave a white space on one side, for the Rachis. First paint one colour (Citrus) and then add in the 2nd colour (Stonewashed). Next, go back and blend them together with a brush dampened with isopropyl alcohol, tapping lightly.
The 3rd feather is done by painting the shape, and then filling it in by tapping the ink into the outline. Next, add more colours to the feather by placing dots with the tip of your brush.
I was pretty happy with my first attempts, so I decided to try a larger version of the 3rd feather. Well, they say pride goes before a fall! Just to show you I’m a good sport, I’ll share my next two ‘fails’ with you.
First, the background is created by dropping Sailboat Blue and Lemonade inks onto the 5″ x 7″ Yupo. Next, dip a tissue into isopropyl alcohol, and pounce it on the inks, to lightly blend them. Once they’re dry, use a brush or alcohol ink pen to lift off the ink, in the shape of a feather. Now repeat the steps outlined above, for the 3rd feather. The part that I’m most unhappy with on this feather is the Raspberry dots; the ink was too wet, and they spread too large. For my liking, anyway.
Well, this next experiment reminded me why I’ve never painted a peacock feather before! I tried combining Laurie’s tutorial with a reference photo from Pixabay; I should’ve just stuck with the tutorial!
The background is created with Botanical, Lemonade and Sailboat Blue inks, as I did with the larger 3rd feather. After painting the peacock feather, and several attempts at fixing it, my frustration got the better of me and I spritzed the whole thing with isopropyl alcohol! Sadly, it didn’t improve the painting. I promise to watch the tutorial again (and maybe again) and give this another try!
IF YOU DON’T TRY, YOU CAN’T IMPROVE
Failing is hard. But the only way to learn something new, and/or improve on what you can do, is to try something new! So I’m committed to keep trying, and practicing. And to keep myself honest, I’ll share my fails, as well as my successes! After all, this isn’t some ‘reality’ show that only shows the pretty parts, not the ugly, as well.
By the way – I just signed up for the Alcohol Ink Art Community Spring Conference! If you’d like to find out more about it, and maybe register, just CLICK HERE. I’m looking forward to learning lots of new techniques, and doing some fun painting. Early Bird pricing ends April 18th, just so you know.
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