What's On Your Bucket List?

What’s on your bucket list? Do you have one? Seeing the Northern Lights, or Aurora borealis in person has been on my list for decades! One day, I will get to see them – I’m determined. But for now, I’m playing with my alcohol inks trying to recreate the look, on paper. Mother Nature always does it best, but I’ll keep trying.  If you’ve ever seen them, please share!


Thanks to the internet, I know that the lights are caused by collisions of gaseous particles in the Earth’s atmosphere, with charged particles released from the Sun’s atmosphere. The variations in colours are due to the type of gas particles that are colliding. They are concentrated near the north and south magnetic poles. In the north, they’re called Aurora borealis  – ‘dawn of the north’ – and in the south they’re known as the Aurora australis.

When I was looking at photos of the lights, I saw all kinds of different colour combinations, and ways that the lights displayed themselves. So I decided to just go with what I wanted!


For my first try, I kept the inks flowing vertically – top to bottom – of the Yupo. The colours were poured one at a time, while holding the Yupo on an angle. As the ink dripped downward, alcohol blending solution is added.

What's on Your Bucket List?

Ranger alcohol ink in Denim, Amethyst and Patina are used in all 3 of versions. Ranger Pitch Black is used to create the foreground. The trees & bushes are drawn in with a Micron black fine point pen.  To create the lighter spots, I picked up some 99% isopropyl alcohol on a small brush, and flicked it onto the panel.


Keep  in mind that each of these panels have not been sealed; they are just the alcohol inks on Yupo. For this version, I concentrated the colours more, and gave them a bit of direction towards the right. The same pouring action is used as in the first one, but with a small brush used to help guide the sideways flow a bit.  Again, small tree & bush silhouettes are drawn in. I purposely kept them small, with the focus on the immensity of the sky.

What's On Your Bucket List?


For this final version, I poured the ink on all at once, on an angle going from left to right, but keeping the Yupo flat to start. Blending solution is then added, still keeping the panel flat on the desk. To create the movement of the inks, use a long wooden coffee stir stick, held flat against the panel, and move the inks from left to right. As the stir stick is being moved slowly, also move it in and up/down motion.

What's on Your Bucket List?

As the stir stick is wood, it does absorb some of the ink as  you’re moving it along. This of course lightens the intensity of the colour. I went back a few times adding more ink, and dragging it as before.


Here’s a look at all 3 versions together. Would you be happy to see any of them, if the Northern Lights were on your bucket list? Do you have a preference?

What's On Your Bucket List?

I think I like the movement in the bottom one (my 3rd version) the best. On the other hand, I like the colour intensity in the top one (which was my 2nd version – sorry I mixed up the order).  I’d love to hear what you think! I’m definitely going to keep creating these lights, and trying different colour combinations, too! So tell me – what’s on your bucket list? Have you seen the Aurora borealis, or do you want to? One other trip on my bucket list is to go to the Galapagos Islands! One day, my friend – one day! In the meantime- happy creating!


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Written by 

I've always liked to create things, but I'm not a great artist, or sculptor, or any type of 'traditional' artist - but I love to create! I love the satisfaction of a completed project. Whether a card, painting or other project - as long as it can create a smile, evoke a feeling, or some type of reaction in the recipient. I hope you will enjoy sharing my creations, and occasional ramblings; I'd enjoy having you create with me! :)

10 thoughts on “What’s On Your Bucket List?

  1. It is funny how one change in the technique creates three different looks. One looks like an angry sky. One looks like it is raining and the third looks like the lights are just floating. I love all three!

    1. It is amazing how a small difference in pouring creates a different look, isn’t it? I think that’s what makes them so fun to play with (and frustrating!) I’m glad you enjoyed seeing these, Susan – thanks for your comment 🙂

    1. Thanks so much, Jackie! I’m glad you like this colour combination. If you can think of another one, let me know – I’m going to play some more 🙂

    1. Thanks, Kia! I’m looking forward to trying different colour combinations. It’s hard to translate what’s in my head onto paper!

  2. These are all gorgeous, Deborah, but I love the intensity of the top (second version). But the final version is probably the most “authentic.” (At least from what I’ve seen in pictures and videos.) Lovely!

    1. That’s what I was thinking too, Buffy! I’m glad that you enjoyed seeing my version of the northern lights 🙂

  3. Hola, Deb- I always love what you make. I say my prayers in my backyard underneath the stars so I LOVE stuff like the Northern Lights and meteor showers and so on. I would love to visit Northern Alaska to see the Northern Lights, but I especially want to see my favorite animal on the planet—-polar bears. =)

    1. I’m so glad that this project had a connection for you, Mari! I love polar bears too, but I’ve only seen them in captivity. Another bucket list item!

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