Crystal is a member of our Goulet Nation Facebook group and has shared her amazing work in the group. We asked her to contribute a guest blog post sharing more about her technique so we all could be inspired! We invite you to join our group as well for conversation and inspiration related to all things fountain pens.
My journey into “Inksploration” (to borrow a Goulet Pens phrase), started with a drop of ink remaining in a Goulet sample vial. One of my other hobbies is doll photography and diorama making, so I have a number of small canvases at hand. Being the thrifty person I am, I couldn’t let that beautiful drop of ink (Diamine Citrus Ice) go to waste so I grabbed one of the canvases and dropped the ink onto it. As the ink dried, it changed, getting a lovely halo around the edge and some beautiful shimmer concentrations. I loved the effect so much, I added drops of other inks, until the canvas was covered in bright splotches of color. It made me happy and appealed to my thrifty nature.
A few weeks later, when sakura (cherry blossom) season arrived, I was so captivated by the beauty of the blossoms that I wanted to try painting them. The image looked, to my husband and I, like the blooms were engaged in a dance of joy. He took it to work with him to brighten up the strictly utilitarian Japanese job environment, where it proved to be quite popular and lead to requests by co-workers for similar paintings to tape to their monitors. (Personal items were forbidden from the desktops, so the monitor was a “safe place” for color.) Thus began a two-week marathon of learning watercolor techniques via YouTube videos and applying them to paper cut small enough to tape to a monitor. I must have produced over 150 tiny paintings over the next two weeks, sending them with my husband to pass out to homesick ex-pats and Japanese folk who just love color and tiny things.
The process of painting with ink is an excellent way to get to know what the ink is capable of doing. Adding water can cause the dyes to separate as the ink blooms across the paper, which is one of the primary reasons I prefer using them over traditional watercolor paints. My technique is referred to as “wet-into-wet”, meaning I add water to the paper first, then apply the ink and allow it to blend or spread on its own. This gives a sense of freedom and uniqueness to each piece, as even using the same ink will give different results each time. I often limit myself on how many inks I use in a single painting. Many are done with one ink, some are two or three, but all tend to be very simple compositions. I like to concentrate more on landscapes, with a narrowed focus on texture and ambiance over detail. I’ll use a very thin poster paint for a spatter of stars, or a white gel pen for a wave break, but otherwise, it’s only ink and water. My primary motivation though is color. Color warms us, cheers us, soothes us, takes us back in time. The various shades and vibrancies are associated with holidays, seasons, and moods. Some are vibrant and some are subdued, but they all do one thing: make us feel.