We call them “happy accidents”. You’re trying to do one thing and something else happens and, hey, sometimes it’s really quite interesting! My last playdate group seemed to inspire me towards a couple of happy accidents.
By accident, I was putting some heavy body gel around the edge of a photo so the edge is flat to have an example for the following night’s playdate.
I took my favorite big metal palette knife and was in a bit of a hurry while “smoothing” the gel into the edge. I accidentally scraped the photo. Since this was being prepared just as an example, I thought: why not play with that? So I intentionally made some more marks.
As it happened one of my playdate friends had been wondering earlier that week on how to manipulate or “distress” photos to make art. She had brought a lot of photographs to our first session saying she’d made some for cards but these were ones she didn’t want to use. Possibly she was looking at those photos and wondering what to do at the very same time I was “inventing” a new technique–which, by the way, she really liked and then went on to use some steel wool to scrape away too.
It was she who explained what I’d done – the gel had softened the image and then scraping into it, I could make marks. You can also manipulate photos using bleach, bleach pens or just soaking in water for a while.
And then at our final session, I was showing the lovely way that acrylic inks can spread when you spray with a little water. I had just put that piece aside to show some other things (like plaster, fabric, string and ribbons) that can be glued on to create texture. I had taken the cellophane wrapper off a roll of ribbon and it kind of floated onto the wet ink. It took quite a while to dry as the ink had a lot of water in it, but over time, the ink moved to the edge of the cellophane and also created some other patterns.
You can also use a straw to get the ink to move around.
I recommend the FW acrylic inks. I usually buy from Opus but they’re available elsewhere too. There are 38 colours (oo! ah!) You’ll find a colour chart here.
I drop or make marks directly from the dropper. Sometimes I mix with water in another jar as they’re very intense. The pearlescent (“shimmering”) ones are lovely, but to be used with discretion. Too much sparkle and you lose the impact.