Alcohol Inks with Peggy Stokes | Colour In Your Life

Alcohol Inks with Peggy Stokes | Colour In Your Life


G’day viewers, my name’s Graeme Stevenson, and I’d like to invite you to come on a journey of creativity and learning and adventure through the series Colour In Your Life. There’s an artist in every family throughout the world. Lots of times there’s an artist deep down inside all of us as well. So grab your kids, your brothers, your sisters, your aunties, uncles, and mums and dads and come and see how some of the best artists do what they do. (music playing) (Graeme) Well, hi folks. Well we are in Solano Beach, in California, and I’m with a very dear friend of mine, Peggy Stokes. Peggy, great to be with you. (Peggy) Great to be here too. (Graeme) Fantastic to see you. A very, very interesting lady. She’s mostly been a great athlete most of your life haven’t you? Your whole family’s a bit that way in may senses. (Peggy) Yes, they are. (Graeme) But what we’re going to be doing today, is we’re going to be doing something that we’ve never done before, and that’s actually working with alcohol inks. Now you know, with your athletic background and your sport background, you’re a brilliant golfer, but it was about ten years ago that you ended up having to replace your shoulder, (Peggy) Yes. (Graeme) shoulder cup and had that taken out. And literally after that you found art, you really wanted to do something else. (Peggy) Right. (Graeme) And obviously golf wasn’t one of the options, and you found art, and you found alcohol inks. What’s that been like for you? (Peggy) Well Graeme, you know it actually started with my thirty years of being a photographer. And I think that when you’re an artist, you know, it’s hard to train somebody to see visually. You know, people either do or they don’t. So I was able to transform my background in photography into the desire to try working with painting. So I started wit acrylics, but I found accidentally some fabulous – these alcohol inks such a super challenging, (Graeme) Yeah. (Peggy) and there’s never a dull moment cause one never knows who’s going to have control over what. (Graeme) But the colours are just amazing, (Peggy) They are. (Peggy) They are amazing. (Graeme) and they really of pop. And they tend to do some strange things, and obviously we’re going to see that today. Where one ink will mix, and then the other one will be completely separated. (Peggy) Right. (Graeme) You get some amazing effects with it. So I’m going to step out of shot. And we’re going to see really what I think is an amazing form of art. I think it’s incredible. I’m going to let Peggy take over and we’ll go from there. (Graeme) Okay Peggy, to begin with, we have some special boards and special papers. that you use for alcohol inks. So what are they for a start? (Peggy) Well let me explain one thing before we get into the papers, is that alcohol ink is completely different than many of our mediums. What it is is the fact were you have your oils, and you have your acrylics, or watercolours, whatever you may have – they dry at different speeds. Alcohol ink – there’s not a lot of time to play with it. It drys immediately. If I gave you one little layer of alcohol ink, within thirty seconds it will be dry, But if I layer them than you have to use your own judgement on when you think that is proper to pick it up. Any time you use alcohol inks it needs to be a nonporous surface. One of the most popular is this Yupo made by Legion. I recommend that you use a heavy duty, because it will give you more substantial body to move your inks around. So with that being said, number one, alcohol inks are not very user friendly when it comes to clean ups. So I have my good old Mister Clean bag, box of gloves there and I don’t hesitate using twenty pair in one, one piece of art, because we don’t want to smear one from the other. So lets start by putting the gloves on, and then we’ll pick our colours, and incidentally these are – these happen to be some new ones that came out. They’re pearl but we’re going to go back to the basics. I buy most of my alcohol inks online, mainly because the cost is better, and they’re more available. It’s not, it is not readily available in many stores. So we’re going to stat with some crimson, which is one of my favourites. It’s a very, very deep rich rich, rich red. And you’ll see that as it moves you’ll see as it moves you are deciding what the eventual outcome will be. Now what you want to do, or what I do is I try to get my inks blended together, so that they can start working, and making their magic which is amazing, because it is a very, very fun way to paint, to create. And here you’re going to see right now, here’s your magic. The moving, the venture, the different shapes that you’re creating as you speak, and as you let them move down they obviously become more transparent. So if you also want to do this, this is very important to use this. This is just your regular alcohol out of the drug store. But they do have what they call solution, blending solution. So what you do when you have this, it defuses as you will see. Defuses the ink so now you’re going to have fun, because now you’ve got the opportunity to be more fluid without it drying so fast. (Graeme) And you use Jacouard Alcohol Inks. (Peggy) Jacouard. Its Tim Holtz, basically is one of the ones that is probably the most popular. (Graeme) Aha. (Peggy) But Pinato Jacouard are fabulous; I like their colours.They all have just a little bit different textures to them. I have to admit that when we talked about how dry alcohol ink, how quickly it dries. I’m not real pleased with this piece. So the nice thing about alcohol ink is we can put this one aside. I can always come back to it later, and add more and probably end up with a masterpiece. So lets take another piece of our Yupo paper, the heavy duty, and what I’m going to do is I’m going to use the pearl., we’re going to try the pearl, because it’s something new on the market, and I think it’s something that you would be very excited to try. This one is called – well this is Flamingo, this is your basic Flamingo, this is not pearl. We’re going to go with Flamingo, and what I’m going to do is before I get to far into it, I’m going to add the alcohol to get it blending before it gets too dry, cause that keeps it from drying so fast. (Graeme) You can see in the picture Caverns of Colours, the electric luminosity that you can actually get though the work by doing this. It’s really quite extraordinary. (Peggy) On top of being extraordinary, it is fun. That is the one think about this particular type of art, is that it’s always a surprise. What’s going to happen now? What is going to come out of this? Now this one is making me much happier because it’s lighter, it’s easier to flow. As you can see, the blending solution brings all of it out. When you get into more technical things were you have particular colours, like if you’re commissioned to do something. Obviously that limits your ability to you know, play with different colours, because you’ve been asked to do something for somebody’s particular colour scheme. But here we have very muted colours. (Graeme) And I think the thing about alcohol inks is they sort of paint their own pictures in the end. (Peggy) They do, they do. (Graeme) They’re a bit like clouds, all of a sudden there’s something there that wasn’t there ten minutes ago. (Peggy) As you can see that’s exactly what it’s doing, Graeme. Now while I have this moving, I’m going to go and I’m going to use a darker colour just to see. This is called Deception, hows that for a name? Again, we have a lot of blending solution on here, so it will move fast, and you will see the different textures forming. It will almost try to sneak off the paper, so you have to keep it very, very, very carefully in tune. You can also, I say that you don’t need a brush, you can use your fingers if you don’t like to see these little marks in here. You can use tools – there’s sponges, there’s paintbrushes, there’s all kinds of unique creative ways of doing these so we need to, we need to just keep playing with them until you find something that you find is good for you. And that is all that is important in art because really there is no good or bad in art. I’ve never seen any, I’ve never judged anybody, I’m saying. It’s different, I might not understand it, and I think probably with abstract art that would be the biggest case. Somebody will walk up and say, I don’t get it. And I will say, well your really not suppose to get it. You’re just supposed to kind of look at it, and see what you see. And when I’m speaking of that we’re going to let this one kind of do it’s thing too, because for some reason whether it’s the heat, it’s bubbling more than normal. (Graeme) Some of the things that I love about it, particularly with the piece Black and Orange, it looks like amber, the actual stone amber that you can get that’s out of tree sap. There’s a real three demential effect that’s involved in the work as well. It’s quite amazing. (Peggy) And that is where you can let things clump up, and that’s why I like to work with the gingers and the darker, the darker area. I don’t, I don’t do a lot of pastels. (Graeme) Aha. (Peggy) I like the bright image that that you get from your alcohol inks straight on. And sometimes this is going to be, to be very honest with you, I think with the weather today, this is going to be a multi layered piece before it’s finished. But what we’ll do later, is when we have the bigger bottles of ink, we can put a bigger piece out and show you what versatility you will have trying to let it go. So we’re going to let this one sit here for a second, and see what magic it’s going to preform. One of the things that I was taught in one of my classes, that is some of the basics that we don’t think about is using Dawn, they call Blue Dawn. This looks a little green, but I think they’ve come out with an extra strength one for cleaning, so that is a very, very important thing to have. Again, rubber gloves, cleaning solution, having your Dawn ready. If it gets on your hands, you probably will have to use an alcohol based… So I’m going to take this right now and I’m going to let this dry. And then we’re going to come back later, and we’re going to add more to it, and we’re going to see what will evolve from this particular combination of colours. (Peggy) Well we came back and I was watching this dry, and I think because of the weather here in San Diego today, even though we have perfect weather, it is just not a good day for drying alcohol inks. So we’re going to put this one aside, and try a larger piece, and give it a little bit more room to move. (Graeme) We what type of board are we actually using there, Peg? (Peggy) This is just a regular artists board. It’s a heavy duty, which is nice because it gives you that flexibility that your Yupo doesn’t give. (Graeme) And you do have a number of different surfaces that you can use like linen. (Peggy) Linen. (Graeme) There’s a metallic surface. (Peggy) Yes, I actually did want to mention that Graeme, because I’m very big on recycling. And I found a marvellous framer down here. And what I do is I go down, and of course he has pieces left over, and what I do is he’s generous enough to give them to me, so I can bring them home and try different methods (Graeme) Aha. (Peggy) Some of them are linen, some of them have a deeper texture to them, and of course they’re all different you know, colours. So as you see this dry, if you don’t like this little cloud in here before it drys, as you can see it’s drying rather rapidly. You can go in because you’re going to throw these gloves away anyway. So here we go. As you can see it’s already dried. Now that’s fast. (Graeme) That is fast. (Peggy) That is very fast. So that is why we try to get our colours that we love in seperate places, and then we can use a little bit of the blending solution. And when we use a little bit, what we mean by that is that you can take the blending solution which is right here, and you can probably take something very small. Let’s try this. Excuse me, and I will pour some on this, so we are not directly putting it on the colour. (Graeme) Aha. (Peggy) And let’s see how this works. So now what we’re going to do, is w’ere just going to rub it around see what we got. (Graeme) And you can get some pretty dynamic effects and patterns with the techniques that you use, like the Harvest Moon Through the Forest (Peggy) Yes. (Graeme) piece, I mean cause you can see the forest and then the moon. They’re obviously abstracts, so they sort of talk to you as you go along basically. (Peggy) You’re absolutely right, and that’s what makes it so much fun. (Graeme) So you’ve got another piece here called Lava’s Power, and you can actually see the effect of lava in there. So they sort of they create their own picture in the end really don’t they? (Peggy) Yes, they do, and that’s why, that’s why I think this particular weather that we’re having today – which is gorgeous, but sometimes the inks don’t like it quite as much. They tend to coagulate, which is a good word for it. Now we have something going that’s really exciting. We finally are getting our separations exactly the way we want them. We’re going to go around and we’re going to edge the white areas in, so it’ll pop the other colours out. So lets give it a go and everything is easier than you think, but it takes experimentation. (Graeme) Now one of the exciting things Peggy, about doing this is that you just don’t know what you’re going to get, and all of a sudden (Peggy) I know, (Graeme) this is starting to come (Peggy) I know. (Graeme) together for you. (Peggy) So we will continue to bring these colours around, make them bold, but slightly, slightly just enough that they can blend into the existing pieces. (Graeme) You’ve got a piece here called Moons Away, and you can obviously see that there’s a moon in the picture. And it even looks like there’s a fence in the country (Peggy) Right. (Graeme) with other trees. And it’s an abstract, but the interpretation of the person looking at it, is that’s what I see. (Peggy) That is one of the ones that did actually have intentional image. (Graeme) Well you’ve got the picture Sand Sea and Sky. (Peggy) Yeah, that’s the only one that has actually mixed media. That bottom part is cork, (Graeme) Oh, okay. (Peggy) like regular wall cork. (Graeme) Wow. (Peggy) Yeah. (Graeme) That’s a pretty dynamic piece. If somebody wants to come and see you, what is your website address? (Peggy) My website is really simple, it’s Peggy Stokes gallery dot com. (Graeme) Go in there and have a look at Peggy’s work. It really is illuminating. (Peggy) One of the things that I think that we haven’t delved on today which I wanted to, because it’s a big philosophy of mine is the fact that when I talk to somebody about would you like to come over and paint with me, they say, oh I can’t paint I have no, I have no ability what so ever. Well, that’s not true, because you haven’t tried it. (Graeme) Now one of the commissioned pieces that you’ve done, and you do quite a few of these for your clients is the Fire Sun. And I think that’s an amazing piece with dynamic oranges, and reds and yellows in there. It’s just beautiful. (Peggy) The people that had commissioned me for that had spent a lot of time in Arizona. And I think a lot of my orange images, and red images do bring in the south-west feel to them. That being said, that is usually who will purchase my work, because it will fit into their home. It’s something that they love. (Graeme) Of course. And there’s another one, I think the same client brought it, Where the Green Grass Grows. And it’s a very similar colour scheme that you’ve got before. I recon those two pieces would look great with each other. (Peggy) I think that’s fabulous. I’m glad you saw that, because that was my intention. Okay, we’re going to continue with a few new techniques, and I want you to watch these very carefully, because these are amazing. It’s going to bring all of this in together. It’s going to let the colours flow, so evenly, and then we’re going to disburse them in a very, very small way. So we’re going to take the alcohol ink, and normally a brush, but your brushes will take a beating. So most of the time, I suggest you don’t spend a lot of money on alcohol ink brushes. (Graeme) And the alcohol basically disperses the ink on that behalf. (Peggy) Yes, well there’s already alcohol in the ink. So we’re just adding what they call solution. (Graeme) Aha. (Peggy) So if you were to buy it online they would call it a Blending Solution. (Graeme) Okay. Yeah, you’ve got another piece, that I think you’ve done the same technique with called Purple Haze. You can actually see how that ink bleeds its way through the paint, and separates it a great deal. (Peggy) This alcohol as we go around, it will blend, it will link those two colours out together, and you will have a beautiful, beautiful line going down. It just takes time to look at it, enjoy it, and have fun with it. (Graeme) And you’ve got a piece called Spinning Ink, and that’s almost three dimension. It looks like dried leaves sort of hovering over a red sun. (Peggy) That’s that Crimson Red; it’s a beautiful colour. (Graeme) Now some of the people that have influenced you when you first started, were Leslie Franklin, who you actually saw online. But she was doing these similar techniques to you now, but you looked at that work and said, my goodness that’s something that I want to create as well. (Peggy) Yes, she’s taken animals, something like what you did Graeme, but with alcohol inks completely, were she’s actually done tigers and lions. And it just intrigued me that she’s able to actually draw so beautifully with them, that I really hope I’m able to reach out to her. I called her my mentor one day, and she immediately got back to me. She says: I didn’t know I was ever going to be anybody’s mentor. So we never know in this world do we? (Graeme) No, but you, you’ve done her proud I can assure you. And you’ve also got a piece called Purple Rain, and I don’t think it has much to do with Prince, but it’s one of those pieces that you’ve put together and all of a sudden out of the mist come an embracing couple floating in the clouds. It’s extraordinary. (Peggy) It’s actually Purple Rain number one. Just so that there’s a difference between misunderstanding that I was trying to do Prince. (Graeme) And another piece that I’d like to bring up is the Tears of Joy, Peggy, and that’s a wonderfully bright vivacious, abstract without any doubts. (Peggy) Now that we’re worked today on a few pieces, and we’ve found out that the weather has a great effect on art of any kind. You can’t quit, you have to keep going. If you don’t like the fist one let’s start over. I think this is beautiful. The image is still dripping a little bit, but because it’s warm it’s going to dry. So you’ll have a few tears of joy right there. (Graeme) It looks great, it really does. (Peggy) Today, this is our final experimentation, and it just shows you the different vibrant colours you can get with alcohol inks. I want you to try them. If you need, if you’d like help you have my website. I’d love to talk to you. I love to share what I know, and if I can help you enjoy our… I’m here for you. Thank you, Graeme. (Graeme) Thank you very much, Peggy. And thank you so much for having us here today, Peggy. It was just a pleasure, and your work is so interesting, and so vibrant, and it’s been just a great day. (Peggy) Thank you, it was fun doing it. (Graeme) Okay, Peggy, fantastic day. Thank you so much for having us in your studio. (Peggy) It was fun having you. (Graeme) Yeah, it was a really, really interesting technique. (Peggy) I didn’t know that we did that? (Graeme) It was wonderful. And also, some of your other amazing work behind us as well. (Peggy) Yes. (Graeme) Your quite a talented lady. (Peggy) Thank you. (Graeme) Very creative. And also, as far as the alcohol inks are concerned, this is about, well you can probably get them bigger. But if you look at this, this is probably on the Yupo paper, is that correct? (Peggy) Yes. (Graeme) Yeah, it’s sort of like a plastic paper, but you can see the actual ink as its formed. It’s really quite, quite amazing how it comes about. (Peggy) This is five feet by two feet. (Graeme) Okay. And again, it’s a matter of having the space to let it flow, let it do its thing. I think this would look fantastic above a contemporary sofa. (Graeme) It’s great. (Peggy) So (Graeme) That’s amazing (Peggy) that was kind of my inspiration. (Graeme) So if anybody wants to see what you do, even talk to you about workshops or coming to do, to do your work with you. What’s your website address again? (Peggy) Peggy Stokes gallery dot com. (Graeme) Fantastic. You can come in and see her there. Also, this is a pretty auspicious day. It’s a day that America will remember, and the rest of the world basically. We’re actually filming Peggy on nine-eleven, in the United States. So there’s obviously a lot of news once again on what happened those many years ago. But very, very poignant day, and a day that you, and I and I know that probably the planet will remember. And it’s the stupidity of what man does to each other. (Peggy) Right. (Graeme) It’s extraordinary, and we don’t have to be that way; we shouldn’t be that way. I know that in many sense that we are, but we have to learn to live with each other, and be kind, and respect and love each other as much as we can, and that’s what you do. You pass it on to people as much as you possibly can. (Peggy) I think that, I think the old saying: you treat other people like you want to be treated. (Graeme) Absolutely. (Peggy) And you know, it’s so easy to just smile. (Graeme) Yeah, absolutely. (Peggy) A smile can make you feel really good. (Graeme) Absolutely. (Peggy) Especially, look at that smile. (Graeme) Yeah, we do our best. And if you want to come and see us as well, at colour in your life dot com dot au, we’re most happy to talk to people, about what we do and where we go. And come and see us on YouTube and subscribe to what we’re doing. But it’s been a fantastic trip. You are a darling person. (Peggy) Right. (Graeme) It’s been a wonderful day. (Peggy) Had a good time.(Graeme) And as we always say, before we go – remember: make sure you put some colour in your life. And thank you so much guys. Bye now. (Peggy) Bye. (Peggy) Bye.

18 thoughts on “Alcohol Inks with Peggy Stokes | Colour In Your Life

  1. Contrary to popular belief, alcohol inks can be contained. I've done beautiful florals on my yupo as have many other artists. Those inks are quite versatile and the colors are amazing.

  2. Truly enjoyed this episode. It was a pleasure to see a professional alcohol ink artist. Very different, playful and exciting.

  3. Really interesting paintings. I have to remember to try alcohol inks one day. They look like they create unique effects unlike any other medium. Great episode.

  4. This was NOT one of my favorite episodes, but I do appreciate the knowledge that this woman tried to impart regarding this, a somewhat more obscure (as opposed to more common, mainstream) medium. I wish that she would have gone more in depth regarding how to correct the art she wasn't pleased with.

  5. Most crafters have to be more frugal since alcoholinks are expensive.
    It is great to let go with this medium. And dont think of the costs like this lady can.
    But I like the beautiful flowers and landscapes I have seen people do with less ink.
    I also like to see this medium combined with penwork, which makes it special.
    This here is like paintpouring………..but what gives fun, why not?

  6. Great video….and such beautiful paintings on those walls !! alcohol inks are glorious and very freeing to use , thank you 🙏

  7. I have some inks that I've been wanting to experiment with, so I can't wait to try some of these techniques for backgrounds in my art!

  8. "Разве человеческие жизни, которые забирает алкоголь, и покалеченные судьбы тысяч и миллионов людей не стоят того, чтобы официально признать спиртное наркотическим средством?", – задается риторическим вопросом президент Якутии.

  9. I have played with these to. Fun but I don’t personally see it as art.. because it’s not about using skills and really didn’t learn anything from it. More like kids stuff. Just a good time. Which is fine

  10. Thank you for another great episode 🙂 I just love alcohol inks – they lend themselves to such great abstract art (or not – I tried out a few giant flowers for a pretty good beginner's result) and both colours and effects are amazing!

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