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Gifting the power of the inks – A colourful collaboration

I was recently invited to partake in a wonderful initiative of the Leicester Early Onset Parkinson’s charity, whereby a person with Parkinson’s disease is paired with a local artist. The artist’s role is to teach their chosen medium to the person with Parkinson’s, who will then produce a piece of artwork showcasing their newly acquired skills. A second piece of work is then created by the artist, inspired by the person with Parkinson’s. The two art pieces will then be part of a touring art exhibition around Europe.

When Claire (my friend and founder of the charity) asked me to participate in this amazing collaboration I was deeply touched, excited and nervous. Having never taught ‘the inks’ before I was hesitant about my abilities to do so, but I believed in the project and truly believe in the magic and healing capacity of alcohol inks.

I was paired with a beautiful lady named Hema. We met for coffee last week to get to know each other and discovered many similarities in our journeys – about pain and growth, healing in acceptance, and a mutual love of spiritual literature. She shared so freely with me about her experience and I left our meeting feeling utterly inspired.

Today we met for our first session in which we explored the inks, different colour combinations, different methods of blending and different surfaces. We each created three pieces.

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Just as I was hoping, Hema loved the inks! Like me, she found them absolutely mesmerising, meditative and awe-inspiring. She loved the endless colour possibilities and also like me was drawn initially to the delicious shades of teal, her favourite being ‘Stream’ by Ranger.

All three of her creations were enchantingly beautiful and I was delighted that she felt such an affinity with the inks. Her final piece was a glorious rainbow, magically in the shape of a foot print (incredible how she achieved this!) to signify the array of emotions from dark to light. It was simply gorgeous.

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Hema 3

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Before today, Hema had never created a piece of visual art and now in one morning she has created three! She spoke of the opportunity being a real gift to her, allowing her to express through art what she has been feeling for years.

“Thanks so very much for your support and artistic talent. You taught me so much in a short time – I felt exhilarated, excited and able to tap into an artistic side I never knew I had. I felt amazing being able to make something that can reflect so much emotion.”

It was an honour and privilege to help Hema achieve this, and I can’t wait til next week when we each create an A2 size piece for the exhibition.

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Our morning’s work!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Rainbow Coasters | Alcohol ink art

A few months ago I started using alcohol inks on ceramic tiles with the intention of creating coasters. Each tile is individually painted using alcohol inks and is completely unique – a tiny square of original art on which to sit your favourite drink.?☕ Inking the tiles was the easy (‘ish!) part; the sealing process on the other hand, has been a seemingly never-ending learning curve!

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All the colours!! Created with Raspberry, Sunshine Yellow and Mermaid.

I have researched and researched and researched and experimented with several types of protective spray. The alcohol inks sit on the surface of the non-porous ceramic tiles so sealing them is essential. Without sealing them, they are at risk of scratching off and discolouring. In the US all alcohol ink artists seem to use Kamar Varnish, Kamar Clear Glaze and Kamar UV-Resistant Clear Varnish. These three sprays however, are painfully expensive when sourced online (as currently nowhere in the UK seems to stock them!) so finding a cheaper alternative was a necessity.

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Dandelion and Slate
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Coasters all sprayed and waiting to be resined
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Purple, Wild Plum and Sunshine Yellow
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Wild Plum & Black

After considerable trial and error and asking for suggestions in Facebook community groups for alcohol ink artists I found the answer!! Each of my coasters is now sprayed three times with Plastikote Clear Sealer, followed by three coats of Kamar UV-Resistant varnish. With this combination, the inks are sealed in and the colours remain gloriously vibrant! (Previous attempts with Rustoleum and Ghiant sprays DID NOT work for me. There was serious discolouration, especially with the pinks, and the deep magenta turned into an ugly shade of grey salmon.) After several distraught months and feeling hopeless, I found a solution and I was ecstatic!

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Lettuce & Slate.
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Coasters waiting to be sprayed.

Preventing the inks from fading however, isn’t sufficient for them to be used as coasters. They need to be sealed with epoxy resin too!! This in itself has been, and continues to be, a massive challenge for me. Every day’s a school day, so they say!

Resin is a viscous liquid which can be poured onto artwork to preserve it, as it hardens permanently to create a protective coating. It’s an extremely fiddly, messy and complicated process as so many factors can affect it. It needs to be mixed in the correct proportions (50% hardener 50% resin), stirred slowly so as not to incorporate air into it (thus creating bubbles – bubbles are the ENEMY!) and all done in a room of 23-25°C. It’s sticky, toxic and gloves are essential, but I still manage to get it everywhere! Resin is also really expensive, so mistakes are super costly. Like I said, I’m still learning!

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Elevated coasters waiting to be resined!
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Me and my enormous supply of resin!! It’s most economical to buy in bulk.
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Pouring the resin.

What I’ve learned:

  • Elevate the tiles, so the resin can drip off and not congeal underneath
  • Tape the under side of the coasters with frog tape, as resin hardens and once it’s hardened it’s a nightmare to get off!
  • Room temperature is EVERYTHING! The inks and alcohol isopropyl don’t work properly when they are too cold and the tiles are too cold – the coverage is dull, lumpy and lack lustre instead of beautifully vibrant and opaque. The alcohol also evaporates the ink in ugly patches, instead of blending the colours together.
  • Use a blow torch to burst the little bubbles in the resin, but again, temperature is everything. If it’s too cold, microbubbles form in the resin and there’s no getting those out!
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Frog taping each individual coaster – so time consuming!

On one hand, this has been one of the most frustrating things I’ve ever done. At each stage there has been what felt like an insurmountable hurdle and I have often felt like giving up. Despondency used to be my default and I frequently have to fight those old thought patterns. Somehow though I’ve kept on keeping on and never lost sight of the end goal. I’m so utterly delighted with how these coasters look and can’t wait to start retailing them!

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Which style do you prefer? Left or right?

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A Liquid Rainbow | Alcohol ink art

A couple of weeks ago whilst on holiday I received a message from a lady on Etsy asking if my rainbow print could be enlarged. Hell YES it can!!

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She said she was looking for rainbow coloured art and wanted something that could elicit a happy cheerful feeling and after four days of searching and viewing 4000+ art works from different websites she found me! My artwork was ‘the first one that spoke to her’ and when she found out I could produce an enlargement, she was sold. She was excited, and I was way more excited! Especially because she lives in CALIFORNIA!!

I always scan my artwork at 600dpi with my beloved Canon 9000F Mark II so enlargements are possible without compromising the resolution. The file is then adjusted in Photoshop (exposure, brightness, contrast etc) and it’s good to go! I use a professional printers for all my print work, as the quality of their prints is superb and their colour reproduction is just perfect. Alcohol inks come in the brightest, most beautiful, vibrant colours and it’s fundamental for me that these are reproduced identically.

This enormous print measured 21 x 42″! And as it was being guillotined I couldn’t resist taking a few photos!

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And when I got home, of course be photographed with the print, to illustrate how big it actually is!

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Rolling this beauty was a whole new challenge for me. I’d never rolled anything so big, and have had trouble in the past creasing prints trying to ram them into tubes that were too narrow! This required a lot of patience, a lot of self-belief and a lot of positive self-talk (“I CAN do this” etc!) and with some brown Kraft paper – courtesy of Hobbycraft – and several sheets of acid-free tissue paper, I breathed deeply and rolled.

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It was then placed into a 27″ long tube with a 3″ diameter (essential to have a wide aperture) and some bubble wrap to prevent the edges being bashed around, addressed and sent off via Royal Mail to California! Hopefully once it arrives my client will photograph it on her wall and I can share the photo here 🙂

Until then, here’s a mocked up version of what it could look like!

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As always, I welcome any commissions or enlargements of my work. Please get in touch if you too would love a custom piece for your home, office, cafe or hotel. Contact livilollipopart@gmail.com

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Mermaid & Wild Plum | A colourful commission

Having only been creating art with alcohol inks for a few short months, I was absolutely delighted to receive such a wonderful commission! My client wanted four prints in turquoise, purple and pink on which to place four sparkly gold letters – the initial of each of her family’s names.

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These four pieces were produced using Pinata and Tim Holtz Ranger alcohol inks on yupo paper, then scanned at high resolution and printed onto beautiful, glossy satin paper. Colours used were Wild Plum, Mermaid and White.

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As always, the motion in the inks is truly mesmerising. Magical. How can anyone not fall in love with them?!

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Alcohol inks have a mind of their own and that’s the beauty of working with them. It’s essential to find a balance between allowing them to do their thing, and guiding them gently to achieve certain textures and patterns.

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It’s much harder than it looks, and often the fruits of my labour are far from impressive! I therefore crop sections of bigger pieces and enlarge these to create a whole new piece!

Once the prints had been made, I carefully placed the glittery gold letters in opposite corners. Aligning them all perfectly was pretty tricky, but I think I achieved it!

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Each 9 x 9 inch print was then framed in a beautiful lovingly crafted real wood, real glass frame. I currently use the wonderful Banana Shed Framing Company for all my frames, as Kitty’s craftsmanship is just exquisite!

As a set, I was absolutely thrilled with the result. Looking forward to many more commissions to come!alcohol inkART 12

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The Story Behind the Art

Probably the thing I love most about what I do is learning why someone bought a particular piece from me. The story behind the art. Chelsea Gurss, the lady who bought my beetroot vinyl, wrote to me and I just loved her story so much!beetroot new blog … “I am so excited to get this. It is for my husband’s birthday. He does this thing when a book has touched him in a certain way. He wants a piece of art work to remember the book. He just read Tom Robbin’s Jitterbug Perfume and beets get left on people’s doorsteps. So, I couldn’t think of a better beet piece of art then this. There was a lot of lame beet paintings out there. Thank you for making an awesome one”. ….. “We love our piece. It fits perfectly in our house. Thank you so much.”

And here it is, hanging on the wall in their home in Texas, USA!!

beetroot on the wall

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Where it all began…

For 15 years I didn’t pick up a paintbrush. I was very lost, broken and frightened for a long time. Then one day, whilst living in Berlin, the idea of face painting came to me, seemingly out of nowhere. It felt like a huge risk but I bought some paints and giant fairy wings (!) and very slowly bookings started coming in. Livi Lollipop was born.

I then moved back to England and it kind of snowballed, despite intending to let it drop and move onto different things. People kept suggesting I progress to body painting but it just didn’t feel like the right fit for me.What I really wanted to do was create art that didn’t wash off, but fear told me I wasn’t capable. Self-doubt has always been, for me, more of a deafening white noise than a whisper, paralysing me into doing nothing. And so for years I literally did nothing.

Then a few years ago I started painting canvasses, but only really copying popular characters. I’d always copied stuff as a child so it felt like the beginning again, but with no vision of where it could go and no confidence about how I could develop. Whilst visiting a dear friend’s exhibition I experienced what felt like utter defeat, the voices in my head screaming “You will never do this”. I think she read my mind, or my tears, because at that moment she held my hand and said out loud, “You CAN do this Olivia”.

Of course I didn’t believe her, but a couple of months later I produced this. My first truly original painting – The Mushroom Fairy – who sits on my mantelpiece as a daily reminder that self-doubt is bullshit.new blog fairy logo I literally love her and what she represents to me, and whilst I have no intention of ever parting with the original, 2 years ago I had some prints done that ARE for sale. They are available in various sizes in my Etsy shop ❤

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