How Did Watercolor and India Ink Become a Thing?

Watercolor with India Ink wasn't where my style started, in fact it started with realism.

This is the first watercolor with India Ink that I did. And there's a story behind it. 

Back in 2009, I had been painting for about 4 years and had a pretty established style, still animals and florals, but vibrant, saturated realism. I also did large format, multi-panel watercolor pieces on textured gesso.

It took months for me to finish pieces and lots of focus. At the time my husband was bedridden from a back condition called discogenic disease, and it meant he had 5 discs in his lumbar spine that were ruptured, bulging and calcifying. He was in constant pain. So I would sit in our room and keep him company while I painted. 

Things were difficult then because we had three kids and he couldn't work. About then in 2009 the housing crisis hit and we were having difficulty making our mortgage. The sheer stress and frustration of trying to keep from losing the house, which was the only thing that made our life any kind of normal for the kids,  made it so that I couldn't focus on painting. I needed it, and yet I couldn't focus (it was also about this time that I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder). 

My First Ink

This piece is a piece of rage, frustration and stress. Throwing everything at the paper, the water, the pigment and watching it flow across the top of the sheet, the pigments mixing, the water pooling. Somewhere in there, looking at the movement, I found peace, a place to breathe. 

At first, my pieces were suggestive or implied and not outright clear that it was something (see Turtle Implied), but over time, the subjects became more and more defined. More ink artifacts found their way into the pieces and what was born out of anger, frustration and stress became something that exuded and imparted a feeling of happiness and whimsy.

Below are some of my earlier pieces, some before this style, some the infancy of this style:

Gallery of pieces past

Purple Flowers

stormy sky

joshua trees

sumatran tiger

clouded leopard

panther chameleon

(Yes, that is me)

white rose

descanso dahlia 01

poppy duo