It’s a New Year. Try something different.

I arrived at class one day with a new canvas and no plan.

I have several methods of getting myself going, one being abstract drawing with black permanent ink drawn into a canvas sprayed with a fine mist of clean water on the surface of the canvas. Lay the canvas flat to do this, then lift and gently tilt in several directions if you want to encourage the ink flow. Add more ink as you go.

When you begin to make marks, the ink detours into the spots and lines of water and makes an exciting image. You can blow lines out with a straw or spray on more water for some dramatic effects. You can use any tool and do anything you wish to manipulate the ink. My favorite ink drawing tool is a dried twig.

At this point, you just watch shapes and marks as you make them. The ink will follow the water and create fascinating shapes. Try to leave plenty of white space.

You can keep the composition pure abstract or, as I did here, find areas that remind you of something representational. “Fox in the Hen House”, 16 x 24, took only a few added marks to suggest birds’ heads, wild flapping, and the fox charging into the scene from the bottom left, tail high and ears cocked.

I like to drop in spots of color toward the end, to add interest without actually defining shapes.

“Fox in the Hen House” is in a private collection in St. Petersburg, FL.

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