By Bob Bahr
“I’ve been doing stained glass as a hobby since age 12, off and on throughout my life,” says Hilary Slater. “When I ink around the shapes in watercolor with a heavier line weight, it really does remind me of stained glass.”
Slater often paints on location in watercolor, then inks at home in the evening. “It’s almost a meditation in the evening for me. The shape of watercolor, when painted wet-in-wet, has always intrigued me. Watercolor takes control in that stage. I enjoy following the paint and the way the paint behaves. When I ink the outlines, it creates a secondary layer of design. The tricky part is deciding which areas to outline. I sit with it for a day or two if I’m not sure. I use four different line weights for inking, from very fine to almost the thickness of a Sharpie. In a clear sky with one cloud, I might do a fine outline. A tree in the foreground gets a thicker line. This creates depth and perspective.”
She uses a variety of pens that produce different line weights, with some inks being permanent and others water-soluble. Sometimes she uses a rigger brush, especially for calligraphic lines like those depicting twigs. “Mostly I use waterproof ink because sometimes I’ll go back and add a wash or make changes,” says Slater. “Sometimes I do use water-soluble if it want it to blend a bit with the watercolor.”
Slater says, “The outlining is a quiet activity; I go off into the zone. So it is more appropriate for my evening time. Anyway, I can’t do the outlining until the painting is dry, so I have to wait at least four hours. At first, it almost became an OCD obsession, and I had to ink the whole piece. People really responded to it. I started with figures, giving outlines to the hair, like a Rasta, and on skin, like tattoos. That got the young crowd interested in it.”
Indeed, Slater has applied this process to a variety of subjects, but landscapes are the most common, given the beauty of her surroundings in Canada. Slater says that in addition to her stained-glass background, she also moved toward the inking of outlines through a painting approach — the artist has applied watercolor paint in lines using the head of the paint tube.”
I also use ink with my watercolours so I enjoyed Bob Bahr’s work. I thought I was alone. I love the tranquility of this process.
Unable to send a sample – but if you go to my webpage @ http://www.janescottbarsanti.com you will see samples of some of my paintings with ink. Look especially for “Wild Flowers”.
I live in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and really enjoy your publication.
Jane Scott Barsanti
I LOVE your paintings! Gorgeous!
These are beautifully unique! Working in multiple disciplines can add a new aspect to watercolor that goes beyond the traditional and that’s so well represented in Slater’s work.