Rubbing alcohol, the inedible travesty, has primarily been used by the artist as a cleaning product. However, as the mixed media scene exploded, rubbing alcohol has found a new purpose in the artist inventory. Its water repellent properties can be used to create spherical patterns in acrylic paintings. The patterns are organic and visually stunning and work in a variety of
- Rubbing alcohol or methylated spirits
- Canvas or watercolour paper
- If using paper that is not 100% cotton, gesso/prime your paper
- High flow acrylic paint or watercolours
- If you do not have high flow acrylic paint, you can make your own by watering down acrylic paint you already have. Your aiming for a buttermilk consistency.
- Paint a base coat of acrylic, dry completely
- Generally a lighter colour works best for the first layer
- Paint a thin layer of your watery/high flow acrylics
- You must work quickly, the technique wont work if this layer is dry
- Drip, splash, flick rubbing alcohol/methylated spirits over the wet paint and watch the patterns form
- paint a layer of watercolours over your surface
- Drip, splash, flick alcohol/methylated spirits over the wet paint and watch the patterns form
- If adding a second layer, wait for the painting to dry completely
- Once your painting is dry, try adding more layers of paint to create interesting designs. You can even do the technique again over dry layers.
- Make sure not to use too much alcohol, this can make all your colours mix together into a big mess. Unless that’s what you were aiming for, of course.
- If your second layer of paint is too thin and runs off the surface wipe it away and start again from step 2.
- Alternatively, if your paint is too dry try adding water with a spray bottle, this can add to the aesthetic of the painting.
Here’s some artworks I made using the technique