Acrylic ink escaped my radar until Bob Burridge made a video on it. My local Blick didn’t have the Holbein inks featured in the video, so I got some bottles of Daler-Rowney that they carried. I like the Daler-Rowney inks, but the droppers on most of the bottles I bought were duds. My local Michael’s also sells Daler-Rowney. I later bought some Amsterdam acrylic inks at Hobby Lobby, but for how I use the inks I prefer the Daler-Rowney. I’ll get some Holbein acrylic inks once they start selling them in the US.
Since the early 1990s, I’ve been occasionally painting o paintn a type of synthetic paper. I apply the acrylic paints in a kind of layering and reductive technique that I’ve crafted over the decades. The paintings are striking, and the reductive technique really brings out that lovely texture of the synthetic paper.
When I started playing around with acrylic inks, I had to see how they performed on the synthetic paper. As it turns out, the synthetic paper has a better permanence with the acrylic ink compared to the acrylic paint. A typical paint-painting could be subjected to accidental scratching or bumping or other damage where touch-up or repair is needed, whereas you would have to almost intentionally destroy the acrylic ink painting to really damage it. That’s what I mean by “better permanence”.
“Scatterfield” is not a test painting. While it’s small (8” x 10”), it was achieved as I got more comfortable with applying my technique when using acrylic inks.
If you think you have to work quickly with thin layers of acrylic paint, it’s even quicker with acrylic inks. You can’t be messing around. It’s super fast. You have to get a sense for how certain layers and certain colors work, or you have to be willing to accept where the painting takes you. Or you have to throw it away and start over.
Once an acrylic ink on synthetic paper painting is finished, I’ve found it’s best to adhere it to a wood panel using a starch-based adhesive like Yes Paste. You have to use starch-based adhesives with synthetic paper. The adhesive can not have any kind of resin in them or else the synthetic paper will develop “blistering” or “puckering” in a few months, as a I learned decades ago when I took some larger synthetic paper paintings to a frame shop for mounting and framing. For a while, I used to mat and frame the synthetic paper paintings, but occasionally it would “billow” a little on the edges - I was OK with this, but not everybody is - some prefer it to be more “flat” under the matboard. That’s why I now adhere all synthetic paper paintings to wood panels with the Yes Paste starch-based adhesive.