Spilling India Ink on the carpet is bad! Really bad. And pity, such a waste of ink. Or does it have to be wasted? Nah.
In 2001, I was doing a piece in my sketchbook using watercolors and India ink. I was using both a brush and sketching pen set (the kind with penholders and nibs). I had absolutely no plans to include such a large dark area in it. If not for the spilled ink, I never would have included that. Ultimately I think, and others have commented that, the large darkness within this painting adds a great effect to it. It probably wouldn’t have been all that compelling with out it.
The ink washes added due to the spill took the painting to a darker and more sinister place, more inline with the sort of painting I was in the mood to do. However, I’d been hesitant to use any large amount of ink. Never knew when I would be able to get my next bottle of India ink. I had no clue where the art supplies lived in proximity to where I lived. So, while I was certainly toying with the idea of foregoing a bit of food to replace my ink as randomly needed, that only works if you know a good place to regularly pick such things up.
Here’s how it went down:
- In the mood to paint and play with my pen & ink supplies, I pulled out my sketchbook, India ink, watercolors, paint brushes, sketching pen set, a paper towel, water cups, stuff like that. The memory is a little fuzzy in some areas of what happened.
- Lying on my belly on the floor of my bedroom, I began painting the basic figure of the girl, next I painted in the man. I did the watercolor background washes then. Then I painted in the basic shapes of the stairs. Since then, I’ve heard the washes are supposed be done before the main figure work, as ever I am the backwards sort.
- Then I opened the ink I don’t think I put the ink into my lovely sturdy old glass ink well, I recall it being there against that hideous orange carpet with me, but I can’t recall exactly how the ink spilled. I do remember it wasn’t long after I began sketching in the inked details with my pens.
- Ink spills, I freaked out for a moment swearing, crying, lamenting the loss of ink. I used my paper towel to try and blot the ink out of the carpet. Then I ran to my little bathroom to grab the toilet paper roll, not sure how much I’d need.
- As I stared at the toilet paper soaked in ink and I looked at my picture sadly, I thought, screw this I’m not just wasting all this ink like that! So I squeezed some into my ink well and most I just applied directly to the painting with the toilet paper straight off the carpet.
- I blotted as much out of the carpet as I could, my trash can nearby, for the used T.P. (that sounds wrong, ignore how wrong that sounds). I was careful not to rub I didn’t want to make the carpet worse. My fingers were covered in ink. I used my fingers a little bit on the painting too, just a bit.
- I stopped messing with the carpet for a minute. Using a paint brush to enhance and blend what I applied with the TP.
- Then I went and got a bowl of clean water, putting in a few drops of dish soap and finished cleaning up the floor, still using a little TP & paper towels. I finished that as quickly as I could, wanting to get back to the painting. The ink stain wasn’t too noticeable, well, not if you didn’t know exactly where it was.
- I finished putting in the details with pen, did some very light ink washes using a brush & the carpet-recovered ink. There was surprisingly very few little hairs to pull off the art.
Tell us a little about your own experiences with project near disasters.
Have you ever spilled India ink? Or some other liquid art supply? What happened? Did your art get ruined? Or were you able to make the best out of your unfortunate mess?