Monday, January 1, 2018

Walnut Ink Drawing

River Cliff-Walnut Ink on Paper 8"x10"
     Walnut ink has me fascinated with it's gorgeous, rich color. Our refrigerator has a shelf of jars full of dark brown ink. Drawing is fun, but the process of making walnut ink connects my act of making a drawing back to the land with a deeper, felt connection.
     First, drawing with walnut ink means thinking about the drawings well ahead of time. The walnuts hang green on the trees, the weather changes, the leaves start to fall. The walnuts continue to hang on the trees. Finally they drop to the ground and can be gathered. The aromatic greenish brown balls are scattered in the driveway, and we drive over them day after day until the softening husks break away from the walnut shell. It is not necessary to drive over them, but it speeds up getting the husks off the nutshells.
     The darkest pieces are put into an old kettle with some water and simmered until I remember to take them off the burner. This is usually several hours. After cooling, the ink is strained and bottled with a bit of vodka to preserve it. Over time mold may grow in the ink, so I keep it in the refrigerator to extend the shelf life. But if it starts to mold, the film can be scraped off the top of the liquid.
     Walnut ink can be used with brush or pen nibs, mixed with watercolor or other inks. I'm not sure how lightfast this ink is, so recommend any drawings made with walnut ink be displayed out of direct sunlight. That's a good idea for any drawing.
   
Warner Creek Standing Rock 8"x10"
     The warm, natural tones of walnut ink seem just right for drawings of the rocks, trees and land that are part of Walnut Tree's home. Check back for more walnut ink drawings through the winter months.
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