Ink Paintings


Beakers, Emily Boylan, Ink Painting, 2017


Ink painting was my first love at art college. My first drawings were mostly line and wash, and what appealed to me most about the ink was the way the control of the line could interact with the unpredictability of the wash.

I worked at at art shop during my time in college, so I had a chance to try out many different brands. The main thing I value in my choice of both ink and paint is permanence, vibrancy and consistency of colour.

As time went by, I began collecting inks too. Acrylic inks are a more modern invention than watercolour, but I found that through combining both media I could achieve a greater ranger of colours in my overall palette.

Sennelier also have a particularly lovely range of colours in their shellac based artist inks, with a slightly more old-school feel to the colour palette. A particular favourite of mine in the Sennelier range is Sanguine, which is a muddy rich burgundy colour, and I also love the yellow-green which seems to almost emit light itself, it is so vibrant, and wonderful for portraying foliage or grass in summer sunlight.


Seine, Emily Boylan, Pen and Ink drawing, 2016

During a trip to Paris on New Year 2016 I was lucky enough to visit the a Sennelier shop on the banks of the Seine- it was a beautiful little shop, with intricate dark wood shelving housing a huge collection of fascinating, thoughtful art supplies. I would have liked to buy everything, but on that occassion settled for a few brushes, watercolour tubes and pens.

In terms of my work, I use watercolour and ink in varying ways- my abstract works are a chance to get a bit more playful and allow the medium to interact with itself in ways that are interesting. These are experiments that won't always work- but when they do, I feel the effects are worthwhile.

In terms of transparency and layers, I like to emphasize that quality in the watercolour by repeating my lines over each other- like in 'Beakers' above. When I work on a piece like this it is really many drawings, one over the other, and depending on the drying time some will blur together and some will sit on top. In this way, the painting is not only about the subject, it is about the time spent overlaying the images and the movement of the drawings echoes the movements of everyday objects through time.


Victorian Carriage, Emily Boylan, Pen and Ink, 2017

I also make a lot of work that is rooted firmly in my imagination. Some of the most beautiful illustrations I've ever seen were in children's books many years ago, and artists like Quentin Blake and Shirley Hughes are still an inspiration to me. I love to work this way because I can make the colours that bit more vibrant, and the composition exactly to my liking. I will draw inspiration from the real, of course, but there is also that idea that Art is the chance to make things that little bit more ideal, or at least as I would ideally like them to be.

In some of my more minimal works, like 'Ferns' I am repeating the same basic image, and it will almost become a motif- I've done similar images with Quills and other objects. As a starting point, there is something in the aesthetic of these objects that appeals to me, but also there is an almost meditative practice in placing the objects laid out in neat rows. There is a soothing opportunity to create a little bit of order in a world that often contains more of the opposite.


Ferns, Emily Boylan, Ink painting, 2015