Thursday, March 15, 2012

A simple word, and some chemistry

A simple ATC Today
Bagged watercolour on heavy textured paper (from yesterday) glittery stickers (Bling) and a rub on word.

Yesterday, when I was playing with dropping the water onto the watercolour, I noticed this
See how the purple split into red and blue?  Well being a biochemist and a teacher, I decided to do an experiment I have often done on science nights, although for those experiments I usually use a black pen instead of paint - paper chromatography.
Different colour molecules are different sizes, and due to their size, they with move along a piece of paper wet at one end depending on their size.
I painted some of the paints I used yesterday at the bottom of a strip of paper, then stood the paper up in a tray with a quarter to a half inch of water in it.
The water will slowly soak up the paper taking the colour with it.
I was entranced at this stage, because it looked so like a little landscape with pine trees in front.
This was the result after an hour or so.  I won't bore you with the details, but say that I loved the blue and yellow bits at the top and the little smudge of red.  This one had a lot of black, so I re did it with a bit less
This one wasn't left so long, and the fluting at the top is more pronounced and interesting.
When I do this with children, as I said, the colour is usually a black ballpoint, because with  alcohol instead of water as I used here, the pen ink separates into different colours.  I was surprised that the black water coulour didn't separate, so...
I repeated it with alcohol (rubbing alcohol or methylated spirits)
The one on the left is pretty much the same as the first one with water and had similar colours.  It seemed like the black didn't separate, but when you compare it to the one on the right which was the same but no black, you can see that the black is contributing to the colours as this one doesn't have as much.  Also you can almost see some blue separating off the black on the left, if you look hard.

Anyway, thst was my experiment, and I am thinking about how I could make those fluted lines on a piece of fabric, by repeatedly drying and adding new colour to the bottom.  Of course this is only one brand of paint in a few limited colours, different brands will mix their pigments in different proportions.  I am pretty sure you could use dyes for this as well.

(I used digital images from DSE  from the text me series and from Ellie Lash's freebie Fridays


  1. When dyeing yarn and fibres I have sometimes found that the colours split, particularly when using some of the commercial dyes and compound, not primary colours. While this can be awkward when you want a perfect colour, it can also be used to great advantage in mixed media or where you want a variegated yarn. Anything with blue in it seems to be the main culprit so a purple can turn into blue, red and purple, which I love! Splitting black into its different colours has soooooo many possibilities! Sounds like a cue to get out the dye pot again, lol!

  2. Thanks for the chemistry lesson. This looks like a lot of fun.

  3. I'm always intrigued by colour migration too Vicki. Some of my hand dyes have great areas and I really should put them to good use. Thanks for all the interesting photographs, and the lovely ATC - you know 'bling' gets me every time.


Conversation is important to me. I appreciate all my readers, If you comment, I will reply if an address in available and will visit your blog if that is listed. I do not use word captcha, so, cannot allow comments from anonymous users