Hibiscus Blue 5

Monday, August 8th, 2011

Hibiscus Blue 5, abstract art by Amy Crook

Hibiscus Blue 5, abstract art by Amy Crook, $323

In this installment of my Hibiscus Blue series, I decided to go fully monochromatic by using the hibiscus tea rather than water to create my salt pools. Other than the signature, there’s no ink or watercolor in this it all, only the various shades of indigo created by the tea and its chemical reaction to the paper.

When I added the tea to the salt, it was fascinating to watch the droplets of liquid turn from a clear pinkish ruby, to a dark red, then almost an opaque black before drying the deep indigo you see here. It took a long time for both the chemical reaction and for the tea to fully evaporate, but the product is completely unique.

One random thing I discovered when I was working on these pieces — mosquitoes apparently find hibiscus tea quite tasty. I had one that kept circling and landing on the art, drinking from the shallow pool of tea (rather than me, thankfully). Since I didn’t want a bug-print in the middle of my painting, I had to let it go, though I think it fell prey to one of my cats shortly after.

Hibiscus Blue 5, 5″x7″ salt and hibiscus tea on paper, $323, framed, with free shipping.

Something about the way the salt and tea reacted caused the salt pools to form as circles of low, flat crystals with no large central formation, which then tended to dissolve easily when further tea was added to the page, creating irregular shapes of iridescent sparkle on the page.

Hibiscus Blue 5, detail, by Amy Crook

Hibiscus Blue 5, detail, by Amy Crook

I think the simple black frame really sets off the organic, monochromatic shapes, giving structure to the abstract swirls of color. The color seems a bit more accurate here, too; my scanner tends to pick up the least bit of remaining pink in the tea that isn’t as visible to the naked eye — or at least not to my eyes.

Hibiscus Blue 5, framed art by Amy Crook

Hibiscus Blue 5, framed, by Amy Crook, $323

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Categories: Abstract and Just Plain Weird, Daily Art, Series and Books
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