Alcohol ink artist Stacie Raglione conveys an inspirational and motivational message through her colorful paintings that everyone can connect with.
Be sure to visit Stacie’s Facebook page and Pinterest page. The links are located on the bottom of the interview.
Featured Artist Stacie Raglione
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Dave – Hello Stacie, thank you for joining me today. How long have you been creating art and what inspires you to continue creating?
Stacie – Hi Dave, thanks for giving me this opportunity to share about my art.
I have loved creating art since a young child. Like many, I began ‘journey traveling” down a different career path. For 30+ years I had a highly successful practice as a Child Development Specialist/College professor.
In 2006 a life-altering illness forced me into retirement. Art entered as a means to pass time but rekindled my love for creating, and ultimately saved my life – emotionally and physically. It reaffirmed my inner strength, showed me that I can reinvent myself, and thus began my new journey doing something I love. Happening at a time in my life when I felt somewhat powerless taught me to embrace change and possibilities regardless of age or stage.
I gain inspiration daily from nature, the vulnerability in living things, and all that is deemed “different”. I also find ideas from experiencing all the rich cultures I’ve found while traveling at home and abroad. My art reflects these experiences through color, texture, imagery.
I have found alcohol ink to be an amazing medium for this type of expression. The magic of alcohol ink is found in its flow as it glides across a substrate creating beautifully abstract yet recognizable images, each unique, each one of a kind, akin to recalling a memory now hazed by distance and passing time. Because of its (literal) fluid nature, I am constantly surprised by what the ultimate image will become which is a lot like life itself.
Dave – You specialize in original alcohol ink paintings, what is alcohol ink paintings and how did you get started?
Stacie – Alcohol ink paintings are works painted using dye-based ink, think “Sharpie” marker ink. Alcohol ink is permanent dye-based ink, must be used on non-porous nonabsorbent surfaces such as Yupo (a polypropylene plastic like) paper, aluminum, or sealed canvas. The ink is vibrantly colored and 91% isopropyl alcohol and/ or alcohol ink brand specific blending solution is used to blend colors and move the ink on a substrate. These unique properties can provide a somewhat steep learning curve for someone just learning to apply the ink but once comfortable addiction soon ensues.
I found a love for water-based and acrylic ink about 15 years ago. About 10 years ago while shopping for water-based ink, I stumbled upon little bottles of alcohol ink. Intrigued I brought them home and began to experiment. At that time no one had heard of using alcohol ink for fine art. Still, I was instantly struck by the magic it created!
A year or so later I was lucky to find a dedicated Facebook group for alcohol ink art run by artists Karen Walker and June Rollins.
I joined with the other 44 artist members, and my next journey began! Most original group members are still connected through online Facebook groups and we still describe our early selves akin to pioneers/early explorers as we tested and shared everything/anything alcohol ink. Soon the group began to grow, in a few short months reached over 1000 members, and today it continues to grow. It’s pretty phenomenal!
Dave – What do you like most about using alcohol ink as a medium?
Stacie – My art is a natural expression of my interest in and inquisitiveness about all that is different.
I am a self-taught artist and I am by nature a strong-willed Italian adventurer. I like speed, exploration.
I am fascinated with the beauty found within different ethnic groups. I struggle with organization, focus, and attention. All of these personal characteristics and the unpredictable nature of alcohol ink make it the perfect medium for me, regardless of the subject matter, I am painting.
The newness of the medium allows for endless experimentation and possibilities. The ink dries fast so speed is of utmost importance.
I am utterly addicted to the vibrant colors as well as the flow of the ink. The vibrant colors, transparency, and variability of flow can make painting a surprise. As ink drops onto a substrate, it glides gracefully, dancing across the canvas. The blending and layering of colors coupled with the somewhat uncontrolled flow of ink yield beautiful random patterns giving each piece almost mystical qualities, tapping into the curiosity of both viewer and artist.
For example, when painting abstractly, beautifully colored ink drops onto a substrate, randomly glides, gracefully dancing, colors mingling, leaving a trail of magical, whimsical patterns that cannot be replicated. When painting realistically, ink is applied with small brushes in layers and blends, creating beautiful somewhat random textural effects and patterns, bringing a unique quality of life to each painting.
Regardless of the style of painting the common thread is the inability to completely control how the ink will move and blend. Akin to the unpredictability of daily life, this leaves an element of surprise to each final product. The high level of excitement and positive energy I get when painting never seems to fade. Being a somewhat impulsive person, this medium is a great mate. The uncontrolled flow of ink yields beautiful abstract textural effects and patterns and mistakes can often be viewed as happy mistakes that can generate a new unexplored lesson.
Dave – What supplies do you use for your alcohol ink paintings?
Stacie – The supplies I use are varied but come together in a complementary fashion. The 4 basic supplies are the ink, tools to manipulate the ink, blending solution and/or isopropyl alcohol, and the substrate.
The ink can be purchased in either bottle or marker form. Markers are a great affordable way to try this medium and I often have new students start with markers to help learn ink control, draw subject matter or use for detail work when a brush isn’t applicable.
Bottled ink is often sold individually or in 3 packs with some brands labeling it refill ink. Bottles come with an application tip or a dropper making it easy to place on paper. I have accumulated hundreds of brush-tipped markers over the years (Copic, Prismacolor, Spectrum Noir, Sharpie, to name a few) as each provides their own brand-specific unique qualities.
Each brand of ink typically has its own brand-specific blending solution to blend or move ink on a substrate. Although I use blending solution, I more readily use isopropyl alcohol 91% for blending, ink manipulation, or cleanup. It is more affordable and works great for my purposes.
To help manipulate the ink I predominately use small detail paint brushes. I gain great ink placement and control when painting realism and can achieve a variety of textural effects. I also use an air compressor to move the ink, and extremely tiny dental brushes or old credit cards achieve varying textural effects and add detail to my work.
Finally, my substrate of choice is Yupo, a polypropylene paper. As ink is dropped onto Yupo, it comes alive, colors dance and glides leaving beautiful color and textural trails of magic. Other substrates I use are sealed canvas, ceramic tile, aluminum discs depending on the subject matter and effects I desire.
Additional materials I use are sealants for UV protection and to make a substrate nonporous, cold wax, and resin. On occasion, I mix the ink in cold wax to paint beautiful translucent works on canvas and finally, on occasion I may use additives such as pigment powders and glitter. Basically, the sky is the limit when creating with alcohol ink.
Dave – What message do you hope your audience receives from your art?
Stacie – My message is that regardless of age or stage of life, a transformation is always possible. The ending of one journey doesn’t necessarily mean an end to all travel but indicative of new roads ahead. Stay open to the idea of possibilities.
Every day I awake, a new day, my second journey, transformed as a self-trained artist. My goal, to create paintings that show the positive energy and joy I experience because I now allow my new self to be fearless and explore possibilities.
As a therapist, I have always been passionate about helping and empowering others and paying forward. Now art allows me to share my passion. Through my use of color, texture, subject matter, etc my paintings provide clients a window to imagine possibilities with a bit of whimsy to enhance their thought process.
Art is usually chosen to complete a design scheme and is chosen based on the emotion, memories, etc it evokes. The images I paint visually captivate the viewer, allowing the viewer to become connected and imagine a new journey of their own, one that they ultimately get to personalize with each viewing.
Viewers get to relate the whole of my painting to their own life story. As stated earlier, the end product when painting with alcohol ink is often somewhat unpredictable just like life. If my painting provides at least one viewer access to a new journey, right in their own home, I can claim success.
Dave – What makes your artwork unique and separates you from other artists?
Stacie – I am known for my signature style; painting large, vibrantly colored or monochromatic subjects with rich depth, texture, each revealing a bit of whimsey, typically on a solid colored background i.e. white, black, etc.
My style and technique make the ink appear as if it is dancing, bringing life and whimsy to each painting.
Early in my career fellow artists following my work tagged me with the name “Painter of Shaggy Flowers” and it stuck. I render subjects in either a somewhat abstract or realistic style. My realistic paintings always have an area that is somewhat abstract, usually as background fill so viewers can appreciate the beautiful flow of the ink. In doing so it ensures the painting will have the same unique mystical quality found in my other works that consistently captivate viewers.
By allowing the ink to flow effortlessly, colors mingle and form unique patterns that reveal rich textural shape and form. Being able to give up control is a big part of the creative painting process.
My process is like trying to solve a math formula where several factors equal the whole. The first factor combines parts of painting such as subject, colors to use, mood, etc. for which I reach deep into my experiential life to ensure originality of reference.
Factor two is the use of techniques/applications of ink and I use ones that I personally discovered, refined, and add character to my work.
The final factor requires the artist to give up control, is called chance or what artists call “happy accidents”. The unpredictability of this ink regardless of overall skill and control always factors in and presents an element of surprise when viewing the final result and adds the ultimate piece of originality.
Aside from painting, design consultation has increasingly become fun and integral facet to my painting process adding to the uniqueness of each piece. I work closely with all clients, not just commissions, collaborating on room design, colors, subject matter, framing, just to name a few.
I make every effort to ensure each painting suites the design scheme so that it will be loved for many years to come. I am often asked if I can replicate a painting previously seen and I explain that it is not possible. With each piece guaranteed to be one of a kind along with the unpredictability of the flow of the ink replication is not an option.
However, together with the client, we look at ways to incorporate the factors they loved in the other painting and incorporate them into their painting.
I am always working hard to ensure my works are one of a kind and do so by staying true to my style and process. I always paint from personal experiences and references, never looking to the internet at what others are painting.
I learned early in my career the importance of staying true to your own art and style. For example, the success of my first flower series helped get my art noticed on an international level, defined my signature style, and taught many important lessons.
Coming from years in academia I learned to be vigilant ensuring work is original and as such do so for all my art.
When I finished my first flower series, I posted on social media with copyright information. I was thrilled when I saw that my work was so well received and within a few hours of posting, I had several requests to purchase. Then within days, I began receiving messages and calls from other artists and friends indicating that extremely similar works were suddenly popping up from all over the globe. I got a quick lesson about all aspects of the art world, social media, copyright, and selling art.
Dave – When did you start selling your artwork and how did you get started?
Stacie – I began painting with alcohol ink over 10 years ago when I was very ill to pass time. I never went into art with thoughts of selling or creating a new career. I was ill and would sit and paint at a local coffee shop daily before my doctor appointments.
Over time, workers and patrons asked to see my work and the purchase price. I had no idea how to price art so I began to throw out dollar amounts like $10.00 for an 8×10” and people readily purchased these small paintings.
Over time I began to paint larger and refined my technique. Then in 2009/10 with alcohol ink a relatively unheard medium, I unveiled my first series of flowers entitled “Shaggy Flowers”. These large, vibrantly colored “shaggy flowers” juxtaposed a white background, were an instant success.
The unique qualities of these floral paintings quickly garnered the attention of other artists and collectors worldwide and defined my signature style. I sold the originals but due to continued requests, I began to delve into reproduction options.
I soon released my second very successful series came in 2012 called “Sea Life”. A series of 4 large paintings, a fish, 2 of crabs, and a sea horse, each colorfully painted set against a white background. The colorful fish painting sold the day after being posted to social media and to date, I continue to get regular requests to purchase the original or a reproduction. This fish also has been the Avatar used for a few different alcohol ink Facebook groups. Soon after the sale of the fish, the rest of the series sold, again helping make my work and signature style more notable.
My art began to gain notoriety with slow, steady purchase requests.
I began plans to start an Etsy shop, teach online classes, and develop a formal web page but plans were quickly interrupted and put aside.
Six years ago, still recovering from a long-term illness, I was suddenly tasked with taking fulltime care of elderly parents until their passing 3 years later. At the same time, we lost my husband’s mom followed by many of our very close extended family members at a rate of 2 per month over a 3-year period.
Then two years ago, right when we thought we could resume life, we had a major house fire, losing our house and my studio, requiring us to live in a hotel until a few months ago.
During this time, I donated many remaining paintings to local charity organizations working to fight Childhood Cancer, a senior citizen support group, and preventing Child Sex Trade/Exploitation of Women and Children.
Now finally back in our home and my studio, I am ready to regroup and work to reestablish my visibility and get my art seen regularly and in more public formats.
I was blessed to have had Fine Art America feature a few of my paintings over time. Strathmore Paper Gallery online showcased my work and eventually made a request to feature my art but was unfortunately interrupted by the house fire. IndiSole magazine featured several of my flower paintings a few times providing nice exposure, and a few online sites like Spectrum Noir, and alcohol ink group Facebook sites have used one or more of my fish paintings as their Avatar over the past several years.
Dave – Stacie I am so sorry to hear about all of the obstacles you have encountered but I feel that every obstacle we defeat makes us stronger. You are in a new chapter of your life where you have the ability to share your powerful and inspirational message to people around the world.
What platforms do you use to showcase and sell your artwork?
Stacie – To date, I have showcased my works on; a personal dedicated art Facebook page and on a wide variety of dedicated Alcohol Ink Group Facebook pages.
Portfolio sites such as Deviant Art, and Board sites Pinterest and Google, and with each, I have developed a supportive following and continue to show steady growth. I have a few paintings listed on Fine Art America but have in general held off broadening sales efforts due to the challenge’s life tossed my family.
I feel it’s a huge privilege for someone to purchase and invite my art into their home or business space. I value and hope to form long term relationships with buyers and admirers. Due to the numerous challenges, my family encountered, especially being displaced for so long by fire I was unable emotionally to offer my best to clients.
Only recently were we able to move back into our home and my studio, organize my stock, create new work, and with total focus, put together a good business plan. Therefore, I am so excited that in the very near future I will have up and running an art website and Instagram Page as well as an Etsy storefront to not only showcase but sell my work. Soon I will also be listing new paintings on Fine Art America and I am looking into sites similar to Fine Art America to sell my work.
Dave – I am so happy to hear that you are back home and things are going well.
How do you promote your art online?
Stacie – I promote my art online through typical online sites such as Pinterest, Facebook etc. I have gained good exposure of my work on social media group sites dedicated to Alcohol Ink–, portfolio sites like Deviant Art, and fine art and photography reproduction sites such as Fine Art America. Having my work featured in IndieSoleil Magazine, Strathmore Paper online gallery, and Fine Art America has further helped with promotion and I am currently working to broaden exposure and looking for new fun ways to promote online.
Dave – What was the biggest lesson you learned about starting your art business?
Stacie – Learning how to stand confident in both my artistic skill and fair pricing method as a newbie was my first lesson and occurred before I ever anticipated or thought of selling my work.
I realized early on that if I chose to post or show work publicly, I needed to develop a thick skin. I also learned quickly the need to ignore or educate those who feel it’s their job to publicly degrade the artistic skill or value of my work.
When I was very ill and had just started drawing to pass time, I brought a sketch along with me to the college where I was a professor.
As I waited to teach my class, a colleague saw the sketch I had just finished, expressed great interest in purchasing and asked price. When told the price, she immediately began to put down art as a career, comparing it to being paid a great deal of money to color in a coloring book.
I had only just started to draw and had no experience in the field. For the first time ever in my life, I was rendered speechless, overwhelmed, and allowed her tirade, lowered the price, sold it and to this day have regretted the entire experience. I was angry at her and more, at myself for allowing her to degrade my skill and worth. It was, however, a great learning experience that resulted in my confidence growing and to date, I have never allowed it to happen again.
Dave – What tips could you give to new artists who are interested in selling their artwork?
Stacie – I would suggest for new artists to be patient and connect with a mentor who can guide them through the many processes.
Artists need to know their worth and be confident in your value and subsequent pricing.
Use public platforms wisely, educate yourself and use the learning tools the sites offer as a foundation. Be aware of and become knowledgeable of copyright laws to protect your own work and ensure you don’t fall into a gray area when creating or selling your art.
Stay true your own hopes, needs, and desires, educate yourself on all aspects of art from creating to marketing and selling, and don’t be afraid to take risks or ask questions from those who have established success. There are a host of learning opportunities online free of charge regarding any and all aspects of art.
Finally, don’t worry about what other artists are or aren’t doing, follow and focus on your dream.
Dave – Would you mind sharing a few of your favorite creations and share the story behind them?
Pretty in Pink, painted in my signature style was a highly successful auction piece. I received a request for a commission piece to be donated for auction to help support a regional branch of the American Breast Cancer Association. Different shades of vibrantly colored pink, peach, and green alcohol ink were layered creating streams of rich texture bring life to these large Shaggy Pink Flowers. Alcohol ink on 22×26” sheet of Yupo.
Which Way Do We Go – painted in my signature style is number one in a 4-part series depicting Beta/Fighting Fish. Metallic alcohol ink flowing and mingling with shades of blue, green, and yellow ink add rich texture to the features of each fish and add an overall sense of grace and movement to each fish. This painting is 13 x 17” on sealed canvas paper created using alcohol ink.
Middle Earth – painted in my signature style is number 2 in a series of 6 abstract alcohol ink resin pour paintings. These paintings were chosen by NJ State Municipal Officials for public display 2017- 2018 and was recently requested to be retained until the end of 2019. Created by individually mixing different hues of red, pink, blue, white and green alcohol ink into cups containing a 2part resin. Each cup of beautiful translucent color is then randomly poured onto a sealed canvas panel. As the colors flow and intertwine, they leave behind mystical trails of translucent color. Gold metallic alcohol ink mixed in resin is then randomly poured, flowing over previously poured colors, creating rich textural veins that sparkle, adding depth, intrigue, and ultimately command a viewer’s attention. Alcohol ink and resin, on 16×22” sealed canvas.
Dave – What social media sites can people follow you on?
Stacie – I invite everyone to follow along and join me on my new journey. You can view my latest works, learn about alcohol ink, painting techniques, message questions, comments and more at
SCAPE – my dedicated art Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/scapeart/
Deviant Art at https://www.deviantart.com/artcraveing
Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.com/scape0091/
Also, in just a few short weeks I will be available to follow on Instagram.
Dave – Where can people purchase your art?
Stacie – Currently, my work can be purchased via my Facebook Art page and Fine Art America. Viewers can feel free to follow my page as I post new work regularly and albums are set up for easy viewing. All relevant information regarding available work is posted. I encourage anyone interested in my work to contact me via messenger as I am always available to answer any questions and want to work closely with anyone interested in my work to ensure I meet all needs. I am currently updating work on all sites and I can also be contacted as needed.
SCAPE – my dedicated art Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/scapeart/
Please note: In addition to providing art to the general public, I also collaborate with and provide artworks to meet the needs of small business/ corporate design teams, real estate and hotel design specialists, and medical office/hospital facility design teams.
My work will also soon be available on Instagram, Etsy, and online as the development of my website will soon be completed. Anyone interested in making a purchase, discussing a potential commission, or with general questions please feel free to message me anytime. It is a privilege to have my work viewed and enjoy and I am always available to answer any questions.
Dave – I would like to thank you one more time for sharing your artistic journey with us.
Stacie – Dave, I truly thank you for your time, support, and this wonderful opportunity to be interviewed, providing me this venue to further promote my work and have it viewed by a much wider audience.
Dave – You are very welcome.
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