Making and Drawing with Walnut Ink

Making and Drawing with Walnut Ink

A workshop with Paul Bowen

Jul 17—18, 2021
9am — 4pm

In this workshop, we will spend most of our time outdoors, but also will have workshop space at our disposal and plenty of time for informal critique and discussion. Class hours are 9 AM-12 PM and 1-4 PM, with indoor space available for the rest of the day for independent work.

Both the experienced artist and complete beginner are welcome to attend and are encouraged to bring whatever drawing materials they own, (see recommended list below), which can be augmented with supplies on hand, if necessary.

Walnut ink is made from the green husk of the walnut, usually the black walnut, in this case, harvested from Paul Bowen’s property in southern Vermont. This versatile medium has been used throughout time by many artists, including Leonardo da Vinci and Rembrandt, and often is used as a substitute for black ink. It also can be used as a diluted wash and applied in layers or reduced and used for calligraphy or other applications. The walnuts for this class were harvested in the fall of 2020 after they fell from the tree. They were stored in buckets, over the winter, and in order to make ink, the class will separate the walnuts from the husk and crush them into a pulp, which will be repeatedly strained. This is a physical and fun process that produces an earthy, viscous, brown ink that can be bottled and used indefinitely; it also can be filtered and refined. The satisfaction of using materials we have made ourselves gives us another layer of connection to our work.

Paul Bowen, originally from Wales is a resident of Vermont, he has been an artist for fifty years working in sculpture, drawings, and prints and has exhibited in galleries and museums both here and abroad. His work is represented in numerous museum collections including The Guggenheim Museum, New York, The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, The Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, MA, and The Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN, among others. He is the recipient of fellowships from the Gottlieb Foundation and the Pollock-Krasner Foundation and has been a visiting professor at colleges and universities including Dartmouth College, Mount Holyoke College, and Marlboro College.  For more information about the artist, you can follow him on Facebook or on Instagram.


  • A variety of drawing paper including sketchbooks of different sizes
  • A portable drawing board with clips
  • Brushes, dip pens including bamboo pens (available at most art supply stores)
  • Portable folding chair or stool
  • Insect repellent
  • Sun hat
  • Water bottle
  • Heavy rubber kitchen gloves



It is suggested you bring something for lunch although there are take-out facilities nearby.

And lastly, please bring a willingness to explore and experiment!