I have been using my coloured pencils more often recently. For this card I used them to add finishing touches and details after I had painted the majority of the design with watercolours. I used my gansai tambi paints for the watercolour then polychromos pencils for the details. I even wrote down the numbers just in case you were interested but really you don’t need my choices you could just use your own favourites.

One thing I did which worked in my favour was limit my colour palette. I mixed colours I had already used rather than continually adding new ones. This helps with the cohesiveness of the finished panel. I started by stamping the ‘aviary’ stamp on hot pressed watercolour paper in versafine smokey grey. I painted the area surrounding the birdhouse first with blue and green paint. I kept it mainly blue and used a ‘wet into wet’ method, painting around edges first with water then adding paint. A medium sized brush that comes to a good point can help with this as there is a lot of space to cover but also some tricky areas to navigate. Also if your brush is too small or doesn’t hold liquid well you will be forever picking up more water or paint.

Once the background was dry I painted the flower pots in brown and added shadows with the blue I used on the sky. After that I painted the birdhouse, once again with the brown and blue then added black for some darker shadows and definition. I decided to limit the flowers to pink and purple painting the taller plant on the left with a diluted purple paint and the magnolia on the right with touches of dark pink blended out with water. I left the centre flowers to do with coloured pencil. I used the same green from the background to paint the leaves and a combination of colours already used to paint the birds.

I couldn’t decide on a colour for the foreground the pots are sitting on so I used the dirty paint water. It turned out to be a teeny bit on the purple side but mainly on the dirty side so it didn’t clash with anything else. I added shadows with black. With all the basic painting done I switched to coloured pencils to add fine details. I picked pencils that matched the paint colours and went over some outlines or added tiny details inside leaves and flowers.

Thanks for dropping by today.


Stamps: Aviary


Paints: Kuretake gansai tambi 20, 36, 57, 46, 63

Pencils: Faber Castell polychromos 108, 158, 188, 274, 136, 142, 141, 231, 101



7 Comments on “Aviary”

  1. Heidi says:

    So, so pretty!

  2. Pat says:

    This is beautifully watercoloured as usual Heather, and the more limited palette has worked so well here, and great to mix in some pencil work over the watercolouring. x

  3. Karen Jackson says:

    This card is just so pretty, it makes me smile. Whoever else would have thought of using the dirty paint water for shading. Heather you are a genius!

  4. Carolyn L says:

    Heather, you always do beautiful work but describe it in such a down to earth fashion that makes us feel we can attempt to follow too.
    But today made me actually laugh out loud…..dirty water on the purple side but mostly dirty??

    You are truly a Woman of the People!

  5. Gilda (McStamper) says:

    Love, love your very beautiful card. Your coloring is awesome. Your blog is one of my very favorites. Always love seeing your wonderful art.

  6. Geri Clark says:

    Whoever receive this beautiful card will never know that you used dirty water. In fact it matched so well . Your work is amazing.

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