During August Rachel Greig from Darkroom Door has been hosting a challenge with prompts everyday to be interpreted in any artsy way you like. I haven’t managed to participate regularly but I have enjoyed making a few simple cards along with some gel prints and a journal page.
The card above was made for the silhouette prompt. I painted a watercolour background, sprinkled salt and then drew the silhouette flowers after the watercolour dried.
This one was for the words prompt. I am such a reader these days I thought of books when I saw the prompt. Once again I did a watercolour background then add the Darkroom Door book stamp and drew a book at the bottom.
The next prompt I followed was birds. I cut body, wings and beak shapes from gel print pages then glued them over a pale watercoloured background
All these three cards began with the same masked and painted background. I found it was a simple way to start the projects and they are all one layer on hot pressed watercolour paper.
The prompts featured here are all from last week. I haven’t participated over the last few days but I plan to jump in again today with the butterflies prompt. If you are interested in seeing the wide range of projects hop over to instagram and check out the #artfulaugust and #rachelgreigartfulaugustchallenge
See you soon.
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This is the last of my birch themed pages, photographed before I added all the to-dos and wishes. We are two thirds of the way through March and I’d like to say I have done two thirds of the things I added to this list but sadly that is not true!
I used the same technique for this page that I described in previous birch + sunset posts here and here. One unexpected outcome of reusing the post-it tapes for four different pages was some pretty blue, pink and yellow tape to use on another page! Seeing I am primarily a card maker I plan to create a card using this technique and hopefully a video to show you the process.
Thanks for dropping by.
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I’ve continued the birches + sunset theme on the month record spread. This is the page where I record day to day things, some in advance as reminders, but mostly afterwards so I can look back and see what I cooked last week or how long it is since I went for a run!
As I mentioned on my title page post last weekend we still have snow around here so this theme is currently appropriate. In the last week however we’ve had several warm days so I am thinking April’s theme might include flowers or leaves! For this spread I used the same method as for the title page where I masked trees and branches with post-it tape, masked a hill at the base then blended memento ink over the masking to create a sunset sky. After removing the post-it tape I outlined the edges of the the trees, added markings and branches in black then shading with a grey marker.
The layout is one week per trimmed page; you can see on the photo below that I cut off a portion of two pages so I would have ample room to write daily notes and still see the birches from each page.
I reduced the amount of habit tracking this month as I already have app on my phone to record water consumption and one for any exercise I do. Tracking things in two places isn’t really worth my time. I mentioned when I first wrote about this bullet journal that I want the practice of bullet journaling to help me stay on top of things rather than just be a pretty notebook. Do you keep track on paper or digitally or maybe a mix of the two like me?
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Although it’s been a few weeks since I posted any bullet journal pages here on the blog, the journal is turning out to be a handy record and planner for me. So far I have done more recording than planning as I am still working out how to use it for keeping track of ongoing projects. I have been recording all the evening meals we’ve been cooking and eating which is really helpful when I am trying to work out what to make next. All four of us take turns cooking which I love but it is sometimes a little tricky as we have a range of food sensitivities and allergies to take into account, some with serious health consequences.
As you can imagine I am also keeping track of books I’ve read and thinking about keeping track of podcasts too. Some podcasts are long time favourites while there are others I subscribe and unsubscribe from as my interest waxes and wanes.
But here is my March theme, a sunset behind birch trees in snow. I have been seeing themes on the interwebs featuring blossoms and flowers but that is not a March thing where I live. We still have plenty of snow and have been enjoying some amazing sunsets so I decided on one more wintery theme.
I masked the edges of a rectangle with post it notes top and sides then cut a curved edge along one for the bottom mask. I masked the trees by cutting strips of post-it tape in different thicknesses including some very thin scraps to lay on the page as branches. With the masks in place I used blending brushes to apply the inks shown below to fill the sky. To get some pattern in my sunset sky I tore some post-it edges and blended ink over the top of the first layer along the torn edges moving them around to get the look of clouds.
Once all the sky was done I removed the bottom mask and put a different one in place to blend a snow bank shadow. I then removed all the tree masks and drew edges and black marks with a black Pilot fineliner then some grey shadows with a staedtler brushpen.
I’ll be back next weekend with other birch sunset themed pages. I’m continuing to be a fan of the Dingbats notebook I’m using and was given another for my birthday which is just as lovely. They have just this week come out with a new, bigger style with thicker paper, so who knows I might have to let that one join the family one day too!
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A few weeks ago I posted a floral wreath I’d painted and asked your opinion on adding a sentiment. In the end I didn’t risk stamping or writing one because I didn’t want to spoil the finished wreath with an inky mistake. So….can you guess why I have a large sentiment strip stuck across this floral circle I painted?
To create the floral circle I drew a circle in pencil on cold pressed watercolour paper then painted liquid frisket (masking fluid) to a width of about half an inch around the outside of the circle. I used my Sennelier watercolours to paint three large roses first then moved onto other flowers, leaves and berries until the circle was fairly full. With a random design like this one whether it is painted or stamped it makes sense to start with the largest images to make sure you can fit them in then finish off will little leaves, dots or tiny flowers to fill any spaces at the end.
Once the painted circle was complete I practiced a ‘happy birthday’ greeting on scraps of watercolour paper with my nib pen and some black ink until I was happy with the size and style. I had only written 2½ letters before a large blob of black ink landed on the panel where the letter ‘p’ should have been! As you probably guessed that is the reason I have a large birthday banner obscuring some of my pretty flowers.
I drew a few Christmas thank you cards on the weekend to give to some friends. What started as a fairly quick exercise became frustrating as I picked up red stain on my fingers and proceeded to print it on the panels as I put the cards together. I think all the cards ended up with little red smudges here and there. One had to be remade because I made such a mess of it.
I drew the holly with the elegant writer pen from Speedball which bleeds pink and green colour when wet. I added distress stains to the inside of my leaves and berries which blended with the colours from the pen to create some multicoloured leaves.
I did the hand lettering with a different pen and with varying levels of success as far as keeping slope even and thick and thin happening. It’s all good practice! All the panels are popped up on fun foam on watercolour paper card bases.
Inks: mowed lawn, peeled paint, festive berries, barn door distress stains (Ranger) Elegant Writer (Speedball) Fudenosuke brush pen (Tombow)
Cardstock: Fabriano 100% cotton hot pressed watercolour paper, Canson cold pressed watercolour paper
Thank you for your response to the viewer’s top ten from 2015 and thank you for the encouragement to keep sharing here. I love reading your comments and visiting your blogs and I am hoping to respond to your comments more in the coming year because I enjoy the conversations that develop from time to time. Sometimes they are about techniques and products but often they are about memories, traditions and experiences. It is great getting to know you better.
I whittled my favourites down to 10 but there were a few more I wanted to include. The pink one I shared yesterday was a favourite but it already made one list! The cards included below are in the order I originally posted them and a click on the photo will take you to the original post.
This one is a favourite for what is happening in the background as well as the foreground.
I used a die cut mask for this one and managed to make the leaves look like eucalyptus which of course reminded me of Australia.
I worked on this one in portrait orientation then once I was finished realised it looked better landscape.
I love Queen Anne’s Lace so it is not surprising to find some in my top 10.
This is just one of those watercolours that worked above and beyond my hopes and I will never manage to do the same again! My mother has grown roses this colour so that made it extra special.
A simple design and some bister made me happy. (and of course you can never have too many tree stamps!)
After I had created quite a few bister cards I borrowed some brusho and the love affair with watercolour powders continued. “Finding” a garden in a random pattern of brusho was so very satisfying.
One of my goals this year was to paint more from scratch. I felt like I had not done much but when I looked through this year’s posts I saw some that were entirely my own design, like the one above, as well as some where I combined some stamping with some hand painting as in the one below.
My recent series ‘Stamping the stories’ struck a chord with many of you and I enjoyed the conversations it generated about favourite stories.
I only just posted this one but it is definitely a favourite. I will be doing more with this vintage colour scheme and hand lettering in 2016 so stay tuned.
Thanks for indulging me as I shared some of my favourites. They certainly represent some of the techniques and products I have enjoyed this year as well as some of the subjects I love to include in my projects.
City sidewalks, busy sidewalks, dressed in holiday style,
In the air there is a feeling, of Christmas
Children laughing, people passing, meeting smile after smile,
And on every street corner you’ll hear :
Silver bells, silver bells
It’s Christmas time in the city
ring- a- ling, hear them ring,
soon it will be Christmas day.
Stamps: Skyline (PB)
Inks: Vintage photo, Black soot distress inks (Ranger) Elegant Writer (Speedball)
Cardstock: Fabriano 100% cotton hot pressed watercolour paper, pink & black cardstock
I am back with another wreath and swag today but hand painted this time. The stamped ones were a good warm up for getting the fullness and balance right. I began the wreath by tracing a circle onto the watercolour paper which had masking fluid splattered on it. The pencil line was a guide for me which ended up being painted over by the time I had finished. I painted a soft circle of blue paint first and while it was still damp I painted some green needles and brown pine cones shapes which ended up as soft muted shapes because it was wet into wet painting. I let the panel dry before adding more needles, some holly, berries and definition on the pine cones. I kept painting elements until the wreath shape looked full and even, added some fine green paint splatter then removed the masking fluid to reveal some tiny white spots.
The technique for the swag was similar but instead of painting pine cones in a two tones of brown I did roses in two tones of pink. You can see the soft shadow shapes under the wreath that were painted while the blue background paint was still wet. I decided to keep these two cards flat with mats but no bows. Thanks for your kind comments yesterday on the stamped wreath and swag; I’d love to hear if you gave the technique a try by pulling out some pine needle and pinecone stamps from your own stash or if you tried painting one.
Cardstock: Fabriano 100% cotton cold pressed watercolour paper, dark green card stock, gold card stock
Also:Water colour with Sakura Koi watercolours, Winsor & Newton masking fluid
The brusho magic continues as I said it would! I keep referring to it as magic because you really don’t know what is going to appear when you spritz water and add the brusho powders. How much water, how much powder, which you do first, how much you continue to add – all these factors will affect the outcome. The unpredicability of the medium did make my live brusho periscope yesterday a little nerve wracking but I still enjoyed myself with those who were able to join me live. It will be available for a bit longer on Katch. (wish you could fast forward through the clumsy beginning; I promise it gets better!)
My process for arriving at the finished leaf card involved several steps beginning with the random scattering of warm toned powders plus a little green. I spritzed, sprinkled powder and repeated until I had pretty patterns appearing then I left it; I walked away and went and ran errands so there was no temptation to fiddle with it before it dried. When I returned I looked for leaf shapes or sections of leaves that had occurred randomly in the panel, then enhanced and completed those shapes. The painting step did take quite a while and involved stopping and starting. I tried to move the existing colour on the panel with a brush as much as possible but sometimes added a bit more brusho where needed. There were two small brown leaves that emerged in the bottom right hand corner so I painted a couple more to make a little pile. I add veins to one leaf with a craft knife then added brown paint which settled in the cuts but it turned out darker than I wanted so I switched to a watercolour pencil to add the veins to the other leaves.
The sentiment is hand drawn with pen and ink, something I have been practising lately. Unfortunately it is not easy on my hands so I can’t do too much. I did learn traditional calligraphy years ago so some of the concepts are familiar and others are new and tricky!
You may have heard that Jennifer McGuire is hosting a Share Handmade Kindness Campaign during November at present and challenging card makers to send their cards out and make a difference to someone’s day. I don’t need the reminder to do the handmaking but the actually sending through the mail is a challenge I am taking on; I want to get this card in the mail today! Susan Raihala is challenging us to make and send Gratitude cards right now also. And if you’re forging ahead with your Christmas cards don’t forget the Caring Hearts card drive.
Thanks for dropping by. There will be a break from the Brusho tomorrow while Gansai Tambi paints take the stage instead.
Medium: Brusho powders & Faber Castell Albrect Durer watercolour pencils, Brown ink
Cardstock: Hotpressed Fabriano paper, Epic Black Neenah cardstock