This sweet bird is one of four in the Penny Black set ‘Nature Sings’. It is my plan to make a similar card with all four birds. I returned to a very clean and simple style for this one utilising some masking, blending and watercolour.
I worked on hot pressed watercolour paper because I knew I would watercolour the bird. Before stamping I tore a post-it note mask and lay it across the panel then blended speckled egg ink above it. I stamped the bird in soft stone papertrey ink then watercoloured with a few distress inks. The colours are listed below. The bird was floating in mid air so I drew a branch with a watercolour pencil then painted it with distress inks so he would have somewhere to perch. At this point I added a second area of masked blending to the background.
To finish off I stamped one of the sentiments from the same set in fallen leaves versafine clair ink. It just so happens that the CAS Christmas Card challenge this month is Christmas Critters so I am in!
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This beautiful wheat stalk, ‘gilded wheat’ is new from Penny Black. You know that feeling when you think maybe a project is complete but you’re not sure so you keep going? I had that feeling after I had finished stamping, painting and highlighting the wheat stalks. I just wasn’t sure whether to add a background or not.
I stamped the wheat in scattered straw and wild honey distress inks then blended with a paint brush. To add shadow to the sides of the leaves and the base of the wheat berries I used iced spruce ink. After painting I switched to watercolour pencils and added more shadow with a similar grey-green spruce colour.
I could have stopped there and not added the background painting which is kind of patchy but I liked the contrast of the gold colours and the grey so I kept going. Before putting the card together I stamped a sentiment from the PB ‘choose happy’ set and ran the panel through the die cutting machine in the SU ‘subtle’ embossing folder. Sometimes people ask me how I settle on my colour combos; this one was inspired by the small leaves at the top of the previous card. Who knew grey and gold would be so happy together?
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I looked through the stats for 2020 to see which posts were viewed the most. It is not necessarily an accurate indicator of favourites but it is fun to look back and see what appealed. I’ve included a link to the original post next to every photo. I’m featuring only cards I made and posted this year. Here they are in no particular order.
Back in January I used Darkroom Door stencils as a guide to paint watercolour backgrounds for silhouette stamping with DD stamps.
In February as I was preparing to teach a class using pearlescent paints on black watercolour paper I created this embossed and painted card. The class didn’t happen but the plan is still in my mind for either an online or in-person class hopefully some time in 2021.
This card and the next favourite feature the same Penny Black stamp and no-line watercolour technique. I used distress inks and markers for the watercolouring on this one.
Same stamp as shown above, Unforgettable from Penny Black but this time watercoloured with Arteza real brush pens.
This lilac card along with three other colour schemes featured the ‘lovely lilacs‘ stamp from Penny Black and there is a video tutorial as well.
Another video post once again with Arteza watercolour brush pens this time with Penny Black’s nature’s glory stamp.
Now this one is a little different, pencil colouring on kraft cardstock, again with a video. 2020 has definitely seen me create the most videos!
This one is also one of my favourites so it is nice to see it as a reader favourite too. It is the second post in the top ten to feature the lovely lilacs stamp from PB.
Another video post made the top ten, this one featuring die cut distress oxide painted leaves. This is the only one not featuring flowers.
This one just missed out on the top ten so I’m adding it here at the end because I think it might be my favourite of the year. It’s a brusho and cling wrap panels that made me think of hydrangeas so I turned the random patterns into massed flowers.
Thank you for dropping it to read my posts this year. I love sharing the details of my cards, journal pages and creative adventures. In a year when face to face interactions have been limited I have been encouraged over and over by the comments and conversations here on my blog.
It has been my best year ever for producing you tube videos and also the year I fulfilled a long time dream of producing online classes. Again thank you for your support in those endeavours.
I’m looking forward to sharing more creative pursuits on the blog with you in 2021, there will be watercolour and stamping (of course!) but also alcohol ink art, gel printing, lettering and journaling. I hope you are safe and well where you are and pray that 2021 will be a year of health and happiness for you.
This lovely blue wheelbarrow filled with pumpkins is one of the new autumn products from Penny Black. It’s called ‘pumpkin season’ and I paired it with an older PB scenic stamp, ‘homeward’.
I worked on the wheelbarrow first while keeping it in my stamp positioner. I stamped the barrow in faded jeans archival ink, the base in hickory smoke archival and the pumpkins in fossilized amber archival. That gave me a base print to add to with distress inks which I could blend with water and a paintbrush. Still with the stamp in the positioner I inked different section with distress ink cubes and markers to build up the colours bit by bit. Once I was sure I didn’t have to stamp any more on the barrow I removed the panel, stamped the barrow on masking paper and masked the barrow in order to finish my scene.
With the panel back in the positioner and the barrow masked I stamped the ‘homeward’ scenic stamp over the top with ground espresso, spiced marmalade, barn door , peeled paint and wild honey inks. I blended the grass area immediately after stamping so I could extend the ground with peeled paint ink to fill the space around the wheel and base of the barrow.
I built up the colour of the tree with repeat stampings spritzed with water. Once the stamping and blending was complete I painted some shadows under the barrow with peeled paint ink and added some extra definition to the pumpkins with watercolour pencils. I blended the sky around the tree with stormy sky ink and a blending brush.
We harvested most of our tomatoes yesterday even though they are still green so now I am looking up green tomatoes recipes. The fried ones sound appealing (just like in the Fanny Flagg book) and a zucchini and green tomato relish could be good too.
I’ve done some more playing with watercolours and clingwrap. Quite a lot of playing actually; it’s addictive. I don’t even remember if the panel above was painted initially with brusho powders or pan watercolours or both. I do know I started with a large piece of cold pressed watercolour paper taped to a glass mat. I wet the panel then added the paint and let it move around and blend a little before I placed the cling wrap on top. I did remember to take a photo of the panel after it had dried and I’d removed the cling wrap. The card above which looks a bit like some hydrangea flowers was painted on the bottom right corner below.
The butterfly card below was made from the top left corner of the large panel and the flower card was made from the top right corner. I did work on the bottom left corner but didn’t end up liking what I’d made.
For the butterfly card I used a stamp from Darkroom Door ‘wings’ set and stamped it on the panel in blueprint sketch distress ink. After stamping I blended the ink plus some pearlescent paint from a finetec palette to fill the butterfly’s wings. It’s not obvious in the photo but the wings shimmer.
Once the butterfly was dry I did some water stamping using a fern stamp from the DD ‘leaves ‘ set.
The flowers are from the DD ‘tall flowers’ set and were stamped in festive berries, mowed lawn and wild honey distress inks. I also added gold paint to the flower centre. You can see some more water stamped ferns and some second generation stamping with the flowers also. The little circles on all three cards were made just by adding some droplets of water, letting them sit on the panel then dabbing them up with a paper towel.
The card above with the purple flowers doesn’t feature any stamping, the patterns made by the cling wrap made me think of a hydrangea flower head so I painted a bunch of little flowers using a purple watercolour pencil to draw centres then a paintbrush and water to blend the pencil into petals. While the petals were still wet I used the pencil again to add some darker areas in the centres.
The red shape on the left hand side looked a bit like a flower so again I used a watercolour pencil to add a bit more colour and followed the lines left by the cling wrap.
Whether painting or stamping over the panel, I love the patterns and play of light and dark in the background; I think it creates atmosphere. Have I finished with this technique now I hear you ask? No, definitely not. Have you tried it?
It doesn’t look quite like this yet but we have snow and it is staying on the ground… for now. I stamped this pretty scene from Penny Black’s ‘winter days’ transparent set in black versafine clair ink on hot pressed watercolour paper then coloured with watercolour pencils.
I limited my pencil choices to two dark blues, a black, a green, a red and a brown. There are dots of snow in the stamp so after painting the sky I dotted over the stamped snow with a white gel pen and added some over the rest of the scene also. I used Kathy Racoosin’s shadow trick of adding some black pen here and there where there would be shadows. (eg. the edges of the river, under the eaves on the buildings and the trees on the horizon). I am still enjoying colouring as often as possible for The Daily Marker 30 day colouring challenge.
My panel wasn’t a square nor was it my usual 4¼ “x 5½ ” size but I wanted the usual A2 size I matted it with a wide red mat which left room for some organza ribbon. I stamped a partial sentiment from the ‘hometown Christmas’ set and tucked in under the bow.
If you’d like to see a beautiful and quite different take on this stamp pop on over to Susie Lessard’s blog here.
Stamps: winter days, hometown Christmas (PB)
Inks: nocturne, chianti versafine clair
Paper: hot pressed watercolour, deep red cardstock
Pencils: Faber Castell Albrecht Dürer watercolour pencils
Pens: white gel pen, black micron pen
Also: white organza ribbon with shimmery edges
I have mentioned Kathy Racoosin’s 30 day colouring challenge a few times lately. It is definitely a no stress, no fuss, no obligation challenge which I have participated in before. Kathy, would be the first one to tell you there is no preparation necessary and I agree. However, I am enjoying it more this time around because I did do a little stamping in advance. I sat down at my work table a few days before the challenge began and stamped a bunch of images. I embossed some, stamped some in waterbased dye ink and a few in waterproof black ink. I basically created a little stack of images I could reach for and colour when I had the chance. It has helped me to be more involved this time. Sometimes I work on a panel until it is finished, other times, as in the case of these mittens, I colour it bit by bit or mitt by mitt!
I stamped the red mittens on hot pressed watercolour paper in worn lipstick distress inks and the cord in rusty hinge distress ink. I painted over the stamping with water to blend the pink ink to a smoother colour and to soften the stark white of the stripes. I added shading and little lines on the edges of the mittens and texture to the cord with watercolour pencils.
I decided the red mittens would be hanging against a wall or fence outside so I stamped and cut a mask of the mittens, covered them and stamped the woodgrain stamp from the PB set ‘tall timbers’ first one way then again at right angles in weathered wood and frayed burlap distress inks. As with the mittens I blended over the stamping with water and added extra colour from watercolour pencils especially around one side of the mitts to look like shadow. To finish the panel I stamped some snowflakes on the mitts, a sentiment and also splattered some embossing fluid before embossing it all with white powder.
I followed a similar process with the blue mittens but stamped them initially in three blue distress inks (broken china, salty ocean and chipped sapphire). I blended the stamping with water then, when it was dry, added details with coloured pencils. I wanted them to look knitted so I drew a pattern to look like rib at the cuffs then some lines and shading on the rest of the mitts.
Once again I added a woodgrain background this time by masking the lower portion of the panel before stamping the woodgrain from the PB ‘inspiring’ set then more masking to stamp it horizontally across the card. The sentiments for both cards are from the PB ‘smile all season’ set.
Warm & cosy wishes everyone!
Stamps: Christmas mittens, inspiring, tall timbers, smile all season
Paper: hot & cold pressed watercolour paper, neenah cream
Inks: worn lipstick, rusty hinge, broken china, salty ocean, chipped sapphire, frayed burlap, weathered wood, hickory smoke
Also: white embossing powder
Pencils: Albrecht Durer watercolour pencils, Polychromos pencils (Faber Castell)
I was surprised how much fun I had colouring this stocking stamp. I worked on it on Saturday afternoon when it was wet and dreary outside; I lit a fire in my fireplace and brought colouring supplies up from my workroom so I could have a comfy cosy afternoon of colouring inspired by Kathy Racoosin’s 30 day colouring challenge.
Before colouring I’d used a stamp positioner to stamp the holly sprig stamp first in pine needles, mowed lawn and festive berries distress ink. I blended the leaves with a wet brush and let them dry. I cut a mask to cover the holly branch then stamped the stocking over the top in worn lipstick distress ink. Other than painting the leaves straight after they were stamped, all the other stamping was a base for watercolour pencil colouring.
Because my base stamping was pink I decided to stay with a red and white colour scheme. I used a couple of red watercolour pencils and a paint brush to do half the stripes and the decorative top of the stocking. Rather than colour with the pencils straight on the watercolour panel, I picked up pigment from the pencils with a wet brush and painted over the stamping. I toyed with the idea of red and purple stripes but I’m glad I chose a very pale earth green which blended with the pink ink to look pale pink. I messed up a stripe at the top but I’m hoping the recipient won’t notice that!
For the berries I used darker red pencils and the bells a mustard and a rusty brown pencil. I added a background by ruling a few lines in medium grey watercolour pencil then blending and painting more grey below each line. I painted a grey shadow to the left of the stocking and leaves.
As usual I gave no thought to a sentiment until all my painting was completed and then of course I wasn’t sure where to put a sentiment or whether to have one at all. I hadn’t really paid attention to the size of my panel either so I had to do some creative matting to turn it into a card that would fit into the size of envelope I had. So as you can see, no, I don’t plan all the details of my cards in advance!
Stamps: elf stocking, Christmas sentiments
Paper: Neenah cream, hot pressed watercolour, red, Alexandra Renke mud
Inks: pine needles, mowed lawn, worn lipstick distress inks, festive berries distress marker & smokey gray versafine ink
Pencils: Faber Castell Albrecht Dürer watercolour pencils
I’ve worked with this stamp before, last time with bister powder to colour it. It took longer with watercolour pencils but the process was quite relaxing. I used my tried and true Albrecht Dürer watercolour pencils from Faber Castell and limited my choices to light green, dark green, light blue, purple and brown.
I stamped the image from the PB ‘happy together’ set in crushed olive distress ink then used a paint brush with my watercolour pencils to add colour. I painted shadows in a mix of brown and purple then matted with some purple cardstock.
Now, help me out here, what is the right occasion for sending a cacti card??
Stamps: happy together
This is the last of my vintage style watercolours (for now) and I think this one might be my favourite. I don’t have step by step photos for this one but the process is exactly the same as shown in the tranquil hamlet video I posted earlier this week.
I worked on hot pressed watercolour paper but stamped with walnut stain ink instead of vintage photo. The walnut stain ink is a darker brown so the whole scene is a little darker but still has the vintage sepia look to it. I stamped in a stamp positioner because there is a lot of detail in the stamp.
As with my previous vintage style scenes I blended the stamping with water which pulled colour into the interior of the buildings, trees and bridge. As I blended the walnut stain ink I also added colour from watercolour pencils, including blue, green, black, yellow and red. I was careful to blend colour right up to the edges of snowy areas so it would contrast with the bright white of the snow on roofs and hills.