Hand painted grasses

I painted a simple scene recently featuring mainly grasses along with some berries and golden flowers. Unlike some of my other paintings where I have tried to make them look like a particular flower or vegetable, these plants are whimsical doodles.

I was inspired by CeeCee of Creations CeeCee; she does beautiful paintings in lovely natural colour palettes and often includes some gold or silver. I painted on cold pressed watercolour paper with Sennelier watercolours plus some gold from a Finetec pearlescent set.

As you can probably tell I began with the green leafy grasses but painted with the panel upside down. My intention was a weeping willow type of look but when I turned it around I decided to continue painting plants reaching for the sky instead. I finished it off with some fine gold splatter.

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Shimmer ride

What better subject for shimmer on black than a shiny little scooter. ‘The Ride’ is a PB rubber stamp. Once again I had trouble catching the real shine on camera but there is shimmer and shine in real life when the light catches it. I embossed with alabaster embossing powder from Brutus Monroe and made sure I kept the heat tool moving while I embossed so as to not buckle the craft plastic.

I used the new black craft plastic from Grafix to show off the little scooter and painted with pearlescent paints from the Finetec Artist Mica Watercolor Pearlescent paint set.

Painting on the craft plastic is very smooth and particularly straightforward with an embossed image. I also did some detail on the tires and black sections with a grey pencil but it was hard to capture that in my photo.

I wanted to highlight the little orange flowers so cut a mat and a sentiment strip from orange cardstock. The words are from the MFT ‘All About You’ set.

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Exquisite envelope

A few weeks back I stamped leaves and flowers over some loosely painted squares. Ever since I made the card I have wanted to try again with black paper and shimmer paint. The previous card featured ‘banner blooms‘ a clear outline set from Penny Black. Today’s card features a similar set called ‘exquisite envelope’. I’m sure I will use the sets together at some point.

To create today’s card I worked on a panel of cold pressed black watercolour paper with Coliro pearlescent paints from both the ‘ocean’ and ‘earth’ sets. I did not use a stencil to help me paint the shapes this time I freestyled them and tried to keep the edges basically in line with each other. After painting seven shimmery shapes I chose stamps that would fit the shapes. I know it would have made sense to create the shapes to fit the stamps but did I think of that? Ah no. It worked out though with some post-it note masking if a stamp was too big for the shape.

I embossed a sentiment from ‘million thanks’ on neenah black cardstock and popped it up over the painted shapes. I wanted a gold frame around the panel but could not find the exact gold in my stash so instead I painted the same gold paint from the Coliro earth set around the edges of the black card front. Painting your own mats and borders with matching ink or paint is a great way to get a perfect match.

It is a bit tricky to show off the pearlescent paint to advantage in photos but it really does shimmer and shine in real life. If you are interested in creating some shimmery dramatic panels and cards consider joining one of my classes here in Ottawa during March

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Shimmer floral

The fun continues around here with pearlescent paints and black watercolour paper. I just wish the photos would show better how pretty the shimmery paints are.¬† The Foiled Fox sent me some yummy new paints from Coliro, I used the ‘ocean’ and the ‘vintage’ sets for this card. I also tried out the ‘penny’ embossing powder from Brutus Monroe. It is a copper colour which worked nicely with the paints I chose. I embossed part of the Penny Black ‘floral medley’ stamp in one corner of my black watercolour paper panel then flipped the panel and moved the stamp around a little before stamping more flowers on the other corner. I paired up a couple of stamps from the PB ‘strength’ sentiment set to emboss a sentiment in between the florals.

Coliro (or Finetec) paints are full of shimmer and look amazing on dark paper but can also be used on light or white paper for more subtle effects. I have painted them on neenah black cardstock before, the colours looked great but I like the way watercolour paper gives me more flexibility with blending from dark to light. When attempting light and dark areas on black paper I have to think about the direction of my blending. On white watercolour paper I paint strong colour then blend it with water to decrease the intensity and so end up with a lighter area. On dark paper I paint an area in bright pearlescent paint and then dilute it with water to get a darker or shadow area. Shading isn’t really necessary of course, the colours look great painted as solid sections without shading.

To finish off the card I die-cut a frame from copper coloured shimmer paper. I have two frame dies from the PB ‘square frames’ set still linked together so I get a plain frame when I run the two decorative dies through the machine together.

I am teaching a ‘Watercolour on Black’ workshop in Ottawa at the end of March where we will be playing with these lovely shimmer paints and creating stamped and painted panels that really shine. Click over to my upcoming classes page for more details.

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Roses on black

Today’s cards are my first experiment with black watercolour paper. I have already learnt a few things I will take into consideration on my next projects. I could have waited until I had played with the paper more but I decided to jump right in with these rather unusual valentine/friendship cards. The card with purple flowers does have a valentine sentiment but the other two could be used anytime to send a friendly message. Unfortunately the photos don’t convey how shimmery the paint is and the colours are brighter in real life.

I’ve seen a few people on the interwebs using this new Stonehenge black cold press watercolour paper so I had to give it a try. As you can probably see I’ve paired it with pearlescent paints this time. I plan to try oxides next time. Because it is new to me I tried three different embossing powders wondering how much they would show up on black. On the card above I embossed PB ‘winsome wreath’with WOW silver pearl; it looks a bit silvery. On the card below I used WOW white pearl on PB ‘rose romance’: it also looks a bit silvery. On the final card I used Ranger gun metal with a wreath from PB ‘key to kindness’ set, it is a bit darker but still looks a bit silvery.

To paint the flowers I used both my Finetec pearlescent paints and pearl paints. I don’t find the two sets all that different but I think there might be a bit more shimmer in the pearlescent ones. I also have some Ken Oliver liquid metals so I used the verdi gris for the leaves above. I carried through the shimmer theme by cutting mats from¬† copper shimmer cardstock and I made card bases from black shimmer and quartz shimmer.

What do you think about predominantly black cards? I know some would find them too dark and sombre, some may be reminded of the painted velvet pictures from the 70’s but maybe you like the added drama. Will you try the black watercolour paper if you get a chance?

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Wreath & wreath

I have two more wreaths to share today; I don’t think I’ve ever made so many wreath cards. This year I did them in a class and I’ve done them here at home more than a few times with little stamps and big stamps. The fact that Penny Black came out with such beautiful wreaths this year kept the inspiration going.

The stamp above is called ‘conifer wreath’ and the stamp below ‘homespun’. I used the same technique for both. Working on hot pressed watercolour paper (psst Foiled Fox has Fabriano in stock now!!) I splattered masking fluid over the paper before I started stamping or painting so I would have dots of snow appear at the end. Once the masking fluid was dry I used my glass mat and spread some pine needles, evergreen bough and gathered twigs distress stain over the mat. I diluted it with water then swiped both panels through the stain to pick up pale green and brown blurry colour.

Once the background ink dried I used the stamp positioner to stamp the wreaths colour by colour using pine needles and forest moss distress inks for the foliage, gathered twigs and black soot for the twigs and pine cones and chipped sapphire for some added depth. I drew a few berries on the wreath below with a festive berries marker then painted over them with red from the finetec pearlescent paint set.

To add a little snow to the pine cones I used a white gel pen then splattered some green and brown ink around the wreaths. Once all the ink was dry I removed the masking fluid then added some texture to the panel with the clever SU embossing folder ‘subtle’.

To add a sentiment to the conifer wreath I die-cut a few ‘joy’ words with the PB die, ‘merry & joy’, stacked them and added them over the bottom of the wreath. Now what I really need to get done is a wreath to hang over my fireplace!

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A happy anniversary

What a treat it was to design and make this card at the request of a friend of mine. Her daughter, also a friend of mine celebrated the 20th anniversary of her adoption day yesterday so an extra special card was needed. Inspired once again by the beautiful round card made by Peet Roeven I chose the PB stamp ‘spontaneous joy’ and a red and gold colour scheme. I worked in a stamp positioner to add colour to the flowers gradually beginning with worn lipstick distress ink for the petals then candied apple distress ink for extra depth and shadow. I blended a little with a paintbrush and water but I didn’t want to lose the detail by blending over all the stamping.

I used mowed lawn and peeled paint distress ink for the stems and leaves; two greens adds interest even on those small areas. I added black dots to the centres of the flowers then some gold dots with finetec pearlescent paint. To finish it off I splattered some of the same gold paint. I have been pulling out my finetec paints quite often recently, not so much for the main elements but for details and finishing touches. I used the same gold and a pen & nib to write my own sentiment strip.

While all the inks were out I stamped a flower on a second panel of watercolour paper and on an envelope. I used a set of circle dies to cut the main panel and back panels into large circles and to cut a circle out of the centre of the front panel. I used a piece of embossed gold cardstock to cut extra circles and the number ’20’ using the PB ‘numbers’ die set.

To assemble the card I scored across the top of the the back circle, applied adhesive above the score line and attached the two panels together. Having the score line on the back panel means the front decorative panel doesn’t need to bend at all. I also sliced a very slim bit of the bottom of the back circle so the card will stand up and not roll away!

Thanks for dropping by today, I hope you have a lovely weekend.

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One Layer Florals + Winners

I mentioned in my last post that I would be back with more cards featuring the ‘floral Christmas’ and ‘framing floral Christmas’ sets from Ink to Paper. These sets are so much fun to play with. Today’s cards are true one layers, I stamped straight on the neenah solar white card base and inside the card base, I haven’t done that in a while. But before I gab on about my cards you I’m sure you all want to know who the winners of the Holiday Traditions giveaway are! Thank you again for sharing your holiday traditions both on my blog and the Foiled Fox blog. We really enjoyed reading about traditions from around the world. Some were close to my family’s traditions others were totally new to me and had me intrigued. I am thrilled to announce that Pat Moore and Lois Hecksel are the winners of gift certificates to the Foiled Fox online store. Enjoy shopping ladies! (You will get an email from Shauna at the Foiled Fox with the details.)

I worked on these two cards side by side on my glass mat. I taped the second one down with post-it tape using the grid on my mat to get the tapes lined up so they would mask off a band across the card front. On this first card I just taped down a couple of corners to keep the card steady. The only time I used my stamp positioner was to add the sentiments at the end. For the card above and close up below I used an earthy colour scheme of greens, brown, red and pops of gold. I used Papertrey ink cubes ripe avocado, pine feather, dark chocolate, Americana and distress barn door. It made sense to start with the poinsettias as they were the biggest, next the larger leaf sprays and finished with the berries and little flowers. I added finetec gold paint over the berries on the green leaf sprays to add some shimmer and make the berries stand out. There are matching dies for these sets so I cut a poinsettia shape from a post-it note to do a little masking when I wanted to pop leaves behind.

For the second card I used a cool colour scheme keeping only the pine feathers green and adding scarlet jewel, ocean tides, dark indigo and delicata silver. I still worked from large elements to small and used a finetec shimmery pink ink to add berries to one of the leaf sprays. Finishing with a small stamp such as the flower (above) or the star (below) makes it easier to fill all the nooks and crannies with colour and pattern. As always it was satisfying to carefully pull back the masking tape to reveal a clean edge.

I have resolved to stamp matching envelopes at the same time I make my cards from now on and if I am adding something to the inside of the card I need to do that also while the inks and stamps are out. I have always known this makes sense but usually haven’t done it. I am currently prepping for a market in less than two weeks and have spent hours pulling out stamps to make matching envelopes for existing cards. Hopefully this new habit will stick.

The little sentiment is from Ink to Paper’s Just sentiments: Be Merry set, cute and sweet like the stamps.

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A couple of little wreaths

I am having fun with two sets from ‘Ink to Paper’. When I first saw the ‘floral Christmas’ and ‘framing florals’ sets I knew exactly what I wanted to do with them: a little wreath making! I also have in my hands some new inks from ‘Papertrey Ink’ so I put them to work on these two wreaths. So far I’m impressed but they will of course need to go through watercolour testing too!

Even though I didn’t need to I stamped both these wreaths on hot pressed watercolour paper, habit I guess. I drew a light pencil circle as a guide for the wreath above and used the pine circle stamp to start the wreath below. The stamps are all small enough to fit on a little acrylic block so I used that rather than a stamp positioner. On the pine cones above you can see that I didn’t get the second outline stamp lined up perfectly with the filler stamp, I actually like it a little offset as it looks like snow on the pine cone (something I now have in my driveway!) I stamped the berries in ‘Americana’ ink but then painted over the top with some shimmer red from my Finetec pearl set of paints. The red frame is also shimmer cardstock . To complete the card I added a little red bow and a sentiment banner popped up over the top.

For this second wreath I stamped the pine circle stamp from the ‘ framing florals Christmas stamp set’ but I didn’t ink the whole circle. I left gaps which gave me spaces to stamp the pine cones. I used all ‘ink to paper’ inks again except for one twiggy element I stamped in golden glitz delicata. All the inks are listed below. Once again I finished off the wreath with a little bow and some gold shimmer cardstock.

The sentiments for both cards are from ink to paper’s ‘Be Merry mini’ set. Oh, and they both got the splatter treatment too.

Stay tuned because you will be seeing more from these sweet sets!

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Autumn Bliss

This card is one of those rare ones where the end result is very close to the dreamed up idea.

I started by masking a piece of hot pressed watercolour paper with tape. I taped it into the stamp positioner using the grid lines as guides to get it straight and, wonder of wonders, it actually ended up straight. I stamped the pumpkins from the PB ‘autumn bliss’ set in Gina K’s jet black amalgam ink. I bought the amalgam so I could compare it to my current fave black, versafine clair nocturne. The amalgam stamped well and dried quickly but I didn’t find it superior to the versafine clair.

I wanted bold bright colours and wondered which of my watercolour mediums would give me that result. I settled on my Dr Ph Martin’s Hydrus liquid watercolours. They are definitely bold and bright! Of course they can be diluted for a softer look but I was happy to make the most of their vibrancy. Even though I put barely a drop of each colour on my palette I still ended up with more than I needed. I tried to limit my colour scheme by mixing some of my own colours. I started with gamboge and brilliant cad red for the middle pumpkin and painted all but the flowers. I then mixed the gamboge with the brilliant cad red for the left hand pumpkin and again painted all but the leaves. It was very tricky avoiding the leaves especially before I realised that I had my reading glasses on instead of my stronger ‘art glasses’. Sadly my art glasses are becoming my reading glasses so in the new year I am hoping to get some new ‘art glasses’ to help me see and paint all the fiddly bits. The right hand pumpkin is brill cad red and Venetian brown.

With my art glasses on I painted all the leaves and stalks with a green made by mixing gamboge with ultramarine. The flowers on the middle pumpkin I painted in a diluted deep red rose/ultramarine mix. I added little dots of gold to the right hand pumpkin using finetec pearlescent ink then used a rosy colour from the same set to add shimmer to the flowers. If I did the pumpkins again I think I would paint them one solid colour first with a little shadow and shading then use the pearlescent inks over the top to add all the flowers and leaves. The pearlescent inks are opaque and would not have let the underneath colour show through.

After all the pumpkin decorating, I painted the background with ultramarine. If you have masked with tape before you will know how satisfying it can be to peel back the tape to reveal crisp straight edges and also how frustrating when some paint has seeped underneath. Well, again, wonder of wonders, no seepage! Now, the last wonder of wonders is really the biggest. I occasionally do my own calligraphy sentiments, more often than not it does not end up straight, neat or the right size so I end up cutting the painted panel off and attaching it to a whole new panel in order to get rid of the messed up sentiment. This time I ruled my pencil lines, practiced the sentiment on a scrap, wrote it in pencil on the panel and finally wrote it with pointed pen in a mix of ultramarine and pearlescent ink. The next step was key; I have messed it up in the past. I left the room and went and had my lunch, that way I was not tempted to erase the pencil before the writing was dry, dry dry! I used one of those nifty battery operated erasers to gently erase all the pencil and then did a happy dance!

I hope you don’t think I am overdoing it in my satisfaction with this card, I know it’s nothing out of the ordinary, it’s just that it could have gone wrong in quite a few places but happily it didn’t.

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