2020’s favourite posts

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.

I’m happy to see one of my hand painted pieces in the favourites. This is a brusho & cling wrap painting I did after watching a CeeCee Creations video.

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.


Shimmer trees

The pearlescent paints and black watercolour paper are still on my work table so I’ve continued to experiment with them. To create this little scene I taped all four sides of a square panel with painter’s tape to mask off the area in the centre. The surface of the black watercolour paper is very soft and likely to lift when tape is removed so I press the tape against my clothing before using it so it is less tacky and when it comes to removal I heat it with a heat tool as I slowly peel it off.

I painted the snowy ground and circle moon first with silver pearl from the Finetec Artist Mica set of 12, then the foliage of the trees with blue green, moss green and midnight blue from the Coliro Ocean set of 6. The tree trunks are chocolate from the Coliro Earth set. I finished by dotting stars over the sky with Sakura gelly roll pens then wrote the words ‘thank you’ with a very fine nib and the same moss green pearlescent paint.

I hope you are having a relaxing few days as the year winds down. We are back in lockdown in Ontario so life is very quiet; I’m continuing to get the word out about the Dressember Campaign. My fundraising total has grown to $1962.10 and tomorrow, December 29 is a matching day, so if you’d like to donate, tomorrow is a great day to do it. Donations in Canada will be matched up to $50, 000 starting at 9am PT on Tuesday Dec 29.

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Christmas Colours

I’ve started thinking about colours I’ll use to decorate this year. I pick a different colour scheme every year. Not wildly different, usually there will be gold or silver along with a colour or white. I don’t buy new decorations every year; I have a selection of wide ribbons plus a few boxes of coloured balls and a range of unique decorations we’ve collected, made or been given over the years.

One year I did a rustic, natural sort of theme with burlap ribbon and wood ornaments with some white and gold similar to the colours in this card. This year I am thinking of black and gold. I’m not thinking of black in a sad and dark way more of a rich velvet with tartan ribbon kind of way. Just before and after Christmas last year I bought quite a few of the same decoration, heavily discounted, in preparation for a class I planned to teach this month. Well that’s not happening but I am hoping to use some of my stash and share them here. And there will be black and tartan in the mix.

I stamped the heart from PB {heart} Christmas set in versamark and embossed in white powder on kraft cardstock then used a blending brush to blend frayed burlap distress ink over the stamping to give it a shadow. I know the effect I was after with the blending but not sure that I’ve achieved it here.

I used polychromos pencils and Coliro pearlescent paints to colour in the outline stamping. I embossed in white a sentiment from the PB merry up set and used a white gel pen to add a stitching line around the edge of the panel.

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Birdhouse Blessings

This delightful scene is called ‘birdhouse blessings’ and it makes me want to have birdhouses and bird feeders scattered across my backyard. A few days ago my husband and I were doing what may well be our final outdoor workout of the year and watched chickadees and a cardinal flit back and forth from tree to hedge.

I worked on a hot pressed watercolour panel which I’d splattered with masking fluid (as per usual). I only just got my hands on some speckled egg distress ink and stain so that’s what I used for the background colour. It is a lovely colour and I’m very happy with the inky background. I smooshed ink on my glass mat, diluted it then swiped the panel through it to pick up colour.

I stamped the large stamp in antique linen then did some no-line watercolour with Sennelier watercolour paints. While painting those little leaves and berries I did wonder if I should have chosen watercolour markers instead of paint brush and paints but I was already committed, so me and my very small paint brush kept on painting. When I finished painting all the elements I used speckled egg distress stain to darken the edges of the panel and frame the little scene. When I removed the masking fluid there were pretty little snowflakes over the whole panel.

I painted the little star in gold and debated whether I would add a gold frame as well. Decided in the end I liked it just the way it was. (psst a little bird wants to tell you ‘Winter Wonder’ is coming!)

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Books & Tea

Ever since I created a ‘what should I read next?‘ art journal page I’ve been wanting to do a similar design on a card featuring the Darkroom Door ‘mini book’ and ‘book spines’ stamps. This time a teacup joined the party.

What is more delightful than a cup of tea and a good book? Maybe a cup of tea with another book lover?

I stamped the book spines stamp three times in hickory smoke archival ink on a piece of hot pressed watercolour paper (which had been splattered with masking fluid). I set out both my Sennelier watercolour paint palette and a Finetec pearlescent set to paint the books. I mainly used the Sennelier paints but added drops and swipes of pearlescent paints here and there for interest.

Once the paints dried I used a handful of gel pens to add decoration to the book spines. I decided not to add titles (there is other pressing work to be done after all) just patterns. I removed the masking fluid, blended tea dye and vintage photo ink around the edges then splattered some vintage photo ink over the panel.

The mini book is stamped in versafine vintage sepia and then stamped with a script stamp from the DD ‘correspondence’ set and a sentiment stamp from DD ‘classic motorcycles’. The teacup from DD ‘cup of tea’ set is embossed in gold powder then painted a pale rose. I fussy cut both the book and the cup (I know – I’m surprised too). The book panel is matted in cream then attached to a grey luxe card base. I attached the mini book and teacup to hang over the edges of the panel ever so slightly.

Right now I would love to curl up on the couch with a good book and a cup of tea but I am editing my next online class! I am very excited to get it finished for you as it has a seasonal theme which might interest you right about now.

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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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