Pencil Poppies

Today’s pencil and gouache technique was inspired by a beautiful card recently posted by Debby Hughes. Debby did a video of her process so if you are interested you can pop over to her youtube channel and follow her directions like I did.

I used a different stamp, ‘brilliant’ from Penny Black but the other supplies and technique are the same as Debby’s. I stamped on kraft cardstock with pumice stone ink, painted inside the petals with white gouache then did all the colouring with Faber Castell Polychromos pencils.

When I first stamped the ‘brilliant’ poppy stamp I used Papertrey ink soft stone ink which is my current favourite for no-line watercolour techniques. It stamped well on the kraft cardstock but when I looked at it ten minutes later it had faded quite a bit. It would be fine for someone whose eyesight is perfect but mine is not so I stamped in pumice stone distress which gave me a bit more contrast.

Debby’s technique included painting the petals in white gouache then colouring over the top. I hadn’t tried it before but I will do it again in the future. It worked very well and took the place of my previous method which was colouring in white pencil first then adding colours over the top before blending again in white. Painting with gouache first gave me a base which happens to also be a nice matte surface to colour over. I finished the design with some white gouache splatter as Debby did. So basically I am saying, ‘ do what she did!’ Thank you Debby for a great technique tutorial.

The polychromos pencils I used were: white, medium flesh, medium cadmium red, raw umber, emerald green, pine green, naples ochre and walnut brown.

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Fresh Bouquet

My Karin markers have been a bit neglected lately so I brought them out to work with the cute cup of flowers stamp from the PB ‘fresh bouquet’ set. I worked in a stamp positioner on hot pressed watercolour paper. First I inked the flower centres with the gold marker, next the blue petals with cyan, leaves with grass and berries with rosewood.

I used a paintbrush and water to pull ink from the stamping to fill the petals and leaves working loosely but taking care not to blend much from one ink to the next. Blue and yellow make green as you know and I didn’t want the petals or centres turning green.

Adding a sentiment was a bit tricky. The cup of flowers stamp comes with a large and lovely sentiment but it would have covered too many flowers. I need birthday cards at present so I stamped the little ‘happy birthday’ from the PB ‘how sweet’ set in paradise versafine clair ink and then wondered where to place it. It is rare that I will place a sentiment right in the middle of a card but it just seemed to work this time.

I have some beautiful tea cups, some from my mother, my nanna and my grandma. I rarely use them because I like a large mug of tea. Perhaps I could occasionally put a few flowers in one, once I have more than two tiny flowers in my garden.

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Pods & Wings

The background of today’s card is another gel print featuring a gorgeous Lavinia stencil called ‘pods’. You can’t see in the photos but in real life there is some shimmer on the print as I used silver paint along with blue, green and white.

Over the print I added a green and a white wreath die cut from Penny Black. It is part of the new ‘soaring’ set which also includes four butterflies. The background called for dragonflies rather than butterflies so I die cut three from the ‘flutters’ set, an oldy but a goodie.

As I spent a chunk of time yesterday listening to Ann Voskamp’s book ‘One Thousand Gifts’, the joy sentiment seemed like a good match for the design.

I was watching a Julie Balzer book club discussion on youtube today as I worked and she mentioned how addictive gel printing is and how if you haven’t tried it you must (48 minute mark)! She called it the one tool that has changed her life! So I will again shamelessly plug my upcoming gel printing workshops and hope you will join me in this addiction!

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Fresh Pansies

Pansies seem to be a happy flower don’t you think? This is the new ‘pansies’ stamp from Penny Black stamped twice on cold press watercolour paper.

In my previous post I asked what colour suggestions you had for irises. Jan in Oregon sent me some beautiful photos she has taken over the years featuring some stunning irises, so the inspiration file has definitely been topped up. She also sent a few photos of pansies, tulips and daffodils as they are the next flowers to be featured here on the blog. The photo below was my inspiration for today’s card. I ended up with more purple petals than white as I didn’t have time for negative painting but I was still inspired and delighted by Jan’s photo.

I stamped with distress inks then filled the petals with brusho watercolours using the same method I used recently for the irises. I used shaded lilac, mowed lawn and fossilized amber to stamp the outline then violet brusho and a mix of leaf green and moss green for the leaves and stems.

I used a purple marker to draw the lines coming out from the centre of the flowers, blended some mowed lawn around the stems and finished with a sentiment from the PB ‘love big’ set.

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Iris Elegance

This is the second iris card I’ve painted but it probably won’t be the last. Iris Elegance from Penny Black is such a bold beautiful stamp.

I worked on hot press watercolour paper in a stamp positioner to stamp the outline stamp in chipped sapphire, peeled paint and wild honey distress inks. I blended ink into the petals from the stamped outline but also used brusho paints to fill the petals with blends of colour. I had violet, ultramarine and moss green brusho mixed in a palette beside me so I could dip my brush and add paint to the petals.

To fill out the design I stamped just leaves to the left and the right of the main image. Let me know if you have irises blooming already or suggest some petal colours to me. The yard is covered in snow again here so the irises best keep on sleeping for now!

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Farm Fresh floral

I’m having ‘fun with the Foiled Fox‘ today so I am chatting about this card over on their blog too! I posted a card the other day featuring two sweet jugs of lavender. The jugs were two separate stamps from the new PB ‘farm fresh’ set; this is the third and largest stamp from the set. I’m not sure what kind of flowers they are but that never really stops me from inking the stamp with whatever colours I choose.

I worked in the stamp positioner on cold press watercolour paper for a little texture. Starting with the jug I inked it with chipped sapphire and bundled sage distress inks. After stamping I inked the flowers with wild honey and rusty hinge inks, spritzed the stamp with water then stamped a slightly blurred and blended impression. The leaves and stems are stamped in rustic wilderness ink which is such a lovely green; it is giving forest moss some competition as my favourite green distress ink. To add a little definition to the flower centres I drew some black dots.

I stamped the jug of flowers on a post-it note and cut it out so I could mask the whole image while working on the background. I also masked across the panel so I could blend wild honey ink to represent a table or shelf and chipped sapphire ink with the ‘letter background’ stamp to represent the wall. To finish off I added a tiny bow to the jug. Make sure you visit the Foiled Fox blog and online store to see all the beauty and goodies they are sharing over there.

In other news I am teaching the second episode of Art Journal Adventure on Saturday March 26, Friday April 1 and Saturday April 2. There are a few spaces left if you’d like to join me at Crop A While, here in Ottawa. Each ‘episode’ is a stand alone workshop so there is no problem jumping into episode 2! Last month our journal page was a wintry scene; this time we are using watercolour techniques to go all green and leafy! For more information or to register visit the Crop A While website.

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Irises

The new ‘iris elegance’ stamp from Penny Black is a delight to work with. The design is large so there is plenty of space in the petals for pretty watercolour blends. I inked the stamp with distress inks then blended the stamped ink with water to fill the flowers using some co-ordinating colours of brusho for extra depth and variation. I have been flipping back and forth between hot and cold pressed watercolour paper lately; this one is hot pressed.

I have purple irises that come up in my garden each year but they don’t have the yellow centres I’ve featured on these ones. Yellow tends to be a pigment that pushes other pigments away which worked well on the petals. I painted the purples and then while the paint was still wet added yellow paint which spread and pushed the purple without making too much brown.

I don’t always add background but I did this time by painting water around the flowers then adding some Payne’s grey paint and a little diluted purple. Once again I chose the sweet little birthday stamp from the new ‘how sweet’ stamp set. Speaking of backgrounds, thank you so much to everyone who left me a message saying nothing more was needed on the recent poppy card. I am so encouraged by you, my kind and generous readers!

The warm weather and rain of the last few days has melted quite a lot of snow and now I see some green tips emerging. I have also spied a cardinal and a blue jay on the feeder. Spring is definitely in the air.

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Distinctive

I consider lupins one of my garden successes. It may be a stretch for me to take credit because they were here when we moved in and they are not gone yet so I feel like my part in the success has been just not killing them all! They start blooming not too long after the bulbs and I have them in white, purple, pink, purple/white and dark purple. Last year I took care to chop off all the dead heads and I still had some blooming in August! Some of the plants became aphid hotels so please let me know if you have a fix for that which doesn’t involve me picking them all off by hand!

The new lupin stamp from Penny Black is called ‘distinctive’ and it has two flower heads on one stem. I used shaded lilac, chipped sapphire and seedless preserves to ink the stamp so I could create lupins that are a close match to the ones that appear in my garden. The leaves and stems were inked with mowed lawn, forest moss and peeled paint distress inks. You can see in the close up that I have a mix of blended and unblended sections on the card. I used the misti, spritzed the stamp after inking and also did a bit of blending with a paintbrush after stamping. I think the mix of textures add to the appeal and adding some water helps the ink spread on the hot pressed watercolour paper.

The birthday sentiment is from the new PB set, ‘how sweet’. There are three little sentiments in the set along with a floral stamp. Oh, and of course there is splatter, but you probably noticed that already!

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Brilliant

It seems that Penny Black always includes a poppy or two in a spring release. This large stamp is called ‘brilliant’ and I think the mix of flowers, leaves and seed heads is just lovely. I chose to do no-line watercolour with soft stone ink and peerless paints.

I stamped the large image in Papertrey Ink ‘soft stone’ then worked with rose red, mountain green, golden yellow and warm sepia peerless paints. If you haven’t heard of Peerless Watercolour paints take a look at the video I made about them a few years back.

I wondered about adding background pattern or blended ink but left it clean except for the simple ‘vintage touch’ die-cut. The vintage touch set has two fancy banners as well as two dies that cut negative space banner patterns. I finished off the centre of the poppy with a black marker.

I am still undecided about the lack of background and sentiment; what do you think?

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Farm Fresh Lavender

I am hoping I can fill a couple of jugs with lavender this summer. A couple of years back a friend split her lavender and gave me two plants which were coming along well last year and I hope will be even stronger and more full this year. When I have flowers in the garden I am always torn when deciding whether to cut them and bring some inside or just enjoy them outside where they will probably last longer.

To create this little scene I used two stamps from the new Penny Black ‘farm fresh’ set and the ‘brick wall’ background stamp. I worked in a stamp positioner to create this panel. I stamped the jugs first with wild honey and tea dye distress inks. After blending the ink with water I added shadow with walnut stain ink. I used both bundled sage and rustic wilderness for the stems and a mix of milled lavender (of course) and dusty concord for the flowers.

Because I had done the jugs first I stamped and cut little masks from post-it notes to make it easier to stamp a brick wall behind them. I used tea dye to stamp the brick wall then started blending the tea dye ink to fill the bricks. I sprinkled a very small amount of sandstone brusho over the wall and started blending it in random bricks. This resulted in the warm orange bricks you see. I also added walnut stain ink to a few bricks for a darker look.

I blended antique linen and walnut ink in the foreground and painted pale shadows below the jugs. The card is finished with a sentiment from the new PB ‘love big’ stamp set.

Just in case you wondered at me thinking about cutting flowers from my garden, I’m just dreaming; it is definitely still covered in snow!

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