Blue Florals

I spent a little while painting florals the other day. My watercolour paints were on my table so I painted two precut card panels with a few blues. I started the flowers on both cards by putting five little dabs of paint in a circle then blending them out with a wet paint brush. After blending I added dots to the centres with black and yellow markers.

Both the bold and the soft florals looked ok but the leaves I’d added didn’t work. I set the panels aside, happy that I had practised but not planning to use either pieces. When I came back to them a day or so later I did some extreme cropping which took out the leaves I didn’t like and left me with some nice blends and a configuration which had some balance.

Even if I had not cropped them and put them on cards the exercise was worthwhile. Even after years of making, practising and learning I still have the niggling feeling that everything I work on should ‘work out’! I know it is unrealistic and I am getting better at spending time practising and playing just to grow and enjoy.

The pale blue ‘washy-er’ panel is my favourite but I love the colours in both. After cropping them I added them to an embossed panel (SU scripty) and popped up some Taylored Expressions sentiments over the top.

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Trilling Trio

Trilling Trio from Penny Black arrived on the scene late last year and features three different birds. My card today uses just the cardinal stamp but I have coloured it two ways so as to have the male and the female on my panel.

I worked with distress inks and watercolour pencils on hot pressed watercolour paper and I kept the panel in the stamp positioner so I could build the colours gradually. I stamped the female cardinal first in antique linen ink so it gave me a pale outline then I used tea dye, vintage photo and barn door inks to add colour. I spritzed the stamp lightly before stamping so the colours would blend but then did more blending with a paintbrush. I added black around the eye and beak both by stamping and by colouring directly on the panel. To add texture to the feathers I used sharpened watercolour pencils. I added the male cardinal behind using more barn door ink along with the tea dye and black soot inks.

Once the birds were completed I drew a small branch with watercolour pencils, blended it and then used a blending brush and a torn piece of post-it note to add shadow in the background. I ran the panel through with the ‘subtle’ embossing folder from SU; it adds such nice canvas texture! There are two more delightful bird stamps in the set which I hope to feature soon!

We are getting much snow today so I will be hunkered down in the work room or maybe taking a turn clearing the path and driveway!

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Rustic Birdhouse

When I do any art journalling these days I do so with a large sheet of watercolour paper on my work surface. It is not the most expensive brand and it does have a bit of texture, currently I am using Canson XL. As I create any blending off the edge of an element ink ends up on the large sheet. Excess paint or ink is wiped off on the sheet. I try out a pen, ink or marker on the sheet to make sure it is the colour I want and has plenty of juice left in it. Consequently pattern and colour builds up on the sheet over time as journal projects are finished.

The most recent page I made involved brown and black paints so I often wiped the brush off on the large sheet. When painting strips of paper for tree trunks I lay those strips on the large sheet. I ended up with a rough painted area resembling woodgrain so I cut it off the larger sheet and die cut birdhouses from it with the PB ‘rustic birdhouse’ die.

I die-cut the frames from deep red and petrol blue, blended ink on white die-cut birds then put together two birdhouses.

The large piece of ‘clean-up/practice’ paper provided me with unique patterned paper for the birdhouses. The embossed background was created with the ‘evergreen forest 3D folder’ from SU.

Happy New Year everyone, I’m looking forward to sharing all sorts of things here on the blog this year and I can’t wait to chat with you along the way.

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Gilded Wheat

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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Mixed Media-ish

I have in my workroom a few new items to try but with one thing and another I haven’t had a chance. I recently bought two new pads of paper, one is rice paper and the other is mixed media paper from Fabriano, that’s the one I used for today’s cards. I’m very taken with Fabriano 100% cotton watercolour paper so I wanted to see what I thought of the mixed media.

It is quite a while since I’ve done anything with my oxide inks so I pulled them out to make a blended background. After blending I did some water-stamping with both the DD ‘daisy delight’ background stamp and the floral silhouettes from the DD ‘you are everything’ set. The paper worked brilliantly for both steps. After drying the panels I stamped again with versafine clair inks and, as I hadn’t moved the stamps, the inked images landed inside the watermark images.

I dried all the stamping with a heat tool before adding background stamps over the top for added texture. I used white ink for both the DD ‘French script’ stamp and the DD ‘scratches’ stamp. The daisy stamp ended up with a double dose of script when I embossed a white base layer with the SU ‘scripty embossing folder.

I gave both cards a little birthday label and pronounced the mixed media paper a success. Of course I will put it through it’s paces with gel printing and a few other processes but so far so good.

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Cow’s it going?

How much do you love this big highland cow? I hope you don’t mind this departure from my usual subject matter but there is something about this cow (and some other beauties from Pink Ink Designs) that amuses and inspires me! When I saw this stamp I knew it would make the perfect birthday card for someone I know who finds highland cows adorable. Although confused by my behaviour, Crop A While here in Ottawa ordered it for me and I’m so glad.

This card is stamped and painted with dye inks, classic kraft papertrey ink as a base colour then four distress colours to highlight, shade and add personality to the beautiful face and hair-do. I worked in a stamp positioner so I could add the colours bit by bit to build up the image. I did some painting and blending with a paint brush but kept white areas also as they add so much to the design.

After I had completed the painting part I decided not to add anything more but instead ran the panel through the die cut machine inside the SU subtle embossing folder. If you look at the close up image you might just see the linen texture achieved. The ‘cow’s it going’ stamp set includes eleven smaller stamps along side this one including some distinctly Scottish ones so I’m looking forward to following that theme another time. My name is Heather after all, Heather McDonald originally!

Hope you are having a good hair day, like this cow obviously is!

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Garden fresh

Inspiration for today’s card came from a watercolour artist I saw on Instagram. Her name is Garima Srivastava and she paints loads of florals sometimes in cute little jars and vases. I saw one of her paintings then pulled out the new Penny Black ‘garden fresh’ clear set to create my own little trio.

I stamped on hot press watercolour paper with Papertrey soft stone ink, a pale grey that works well for no line watercolour. To paint inside the outline images I used a mix of distress inks and markers, sometimes picking up smooshed ink off my glass mat, other times inking the stamp with a marker to add some definition.

To finish the panel I stamped a sentiment from the new PB ‘ever thanks’ set in versafine clair morning mist ink then popped it up over the embossed mat made with one of my new embossing folders. (SU ‘scripty’). I’m looking forward to filling jars and jugs with flowers. Right now the daffodils are making a fine effort but a little too sparse to cut any for indoors.

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Pansy Gaze

Today’s little card features a sweet stamp from Penny Black. I did the stamping and painting on a thin strip of cardstock thinking I might make a bookmark but as I filled in the background decided to just make a smaller than usual card. This one is 3¾” x 4¾” cut to frame the pansy panel evenly.

I stamped the pansy stamp in weathered wood distress ink then painted the petals with seedless preserves and blueprint sketch ink which was smooshed on my glass mat for convenient pick-up. I painted the leaves with a mix of forest moss, lucky clover and peeled paint. I added wild honey and black soot to the centres after painting all the petals and wish I’d achieved a bit more of a pop with the yellow but continued anyway.

I smooshed the weathered wood ink pad on the glass mat several times to make plenty of the grey-blue ink available for painting a background and then proceeded to paint water first then ink as I went round the image. I was not after a seamless look (obviously!) but more of a rough sketchy look so there are some watermarks, hard edges and bleeds from the green ink. I ran the panel through the big kick with the ‘subtle’ embossing folder from SU for a canvas look; you can see it on the close up.

I saw the first flower in my garden today; it’s a little white star flower…happy sigh.

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Less is More Leaves

When I saw that the challenge at Less is More was “leaves” and one layer, two favourites for me, I was very hopeful that I would find time to participate. Although I am surrounded by leaves of yellow, orange and brown I decided to stamp silver leaves because I have noticed lately a few silver birch trees around the place looking really silver when the wind is blowing their leaves. I chose to use silver, blue and grey for my leaves card instead.

I stamped the birch leaf in versamark and embossed in silver before sponging in blue and grey. I then added more leaves in grey, some double stamped to get a fainter image. The silver does look pretty but the photo doesn’t show it quite as well as I’d wished.

Thanks for dropping by today. Thank you to all the new subscribers and followers as well as the faithful readers who have been dropping in hoping to see something new here. I know it has been a while between posts but I have been busy with a different artistic project. I have been doing a printmaking unit with my small art class; if you are interested in seeing our marbling and linoprinting you can see it on my other blog.

Supplies:

Stamps: With Gratitude, Ageless Adornment (SU)
Inks: Going Grey, Bashful Blue, Versamark
Cardstock: Mark’s Finest Papers Snow Storm Smooth Heavy
Also: Sterling Silver e.p.