Do something today...

Thursday, January 22, 2015

I've a new illustrated card to share with you today! I've combined a few different techniques here, it started with some hand-carved stamps I made (the watering-can I made a while ago, the spring flowers are new!), I stamped the scene using pigment inks, added some watercolours, pencils and hand-lettering. I took some photos along the way so you can see the process from start to finish! : )

I've tried a few different types of rubber blocks to carve my stamps and I'm happiest with Speedball Speedy-Cut, the cream/beige stuff. It cuts really well and stamps perfectly. I'm still using up other stuff at the moment but won't be buying anything else apart from that going forward.

I stamped all the flowers,  foliage and watering-can using Memento-Luxe Inks, my favourite inks! Once dry I coloured the background and foreground using watercolour paints. I went back in and added some highlights and shadows with coloured pencils.

I wanted to add some unique text so I added some hand-lettering. It's such a fun technique but it's definitely something that needs practice, practice, practice! I based my lettering on two different fonts, Stringfellows and Brave. I really need something to look at when I'm lettering but I don't like to trace letters, I like the irregularity of doing by eye. So I lightly penciled in the letters, you can erase the pencil lines later.

I like paint so I used a small, fine brush to watercolour the lettering. If you're not comfortable with paint then you could use markers or coloured pencils.

I mixed up the colours of the lettering by picking tones from the stamped illustration. It's safe enough to pick a few colours for your lettering but I'd stick within the range of colours you've used in the rest of your project.

For the white text I again penciled in the letters first and then went over it with white acrylic paint. You may need to go over the letters a couple of times to get a bright white finish. And that was it, I simply scanned the illustration and printed it onto card, I like to keep my originals untouched.

I hope you enjoyed a peek into my process and that you might give one of the techniques a try. It's nice to try something different and create something totally unique!

Oh, if you're on Instagram you can get more regular updates on what I'm working on, along with behind the scenes peeks and other random stuff by following me! : ) Thanks for dropping by today!

Valentine's Day Quick Makes

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

I'm just popping in with a peek at some cards I had published in the January issue (139) of Cardmaking and Papercraft Magazine. These were part of the Quick Makes feature. I got to use some gorgeous papers from American Crafts (Shimelle) and some gold foiled thickers to make these. There's full step-by-step instructions on how to make them in the magazine. There's also a great masterclass on paper mosaic cards by Dorothy in this issue and lots more inspiration. You can pick up a copy in your local newsagents!

We had some snow the last couple of days, a good few inches, not something we get that often here in Ireland. I took a few photos from around the garden this morning before it all melts! Isabelle's summer house had quite a bit of snow on the porch.

The new pond was frozen over and the bridge covered in snow. No frogs in there yet! We've had a lot more cold snaps compared to last year but it can change quite a lot in just a couple of days.

There's a storm due later today bringing milder weather but high winds and rain along with it! I think I prefer the snow! : ) Don't forget to feed the birds if it's cold where you are, I could tell they really appreciated the extra food this morning. If you don't have peanut feeders up they can eat uncooked porridge oats, it will help to keep them going in the cold weather.

That's all for now, stay warm and cozy wherever you are in the world! I made some lovely homemade tomato soup yesterday and I'm looking forward to a warm bowl of it at lunchtime! It's the perfect fuel for your body at this time of year. Thanks for dropping by today.

New Year Primulas

Friday, January 9, 2015

Happy New Year! I had a great break over the holidays. I hope you did too! I'm feeling refreshed and ready for the new year ahead. Over the holidays I found some time to dig out my paints and brushes and do some painting! I didn't get much of chance to do any painting last year but I'm determined to make more time for it in 2015. I really love the process! I picked up this pretty potted plant in the supermarket, it just caught my eye as I was walking by and I felt inspired to paint it! I used acrylic paints Winsor & Newton Galeria range, I've had them for ages and a 10"x12" stretched canvas. I took a few photos at various stages along the way as the painting progressed (in case you fancied a look!).

I used to paint from photos and rarely from life but I challenged myself to paint directly from life. It's amazing the colour variations that can happen when you take photos, especially with lavenders and lilacs, they can turn out very blue in photos. I did use a basic viewfinder, made from some leftover card at the beginning when I was blocking in the colour, just to help my eyes a bit! Oh, I tried a few different colour backgrounds but liked the pink the best!

I have a few 'proper' art palettes but I just prefer to use plates when I'm painting, I used two for this painting, keeping the pinks and purples on a separate plate from the greens and browns, so I didn't end up with a muddy mess! I've two matching plates, they belonged to my grandmother, so they're all the more special to me!

I worked on the painting over a few days, the light did change a bit but it was mostly cloudy so it didn't matter too much. I was hoping the plant wouldn't move too much, as in grow! I did find some of the leaves changed position slightly even though I didn't move the plant at all. I usually only work in daylight but I wanted a more atmospheric background, so I added some darker tones and shading at night.

I was determined to finish it fairly quickly, I find you can lose momentum with a painting if you leave it for too long. I can also get stuck in the detail in the latter stages, mulling back and forth over various elements and I have the problem of being a perfectionist so it never really feels finished or just right to me. But I've managed to recognize when I come to the point where I can say to myself, I like the painting and can live with it! Then I quickly varnish it so I can't change my mind! : ) So here it the finished painting, the one I can just about live with!

The flowers are Primula Obconica by the way, in case anyone was interested! It'll have to stay indoors though, it wouldn't be hardy outside here in Ireland, unlike it's various cousins. Ok, that's all for now, hopefully I've inspired you to pick up a paintbrush again, if you haven't in a while! : ) I'm working on some new hand-carved stamps and will share a post on that next week. Have a great weekend, I hope you get a chance to do something creative! : )