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December 2008

On The Farm

The Splitcoaststampers Tuesday Color Challenge provided me with an opportunity to try my hand at another hand painted project. The required  colors to use were burgundy, hunter green and saffron. When I saw the challenge I instantly thought about a rustic barn scene with dark green evergreen trees in the scene.

I lightly pencil sketched the large evergreen tree and barn on my paper and then brushed water over the paper preparing it to accept the paint. I made a dark blue wash and painted in the sky area and around the top of the barn and then mixed a light hunter wash and painted in the the ground area.  I used the side of a large round brush to apply both of these colors toleave open places of white to so I could apply the yellow saffron to the sky area and some brown in the ground area and heat dried the paint. I mixed a paint combination of red and burnt umber to create my burgundy color and lightly painted in the barn area using a small round brush.  I combined blue, red and raw sienna to create the light shade of black and used a rigger brush to paint the roof line, barn door and window and to create the appearance of barn siding. I heat dried in between each of these steps. I notice that I get a little to heavy handed when I outline an image and it gives too much of a cartoon appearance. That is a goal for me to concentrate on for my future projects.

I used a small round brush to apply hunter green to the large evergreen tree as well as two trees in the left hand corner and heat dried. I mixed the dark hunter with the some of my black mixture and painted on the branches using my rigger brush. Note...a rigger brush has long, thin bristles and is the perfect tool to paint fine thin lines.  I created a light gray and painted in the silo and then framed it in with the light black paint mixture and heat dried.  I was not so happy with my attempt but softened the lines by adding smooshed touches of brown (is smooshed a painting term?).

Using a large round brush I painted on light shades of brown to create the working area around the barn. I guess I think of no grass growing in an area where the tractor drives in and out of the barn as well as all other activities that would tend to leave the  ground bare.  I added touches of brown to the grass areas on both sides of the barn but lots of it got covered up when I decided to frame in my scene.  I used the rigger brush to paint in the little wire fence in the background. I wanted to create a bit of a glow over the barn, tree and ground area so I painted a light wash of the saffron mixture.  It is amazing to me how a little light wash of yellow or orange can make images come to life.

I enjoy working with rustic images and am always on the look out for stamps to play with.  I love watering cans, flower carts, fences, birdhouses, etc. I do not think I could ever give up my wonderful stamped images but it is so much fun to attempt creating them myself.

KC Barn and TreesStamps:  Sanded Background

Paper:  Arches 140 lb. Cold Pressed Grain Fin Watercolor, Hunter Green

Paint:  Cerulean Blue,French Aquamarine Blue, Burnt Umber,Golden Yellow, Lemon Yellow, Chromium Green, Light Red, Raw Sienna, Permanent Rose, Chinese White, Paynes Gray,

Accessories:  Brushes- Large Round # 7, Small Round #4, Large Flat, Rigger, Gingham, Nestabilities,

Final Treasure Hunt Tuesday

It’s Treasure Hunt Tuesday at Rubbernecker Smiley from  This is the VERY LAST one!  If you hop on over to the Rubbernecker Blog Page, you’ll get all the details you need to participate today.  You’ll also find a list of all the Rubbernecker Designers so you can poke around and find out who has blog candy. Be sure to check out the Rubbernecker  Rubbernecker .  There are some great free stamp offers with purchase and a very, very long list of sales items. Click on this link to go to sales page. 

Fun With Dogs

The Splitcoaststampers Featured Stamper Challenge featured Barbara Schram aka Stampfilled Dreams, and her gallery filled with gorgeous work. It is always fun to browse through someone else's gallery to find inspiration and Barb's is definitely a treasure trove.  I was instantly drawn to a darling card created on the cut out word Dad and titled Kindred Spirits for Dad. Barb's card had several darling vignettes of a dad doing fun things with his kids and the coloring was so light and airy and every image was perfect.

I challenged myself to come up with a word card to do a matching theme scene on.  I quickly found it is not easy to come up with words that can be cut out and leave enough card front to work on.  My original plan was to do the word FUN but I couldn't figure out how to make those letters work together on a cut out. By using Barb's example I created the word DOG and used the darling retired Stampin" Up! set Bow Wow and a couple of accessory pieces from Anna Wight's Good Dog set.

KC Bow Wow 14   I created my template with a scrap piece of cardstock and then lightly traced all the cut lines on my folded card front. I used my craft knife to make all the cuts through both layers of the cardstock at the same time and it was much easier than I expected.

It took me a few minutes to figure out how to place my images to show well around the holes. I stamped and masked images as necessary to create the scene. I used an artist pen to sketch in the little fence and tree trunk. I normally do not like to color on plan cardstock as the colors usually do not dry as vibrantly as they do on watercolor paper but I was not willing to try my hand at cutting through two layers of folded heavy watercolor paper.  I painted all the images and created the grass and leaves with images from my Kittie Kits "Cause a Scene" Outdoor Master. I was ready to create my sky and as I reached for the blue ink pad I noticed that my finger had smudged a big blob of red ink up in the left hand corner of the sky.  Ugh!  I decided I could fix the problem by using a darker color blue for the sky and that created even a bigger problem.  I am used to sponging color on watercolor paper and being able to control how the ink goes down. The white cardstock is no where near as forgiving and I ended up with a big blue blob over my red blob. I was getting frustrated but would not give up on this darling little project. I finally used my leaf image to create a tree branch coming from the side of the scene.  It sort of fixed the problem but all the blue sky was so dark that it looked like a night time scene. I decided I could add some yellow ink to create a moonlight effect from under that new branch but all I ended up with was a dark green sky area.  And to boot the yellow created a vibrancy on the sky and trees that made the dog images look dull.  Well....I had to try to bring the colors of the scene all together so I sponged yellow totally over the fence, doghouse and dogs.  This did allow the whole scene to have continuity. I cut out an additional dog food bowl full of little bones, the baseball and a big bone to pop up in the scene. The finished project was nothing like I had envisioned with a sunny sky and a big tree shading the doggy yard.  But I am pleased that I could over come the "red" blob and finish a fun scene despite it.  My motto "Never Give Up" seemed to be really tested on this project.

Stamps:  Stampin' Up (retired) Bow Wow, Anna Wight's Good Dog, Kittie Kits Outdoor Master

Paper:  Plain White 

Ink:  Distress Fired Brick, Vintage Photo, Peeled Paint, Shabby Shutters, Faded Jeans, Going Gray, Black Stazon, Adirondack Latte, Butterscotch

Accessories:  Inkssentials Ink Blending Tool, Brushes, Copic Marker

Inspired To Try

I speak quite often of how I feel the daily challenges on Splitcoaststampers have helped me learn new skills and techniques.  I am also thrilled by the community acceptance and encouragement when I try new things and upload my attempts in the challenge gallery.  The Saturday Inspiration Challenge provided a wonderful on line store, Mackenzie-Childs Tableware and Home Furnishing filled with gorgeous products to choose from for inspiration.  There were so many wonderful items but I finally decided on a MacLachlan Hors D'Oeuvre Plate. 

Maclacklan plateI was intrigued by the country scene and wanted to try my hand at a total free hand watercolor painting.... well....only a 8"x5" one. The scene actually looked sort of easy and I now write that with a bit of a snort.

I would like share the self talk "babble" that was going on in my head while I share how I created this project. I had just finished watching a watercolor presentation by Bob Davies on how to create trees in a scene with a few sketch lines and then painting over them so that is how I started. 

 I lightly pencil sketched my scene and tree lines on a piece of watercolor paper and then washed plain water on the paper to moisten to prepare it for paint.   Woo Hoo!  I did it. Now on to the harder stuff.    

KC IN60 Landscape with lake close up

I mixed a vibrant blue watercolor wash to create my sky area.  The paint needs to be a fairly deep color as it dries about 50% lighter on the paper than it starts out being. I followed Bob's suggestion to use the side of a large brush to add this sky color wash as it allows some hit and misses to leave some of the areas of the sky without color. I did a lighter wash of blue over the lake area and then finished off the ground area with a wash of light green. I moved to the lake area and realized it had dried way to light so I added darker blue. I brushed a light shade of yellow over the missed sky areas and to the lake to give the appearance of sun shining in the sky and reflecting on the water. I am more pleased with the sky and lake than anything else and feel they are the redeeming feature of this project. . I heat dried the paper with my heat gun. Whew!!! I felt I was off to a good start.

KC IN60 Landscape with lake close up of trees I painted in the brown of the tree trunks and limbs and then created the green foliage by dotting on the color with my brush.  Wait!!!  Is a dotting motion with a brush a watercolor technique?  I have no idea but that is how it worked for me. I added a little yellowto the foliage for interest. As I stepped back and really looked at myscene it became very obvious that I have a fairly heavy hand with color and my work in no way resembled the gorgeous light appearance of the inspiration piece. Although I have lots to learn I kept on moving forward to finish.  After all, nothing is really perfect and how will I learn if I don't keep trying.  I added dots of green and some brown color around the lake and along the ground line. I felt there needed to be something more along the horizon so I used a fine brush and added two little trees in the distance and one more small one on the front side of the lake. Who knew you could paint right over the green grass and blue lake and have it show up so well?? I used black and white paper and gingham to frame and embellish the picture and to represent the black and white checks on the dish. This is by no means a great work of art but I am proud of myself for trying and for having the courage to post it here.

KC IN60 Landscape with lake

Paper: Watercolor, Black, White
Paint: Windsor & Newton Watercolor-Burnt Umber, Lemon Yellow, Cerulean Blue, Chromium Oxide Green,
Accessories: Nestabilities, Gingham, Brushes: Round, Spotter, Liner