Saturday, October 31, 2015

Watercolor Peonies

I went out to Hobby Lobby today to get some watercolor paper that was different than what I already have on hand at home.  Today I got some Canson XL Bristol Watercolor Paper which is much whiter & brighter than the other Canson XL I've been using.  It's important to note a few things, however.  The Bristol variety in this particular Canson paper is a 96# paper and not the 140# I've been using.  I did not see the Bristol in 140# at all.  I think it will be okay now that I've learned how the water and the color work together and I won't over saturate the paper.

This afternoon I started by stamping my image in Versamark and heat setting it using Simon Says Stamp Ultra Fine Detail Gold Embossing Powder.  I had mentioned in a previous post that I felt like my embossing powder was not very good. Today's mail brought my package from Simon Says Stamp which included two new types of gold embossing powder; Ranger and Simon's. When I stamped my image on the "new" Bristol Card Stock, it melted quickly and smoothly. Then it occurred to me that maybe it had more to do with the paper than the embossing powder.  So I stamped the same image on the 140# Canson with the same "new" embossing powder and it again took a lot more time to melt it than it did on the 96# paper.  I let my heat tool warm up for about 30 seconds before taking it to my paper to help prevent warping.  But when I used the original embossing powder which is from Judikins, it takes about twice as long to melt.  The gold embossing powder is the only one that I've had a problem with.  I did get a Ranger Gold Embossing Powder but I haven't tried it yet. I want to be able to make a fair comparison so for today I limited it to the original Judikins Gold Embossing Powder and the Simon Says Stamp Gold Embossing Powder.  I was really happy with how well the Simon Says Stamp brand worked.

One of the things I tried the other day was to combine some of my silver with some of the gold into an empty container since I had noticed how quickly the silver melts.  This was ineffective and just made it so I have more of the not so good powder.  It's all right.  I will use it eventually but you can be sure I won't buy that type of gold embossing powder again.  Now, on to today's project!

I'm finding that I enjoy watercolor so much that I look for stamps and dies that make coloring possible.  I have some smaller Japanese Peonies from Altenew that I really love, but I also like how big this one is and I am really loving how smooth the Canson Bristol paper is.  A friend asked me one day what was the worst part of water coloring and I replied that it ended too soon -- Ha! This is from the Bird Blossom set by Stampendous.  It also has coordinating dies.

I used Tim Holtz Distress Markers in Picked Raspberry to color the pink flower, Abandoned Coral for the coral flower and Seedless Preserves for the purple flower.  When the Seedless Preserves first goes down it seems a very boring sort of purple.  Once you add a little water, the magic happens and you get this pinkish purple which is my absolute favorite color.  Creative Memories used to have a paper this color called "Thistle".  It was and is my all time favorite and I absolutely love it.  It hasn't been available for years so I'm hoarding the small supply I have.  I guess I'm going to have to take a more active role in suggesting colors to my favorite stores by sending them samples of those colors that just aren't out there right now and are no longer available from the original source.  I need Cameo Coral, Thistle, Eggplant and the list goes on.

When I was at Hobby Lobby today I noticed a bottle of the Distress Stain in the Seedless Preserves and I grabbed it up because I am kind of hard on my markers. I don't intend to be, but I am. With the stains, they have a little sponge dauber on the top of the bottle so you can just touch that to an acrylic block to get your color and then mist it with however much water you like or dip a water brush into the color.  I try to start fairly light and then build intensity where it would normally appear in the shadows.  I'd like to try a few of the Zig Clean Color Real Brush Markers which have an actual brush tip vs. the kind of hard felt tip that other brush markers have so I've started a list of a few colors I'd like to try.  Just as I have with my Distress Markers, I will get a few at a time.

Anyone who wants to try to watercolor with inks can use any type of water based ink or reinker you already have with a water brush or a regular small paint brush and some clean water.  The water brush I'm using I've had for a number of years. You can also use any of the water based color sprays that are out there.  The distress inks and stains are made to work with water, so they are particularly well suited to this technique.

I always love some shimmer and shine on my cards, but one thing I've learned is that it detracts from the visible watercolor technique that I'm using on my images.  You can't really see the different layers of watercolor that I've put in if I use other products like Wink of Stella or Perfect Pearls although I enjoy those too.  I think it would just depend on who I was making the card for.  If it was for a fellow papercrafter, I think I would be more technique driven than a regular card.  Everyone enjoys getting a handmade greeting card.  I also think that everyone has to find and do what works for them.  It takes me only about 15 minutes to watercolor a single image but I try to add in more layers because I enjoy it so much.  You can see the shimmer that is on this colored image.  I used Interference Red Perfect Pearls for the flower and Forever Green for the leaves. It is pretty but I don't really think you can tell it is water colored any more.  I also used Tumbled Glass Distress Marker for the "Halo".

One of the things I've learned for water coloring flowers is that it is super helpful to keep your brush strokes going in the same direction as the petals do and only work on one petal at a time because they all point different directions.  Also, since I'm actually using ink, I can't really do more than one small area at a time. You can spend as much or as little time as you want coloring your images giving a soft wash of color or you can try to make them as realistic as possible.   Like I said, I enjoy it so I try to stretch it out as long as possible.

I'll did manage to get one of these watercolors made into a card.  I have a sick friend who'll need some cheering up in a day or two.

I hope ya'll enjoyed my thoughts and insights on these water colors.  I am going to enter this card into the Simon Says Stamp Wednesday Challenge.   Happy Halloween, everyone!~~

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