Monday, February 22, 2016

Club Scrap: Soft Water Color with Crewl and Unusual

Hi, I haven't been posting as much lately, up to my eyeballs with work.  But I did find time to create a card with the Crewel and Unusual Stamp set.  I am fascinated by Watercolor but am always disappointed in the outcome.  I know what I want but I can't seem to get there!  I have more paint and paper than I can tell you.  Well over at Online Card Classes, they were offering a class in watercolor for cardmakers.  I took the first class, I learned a little, but still struggled.  A second class offering was for an intermediate class taught by Dawn from Wplus 9, and I finally got it!!!  Stop fiddling, treat water as a medium, let it do the work.  Great advise.  So here it is, finally a soft, controlled watercolor.
I love this card for its simplicity but mostly because finally I get it!!!

So lets talk about what I have learned.  There is a lot of discussion about paint and brushes, paper and technique.  Ask any artist what they use and you will get a list that is as individual as the artist.  Professional artist are not brand specific, they are color and media specific.  They have their paper and their tools and each is preferred because it works for them.  Not necessarily you!!!  I asked my sister in law what paint and paper I should buy years ago and  I will always remember her response,"Whatever you like, dear".

At the time I was disappointed that she wouldn't just show me a pile of paint and brushes and give me a "grocery list", because I so wanted to paint like her.  She is a watercolorist and her watercolors and florals are phenomenal, but she is an art gallery type artist and a college professor, and truly for her the answer was "Whatever you like"!  I now understand,  it took her years of experimentation to learn what worked for her.  How could she provide a lifetime of learning into a simple list that would magically turn me into an artist.   After all this time and reflection,  I know now, that what she meant was "what ever works".  Be it cost, or product availability, it is a personal choice.  So my dialog here is to remind you to just play, because in the end that is what will help you determine your "grocery list".... Use what you have, enjoy the process and fill up the garbage can or cut it up into something else, but just do it!!!

Let us talk about this card.  Crewel and Unusual UM are the show stopper here.  This stamp set is wonderful and so versatile.  But how to create a card that allowed these images to be center stage.  Watercolor seemed the right answer but it needed to be soft.

I started with the background.  Watercolors are a pigment that has water added to it to give intensity.  When we soften ink or acrylic we add white paint, with water color you just add water.  That seems logical but it is not necessarily intuitive.  I struggled with softness until I realize water is the major ingredient.
Here is the background wet.  Look at that water, a lot of it.  I wet the paper and dropped very diluted paint onto the background and just let it work.  I did not brush, or fuss, just drop and watched.  In fact I left it and went shopping.  Can't fiddle if I am not there.

So after it dried, I needed to create the card.
I do a lot of stamping to figure out placement.

Once I knew what and where I was stamping, I trimmed down the panel and stamped in white pigment ink, heat embossed with a white embossing  powder.
Look how different that background is after drying!!!

Next I wet each area and again just dropped in the color.  Then with a clean wet brush, moved the pigment and softened the area.  Once dry, enhanced a few areas and dried again.

It is still wet here.  I am showing this so you can see how much it lightens as it dries.  I wanted soft so left if but had I wanted it this intense, I would have needed to add more pigment.  This is best done by layering.  Let each layer dry before adding more.  Use more pigment for a hard edge or soften with a wash of clear water.  How much water depends, go light and add slowly.  Then I added a few splatters and called it done!!!

In the end I was afraid to risk my masterpiece to an errant stamping, so just placed a ribbon, mounted onto and A2 Card base with a purple mat.

                    A few pearls add visual interest and helps guide the eye to the focal images.

 This card was mounted onto the mat with fun foam.  The reason, well I used arches watercolor paper.  It is rigid, thick and well, not what I will be using in the future for cards.  I love my 400 series canon watercolor paper as it is more malleable, but Arches is suppose to be superior and holds up well to all this water, so I gave it a try, but some of the advantages create other problems.  Remember my first paragraph about what I learned?  Use what works for you and chose what you use based on what you like and what works.  For me Canson Water paper, student grade watercolors, hobby lobby or Michael's brushes and time to play.  That is my recipe for success.  The best part of this process for me, however,  is my stamps and I so love Red Rubber.  I can cut them, bend them, shape them and stamp them.  I get nice crisp clear stampings every time.  One argument is that you can't see through them, oh, well make practice runs or use a MISTI or other stamp positioner.  What ever works, you are the boss of your art, take charge!!

Until next time
Happy Crafting,

Links and supplies:
Club Scrap
Crewel and Unusual, UM

Weathered Florals, UM

Arches Watercolor Paper
Cotman watercolors
seam tape
Unicorn White Pigment ink
HeroArts White Embossing Powder
Remaining items came from Kit.


  1. Wow, Josette,this is awesome. Love the light colors!
    Great card. Can't wait to see what you have for the blog hop tomorrow.

  2. So glad you finally "got it"! Your watercolor card is stunning.