Saturday, 27 February 2016

Are you an angel?

Hello everyone.  Hope you're having a lovely weekend.  Did you manage to catch Barbara on the TV on Thursday;  if not you can now get them on catch up on 
I just love the artist set of stamps.  I thought I would start by blogging my favourite piece.

Not quite sure where this idea for an angel with paintbrush arms and legs came from.  Here's my little practice one made out of copy paper and tissue, where I made sure that I could actually do what I pictured in my head!  

Yes, crack on Barbara, this will work.

I planned to make a little canvas, so I started with an old book page and sprayed on some white Dylusions ink spray to start to soften and obscure the print.

As I wanted a very random effect, I didn't mount the "You are a brilliant work of art" stamp, but just used it in my hand.  With such a large stamp, this makes it easier to vary the pressure and the areas of the stamp used.  I used vintage photo distress ink here.

Then I used the palette and the paintbrushes to add more texture;  stamping with Paperartsy Fresco Finish in Limelight, and trying out some Paperartsy rusting powder.  This didn't come out as expected (need to play more with this to better understand how it works;  watch this space).  At this point I thought I might have ruined it, but decided to keep going.

More random stamping in garden patina and cactus flower archival (these are new Wendy Vecchi colours), and chalk and snowflake Fresco Finish paints.

Once dry, this was mod podged onto a small canvas board.

I stamped out my words and letters on stencil card, "an" was done by masking off the unwanted letters in "brilliant."  The check frame was stamped on copy paper.  

I arranged everything on the canvas board until I was happy with the layout.

Now I set to work on the angel.  I decided to use Annabel's head for the finished piece and stamped her in black archival.  Let's make two;  just in case...

Then I stamped the paintbrush into position on another scrap of stencil card for her body and legs.

I used the other paintbrush for her arms, curving it on the mount before stamping into place. 

The wings were made using an NDC butterfly and angelina fibre.  I forgot to take a photo here, but its very easy.  If you're not sure how to do it, take a look at Barbara Gray's You Tube video here.

Wemt round the edges very gently with a blending tool and a tiny bit of garden patina.  Don't want to overdo it...

Edge the words with a ruler and a black Sharpie pen so they match the letterboxes before mod podging into place.

Mount onto a larger canvas board using an adhesive sheet.

Colour the angel with spectrum noir pencils, then cut her out.

I then cut a long strip of pink organza and gathered it along one edge.  This was attached in place around the neck of the angel.  
I then added the arms and glued everything into place using pinflair glue gel.
She's cute isn't she?
I hope you like the finished piece and that maybe it has inspired you to look at these great little artist stamps in an entirely different light. 
I'll be back soon.  Till next time.  Xxx

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

A bottle of memories...

Hello there.  I hope you are all well.  Looking forward to 3 extra Clarity shows with Barbara Gray on Thursday, so don't forget to tune into Hochanda at 11am, 3pm and 5pm;  or set to record them if you can.  There's some great new goodies!  Today I thought I would blog this bottle from the last show as a step by step.  I really want you to be able to look and think  "I could do that!"

When I saw the poppies, I just knew I had to make something special.  We lost my dad in November 2014, and poppies were his favourite flower;  so for me they always have an extra significance of remembering...  
I sponged on Paperartsy Fresco Finish paint in Chartreuse (this was from a limited edition set, but you could try Limelight for a similar effect), gradually getting lighter as I moved up the bottle.  This is a translucent one for a softer finish.
It only takes a couple of minutes to dry, and you can help it along with a heat gun too.  Ready for the second coat now;  chartreuse (or limelight) again, but not coming quite so far up the bottle. 
Next I mixed tinned peas with chartreuse and sponged again.  Just not coming up so far as the previous layer to get a graduated effect.
The final layer was done with a mix of chartreuse and Hyde Park paint.  This was a lot darker so I had to blend well.
Then I sponged on some Flitterglu (this is from Indigoblu and is fab for gilding glakes).  I used variegated copper gilding flakes;  the mix of golds and greens in this colourway are fabulous.

Looks pretty cool I think, but this is only the start.
At the same time as I did all the steps above, I also prepared some tissue which would be used to decoupage the bottle.  The meadow grasses and poppies were stamped in black archival, and the flowers coloured with spectrum noir pencils.
These were then cut out, ready to be mod podged onto the bottle.  You can see from the pictures below that the cutting out doesn't need to be perfect.

Decoupage the grasses and poppies onto the bottle with mod podge, then seal with a couple of thin coats used as a matt varnish.

I also used some of the same tissue to cover an MDF heart and rubbed gilding wax round the edges and a touch of glitter.

A piece of wire and a few beads to make a hanging loop for the tag, and that's it!  I always enjoy the challenge of making something more than just a card.  I hope you like it.

I'll be back soon to blog my samples for Thursday's shows and for the new Claritystamp challenge which launches next Tuesday.  You still have time to enter this month's challenge on the theme of love to be in with a chance of winning a £50 voucher to spend on Clarity goodies.  Now, wouldn't that be nice... 
Well the sun is shining, so we're off out for a walk to make the most of our last day off work.  Its back to normal tomorrow!  Till next time.  Xxx 

Friday, 19 February 2016

Its a mystery...

Hello, its me again!  Yes, this blogging is getting to be a bit of a habit! 

I am sharing this card with you as I made it, when in all honesty, at the time I didn't really have much of an idea where it was going!

Better choose some colours first:  I love the finish you get with these Paperartsy Fresco Finish paints.  Try to use a mix of opaque and translucent ones, going for a light, medium and dark.  You can see here that I used South Pacific, Caribbean Sea and Limelight.

I put a blob of each on my craft mat, rolled through with my brayer (treat yourself to a second one if you want to use inks and paints, and keep 1 pristine for ink).  Then I just rolled the brayer over the card, working around the edges, and turning the card, and picking up more paint from the craft mat as necessary.  You want the colours to mix and blend, but not to muddy, so take care not to overwork it.

 I used the same paint colours to add a bit more texture and interest using the journaling set of stamps.  These are fabulous for backgrounds.

 A bit of squinting until I could see the lake and the hills.

Sponge in the lake gently with a copy paper mask and cornflower blue archival ink, and add the grasses in the foreground with library green.  

Cover up the lake and add more grasses at the other side, then sponge some hills in the background with a copy paper mask torn using the Clarity blending mat  and fern green archival ink.  I used one of the grasses to create the trees on the hill in the distance.  

Then I sponged round the large moon mask, again using cornflower blue archival ink.

Just gilding wax and glamour dust glitter round the edges to finish before matting on black card and layering up onto the card blank.

I enjoyed making this card so much that I did something very similar in my journal.  This was great fun, and I did more shading here with charcoal and spectrum noir pencils during my lunch breaks at work.  I love quiet crafty time when I can shut out all the day to day stresses if only for a short time to recharge my batteries.
Thanks for stopping by.  I hope you like it and maybe feel inspired to create your own abstract imagined landscape, that place to which you can escape and retreat whenever you feel the need. 
I still have more samples to blog so I hope you'll be back soon.  Till next time.  Xxx 

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Remember Paris...

Hello again.  I love Paris and have special memories of the time me and Martin spent there for our honeymoon.  We walked everywhere...  saw  lots of the sights.  Beautiful, beautiful city...  really want to go back sometime.  

I had a couple of rejects along the way before I finally achieved this effect.

First, I managed to get a stripey sky.  Bin:  1, Barbara: 0

Then I tried embossing some butterflies in the sky while the mask was in place.  Bin:  2, Barbara:  0  (And even worse, nearly ruined my mask in the process:  note to self, heat gun anywhere near a mask and it starts to shrivel and distort).

Tried with acrylic paint rather than ink.  Oh dear.  Bin:  3, Barbara:  0

At this point, I put my efforts on hold, and  did another couple of samples before coming back to this a few days later.

Put the skyline mask in place and used chipped sapphire distress ink for the sky, and a tiny bit of black soot around the rooftops.

Removed the mask, oh yes, better this time.

Stamped 'Remember' from the word chains in place with black archival.

Then I stamped the poppies in place and covered the actual flowers with a mask cut from a post-it.
Put the stencil (this a new design club one, but the trellis would work too) in place, and brush through with a red distress ink.  I used candied apple, but you could use barn door.  Aim to get more depth of colour in the bottom right hand corner and fade out and upwards.  I also blended in a little bit of bundled sage and black soot distress ink right in the corner.

All that was left to do now was to remove the masks, colour the poppies with spectrum noir pencils and go round the edges with a black sharpie pen. 
 Thanks for stopping by.  I hope you like it.  I'll be blogging another of my samples very soon.  Till next time.  Xxx

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Meadow grasses

Hello again.  I thought I'd share the first of my samples from Sunday's Clarity shows on Hochanda.  This is a nice easy one to start with.

I trimmed a piece of 7" x 7" stencil card to a 6" square, then stamped some meadow grasses along the bottom edge in black archival.

Then I painted on Spectrum Noir aquatints:  just using red and yellow.  I painted them on very liberally, so that the piece gets very wet and the colours move and blend.  Whilst it was still wet, I sprinkled on some rock salt, concentrating along the bottom edge, and just a delicate sprinkle elsewhere.  You need to be patient;  it doesn't look like much until it dries.

Once its completely dry (and I would suggest leaving it overnight), you just rub away the salt, and, the effect is much more dramatic.  Oooooh...  really like this.
Then I simply painted the flower heads with water, and blotted with kitchen roll to lift away the colour. 

Black sharpie pen round the edge to finish.  Simple, but effective I think.  We all need this sort of card sometimes;  well I know I do.  Sometimes things don't have to be complicated.  
I thought I would also share my party invitations which were made in a similar way using Spectrum Noir aquatints and Grace from the beautiful ballerina sets.  What I wanted to show here was variations on the same design, all simple to achieve and ideal for a large batch of cards. 
Colours simply and roughly blended. 
Salt sprinkled on whilst wet and left to dry as above.

Cling film crumpled over whilst wet and left to dry.

Water sprinkled over and blotted with kitchen towel.
Well I hope you like these cards.  Thanks for popping in for a visit.  I'd love it if you had time to leave a comment to let me know what you think.  I'll be blogging the rest of my projects during the month, so till next time.  Xxx