Tuesday, June 28, 2016

i'll use any color you want, as long as it's green

this week's challenge at shopping our stash is called "how does your garden grow" and we'd like to see, well, gardeny things, lol! that could be flowers, trees, veggies, gardening tools... if it's in your garden, it's fair game. my first idea was to do a flower painting, but i do A LOT of those, so i thought this time i'd try something different, like all foliage, maybe? and it came out pretty well, i think. so here's my card:

colorburst pigment powders by ken oliver crafts painted on strathmore watercolor paper, outlined with a faber-castell pitt artist pen with an XS/.1mm nib; text paper flowers cut with a TH/sizzix "tattered florals" die; brad: american crafts; burlap paper from a mixed media texture pad by dcwv; white glossy kromekote cardstock by the paper cut. ink: colorbox; adhesives: elmers brand tape runner, 3m foam tape, sewing machine

one of my favorite ways to watercolor is using color burst pigment powders, mixed with water. they become, essentially, liquid watercolors. they blend beautifully and dry with such clarity; plus the absence of binders means it's easy to outline on top without killing your pen nibs. a few people have asked me how i go about this, logistically, so i thought i'd photograph my setup to give you an idea. this palette (from walmart, i think, or target, about a year ago) has nice deep wells which is nice, because unlike the type of watercolor that comes in tubes, the liquid will slosh over if it's not contained. and colorburst mixes IMMEDIATELY!!! so if your colors touch even slightly, they are a gorgeous new color right then! in this case i knew i wanted to use a lot of different shades of green so i had chartreuse, lime, terre vert and pthalo all ready to go. but to get even more variety in monochrome, it's good to venture into the colors on either side of yours on the color wheel. so also i have lemon yellow, yellow ochre, turquoise and ultramarine.

i always layout my colors in spectrum order and shades from light to dark. (remember that i'm completely self-taught --and also slightly weird-- so if you've been to art school and are chuckling at my method, just know that this works for me!) i put a few grains of each color i want to use into separate wells and then add a few drops of clear water-- and yes, i use an eye dropper for this rather than a mister, b/c the powder is verrrrrrry lightweight and can be blown around by the action of the mister. i leave an empty well between the colors if possible, so that i can use them to mix median shades. i will often put intermediate colors into the top sections of the palette so that they can easily be added to other colors. i usually stand my water cup (which yes, has big bird on it, lol) on the other side of the palette to catch my drips. i work on top of an old quilting mat of my aunt's (it has a grid on the other side) because it's indestructible and can be rinsed off in the sink. 

i've been trying to let the brush and the paint do more of the work for me, so whenever possible i jump in without a sketch. since i paint flowers and leaves fairly often, this was one of those times. i do often outline with a thinner brush to kind of map out the shapes i want, as you see above. sometimes i will even use a tombow (waterbased) marker for this, b/c it gives me more line control, and the color will blend in when i add water and paint. i do some wet mixing to get a nice "watercolory" look... but if you want separate colors, you really need to work in layers. start with the lightest shades, not too wet, and put successive colors on top of each other, after the lower layers have dried, or at least almost dried. when i'm done, or think i'm done, with color, i let the whole entire thing dry completely before deciding if i want to outline it with either pen or stitching. again, if you've been to art school, you're probably thinking, "hey lauren, REAL watercolorists NEVER do this!" uh-huh, you're right. but i do. so there ya go! :)

to complete the card i added a soft turquoise burlap mat, a little bit of machine stitching (that's also holding my stiff watercolor paper to the textured burlap) and a text paper flower; all on top of a glossy white card base. et voila!

there's LOTS more inspiration waiting for you at SOS... off you go, darlings! ♥


  1. I just love your work! Such talent and you make it look easy!

  2. This is beautiful! I always wondered how you go about your works of art, now I know! Thank you!

  3. Woman, you are such a natural watercolorist and artist... if anyone who has gone to art school sees your stuff, they likely think, "I was ripped off! How come I can't do this???" Another rocking piece of art...

  4. I love how you added the outlining!! Really makes those images pop!!Very pretty!

  5. This is so wonderful, thanks for the inspiration and info too.

  6. Awesome card, great information. I feel like Mimi...I got ripped off in the creative section too.

  7. Awesome card Lauren, you make this technique look so easy, I always end up with a muddy mess.
    Thanks for the detailed information, it will be extremely helpful.
    Beautiful card!!
    Big Hugs,

  8. This is superb Lauren, I love the technique you used for the background and the text flower is making me so happy, its all just gorgeous. Cx

  9. Lauren, This is AMAZING! WOW! Color me impressed. :)


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