I shared this video recently on the Simon Says Stamp blog but felt you might like to see it here too. For this post, I am back in my comfort zone with watercolours. I adore autumn, cosy evenings, woolly jumpers the lot but in particular the changing colours even the dark, damp days have appeal except for when trying to video. I had half a dozen lights on trying to get an evenly lit work-surface for today, but hey I’ll take a little video trouble for all that fabulous moodiness that nature is throwing at this time of year! You may know by now, but I love muted colours, and for me, autumn is an overflowing plate full of inspiration as flowers fade into shabby colours and leaves loose their bright greens for deeper hues. I absolutely love it and am in my element in autumn!
Today I used the Thankful Flowers set that came out in September as part of the monthly card kit from Simon Says Stamp. September is such a busy, full-on, inspiring month of STAMPtember craziness that this gorgeous stamp set sort of fell through the cracks of my creative to-do list until now. When I filmed this, there were a few of the kits with this set still available; however, if the kit has sold out, then you can still get this stamp set separately. I’ve linked all supplies at the end of this post. Compensated affiliate links used where possible at no cost to you.
One of my favourite ways to use a floral stamp set is to gather images to create a border – either along the top or bottom or perhaps around a corner. It creates a lovely frame to support the sentiment. And let’s talk about the sentiments in this set. I like the big, bold greetings and also that there are accompanying smaller sentiment strips to pair with them.
I laid out a rough arrangement on a piece of Arches cold pressed watercolour card in the Misti. Rather than stamping the flowers first, I started by concentrating on the sentiment, and that’s because I wanted to ensure I had a really good impression of this bold sentiment before moving on and spending time colouring. So I aligned the sentiment centre top of the panel and stamped it in clear embossing ink. I did this three or four times to ensure I had a really good impression on the textured card. Then I sprinkled with Simon Says Stamp Antique Gold embossing powder and heat set. With the sentiment done, I could relax and stamp the flowers along the bottom of the card. I stamped the large floral bouquet first in Antique Linen Distress Ink and then filled in with a few of the individual images. I didn’t mask the first layer but instead wiped away any ink with my finger that would overlap with the previous stamping. My aim with this card is not to go for a detailed botanical look. I find it interesting to see my style develop over time. I’ve never been one for the super detailed botanical look, and although I love the look of loose florals, I often find those too loose and so I hit the middle ground – not too detailed but not too loose either. I probably ere towards the looser side of the spectrum but I do like adding layers and the true loose florals done with one layer in the swoosh of a brushstroke. I have so much respect for people who can do that, but for me, I go slowly, slowly building up layers and a little detail until I’m happy.
When painting, I usually like to start with leaves. I love greens and leaves are one of my most favourite things to paint. I also feel they provide a solid structure for the more floaty florals to follow. I started with a light layer of a warm yellow as a base layer, and this will give a glow to all layers painted on top. That’s the beauty of transparent watercolours in that the layers play together to create the finished look. The first layer is a mix of Quinacridone Gold along with whatever was already on my palette. I’m not one for having a clean and tidy palette I love to see well used messy palettes where colours intermingle to give exciting results. Following on from the base layer, I added a green layer. This is a mix of Undersea Green, Indanthrone Blue and Lunar Black. The initial layer is quite dilute and then using the wet on wet technique, I dropped deeper colour into the base of the leaf, letting the colour move with the water. I think wet on wet is my favourite watercolour technique; the movement of the paint through the water is almost like a slow-moving wave rolling in on a beach, so beautiful to watch.
With the leaves done, I moved on to the flowers. I used mixes of Quinacridone Gold for the flower centres along with a deep rich mix of Alizarin Crimson and Lunar Black with a tiny touch of Undersea Green to knock the brightness back a little. For all the flowers, I’m concentrating on dabbing the yellow in the centre followed by the Crimson mix around the edges of the centre and then pulling the colour out from the flower centre over the petal with a damp brush. I aim to have deeper colour at the base of the petal then a highlight area over the body and finally just a hint of colour to the petal edges as they curl back. In places, I’m taking a little of the yellow mix and adding to the petals which mix with the crimson to give a range of hues from crimson, to orange to yellow.
To paint the rest of the flowers, I’m following this same method. One thing to be aware of is to avoid painting areas which are next to each other if they are still wet. I mentioned above that paint moves with water in the wet on wet technique, and if you paint two areas next to each other while the paint is wet, then the colour will likely move between the two areas and blend and merge to form one area. So to keep the definition of the petals it is best to move around the flowers painting one at a time. Having finished the flowers, I added a light, loose background wash and then dots of white gouache followed by dots of a deep Sepia mix to the flower centres and the play of light and dark brings them to life.
Next up is some splatter and if you’ve followed me for a while, this will come as no surprise! I find a light splatter over a watercoloured piece adds that ethereal look which suits florals so well. I like to use a solution of Perfect Pearls and then follow up with white gouache. You need to add a dot of gouache to your work surface and then a little water to get a mix which splatters nicely as it is too thick straight out of the tube.
I trimmed off the edges of the piece to create a panel just smaller than an A2 card base. I added a generous covering of foam adhesive to the back and added the panel to a card base cut and scored from Neenah Desert Storm card in the 100lb weight for sturdiness.
I wanted to use one of the coordinating sentiments from the Thankful Flowers set, and so I used some of the green paint mix I used for the leaves on my card to paint a piece of hot-pressed watercolour card. I used hot-pressed as this is smooth and so will give a good stamped impression. However, I used a cold-pressed card for my main panel despite having stamped and embossed on that, and that’s because I prefer painting on cold-pressed paper – I like the texture of the card and the way the paint behaves with the texture. So I’ll take a little extra effort on the stamping and embossing on the main panel to get the look I like on the watercolouring. However, for a simple sentiment strip, a hot-pressed card is the way to go. I stamped the greeting in clear embossing ink, sprinkled with white embossing powder and heat set before trimming to a skinny banner and adding to the card with foam adhesive. I used a T-square ruler to ensure I had it on straight as I don’t have an eye for straight lines. Finally, I accented the card with Nuvo Dream Drops in Fairy Wings and Dragon Scales.
You can find links to the supplies I’ve used below; click on the picture or shop icon to get taken directly to the product. Where available I use compensated affiliate links which means if you make a purchase I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you! Items marked with an asterisk (*) were provided by a store or the manufacturer. You can read my affiliate and product disclosure here. I genuinely appreciate your support.