Monday, July 10, 2017

Delusions of Watercolor

My mom shares my spectacularly poor singing voice. I would blame her for the poor-singing gene, but I suspect karma's really to blame. When I was a toddler, mom tried to sing me to sleep, but I told her, "Hush that noise." And so of course, my voice is at least as bad as hers.

Mom mentioned years ago that when she sat in front of her song-bird friend Tammy in church, she felt that she could sing. Tammy's voice carried forward so powerfully that it filled mom with the delusion she, too, could sing.

Ah, well. We make a joyful noise, and the Lord loves us anyway. Thanks be to His unfailing love!

What does this have to do with stamping, you ask? I watched a video from Jennifer McGuire on watercoloring and felt the same delusional joy and confidence mom felt in church singing in front of Tammy.

One problem I've noticed with the watercolor products I have (pencils, crayons, Twinkling H20s, StampinUp dye inks, etc.) is that the colors tend to be pale. It takes a lot of work to get bright colors, and even then, my results are awkward. So when Jennifer said the Peerless Watercolors were incredibly dense and vibrant, I bit.

Surely this would solve my problems with the medium. Right?

Not exactly. (You're shocked, I'm sure.) The Peerless Watercolors are delightful and easy to use...and give incredibly vibrant color. But just because you buy a new product doesn't mean you're automatically good at it.

Here's the proof.

Clearly, I need to practice. But the colors are lovely, aren't they?

Part of the problem is that I overwork the paint, smooshing the brush around unnecessarily. Perhaps a class would help. We shall see.

Not being able to do it well won't stop me, though. A friend of mine owns a dry cleaning business, and she ends up having to using the pressing machine because they can't keep employees to do that hot, sweaty work. She decided that her personal Bible verse is "I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." (Phil. 3:14) She paraphrases it, "Press on!" 

While my singing voice will likely never improve, my watercolor skills might. We shall see. 

Any advice is greatly appreciated.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Hero Arts You Are Loved, My Favorite Things Circle Scribble Flowers
ink: Archival black
paper: watercolor paper
accessories: Peerless Watercolors, brush, craft foam, glue


  1. I love this watercolour effect!

  2. Pratice is what helps. The paper helps as. Embossing the ink can make a big difference, I dont know if you ever heat emboss, that can be brilliant for beginners with watercolouring. A thought!!

  3. Watercolour is a medium that works on its own. If you do all the moving, you lose the effect. I'm a real beginner too, but I have learned so much from watching Dawn's videos (of WPlus9 Design - she is a watercolour artist!) THIS ONE is a good one to start on. Then browse her list and watch some more, and then play with it.

  4. I agree with Aileen to emboss your image; with this image, it will make little wells for each petal that you can just drop color into. Wet the flower, then just add color with your brush. The water will move the color. So I also agree with Janet. Don't overwork it and let the water do the work for you. Dawn (WPlus9) is a most excellent teacher.

    Don't skimp on your brushes or watercolor paper. Then you can use almost anything as your "paint" medium, from Crayola markers to ink pads to the most expensive paint on the market. My favorite brushes are the Silver Brush Black Velvet line; I use a #4 round almost exclusively. And my favorite water color paper is Fabriano Artistico hot press. I will send you some of this paper since I just ordered an entire roll. I will send you some other brands that I like also, so you can play and figure out which you like best!

    1. I meant to add: Dab an ink pad onto an acrylic block; spritz it with water, and use that as your painting medium.

    2. Ohmygosh, you're too nice! I do think the paper I used on my first two cards with the Peerless isn't very good, which makes me sad. My mom the fine artist prefers Arches for her paintings, but it's ridiculously expensive and hard to find around here. I do have a pad that seems better than the stuff used on this card, and will experiment with that as I await your gift. You're too sweet!

    3. I use Canson XL cold press watercolor paper (blue cover). I can get it at Michaels with a coupon and find it works great. The best advice I got on watercoloring was to relax. I'm still working on that!!! Oh and I really like this card!

  5. I just saw your purge/overload post. Loved both of those cards, and to help you do these types of cards more quickly, lay out your design on your card front. Then put a piece of Press and Seal (the kitchen stuff, like wax paper) over your card. Press down, lift up and all your little pieces will be stuck to the Press and Seal. Add your adhesive to each piece, then press it back down on your card and all those little pieces will magically be in place. I love this stuff; Jennifer McGuire's husband invented it when he worked at Proctor & Gamble.

  6. I myself have no delusions of grandeur when it comes to watercoloring. I wish I could do it though. I tend to overwater and drown everything. I can even crinkle watercolor paper. I understand practice makes the magic. I just lack the patience. I recently made a wash on a watercolor paper that was fabulous and made me feel like a real artist (there was adult supervision). That made me suspect that you want a quality brush to work with.

  7. I have no advice about water-coloring--seems intimidating to art-challenged me--and I'm also singing-voice-challenged, so I thought I would share a story about that, prompted by your mom's story.

    One time I was sitting by my friend Karen in church, and she has a lovely, powerful voice and often sings solos. But on this day she was just sitting in the congregation and singing with the rest of us.

    After the praise time, when it was time for everyone to turn around and greet their neighbors, Karen saw someone a couple rows away that she particularly wanted to say hi to--so she quickly dashed off there--so by the time the woman in front of me turned around, I was the only one there.

    She said to me, "What a lovely voice you have! I so enjoyed your singing!"

    It was tempting to say, "Oh, thanks. Yeah, I get that all the time"--but I told her the truth. But it was nice for one brief fleeting moment to have someone praise "my" singing. :)

  8. I love the Ranger Watercolour paper as it's the only one that is really white. I buy the US letter size and cut it down for my cards as it's cheaper than buying the card size.


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