Wednesday, June 10, 2015

A Bridge Too Far

In the summer of 1977, my father made our family go see A Bridge Too Far. I was not yet eleven years old.

Let's all agree right now that this constituted child abuse. I was a girly-girl who once (or twice) cried because my mom made me wear pants to school. Seriously. A war movie? People died! Violently! It was like Bambi, only worse, because it was based on real events, as my dad so thoughtfully made sure I understood.

I was scarred for life. Seven years later, I read Joseph Conrad's The Heart of Darkness. Remember when Kurtz utters the line, "The horror. The horror"? Well, I understood exactly what he meant.

Because of A Bridge Too Far.

Today's card series, oddly enough, reminded me of that experience. Instead of A Bridge Too Far, let's call it A Shade Too Many. Definitely not traumatic, but I bet every single stamper who reads this blog knows exactly what I'm talking about: the disappointment of taking an idea one step too far.

Yesterday, I showed how you can stamp outline flowers in a color and not bother actually, you know, coloring them. Today, I'll show you my first efforts at coloring the chrysanthemum in the Mama Elephant Freestyle Florals set.

Y'all know I'm not into time-consuming coloring techniques, but when I faced this stamp--with all those tiny petals--I decided it would look really lame if I only colored it one color. Two colors, however, sounded reasonable. It might take a little time, but not too much time. The result, using a very light shade and a medium shade of violet, was extremely satisfying.

Isn't that pretty? And note how balanced the placement
of the darker petals. Go, me!

All I did was color the entire flower quickly in the light shade and then added random petal of the medium shade, being careful to balance the placement of those darker petals. The results were so satisfying that I wondered if three shades would look even better. After searching my stash of alcohol markers for three shades of one color (I only had two of the violet), I settled on these mauve/burgundy shades.

That's when the wheels fell off. The bridge blew up. And I discovered mauve is not a good color for me. Seriously.


Ugh. The two lighter shades are too close to each other, and the dark is too dark. The results are unbalanced and rather ugly. More importantly, however, the quality of the coloring stinks. On the previous card, quickly coloring the light violet shade looked fine and gave a smooth base upon which to add the medium violet, but the light mauve (which wasn't as light as the violet) streaked and didn't give good coverage at all.

Instead of fixing that unevenness with another layer of color (which would have made the whole thing look even darker), I just pressed on. A bad base color and poor accent color placement resulted in visual chaos.

It looks messy. Untidy. Ugh.

At least it's not blood red, though. THAT would have been truly traumatic.

In the hands of someone with better coloring skills, this bridge could probably be taken. I, however, chose to surrender. Survive to fight another day, I always say.

After that time-consuming coloring craziness, perhaps we all need to cleanse our visual palate with a truly minimalist approach to this stamp. How about taking a gander at the first card I made with this stamp before I decided to get all jiggy with it.

One layer. A spot of color. Quick as a blink. Ahhhhh.

Much better.

But my favorite is the violet version. Push your boundaries, but don't go too far.

You might lose some card stock that way.

stamps: Mama Elephant (Freestyle Florals); Papertrey (Keep It Simple: Thinking of You)
ink: Memento black
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: dimensionals, corner rounder, rhinestones


  1. They is tricky stamps. I have one like that from Waltzingmouse, I decided to cut out the layers - What a mess, nothing lined up, most likely my cutting, not Claire's beautiful stamp. I hear you on this one! Love the elegance of No 3

  2. I enjoy the fact that you said getting jiggy with it. I am know picturing you coloring this card while bouncing your shoulders like that kid in the Peanuts cartoons.

  3. I colored a flower very similar to your mauve one and just knew something was wrong. Now I know what...thanks to your post today. Thank you very much. Less is better.
    Love the violet one!

  4. I so appreciate your coloring frustrations...I used to like to coloring books...within the lines. Even did shading back then. Now, I am convinced that all that coloring within the lines stunted my coloring creativity permanently. But didn't stop my desire to color...I just can't do least not well. Also hasn't stopped me from buying colored pencils (flunked the class), gelatos (still unopened), and now Copic markers...surely these expensive pens will magically make me better at coloring!

  5. I'm all about the violet version!

  6. Susan, your post from Tuesday with those lovely cards pushed me to buy this fabulous stamp set- (I would never have chosen it on my own.) Love the violet card, thanks for the heads up on the mauve!

  7. That is funny about A Bridge Too Far. While your father was forcing you to go see that movie, we were getting ready to move to Germany via the Air Force. I had the privilege of getting to visit the town where a lot of that action took place in Holland. I also got to visit the museum and the cemetery. It sure gives a person a different perspective on the movie.


Thank you so much for taking time to comment!