Saturday, April 16, 2016

N is for ...

{Sorry -- "Gusty Winds" seem to have taken over on this one ...}

No-Line Watercolor ...

for your rubber stamping ...    
(Blogger can be a real pain when it comes to getting the line breaks / returns to work correctly ... right now, as I try to change from "centered" (as the video above) to get left margin for text, Blogger just erases lines above me but stays in the center ...)  So ... Sorry about the dang extra lines (unless I can find the right ones to remove in the html ... then maybe it will okay by the time you see this mess ...  **sigh**

WOW!  Isn't that gorgeous?

Most of my rubber and clear stamps are still packed up ... I have a few sets within reach but nothing with a large flower like these.  So, I wasn't exactly sure what I would use to try this.
Actually, I had done something very similar.  Way back in the Dark Ages (oh, say around the year 1999 or 2000), a friend had a Stampin' Up! Party and then joined the company as a demo during the next Sale-A-Bration in January -- and got a bonus of all the red stamp pads SU had in their line at the time.  What a great deal, eh?
Anyhow, I became her occasional customer and one thing I decided to try was watercoloring stamped images.  I had a couple of gorgeous stamps I had gotten at Michael's or Joann's ... based on paintings by a particular artist (whose name I have forgotten but once I find those stamps again, I'll "remember" because her name will be on them LOL!)  Anyhow, the index "print" of the stamp shows it colored in, probably with watercolors.
One little digression before going on.  I love to watercolor but do not trust my own ability to draw out the image in pencil before I start.  In fact, for a very long time, I thought that it was "CHEATING!" to actually draw out the image first.  I thought "Any bozo can color inside the lines!"  **snort** Was I ever wrong!
Well, maybe not.  Anyone can color in -- we just approach it in our own way and within our own level of skill and knowledge.  And it is not cheating to draw it out first!  It was Bill Alexander and Bob Ross who painted, on PBS, showing us how to paint with oil or acrylic without putting some kind of guidelines, at least, if not the entire carefully drawn picture, on the canvas or paper first.  I got lured into believing that "real" artists did not use lines ...
I can draw.  I just don't feel skilled enough at it -- and once that idea filtered in, I just did not pursue it.  Now, 589 years later I can realize that my childish belief in "perfection must come out immediately" rather than the maxim "practice makes perfect" really hurt me a lot.  I missed out on a lot of things I think I would have enjoyed ...  **sigh**
So, when I was in my late 20s, I began to take courses at the local community college to be able to do two things:  (1) make simple sketches to show what kind of illustration(s) I wanted in any children's book I might write, and (2) make illustrations that I could then turn into counted-cross-stitch patterns.  This stupid concept about being perfect was still firmly lodged in my mind.  I have not yet achieved either of those goals -- I got hooked on working in clay mud instead.
At the community college, I joined the Art Club. One of our field trips was to the National Watercolor Society Show at a gallery in Soho, NYC.  I stood there in front of one painting of copper cookware, just flummoxed by the fact someone could capture the look of metal so well in watercolor!  And then the painting next to it was gorgeous.  Again I stood there so in awe.  But ... then ... I saw the pencil lines.  All my excitement fled.  All that was left was disappointment.  The painter wasn't so talented after all.


That painter was extremely talented. 
As I took courses other than the clay ones (well, there were just only so many in the catalog unless I wrote up requests for "personal study" classes) -- I was still interested in those original ideas, too. So, besides classes in drawing, watercolor and 2-D and 3-D design, I attended a few Saturday events where professional artists came in and demonstrated their technique;  we got to work along.  I have since learned that it is not a sin to draw out your image before coloring it with whatever medium you want to use.

But, when it came to those scenic rubber stamps, I wanted to watercolor it but not have the lines of the stamped image be a very dark black.  I'd learned about "stamp off" and bought a very light gray pigment pad from Stampin' Up!.  I tried it.  The details of the stamp were just too small and detailed to get the results I wanted.  It did not take long for me to give up on using that technique.  (I am fairly certain that the original paintings were larger than the rubber stamps of them.)
Distress or not to Distress?
One last digression -- at one of the Facebook groups I belong to (or maybe more than one) -- there was a short in-the-comments-section-of-a-post discussion about Ranger's Tim Holtz Distress Inks.  Personally, I don't own any and have never ever seen any reason to want to own any.  (I will admit that there are a few colors there that get used a lot onYouTube because they are great (dare I say "awesome") colors -- I may actually be willing to get the Distress Paints because they are the only items in the line that are not water-reactive after they dry ...)  That is, I did not see any reason to want to own any of those inks until I saw this video.  The light ink line will get incorporated into the watercoloring and disappear.
I had made the comment that I believe ANY water-based ink will do the same things when they come into contact with water as the Distress inks will.

Well, that is not true, apparently.


As you can tell, I goofed and forgot to stamp off when applying one of the smaller flowers to the paper.  I goofed big time, actually ... Idiot here thought this was just an experiment.  I grabbed a 4x6" index card off my desk.  There is writing on the lined side.  Info I no longer need, so the card was there to use for whatever else I might find I needed to jot down in a hurry.  (The other side is actually a chart telling me which letter falls on which date in April for this A-to-Z Blogging Challenge 2016 -- the calendar at the site about the Challenge is wrong!)
The background was painted with a really cheapo set of "metallic" watercolors from Oriental Trading Company.  The set of stamps I used is a "Stamp of the Month" from Close To My Heart a few years ago -- S1306 A Flowering Bunch.  I also used CTMH dye-based inkpad in "Whisper."  Stamped off once, it left a line just dark enough to see to paint into ... where I forgot to stamp off, it is really dark.  Ut oh!
I tried to add water to blend out the stamped line.  The card of the index card began to pill and the background was getting into the flower.  The stamped line seemed to remain just as dark ...
I tried a line of darker watercolor pencil (Prima #17) and the lighter #14 ... and used a paint brush with just the tip dampened, so I wouldn't get too much green into the petal area. 

Finally, after a couple of weeks of looking for the watercolor "box" I was sure should be easily found -- I found it.  LOL!  I was sure it was about 5x7" and slightly off-white in color.  Should have been easy to spot ... Ha!  I had put it back in the box it came in.  A black box.  It is not a Cotman, like I thought it was, but a Koi ...

So along with the slightly dampened brush, I tried adding a bit of other green watercolor paint (the Koi) to try to disguise that dark green edge.  Ended up with more green in that area than I wanted.  Put it aside as a "big fail" attempt.

But ...

Well, I decided that giving up on the thing was not an option I would settle for.  It was, after all, just an experiment, right?  You live.  You learn.  Or you should ...

After a day or two, I picked up the "thing" and worked on it some more.  Finished it.  Not overly happy with it.  For one thing, the Koi watercolor box does not have a decent red in it.  The reddish paints in the metallic watercolor set from Oriental Trading Company are brighter and helped but did not rescue the flowers from being "rusty" in tone.
Truthfully, I did a different one before I decided to go back and finish the first -- I made the same mistake on the second one too -- forgot to stamp off before stamping one of the parts ... **sigh**
You Live.  You Learn.
Or, You Should ...

Even though it is on an index card, I decided to use it on a greeting card after all.  It will take a bit extra adhesive to hold it in place since it warped when the index card was wet and while drying ...
Now for the other one:

This time, I used the same stamp set from Close To My Heart, plus the Fun Stamper Journey ATS stamp "Honeycomb" (AT-0090) stamped in Close To My Heart "Pear" ink.  You can tell where I goofed?  Yep, the stem under the tulip.  **Sigh** It is on Canson watercolor paper, though, instead of cardstock ...  **phew!**
Jake & Kitty and Unk are giving me conflicting advice.  I hear from them that I should leave it the way it is.  Then I hear mumbling, "No!  No!  She should trim it down to the 4x6 inches like she originally planned.  Then it can go on a card front."  "Yeh?  She has cards she can put it on that don't have that embossed area that is 4x6 inches.  She has 'flat' cards -- like that Cheap Joe's one that is a watercolor paper that comes with the 4x6 panels.  You know the ones I mean!"
They argue and I, for now, plan to leave it just as it is.  And just keep on painting them until I get it "perfect" -- which means I may never get to do anything else ever again, since I'm sure it will never be 'perfect' in my mind! 

A Happy Ending ...

Yep.  It is a happy ending!  You see, in the past (and that can be as recently as 2 seconds ago or a gajillion years ago), I would have never finished that first attempt and if I had decided to finish it, seeing that I call it a failure, I would never ever have shared it publicly!
I have discovered something, though, through wading through tons and tons of electrons over at YouTube -- failures are as encouraging and inspiring as successes.  Actually, failures are often more inspirational. 
The problem when I was a kid was that I was exposed to the finished work of the "masters" -- and did not have any conception of all the steps it took to get there.  I believed I had to produce things that good, immediately, before I could share it.  When I see people, who are just starting on their journey of artistic discovery, sharing their work, I get encouraged to share my own -- no matter what it really looks like.  The Inner Critic Monster is having a far less frightening hold on me these days ... wanna see him?
I've drawn other monsters, but this (above) is the one that got that name ...

Okay, onward to
The Baker's Dozen Plus for the letter N ...
  1. neither
  2. north
  3. nimble
  4. nugget
  5. nougat
  6. newt
  7. noun
  8. never
  9. needle
  10. new
  11. nest
  12. now
  13. new
  14. naught
  15. name
  16. nine
  17. Nellie
  18. noodle
  19. nestle
  20. noink (a new made-up word that sounds funny -- use it as you will ...)
  21. naked mole rat
  22. nandoo
  23. narwhal
  24. natterjack toad
  25. nut
  26. night heron
  27. night
  28. nutcracker (a type of bird or the wooden or metal 'thing' ...)
Because the bit on watercoloring a stamped image took up so much space in this post, I had decided to not include any other "N" stuff -- but if I totally bored you, you may have skipped over all that.  So, if you actually got this far, you should be "rewarded" ... so ...

Longevity Noodles

Nettle Tea
They say it is good for you but ... I remember when Barbara made Nettle Soup and green dye for wool from nettles that Tom had gathered off the golf course in the British comedy "Good Neighbors" ... and a character makes Nettle Tea teabags (and tea) in Whispering to Witches by Anna Dale.  **shudder**

I mentioned to hubby that I was including Nettle Tea today and he said he has a great story about nettles -- Many years ago, Gov. Rudy Perpich of Minnesota was on a campaign swing by bus through northern Minnesota.  Hubby's sister was a photographer for the U of Mn and somehow was on the bus;  she witnessed this.  At one stop, he lost his balance getting off the bus and headed down into the ditch.  He grabbed hold of two plants to steady himself so he would not fall.  The governor went through the greeting line, gave his speech and then another line of shaking hands.  He said nothing about what had happened until he was back on the bus when he asked for two buckets of ice water and jammed his hands down into the water.  When he drew them out again, the hands were red from the cold but also from all the stings and punctures he had gotten from the stinging nettles he had grabbed hold of ... All I can say to that is "Ouch!  Ouch!  Ouch!" and "Wow!  He actually went ahead and did not complain until after all that time had gone by?  Wow, again."

And Thanks to, here is
Today is ...

* Husband Appreciation Day
* National Wear Your Pajamas to Work Day

Call to Action:

There are 5 things you can do to earn a free gift (probably a selection of Color-Your-Own SuseDoodle postcards from a forthcoming collection to be released soon! WOO HOO!)  All five  Call to Action options can be found here -- two can be  answered in the Comments Section here or via the InLinkz section at the end of the post ... I wanted to set the closing date as May 7 but InLinkz would not let  me run a link list for that long ... so the deadline is May 1 ...

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