Monday, August 30, 2010

Serendipitous Watercolor

One of my favorite stamp companies since I started stamping ten years ago is Serendipity Stamps. I think they are great for coloring with watercolors. Serendipity means "an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident; good luck; luck". Sometimes when dealing with watercolor, it is a matter of luck or serendipity as to what you end up with. I also like to use watercolor crayons and markers with airbrush on Serendipity Stamps.

Mary Dew Lee owns Serendipity Stamps and has become a friend over the years. She comes out with spring stamps after the first of the year and fall/holiday stamps during the summer. Since watercolor is my favorite medium and Serendipity Stamps are some of my favorite stamps, I thought I would do a few tutorials on watercolor. I just worked on these Saturday when I ran away to the cabin, so they are still just as you see them now. Eventually, I will get the finished cards done and you will see those too. Let's talk a little about watercolor.

I usually use Strathmore paper. I buy the big tablets when they have them 40-50% off at the craft stores. I will stamp the big sheets and then cut up the images into more manageable sizes, being sure to leave plenty of room between them. Sheryl commented, asking if it was cold press. Yes, it is cold press. Hot press (smooth like bristol board) usually is only found in blocks which are expensive and hard to remove from the block. I have used bristol board, but I like the look of the texture of the watercolor paper as it looks like real watercolor. Some stamps are too finely detailed for the texture of watercolor paper, which is one reason I like Serendipity stamps. Their images are usually bold enough that they work fine with the texture. I LOVE the sketch type images from my other favorite stamp company, Inkadinkado, but they work better on a smoother paper. Sometimes the finer images work better with the wc crayons (whereas most people say to use bold images with those). There are no set rules. One thing about watercolor, you have to experiment and play! Bristol board is an option if you want a smooth surface.

I also will stamp the image more than once as I might want to try different color combinations, like above. I use Versafine ink. It is oil based so the water beads off of it and you see the image beautifully. It should be nice and juicy and not dried out, however.

The palette below is just what I happened to have a the cabin. It is a travel set that has tubes of watercolor paint in them. When I taught classes, I used Prang palettes, like kids use in school. They will work fine for painting images for cards. I also have some twinkling H2O's below, but you can use any brand. There are many options for getting that shine in your watercolor.

I like a big flat brush for doing washes, a medium brush and a fine one. For the two smaller ones, I use either flat or round. These just happened to be what I had handy at the cabin. I use two containers of water, one with clean water and the other in which to rinse my brush. The Styrofoam cup above was the cup I had had with can see the shade of lipstick on the edge! LOL! Jan commented that she thought I was having some coffee or tea...if I were, I should have it on the right side as I am right handed. Actually, I should have the paints and water on the right side here, so I am not going across and over my paper, On these small images, it is not as critical as if you were doing a large painting.

You can tell that I don't take this as rocket science. Art and crafting are to be fun, so I don't sweat the small stuff when I am just doing this for my own enjoyment. I also have paper towels, to blot the brush on and one in my hand for blotting mistake off the paper. Yes, we all make mistakes. Good thing about watercolor is that it has a loose look anyway, so you can get away with more mistakes! Why do you think I like it? Seriously, I love the look of watercolor and if you do too, I hope you will enjoy these lessons. I know you will enjoy seeing my new stamps!

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Jan Castle said...

Now this is funny...when I first saw your picture I thought, 'oh, she is having a cup of coffee/tea while she works'...then after reading your commentary, I discover that it's not coffee/tea but your cleaning water for your brushes! LOL! Guess nothing is as it appears at first glance!
Looking forward to your lessons...thanks Holly!
Jan Castle

SherylH said...

This is perfect timing -- I am starting to play with watercolours using distress reinkers so am really looking forward to some tips. Is it cold press watercolor paper from Strathmore, and if yes, does the texture affect the stamp image? How does watercolour paper compare to the Bristol smooth/vellum from Strathmore? Thanks!

Holly's Hobbies said...

Thanks for writing, Ladies. Sheryl, yes it is cold press. About the only way you can find hot press is in a block and it is expensive. I have used bristol board, but I like the look of wc paper. To me, the texture adds to the overall look of wc. Sometimes an image will be too fine to use on wc paper, but not often. A juicy ink pad also helps.

SherylH said...

Thanks Holly -- I will have to give the cold press a try. I see that Michael's (at least in Canada) has 50% off the Strathmore this week so will pick some up.