Hydrangeas are blooming everywhere right now and I couldn’t help but paint some! I took to my Distress Inks again but used them just as I would water colors.
The luminosity of these inks blows my mind away…hydrangeas are not easy to paint because of their complex structure. But I found it really relaxing to go over each petal and nurture it to life. Slowly but surely all of it came together in this vibrant gratitude card.
Ok, so let’s take a closer look at the process. I started off by stamping the Hydrangeas on Arches cold-pressed watercolor paper and heat-set the ink. Then I got four of my distress inks out: Mowed Lawn, Wilted Violet, Seedless Preserves and Tumbled Glass.
I gave the entire stamp a wash with Tumbled Glass and Seedless Preserves using a LOT of water and very little ink. Once I had heat-set that first layer, I then started adding the colors, one at a time.
The key thing to remember was adding darker colors to the “under petals” — the ones that were in the shadows of the top petals. I added diluted bits of color first, going in with the more intense, non-diluted, pure ink in the third and final layer.
What that does is it “lifts” the original wash layer up, giving the illusion of light. At this stage I introduced the green using the same light wash technique and going over with more pigmented, less diluted detail brushwork in the second layer.
I then fussy-cut the colored hydrangea image and started assembling the card. I didn’t want a plain white background but I also didn’t want the background to take away from the star of the show: the flowers! So, I dry-embossed with Altenew’s Mixed Sprinkles Stencil on a 4″ X 5.25″ cardstock sheet. It made for the perfect subtle background and almost reminds me of a dandelion blowing in the summer breeze.
Adding some grass (painted with distress inks on watercolor paper and die cut), Ranger Ink liquid pearls for the centers, a big, bold paintbrush “thanks” die from Simon Says Stamp and an additional sentiment from Altenew’s Best Sentiments stamp set completed the card.
While it took me a while to get the light and shadow just right in this card, I have to say it was totally worth the time. I enjoyed coloring with distress inks and love the luminosity of the colors and the depth/dimension this stamp allowed me to create.
Looking forward to painting another one of these in shades of pink next. What colors would you choose for your hydrangeas? Do share in the comments.