Watercolor a Scene with Colorado Craft Company

I am back again with another watercolored stamp set from Colorado Craft Company‘s new release and a FREE SHIPPING code!

The main image in this card is called “For Dad” and I watercolored it with distress ink reinkers just like the previous stamp sets, giving each character some clothes but also introducing some background imagery to create a scene.

If you’d like to watch a detailed video on how I watercolor with distress ink reinkers and listen to my tips, don’t forget to click here. Also, remember to enter the GIVEAWAY — you have time until midnight, April 13 — click here to enter a comment on my blog and then go to each designer’s blog and leave a comment.

I really enjoyed combining stamps from a previous Anita Jeram release for this postcard. Specifically, I used images from the Wall Words, This is Us and Wishing You Happiness stamp sets. It was so fun to make this one of those “freeze the moment” scenes where you know what’s going to happen next.

It made me giggle even as I was plotting the scene…I didn’t do any masking or use any special techniques…just aligned the images and inked areas of the stamp I wanted showing up on my paper.

When I watercolored the scene, everything including the background and the paintings hanging on the wall were super vibrant. I felt it was taking away from the main storyline, so my last touch, before adding the embossed sentiment, was using a white pencil to make everything except the main characters in the foreground “fade away.” So, you can see how the little mouse has fresh drips of paint on the walls but the focus is still on that laden brush with drops about to fall on dad’s nose!

These stamps are just so fun to color and I hope you’ll check out the entire Anita Jeram collection…there is bound to be something that tugs at your heart!

And Colorado Craft Company has a special offer for April 12 and April 13: you don’t have to pay for shipping when you use the code “FREESHIPPINGMB.” So go ahead and indulge. You won’t regret it!

Specific Supplies used:

Stamps from the Colorado Craft Company

Distress Ink Reinkers

Princeton Brushes

Strathmore Ready Cut Postcards

Faber Castell Polychromos Pencils

Sharpener for super-pointy pencil tips

Magnifying Glass

Sakura Stardust Glitter Pens

Sakura Glaze Pens

If you’d like to have a look at my favorite watercolor supplies, including links to brushes, paper, distress ink reinkers and paint palettes, please visit my Amazon Store Front. I get a teeny-tiny commission from any sales made through these links without any extra cost to you.

“Amazing Mom” with Colorado Craft Company

I’m always excited when it’s new release time at the Colorado Craft Company, especially so, when the release involves the Anita Jeram set of stamps!

The exceptionally cute stamps are a painter’s dream and I have taken to giving them clothes (as with a previous release). I love giving them personalities and, today, I share with you how I color these critters with distress ink reinkers. Scroll down to watch the video and partake in the blog hop!

Before I forget, you can enter your name in the hat for a $25 giveaway! All you have to do is leave a comment here and visit each designer listed below and leave a comment on their blogs. The giveaway will end on April 13th at midnight and winners announced on April 14.

  1. Adrienne Kennedy (CCC)
  2. Amber Rain Davis
  3. Angelica Conrad
  4. Bibi Cameron
  5. Caly Person
  6. Cathy Zielske
  7. Chari Moss
  8. Chris Dayton
  9. Daniel West
  10. Donna Hitz
  11. Emily Midgett
  12. Erin Thompson
  13. Jennifer Gross
  14. Jennifer Kotas
  15. Jennifer McGuire
  16. Jennifer Shurkus
  17. Joe Sysavath
  18. Kassi Hulet
  19. Kathy Racoosin
  20. Kelly Griglione
  21. Koren Wiskman
  22. Kristina Werner
  23. Laura Volpes
  24. Mansi Bhatia — you are here
  25. Marci Snee
  26. Nichol Spohr
  27. Sandy Allnock
  28. Sara Torzullo
  29. Traci Jenkins
  30. Yana Smakula

Ok, so without further ado, here is the process video. I take you through the colors used, my technique and biggest tip when working on projects like these that have small images and lots of details. Be sure to watch the whole thing.

I will have another blog post on the 12th revealing another stamp set from this collection, so be sure to come back! And if you’ve entered a comment for a chance to win $25, good luck!

If you’re not the betting kind, then I support your decision to shop right now! 🙂

Here’s a look at all the stamps and coordinating dies from this new release. Click here to shop at the Colorado Craft Company.

If you’d like to have a look at my favorite supplies, including handy links, please visit my Amazon Storefront. I make a teeny-tiny commission if you make a purchase following these links without any extra cost to you.

Spirit Animals Storybook

When I was invited to be a guest artist for this month’s release of Hero Arts’ “My Monthly Hero” Kit, I was ecstatic: geometric layered stencils are a dream to play with! My brain was bursting with ideas and, when I got the stencils in my hands, my first instinct was to take out my Gelli Arts® gel plate.

Before I go into the details of my process, let me tell you that this is a Giveaway post! Hero Arts will give away one $50 gift card, drawn from the comments left across the hop. Enter by Sunday, April 11th at 11:59pm Pacific, and the winner will be announced on the Hero Arts blog the following week.

I used Golden Fluid Acrylics, limiting myself to two shades of yellow, one orange and one teal color. Depending on which color I brayered on first, and which stencil I added when in the printing process, my prints were either bold and bright or deep and subdued.

When I spread my 6×6 prints out on the floor side-by-side, they looked like a beautiful quilted mosaic which gave me the idea to cut them up and turn them into a mini-book.

I used Grafix Arts black chipboard to create a cover and spine (which I then covered with a separate, more subdued gel plate print), and did some stitching with my sewing machine on some pages. It was then just a matter of putting everything together. I used the dies to cut out silhouette images on black cardstock and created outlines with a white pen, following the designs on the stamps. I like how the black images pop against the colorful, robust backgrounds giving them a storybook appearance. I also used my Sakura Micron and gel pens to doodle on the pages, using the elements of the designs to guide my drawings.

To bring all of this under one theme, I decided to create words that described the imagery — attributes, if you will, of these woodland animals. I simply typed them up on my computer and printed them out. This nature-themed book feels so calming, inviting and reassuring all at the same time.

I finished binding and added a little ribbon accent, inviting you to engage with the book. Three little buttons hold the ribbon together on each end. The funny thing is that even though I’m not good (far from it!) when it comes to book binding, this has been holding together! There are lots of hand-drawn icons, words, embellishments and “things to notice” in this book, so I’m also adding the stills. I really enjoyed playing with the stencils and I know I’ll be reaching for them again for other whimsical projects (including but not limited to framed art for my kiddo’s room, wrapping paper, bookmarks, scarves and gift tags!).

I hope you enjoyed this project and will take the time to see the amazing things other artists and crafters have made as part of this release. Here is a complete list for the blog hop:

Hero Arts
Channin Pelletier
Daniel West
Debi Adams
Emily Midgett
Ilina Crouse
Jessica Frost-Ballas
Libby Hickson
Lydia Fiedler
Maria Willis
Mindy Eggen
Pocono Pam
Special Guests:
Jennifer Kotas
Jennifer McGuire
Mansi Bhatia * You are here
Nichol Spohr
Rachel Juanita Bellamy
Rebecca Keppel

For a list of my favorite supplies and tools, please visit my Amazon Store Front. When you shop using any of the affiliate links, I receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.

Functional Art with Spellbinders

I was so excited to see Susan’s Spring Flora Collection launch on Spellbinders Art. Susan’s detailed floral dies are so unique and I learn so much about seasonal plants from her collections.

This time, I especially loved the Kerria Japonica die set. These flowers are also called the Japanese Rose and are native to Japan, China and Korea. The details in this die are amazing and when you fold the petals inwards, the look is so realistic that I was in awe.

I thought it would be fun to use these dies a little differently this time. My daughter is a spring baby and she has recently gotten into accessorizing — matching scarves, bracelets, bows, masks…you name it and she’s on it!

So, I decided to make her a custom coordinating hair clip and brooch set with the three primary colors: red, yellow and blue. I love that the dies tell you exactly how many of each petal you need to cut to create the three-dimensional layered flower. It’s foolproof!

If you follow me on my social media channels, you’ll know how much I enjoy working with Grafix’s Dura-Lar archival polyester film. I painted on the film with alcohol inks and used the dies to cut out multiple flowers.

Why Dura-Lar?

Dura-Lar is a great product to work with when making functional art because it lays flat, provides consistent color clarity, is non-yellowing, heat resistant and has amazing tensile strength.

The biggest thing for me in this particular project was knowing that is tear-resistant! I also really like how it’s translucent like acetate so the petals look almost luminous.

The assembly was simple with Grafix Double Tack Mounting Film in the center of each layer holding the top and bottom petals together. I affixed the flowers to a blank barrette clip with Red Line Tape and then affixed a little jewel in matching colors for each flower.

I followed the same process for the brooch. And I am now thinking of ideas on how to use them for earrings, bracelets, and maybe even sewed on to some journal covers!

I hope you enjoyed learning more about this project…it’s a far cry from paper crafting. But I’m sure I’ll be using these dies in some cards in the near future! I hope my daughter will enjoy these two pieces of wearable art for a long time to come.

One sheet of paper

I took inspiration from Autumn for this water-themed mini book. It’s amazing how easily you can transform a simple sheet of copy paper into a little book. I chose water as my theme and used a Gelli Arts gel plate, some inks and paints and some textural elements to create a double-sided patterned paper. Then I cut the paper into four parts, folded and bound them together adding a Grafix Dura-lar painting as my cover page.

The mini book was ready in one sitting lasting a little over 30 minutes. I then added lots of mixed media details, sketched, wrote, stamped and colored in this mini book over the course of two days.

I love how simple this project is and how you can transform it into whatever you want.

What do you think of my little themed book? Is it something you see yourself making? Happy to answer any specific questions you may have and I hope you have a wonderfully creative day!

For a list of my favorite crafty supplies and tools, visit my Amazon Storefront.

Art Journaling with An Image Transfer

This started out as the second ghost print — yes, you read that correctly, second ghost print from a traced portrait using my gel plate. ⁠If you’d like to see a process video of this tracing technique for an image transfer, have a look at this YouTube video.

I have the complete process for doing image transfers four different ways, including how to modify the first pull, in my self-paced Portrait Printing course.

Here’s a look at the embellished original pull and first ghost print. You can see how each of these is very different, despite using one magazine image to pull the prints. Embellishing can really make your portrait prints look so vastly different!

As you’ll see in this video, I had an outline of the image transfer to start out with. I started out with Derwent Inktense pencils and then picked up some other tools, including stencils, Stabilo Woody pencils, glitter paste, embellishment mousse and glaze pens.

Process video

It’s a fun experience to alter images that have been transferred from magazines using a gel plate. I especially like how you can turn these into characters with personality! I still have another ghost print from this one trace on my gel plate and I am pretty sure it will be vastly different from the first three. It’s also cool to have them all together compiled into a journal that I can flip through for creative inspiration.

What do you think of these transformations? Is it something you have tried to do with your gel plate image transfers? Do you have any questions about the process? Let me know in the comments.

Collaging in My Art Journal

I usually don’t have a plan when I am working in my art journal — it is my safe space to create, express and experience life in the moment. Besides sharing how I create this page, I’m also sharing the emotions I was feeling during this journey.

Let me know if this is something that resonates with you. Do you find art journaling therapeutic? Do you feel you can’t just let go for fear of messing up?

The reason I started journaling in 2020 was because I felt the need to escape…to tune out everything else. I didn’t need to have self-composure, or a checklist, or an agenda or any aspirations. I could truly just breathe as I let my fingers slide across the page smearing paint all over…I could get messy without caring about unintentional splotches. I could fee free and complete and whole. I could be angry or happy or silly or whatever I felt in that moment. I could just be.

And this journal is turning into my haven — a place where I can do all my crazy experiments, where I can try things out that scare me (like collaging), where I can make mistakes (but there are no mistakes in art!), where I can express freely.

I hope when you watch this video, it will give you the courage to say yes to yourself…make time for you…give yourself permission to fail, to succeed, to be free!

For a list of my favorite crafty supplies and tools, visit http://www.amazon.com/shop/MansiMakes

A Rose is a Rose is a Rose

There’s something about roses that appeals to me when painting and I’m exploring different brush heads to see what style feels more natural to me. They may be realistic or completely interpretive. With harsh strokes or soft touches. With well-defined petals or abstract marks…there are so many ways to paint them. But at the end of the day, a rose is a rose is a rose.

As I’m setting up my craft room, I’m finding long-forgotten supplies. These Winsor and Newton paints are at least 15 years old, if not more. Most of them had dried up and had solidified inside the tube but I did find some that still work.

I also absolutely loved using my newly-acquired moon palette from Sarah Diane, an amazing ceramic artist. I don’t know how to explain it, but there’s something about using this palette that makes me want to paint more…mix the paints, lose myself in creating new colors, adding copious amounts of paper to get just the right blends. And I guess, that’s the secret of painting better…practising more!

Here is the process video for this painting. It’s basically the same process I used to paint the blue rose, which I shared a couple of weeks ago. Started out with a bunch of flowers filling up the whole page and then accentuating one flower. I loved using a size 6 round brush for this painting…and I’ll be exploring it more to see what other shapes I can create with it.

You’ll see that I used a lot of water and in places where the paint became too intense I used a thirsty brush to pick up excess color (the areas that appear white), giving the flower some highlights. It also added some depth and movement to my interpretive rose.

What do you think of this painting? Do you like all the hidden layers? Also, any feedback on the videos? Is there anything I could improve or do more of? Let me know in the comments.

3D Floral Dies Two Ways

I am so excited to share this gorgeous 3D tag with you. Part of the new Spellbinders’ Make A Scene Collection by Becca Feeken, these Grand Cinch and Go Flowers and Filigree Facade Frame Etched Dies were so fun to work with. [gifted]

I used alcohol inks and mixatives to create a vibrant painting on the back of photo paper (which is a tad more sturdy and much less expensive than other commonly-used substrates). I then doodled on it with Soufflé and Glitter pens before cutting the painting up into individual flowers. Curling and pinching the petals with a toothpick felt so therapeutic and because the photo paper is thick the flowers held their shape pretty well. I then used a needle and embroidery floss to tie a French knot through the middle of the flowers (they’re easy to align). This allows for each layer to rotate independent of the other, which is very cool.

I also used the Filigree Facade due to cut up one of my gel plate backgrounds and adhered all of it on a sample laminate tag from The Home Depot. Finished it off with a simple sentiment and a big red bow to make this grand-looking tag ready to accompany a special gift.

I rarely make 3D projects but this die set was so worth it.

I also decided to use the same Grand Cinch and Go Flowers Dies [gifted]⁠ to create a watercolor painting with Peerless watercolors on Strathmore Art‘s postcard paper!⁠

I simply used the cavities of the alcohol ink painting from yesterday as stencils (it’s why I have a hard time throwing away ANYTHING!) and painted a loose background with different-sized flowers. ⁠

As is my style with watercolors, I like blending images together until they look cohesive. The background took a while to come together because I kept introducing layers upon layers, which are easy to do with these watercolors. ⁠

For this painting, I chose a big flower to spotlight in the middle and also used the leaf die cut that’s part of the set to introduce some foliage. It’s just another way to stretch your dies when you can use them as stencils to create watercolors.⁠

I finished up the painting with a quote: “Flowers are age music of the ground; from earth’s lips spoken without sound” ~ Edwin Curran. ⁠

It’s beginning to look and feel a lot like spring here with temperatures upwards of 70 degrees everyday … so this is my gift to all of you still dealing with freezing cold weather! I hope this painting brings a smile to your face and warms your heart.⁠

I hope you enjoyed both these projects and they inspire you to create something, too. Remember when you create with your heart, your hands will follow.

Painting Loose Florals

This journal page surprised me for many reasons:

  1. I was not familiar with the medium
  2. I had no intention of painting flowers
  3. I couldn’t find my gesso so used a different way of separating my background from my foreground — and it worked!

This watercolor journal and the Peerless Watercolor Sampler Set were holiday gifts from crafty friends and I had been waiting to play with both! To be completely honest, when I saw the Peerless samples, I thought they were swatches of colors I would need to buy from the website and they would either be in tube or pan form.

Yeah, well, I’ve been living under a rock. Turns out these colors have been around since 1885 and are deceptively vibrant! You’ll see me fumble with them in the first parts of the video … I was going with the “less is more” philosophy given this medium was completely unfamiliar to me. But I soon realized that these colors need a lot of water to activate them. More is more!

I initially thought I’d just paint layers of leaves but as I continued adding shapes with my dagger brush, I reached for some red and lo and behold, flowers had made their appearance on this page. Also, the direction of my painting changed.

It’s the kind of thing that happens when one doesn’t have a plan. I just love how images appear and I get lost in the process of creating without knowing what my next step will be.

When the whole page was filled with flowers and leaves, I reached for my gesso. Only to realize it was still packed away in some box. My white pen would have to do. As I created the veils around and over the flowers, it brought so much movement and such happy energy to the page.

I had no clue what the colors would look like, what I would paint or if I would even like the end result, but I truly enjoyed the process. And I share it here with you, with no inhibition, to inspire, encourage and invite you to do the same.

Allow yourself the experience of child-like experimentation. Give yourself the permission to “fail.” And see where it takes you. You don’t need to purchase new supplies. You don’t need fancy tools. Just YOU and your heart are enough to create something beautiful.