Summer Blooms: Hydrangeas

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.

I digress.

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. 


Be The Change You Want To See

I’ve been recording all of my content for various online courses to demystify and make monoprinting more accessible to a wider audience. As part of those recordings, I did this magazine image transfer. Wish I had taken more photos of what this looked like right after I pulled the print but, alas, I didn’t. As with most prints, I “enhanced” it with Derwent Inktense pencils, Stabilo Woody pencils and some acrylic paint. 

Here’s a quick hyperlapse video showing the transformation.

I have this image posted on our refrigerator as a reminder that more work needs to be done, conversations need to be had (both with ourselves and with others), questions need to be answered, and long-held beliefs need to be challenged.

We all need to stand up, one household at a time, to unite in this fight against injustice and systemic biases. The motto in our house now is: racism ends with me. And because we have been having honest conversations with our six-year-old daughter, and because she sees this image on our fridge every day, I have hope for our future.

Thanks to everyone who responded to my last blog post and newsletter with resources (books, online reads and videos) to share with my daughter. We are all learning together and trying to do better and be better. 

Supplies

Curious about the products I use for mixed media gel plate transformations? I have listed them below.

(These are compensated affiliate links at no cost to you. Thank you for your support! Affiliate and product disclosure can be found here. As always, I was not paid to do this post and I only use products from companies I love.)

I have this image posted on our refrigerator as a reminder that more work needs to be done, conversations need to be had, questions need to be answered, and long-held beliefs need to be challenged.

Black Lives Matter

I am not a political person and I don’t much care for religious beliefs either: my philosophy has always been live and let live. It’s hard for me, though, to just stand by and not do anything about what we are going through in this pivotal moment in history.

As hard as it is for me to express in words how I feel about the state of this country right now, I am expressing my feelings through journaling. We need to remember what it’s like to be human, to be kind, to be humble, to be loving, to be accepting of EVERYONE!

Creative expression of my thoughts

I came to this country 20 years ago thinking this was the promised land where caste and creed didn’t matter, women were treated fairly, and there was freedom of choice.

I was ignorant…or maybe too naive. But I accepted everything that I felt was wrong as part of the cultural fabric of this nation…not my problem to solve, right? Wrong.

As protests rage around the country, fighting for equality and justice for ALL, I’m taking a stand by monetarily supporting Black Lives Matter and ACLU of Northern California. And I am supporting the works of: Art by JekeinM Koby ArtCoco MichelePretty Strange DesignOh Happy DaniShema LoveMonica AhanonuNikkolas Design and Lauren Pierce to stay connected, keep learning and never forget that complacency is our enemy and kindness changes everything.

Each one of us is responsible for forging the way for a more humane and just society. We need to speak up individually and collectively; we need to be compassionate, empathetic and committed; we need to do our part in ending racism across the board.  

It will take all of us working together to make these changes. The conversations won’t be easy or comfortable, but they are critical. I urge you all to reflect honestly, discuss openly and become part of the solution actively.

Don’t be a bystander. Change the cultural fabric of the place you’re living in. Lead by example. We can do better. We can be better.

If you would like to do guided intuitive art journaling, please fill out your email address so you can be notified of upcoming classes.

Supplies

Curious about the products I used? I have listed them below.
(These are compensated affiliate links at no cost to you. Thank you for your support! Affiliate and product disclosure can be found here. As always, I was not paid to do this post and I only use products from companies I love.)

Fluid Acrylic Pour: Mermaids

I had posted some images of fluid acrylic pours on dolphins and sea horses on social media, when I got a message asking if I could paint two mermaids. The client wanted pinks, purples, and blues with a healthy dose of glitter. And this would be a birthday gift. No pressure!

I didn’t hesitate. The chance to paint mermaids for a little girl’s room! How was I to pass up on a challenge like that?

But to be honest, it was nerve-racking. I spent an inordinate amount of time looking for the perfect shaped MDF board silhouette and finally found one on Etsy (yay for small businesses!). Once it arrived, I just had to wait for a half day of alone time when I could start and finish the pour. Why? It only takes 30 seconds to pour paint on something! Right? Wrong!

Before the pouring could begin, I had to prep all the paint mixes with the right ratios of paint to pouring medium. Getting that melting ice cream consistency is key to those beautiful cells. Then there’s the little matter of creating a space in one’s family room where the paintings can stay untouched for a couple of days and cure. Lastly, of course, comes the very-involved process of cleaning up all the drippings! For those of you who have little ones, you’ll understand how that goes.

In this video, you’ll see more than just the act of pouring. There’s a lot more that goes into taking a raw idea and making into a finished product—one that I can be proud of.

It took approximately eight weeks from the time I first discussed the idea with the client to when it was shipped to her. Yes, you read that correctly: eight weeks. Varnishing is critical to the longevity of the product and I also always take time to sand and smooth all edges. So, the next time you see a quick reel on fluid acrylic pouring, please know that the artist has likely spent many hours creating the final product.

I used soft body acrylic paints from Liquitex for this project and varnished the final product with three coats of Kamar Varnish followed by a coat of Liquitex Glossy Varnishing Medium.

Let me know in the comments if you have any specific questions or have tips and tricks to share!