I hope each of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with family, friends and good food. Bob and I enjoyed our holiday and did manage to prepare a much lighter meal that we enjoyed very much. It is the first holiday meal in recent memory that I didn't go into an "overeating food coma".
While my Tom Turkey roasted in the oven I had time to play in the SCS's Thursday Ways To Use It challenge. The challenge was to create a project reflecting gratitude or thankfulness in some way. As I looked through my stamps for sentiments I came across the set Give Thanks by Stampin' Up!. I love the bucket of apples image in the set and my mind started kicking around the idea of using it in a winter scene instead of a fall harvest themed project. The red apples could be the focal point of a rustic, snowy scene representing a much simpler time when the cellar was packed full of the summer and fall harvest and Christmas was celebrated with apples, oranges and nuts filling the children's stockings, gifts were homemade and the most significant gift of the day was being with family and friends.
I stamped the bucket of apples on a blank piece of watercolor paper and then sketched the barn, fence and pine sprigs around the image with an artist pen. Too bad I didn't draw the barn a little smaller to be further in the background of the bucket. Oh well! I also used my pen to age the bucket with sketched dings that I could cover with a little rust when coloring. I've never seen a well used bucket that didn't show signs of hard knocks and rust. I painted the bucket with Sahara Sand and used darker shades of ink over the ding mark areas. I used a dry brush wiped directly on the More Mustard ink pad to get just enough ink to lightly brush over the dings. The trick with a lightly inked dry brush used in a stipple fashion is that you can lay one color of ink over another without water damaging the original color. I hope that makes sense! The apples were painted with touches of Distress Antique Linen to create the highlights, heated to dry and then painted over with Adirondack Cranberry and Red Pepper. Just a light wash of red was used on the little highlighted spots.I painted the leaves on the apples brown as I know they would have withered and dried up from being stored in the cellar for so long. I know….I know….I take my little stories too far. I painted the pine sprigs on the barn door and fence first and then lightly painted around them when coloring the remaining images with brown. I used Adirondack Latte to paint the barn with a light wash of brown and then added depth to the board lines with a less watered down mixture of water and ink to create the appearance of different wood tones. I sponged the sky with an Inkssentials ink blending tool using Stampin' Up! Bordering Blue.
There are really no solid lines drawn with the pen to form the images. I make lots of small sketch marks to form what looks like lines and to create shading and texture. Using darker colors of ink on the shaded or distressed looking parts of the image creates interest and depth. I created the ground area in front of the door with a blending tool and Distress Vintage Photo and allowed some of the darker brown to go up on the bottom part of the door to show a little added dirtiness to the area as well as wear on the wood.
It is important when combining watercolor and embossing that you make sure your ink is totally dry. If not your embossing powder will stick to areas that you do not want embossed and can ruin your project. I heat dried my ink as well as using my Embossing Buddy(for static release) and still had issues in a few spots. I used a tiny line brush to lightly paint White Craft ink to create icicles and snow built up on ledges of wood and the rim of the bucket. I used a larger round brush to paint the ink on the roof and fence line. I used a flat brush to paint the ink on the ground area to form the snow piled from clearing the path to the door.
I allowed the craft ink to go up on the side of the bucket to look like it had just been set down in the snow with a couple of apples falling off the top of the pile. I wanted there to be just small hints of snow on the pine sprigs themselves while showing it piled on the top of the fence posts and around the ground areas.
My sister, Cheryl and I recently had a discussion about how we seem to always focus on the negative or what we could do to improve or perfect a project instead of being appreciative of what we have created or accomplished even with its flaws and warts. I can choose to sit and be critical and look at this piece and tell myself that I cannot really draw and that I only make images by drawing fairly straight lines. Or, I can be thankful for the courage to put my thoughts and inspiration onto a piece of watercolor paper and enjoying the process and allowing it to be "perfect" just because of the creative process itself. Give this thought as you work on your projects and try out new techniques or ones that may seem really hard to learn and know that it is the "process of creating" from your heart that brings joy and not necessarily the end product. Ok…..enough philosophy. Have fun with your stamping this weekend….or shopping…or just recovering from cooking for Thanksgiving.
Stamps: Stampin' Up! Give Thanks, Itty Bitty Background (pathway)
Paper: Riding Hood Red, Arches 140 lb. Cold Pressed Watercolor
Ink: Brilliance Black, Distress Peeled Paint, Vintage Photo, Antique Linen, Adirondack Latte, Red Pepper, Cranberry, SU Sahara Sand, More Mustard, White Craft, Bordering Blue
Accessories: White Embossing Powder, Inkssentials Ink Blending Tool, Brushes, Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pens, Clear Embossing Powder (sentiment), Corner Punch, Gingham, Satin, Glue Dots, Handmade Cloud Template