April 30, 2012

Simon Says Stamp and Show... A Kaleidoscope of Color

Hi everyone!

This week's theme on Simon Says Stamp and Show is to show lots of color.  I'm continuing on my sketching journey and used Faber Castell gelatos and aquarelle colored pencils, as well as watercolor crayons, to color in my creations this week. 

So far, I've been showing just the "naked" sketches, without any extras.  But as promised, this week I wanted to show you how I've taken the sketches and made them into finished art, or "almost" finished art... All the sketches have been trimmed and matted onto black card stock, which reinforces the framing.  They can now be put into a frame or mounted as a card front.

As you probably know, I really like the look of hand-stamped sentiments, whether it's a word, or a quote.  It gives some meaning to the art work, whatever it is, and these sketches are no different.  I wanted the sketches to mean something... so here we go...

I found lots of quotes related to flowers or nature on-line.  Mostly I just chose the ones that would fit on each sketch, depending on how much space was available.   Not a lot more to say on these... so I'll just share the photos - Hope you enjoy!

Thanks for coming along on my sketching journey - later this week I'll share some more sketches that were done backwards to these... watercolor paints first, then pen work.  Love the way they came out - stop by later to check them out. 

If you have a chance to join in this week's challenge, you'll have a chance at winning a $50 shopping spree to Simon Says Stamp!  Hope you can break out all your colorful supplies and play along!

Have a great week!

~ ellen

April 29, 2012

Another batch of sketches


Wanted to share the last batch of "naked" sketches... I'm having so much fun exploring this world of drawing - it's opening up all sorts of possibilities!  Here we go...

First up is this series of blooms - not sure what kind of flowers - in various stages of opening up.  I was trying to use color and lines to create the curves and bends of the petals - was difficult, but I'm beginning to learn.  I also used lots of light pen lines to create the shading and texture of the leaves and petals.

This was a very unusual flower - very tropical - had never seen one like it before.  I like the graduated colors, blending from deep magenta to a lighter pink, and the stark contrast of the dark flowers with the white and yellow bases.

This is one I'm very happy with.  I like the cross-hatching for the base of the flower, and how the blues and purples blend together, with the contrasting pink and yellow in the center.  I also like the shading on the stem.

Another tropical flower - love the look of flames! This flower is *hot* !! (LOL!)  I like the way the curved leaf at the bottom came out - first time I tried that and liked the result.  I found a great quote for this flower - come back tomorrow to see it.

And, last but not least for today, yet another tropical flower. Plumeria - love it!  I like the blending of the lighter pinks with the yellow, into the deep red base, and I like the pen work on the stems, and leaving some white spots on the stem for highlights and contour.

I'll be back tomorrow with the next stage in the evolution of these sketches - hope you enjoy.  Thanks to everyone for all the supportive and encouraging comments!  I really appreciate them!

~ ellen.

April 26, 2012

More Sketching...

Hello again!

So have you seen the big news from Ranger? The new seasonal distress inks have been released and the colors look gorgeous!   I'm especially partial to the Squeezed Lemonade and the Perfect Peacock.

Exciting as that is... the even *bigger* news is that Ranger has produced and released re-inkers for ALL of the seasonal distress colors!  This was high on the wish-list for many a crafter, myself included, so I can't wait to get mine!  Click HERE and HERE to get yours!

So... back to sketching... I wanted to share a few more of my first sketches.  I'll take them one by one, in the order they were created, and share a few thoughts about what I learned, what like, don't like about each one. 

First up... hibiscus flowers... I like the way the depth of the flower came out, with the darkest shades at the bottom of the flower, and the stamen shows good dimension too.  I'm not crazy about how stripey the flowers look.  I did the coloring with a pink gelato and thought (hoped) it would blend more smoothly, but for some reason it didn't.  I'm still happy with the result, though.  I also still like the shaky lines for the flowers - not perfect or smooth = better (to me).

Next up... a yellow wildflower.  This was the first time I used the pen to create texture on the flower petals and the stem.  Darker sections create depth and shadow, and some curvy lines on one side of the stem helps give the illusion of a round stem.  I like the way the shadows turned out underneath the flower, too.

 And now... one of my favorites so far... California poppies... beautiful flowers all on their own, and I'm really happy with how the sketch turned out.  I didn't do a lot of pen work on these, because they are so silky smooth in real life - just let the flowers speak for themselves.  I like the shading, and the different tones of orange/yellow to create perspective. (as Donna Downey would say... *happy place*!!)

And last up for today... purple daisies.   I did a little more pen work on these - using some sketchy lines on the petals and stems.  The picture I used for a reference was stunning, but I was worried because I don't remember seeing a purple daisy with such a bold purple AND pure white, but that's what the inspiration was, so I went for it. 

Hope you've enjoyed the latest round of sketches.  I've got one more round to share, and then I'll go back and show you how I've further embellished the sketches to turn them into finished art.  Hope you stay tuned for my journey in sketching.  I'm having a lot of fun learning and trying new things.

Have a great day - be back in a couple days with more.

~ ellen.

April 24, 2012

Journey Into Sketching


I wanted to share some more pix from my efforts at sketching.   Earlier this week I shared a finished sketch, from later in my "development".  I wanted to share some of the earlier sketches as well.  I started by just sketching anything that caught my eye, using photos found on line as inspiration. 

Here's a sheet with several small sketches.  I used a pigma pen and watercolor crayons I've had for eons by Stampin' Up!

Here's a close up of the dragonfly.  I like the body and the lacy wings.

Here's another perspective on a dragonfly.  I like the x's as texture for the wings, and the scribbles used for the profile of the body.

Here's my first solo sketch.  A simple tulip - one of my favorite flowers, and one of the easier ones to draw.  I like the graduated color on the leaves.  I painted in one color of green of the left side of the leaf and then pulled it into the rest of the leaf, getting lighter tones of the same shade.

Here's the next one... I like the scribbly layers to these flowers.  This sketch made me really like using shaky lines intentionally, rather than trying to draw perfectly smooth lines.  Scribbly / Shaky is definitely a look I like.

And here's the next one... I don't like the way the flower centers turned out, but I like the graduated pink tones of the petals, and I like that I left some white on each of the petals, as well as some white in the stems - instant highlight.

You can see from the dates that these were all done on 4-12-12.  I've got lots more to share between then and now, but I didn't want to dump them all out at one time.  This is going to be a work in progress, so I'll continue to share my journey into sketching.  I hope you'll indulge me as I explore this new path in my artistic pursuits.

Thanks for stopping by!

~ ellen.

April 23, 2012

Simon Says Stamp and Show... Your Favorite Word


I'm excited about this week's theme on Simon Says Stamp and Show, not so much because of the theme, which is to use your favorite word, but because it gives me a chance to share a project I've been working on.  

For years and years, I've been a firm believer and would tell anyone that I *cannot* draw.  Creative? Yes.  But drawing... definitely not...  But here's the thing... I've believed this for so long that I began to wonder if it was really true.  So I set out on a mission to find out for myself.

Alisa Burke has an online course called "Sketchbook Delight".  Alisa is an amazing artist, and I have been admiring her work for about a year now.  What better way to test my ability to draw than to take a class on sketching!  So I did it!  It's a really good class with tons of tips and lots of encouragement to try lots of different products and find your own style.  Here's a link to the class if you're interested.

After lots of experimenting and playing, I'd like to share one of my finished sketches!  


It was evident from the start that flowers would be a major source of inspiration, so my favorite word is "bloom". I used a PITT pen for the sketching, and Faber-Castell gelatos with a water brush for the coloring and shading.  You can either use the water brush to pick up color directly from the gelato, or you can scribble some pigment from the gelato onto a scrap piece of paper and use the water brush to add water and turn the pigment into a beautiful watercolor paint.  

The gelatos blend beautifully together and I am becoming *addicted* to them!  I stamped the word "bloom" with Hero Arts' lower case alphabet set.

I hope you enjoyed my first public sketch.  I have quite a collection going so I'll be sharing them from time to time.  And if you're one of those creative people who doesn't think you can draw.... TRY!  Your first efforts may not be the best, but like anything, you have to practice in order to develop your skills - I think you'll be surprised!

As always, if you take the time and join in this week's challenge, you'll have a chance to win a $50 shopping spree with Simon Says Stamp!

Happy sketching!

~ ellen

April 18, 2012

A Tale of Two Tags


I promised last week to share the last set of "twin" tags I made at my stamp camp a few weeks ago, but life took over and I never got to it.  Hubby Jack had surgery last week so I had my nurse's hat on.  All went well, with a few bumps in the road, but he's on the mend.

This set of twin tags was started by creating backgrounds with Dylusions ink sprays (big surprise, right? LOL).  I used several colors - purple, blue, turquoise and pink - all from the original Dylusions U.K. line of inks, but the new Ranger colors would be equally gorgeous! 

Then I used stamps from Tim Holtz' Mixed Media set - the "bubble wrap" stamp with white paint dabber down the side of each tag, over-stamped with the stenciled numbers stamp from Tim's Little Labels set in jet black archival, and back to the Mixed Media set for the chicken wire stamp in Ranger's deep purple archival ink.

The sentiment from Tim's Stuff to Say set was stamped down the opposite side of each tag, and then stamped again on white card stock, cutting out specific words and gluing them over the image stamped directly on the tag to highlight them.

I added several silver charms (Blue Moon) and beads down the middle of each tag - I discovered the BEST glue... Gorilla Glue.  It comes in little tubes like crazy glue, and it sets even the heaviest embellishments in seconds! Love it!

To top things off, my good friend Donna gave me the *perfect* ribbon for these tags - the colors were a perfect match!

Hope you enjoyed the last of the twin tags.  I had such fun making them!

~ ellen.

April 16, 2012

Simon Says Stamp and Show... Anything Goes

Hello all,

I'm back again with this week's Simon Says Stamp and Show challenge.  This week is completely up to you - it's another Anything Goes week.  I kept things fairly simple this week.

I seem to be on a roll making tags lately... this week I created a background using Dylusions ink sprays (fresh lime and black marble) to create a marbled background. 

Black, white and green is my *favorite* color combo and I love how this turned out.  But be warned... you only need a TEENY TINY amount of the black spray, just a spritz).

Then I stamped the hearts border from the Inbetweenies set three times across the tag, and accented the images with a white gelly roll pen.

I wanted to say something that went with my heart theme, so I stamped out my sentiment using a mini alphabet set.  I like the balance of following your heart and dreams, but remembering to *lead* your life. 

I added a thin border around each piece of the sentiment and adhered to the tag using some foam tape for added dimension.  Finished off the tag with an idea-ology heart charm and wire pin.

Hope you have time to join in this week's challenge and have a chance at winning a $50 shopping spree from Simon Says Stamp.

Have a great week,

~ ellen.

April 11, 2012

Twin Dylusions Tags


I know, I know.... I'm on a "twin" kick... but it just makes so much sense when you're creating with Dyan Reaveley's Dylusions ink sprays to mop up the extra ink with another tag, and I got carried away.... so here we go!

Of course, I started with the ink sprays, creating a vibrant background.  Then I did some ghosting with the circles stencil and water - the positive image on one tag and the negative image on the other.  This is so easy to do - spray the water through the stencil on to one tag, and then flip the (wet) stencil over onto the other tag and press down.  Let the ink sit for 10 seconds or so, and then blot up with paper towel roll.  The image "ghosts" more as it dries.  You get a more dramatic effect if you use darker ink sprays on your background.  These ghosts are pretty subtle.

Then I sprayed the green ink through the numbers stencil in random places on one tag, and the alpha stencil on the other. Then the fun began... I used the border of THIS stencil and traced around each element of the stencil with a Stabilo All pencil (black).  These pencils are amazing... when you trace over the pencil with a water brush, it turns to ink which blends like watercolor paint.  FUN!

Then I used the new toadstools stamp from THIS set, using jet black archival ink.  Stamped the checker-border in black and cut out segments to use as necks, and added the faces to each tag.  I added a house stamp as a hat to one face, along with a bird on top.

The twisted ribbon borders (Inbetweenies set) were stamped around the edges, using a paper towel as a mask to avoid the other elements of the tags.  The sentiments were stamped in black, cut out, and adhered to each tag.

The faces, hats and toadstools were colored with distress markers (scribble the marker on your craft sheet and pick up the color with a water brush - more fun!). 

To finish things off, I had to break out the white gelly roll pen and go to town accenting everything in sight.  This is my favorite part because it just brings the whole piece to life. 

Hope you enjoyed the twin tags.  I have one more set of "twins" to share from stamp camp weekend - will be back in a few days with those.  Stay tuned!

~ ellen.

April 9, 2012

Simon Says Stamp and Show... A Tim Holtz Technique

Hi everyone,

I hope you had a wonderful Easter celebration.  We had a lovely dinner with my family.  This week's challenge on Simon Says Stamp and Show is fun, fun, fun! Having just completed Tim Holtz' Creative Chemistry 101 on-line class, it was perfect timing.  Just pick one of Tim's techniques and make whatever you want! If you haven't had a chance to join this class, it's well worth the small fee, and you'll have lifetime access to Tim's videos and downloads. 

I created the base for this week's tag last weekend at my stamp camp, and finished it up yesterday for this week's theme.  I started by creating a marbled distress stain background.

Then I stamped the background from Tim's Papillon set with picket fence stain.  I added stamps from Tim's Haberdashery, and Little Labels sets for the background over the picket fence stain (notice how the white stamping bled through the jet black archival? that was a surprise!).

The sentiment is from the Stuff to Say set, which I stamped and then cut into pieces and adhered down the length of the tag.

I finished the tag up with some embellishments from Tim Holtz (philosophy tag, ruler ribbon, and a wire pin), 7 Gypsies (metal corner), and some vintage lace and buttons.

As ever, if you join in this week's challenge, you'll have a chance at winning a $50 shopping spree to Simon Says Stamp!  Hope you all have a wonderful week - I'll be back soon with more tags to share.

~ ellen.

April 8, 2012

Twin Journaling Tags

Hello and Happy Easter to everyone!

Hope you're having a lovely day... it's going to be a beautiful one here on the East Coast.  I wanted to pop in and share a couple of tags I made last weekend.  As with some of the others I made, I started by creating a background using Dylusions ink sprays, pressing one tag on top of the other while the ink was still wet... creating "twin" tags. 

Much as I have tried, the art journaling bug has not bitten me... but I wanted to try out some of the new "Inbetweenies" stamps and how scary can a little tag be.... so I went for it...

I stamped the checkered stamp on the first tag, slightly twisting the stamp as I made my way down the tag to create different shapes to journal in, and then accented the open spaces with a white gelly roll pen (the best white pen, in my opinion).

On the second tag, I stamped the twisted ribbon stamp down the length of the tag, once again changing the orientation of each stamp to create some interesting shapes, and accenting with white pen.

I used black PITT pens for all the journaling.  Trying out some different lettering styles on each tag.  It's fun to try different styles, all caps on one tag, and all lower case on the other.  Would also be fun to mix & match.

Hope you enjoyed my journaling tags... maybe the journaling bug will bite me eventually.  Time will tell... I'll keep exploring and see what happens!

Have a wonderful day!

~ ellen.