Tuesday, May 22, 2018

The Magical and Mystical Cheshire Cat

This painting was created inside a friend's book as part of the Australian Art Journal Swap group. I've always loved everything about Alice in Wonderland, so painting something with this fabulous theme was absolutely awesome. I loved every moment, even when it wasn't going so well (I messed up the background and started again). I've so pleased with how my Cheshire Cat turned out that I'm grinning like he does! lol :) Hope you like him too!

Above : the one, the only, the amazing Cheshire Cat!
Painted by hand with only a few treasures : Dylusions acrylic paint, Jane Davenport Gesso, paint brushes, watercolour pencils for sketching out the cat and coloured pencils for my initial drawings, when choosing a colour scheme.

Background Colour List:
- After Midnight (dark blue)
- Laidback Lilac (pretty purple)
- Vibrant Turquoise
- Black Marble
- White Linen

Tree Colour List:
- Ground Coffee (dark brown)
- Melted Chocolate (medium brown)
- Dirty Martini (earthy olive green)
- Lemon Zest (bright yellow)
- Cut Grass (bright green)

Cheshire Cat Colour List:
- White Gesso
- Laidback Lilac
- Vibrant Turquoise
- Black Marble
- White Linen

Scribbling out thoughts, deciding upon design, characters and choosing colours. So many fantastic characters from these books that are fun to portray in art!

The final design is based upon the original sketch of the Cheshire Cat by John Tenneil when he (CC) was telling Alice the best way to go.

I was going to add a quote but forgot all about it after I started the actual painting! lol :)
I remembered after I posted the book so its a journal page without a written message. All is not lost, after 150 years of Alice, I think most of us know a few favourite quotes from the Cheshire Cat so quite possibly think of them whenever the cat is around.
For instance “If you don't know where you want to go, then it doesn't matter which path you take.” or “I am not crazy, my reality is just different from yours.”

Step one... The Background
Round and round and round I went with the paintbrush ... layers of purple, dark blue then turquoise, more dark blue and lightly with the black. I then added white splatters using a Tim Holtz Splatter Brush... dip in the paint and flick towards the page. Creates much less mess than using an old toothbrush!

The spirals are made up of the same colours, swirling around and around with a small round brush until they looked like mini abstract galaxies.

Tip... Wait until the background is completely dry before drawing in watercolour pencil. Dylusions Acrylic Paint is permanent once dry, so if you make a mistake, it can be wiped off easily with water (damp cloth) - without ruining your beautiful background.

Step Two... The Tree
Freestyle with a flat brush using Ground Coffee and embellished with Melted Chocolate swirls... sounds delicious! Coffee and chocolate always go great together!

Quite a nice combo, the two browns. Pre-mixed colours make painting much easier. Not only does it use less paint but it means you don't have to worry about needing to match the colour if you want to use the same colour another day.
That said, I do love mixing colours, even just adding a smooch of white or spot of black to anything makes me smile...

The leaves were painted in layers, one colour at a time. First I painted all the leaves with Melted Chocolate, then half of each leaf with Dirty Martini (yummy earthy green, my fave). Dylusions paint allows the colours underneath show through which helps add depth and extra dimension.

Next I added a line of Lemon Zest (yellow) along one side of each leaf then waited for them to dry before painting over the same side of the leaf with Cut Grass (bright green). To finish the leaves off, I added a line down the centre with brown.

Step Three... the Cheshire Cat Himself
I painted his basic shape in Jane Davenport's smooth and creamy white gesso. I painted his stripes and features a few times to get the shape and stripes looking how I wanted.

Once the white shape was ingrained into my head (don't ask), I put some Laidback Lilac and Vibrant Turquoise on the palette paper and mixed part of each to get a blue-purple mixture. The darker splosh is from adding dark brown (but I didn't use it).

I painted the whole cat in the purple and blue, then where the colours met, blended it with the blue-purple mixture.
I should mention that I don't clean the paint brush inbetween the purple and blue... which why having a palette is so important - it keeps your pots of paint clean :)

Don't forget, if you use pots of acrylic paint like Dylusions (and live in warm dry climates like Australia), to add a spritz / mist of water into each pot of paint after the day's session. This puts back any moisture that evaporated while the lid was off. I didn't do this with my black and it looks like black cottage cheese! lol :)

The colour combination makes it look mystical and magical, almost glowing :) Pretty cool hey!
I swapped between a flat brush and round brush back and forth to paint the stripes and details.

A splash of white, dash of black, smoosh of turquoise and he's a completed cat. Wasn't quite as fast as all that but once his stripes were brushed into place, the face came together wonderfully. I used the dark blue and black for his nose and mouth, white with a hint of black and purple (tiny hint) for the teeth and eyes. Made the whiskers and highlights appear even brighter!

Finally, to tidy up the left hand side edge, I added a strip of Jane Davenport Washi Tape.

Thanks so much for reading this blog post :) Hope my Cheshire Cat inspires you to get arty and crafty! If you need a hand with anything arty, sing out anytime. I'm here to help :)

Happy Creative Day!

Friday, April 20, 2018

MultiColour Stamping with Patchwork Butterflies

A quick and easy card to make for Mother's Day using a big beautiful butterfly with different background stamps. A pretty card that can be used to say anything  at all.

For these cards, you only need a few treasures...
Everything (and more) is available at www.shop.artbyjenny.com.au.

Choose two ink pads in similar tones. In the pic above I used Distress Oxide Tattered Rose and Lipstick. Other combinations I used were Antique Linen and Tattered Rose, Antique Linen and Iced Spruce, Antique Linen (its my current fave, could you tell?) and Fossilized Amber.

For stamping multiple colours at the same time, ink up part of the stamp in one colour and the remaining rubber with the other colour. Its not necessary to be precise as its just a background.

Even though some combinations may show a strong contrast between the two colours, where the colours meet isn't really noticeable once the butterfly is stamped.

Some of the backgrounds had borders made of dashed lines (to represent stitches) hand drawn with black pen. You can always use a ruler if you want straight lines.

The Patchwork Butterfly by Darkroom Door was stamped in two colours before printing as well.
First I inked the wings with Distress Oxide Walnut Stain, then used Black Soot for the body and antennae.
To get the black ink only over the centre of the design, hold the inkpad at an angle, tilted so the corner and edges of the inkpad are touching the surface. Again, its not a precise thing, and you can always re-ink the wings with the brown before pressing the butterfly onto the card.

I've also used Wilted Violet with the Black Soot to compliment the pink background shown earlier.
You can use any colours you want for this technique. Choose the colours that make you smile :)

For a guide, keep the warm colours with warms (reds, oranges, golden yellows) and cool colours with cools (greens, blues, lemon yellows). The warms and cools are fine to have other colours (black, brown, purple, white) with them to compliment, enhance, add contrast and interest.

Mother Nature is the perfect example of what colours to put together - trees (green, black, brown), sky (blue, white, red, orange, purple), rainbow (everything). When she puts contrasting colours together, its not usually an equal amount - just a hint of red with green (berries on trees) or hints of orange with blue (sunsets).

Choose colours that make you smile :)

Across the middle of the cards with the Patchwork Background stamps, I used Tim Holtz Washi Tape from the Aristocrat set. I like how it compliments the sewing and patchwork theme.

To make the border strips, I stamped the second larger design from the Tim Holtz Patchwork Backgrounds Stamps in Distress Oxide Iced Spruce onto mixed media card. Once it dried, it was trimmed it into rows of hexagons to add on the edges of the cards.

There are hundreds of greetings that can be used on a card. I've used "hello friend" from the Tim Holtz Stamps, Crazy Talk (stamped in Black Soot).

The cards I made using the DD Tribal Background Stamp had the thinner tape from Dylusions Designer Tape. Use a sharp craft knife, carefully trim around the butterfly wing. Washi tape is semi-transparent, so its easy to see where to cut.

I've added two rows of tape to the Tribal cards. At the moment, these ones have no message on the front... this gives flexibility of who the card is for and what its going to say. But just quietly, one will be saying Happy Mother's Day! Shhh, don't tell her :)

Change the colours and you've made a card that looks exactly the same but different!

The above pic shows the four different cards made using this technique. You can mix and match the background stamps to create an endless array of beautiful butterfly cards.

More Ideas...
1... If you don't want the background to show through the butterfly, it just adds one more step. Stamp the butterfly onto the card and again on a piece of plain paper. Turn the second butterfly into a mask by trimming around its shape. Place this over the image on the card before printing with the background stamp.

2... Colour in the wings with your favourite solvent based markers (as watercolour pens will blur the design unless you spray with a fixative).

3... Stamp the butterfly onto mixed media paper, trim around the design and glue onto the background. Make tiny scraps of card folded in a concertina fashion and glue them under the wings to give them lift. The tiny zigzagging pieces go flat for inside an envelope and then pop up when on display.

There are no limits to cardmaking... get creative and have fun :)

If you need a hand, sing out anytime. I'm here to help as well as sell you awesome arty treasures!

Happy Creative Day!

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