Monday, December 29, 2008

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! It is exciting to anticipate all the adventures a New Year will bring! I am looking forward to holding my watercolor classes in a new location starting in January. My classes will be held at First Baptist Church - Fisherville in Memphis, TN starting Saturday, January 10th with both beginner and advanced classes.

With all the ice and snow in so many parts of the world, I thought I would start the New Year out by sharing my painting titled "Caribbean Winter Sunset." It is fun to imagine winter on an island away from the ice and snow! Although I am mountain girl at heart, I love the feel of sand under my feet and sound of the waves. So, enjoy a trip to the sand and surf by painting this beach scene!

Watercolor Tip:
The sky in the painting above is a variegated wash with colors applied to wet paper to allow the colors to blend. The sun was masked out so that it would retain its shape and brightness.

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas! I hope that you enjoy a wonderful Christmas spent with family and friends.

Above is a watercolor painting that reminds me of Christmas since the birds are nestled in the shelter of trees - both holly and pine.
Watercolor tip for this painting:
The snow on the tree limbs was masked out before painting to keep the snow crisp and white. No white paint was used on the tree limbs; the white of the paper "paints" the snow. White paint was only used in the final step to add a few snow flakes falling between the branches.
Merry Christmas! May this holiday season bring you much happiness and many memories to record with paper and paint in the upcoming year.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Gift Bags and Tags - Paint Your Own!

You've finished your shopping and it is time to wrap up all those presents! But, you find that you have run out of paper or gift bags. I have a simple solution - paint your own! I like to make my own gift bags and tags for a simple, inexpensive, but personal touch to gift giving. I have included some photos in this blog of examples of Christmas gift bags. Like the bookmarks and cards, these gift bags and tags can be made for any occasion by simply changing the picture. Included in this blog are some samples of bags I painted this year. Below are instructions for painting the gift bags and tags.
Hand painted Gift Bags and Tags

1. Brown and white lunch bags can be used as well as purchased gift bags that are solid in color. White or brown ones work better than other colors because they allow don’t overpower the paint or the design.

2. Determine the design you would like to place on the bag.

3. Sketch design on bag. Simple designs look better than elaborate designs. Since these are gift bags, do not invest lots of time or effort into the design and painting. Usually, these bags will be discarded after use.

4. Paint design on bag. When using watercolor paints, do not use too much water or the paint may seep through the bag and stain the back side. Designs can be painted on both sides of the bag or only on one side. Check while painting to see if you need to slip a piece of cardboard inside the bag to prevent paint seepage. Don't overwork the paint; a few brush stokes will add character to the design.

5. Don’t forget to sign your name and date.

6. To make the handles: Punch holes in the top of the bag and reinforce with tape to prevent tearing when used. Cut ribbon, yarn, or jute to desired length and place through holes from the outside to the inside of the bag. Tie knots or tape the ribbon to the inside of the bag.

7. Before securing both sides of the handle to the bag. Prepare a gift card cut from matching paper and painted in the same design. Punch a hole through the gift tag, place through one of the handles and secure on the inside of the bag.

1. Congratulation! Your gift bag is complete. These bags can be prepared for seasonal giving or any occasion determined by the design on the bag and tag.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Last Minute Christmas Gifts - Handpainted Bookmarks

I like to paint bookmarks as gifts. They make an excellent gift with a personal touch that are quick and easy to make, yet are something a little special since they are handmade. Below are instructions on painting the bookmarks. The bookmark shown above was made as a Christmas gift; however, by simply changing the picture on the bookmark you can make a special gift for any occasion.

How to Paint Bookmarks

1) Tape down the paper, measure and draw the size of the bookmarks on the sheet. Depending upon the size of the paper, you can probably get 7 bookmarks from one sheet. Draw or transfer the picture on each of the bookmark sections.

2) Using a large flat brush, apply an overall wash with yellow ocher leaving the color more intense at the top of the paper and gradually becoming lighter at the bottom. Allow to dry.

3) Spatter the entire sheet of bookmarks using a darker shade of yellow ocher or a light brown.

4) Using a #4 round brush paint the red ribbon lightly with a simple controlled wash. Allow to dry. Add the shaded areas of the ribbon.

5) Wash the pine cones with a light yellow. Paint the details on the pine cones with dark brown.

6) Apply a controlled wash over the holly stems and leaves using a mixture of green and yellow. Allow to dry and add detail with a bit more green. Be certain to leave the edges slighter as this is what will create a variegated effect.

7) Paint the berries with a bright red. Using a liner brush, dab in the darker shadows and final details.

8) Allow the bookmark to dry completely. Sign your name! Cut the bookmarks apart. Punch a hole in the top and add a piece of gold cord or ribbon cut to desire length. CONGRATULATIONS! You have completed your painting – your bookmarks are ready for gift giving!

9) The bookmark can be given as is or color copies can be made at a copy store and then laminated for gift giving.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Watercolor Christmas Cards

Each year, I paint Christmas cards for my family and friends. Included in this post are several photos of cards I have painted for this Christmas. Below are some tips for painting Christmas cards.

1. Determine size of card wanted. Be certain to make a card the size that will fit an envelop which can be purchased at an office supply store.

2. Measure and mark the size of the card on watercolor paper. Cut using sharp scissors.

4. Sketch design on card. Simple designs often look better than elaborate designs.

5. Paint design on card. Don’t forget to sign your name and date.

6. Finish by tying ribbon or trim on card. If desired, use ruler and line up one side edge of card for “antique” edge. Tear paper slowly.

If simply designs are selected, the cards can be painted in "assembly line" fashion using one color at a time before cleaning the brush.
Below is my "Old Smoky" Christmas card.

Now, the cards are finished...if I can just find time to address the envelops and get them in the mail.