A watercolour challenge

Cass Art recently contacted me about the possibility of collaborating with them working with watercolour. When I initially looked at their website, I was a little intimidated because they have lots of materials for “serious artists” and I am a crafter who can barely draw. However, watching the video on their about us page, one section struck a chord. They talked about the fact that most people give up art sometime after school because they believe they do not have a skill. Hearing these words, took me right back to several conversations with the art tutor during my teacher training course. Because a classical artist taught me art during my middle school years I grew to believe if I couldn’t produce a “photo-like” reproduction of something then I couldn’t draw. In the kindest way possible he tried to bash this opinion out of me verbally, but it was deeply embedded. I have since gone on to at least be a crafter though.

So you’re taking up art?

Receiving this timely reminder from Cass Art that art was about expressing yourself and having fun I decided to take this watercolour challenge. I’m still not going to draw, although in my last Fibromyalgia post about my Companions I did attempt some digital drawing. I am going to some new techniques though! Part of Cass Art’s mission is to provide top quality materials at guaranteed low prices, and they were kind enough to let me choose some products from their Watercolour Category to test. Although this is a collaborative post and I have received the art products for free, this is not a sponsored post, and I have not been paid to write it. The products I picked were these Watercolour Pencil Crayons by Faber-Castell (which are actually on a massive sale at the time of writing this) and this Masking Fluid by Windsor & Newton.  Although I have used watercolour pencils before I have only had a very cheap brand, so I am looking forward to seeing the difference a good quality brand will make to my craftwork. Regarding the masking fluid that is where the new technique comes in, For my second make, I am going to attempt to produce an alcohol marker image which I will mask and then create a watercolour background. Wish me luck!
Living Creatively with Fibro | The pack of Faber-Castell Watercolour Pencils and the bottle of Winsor & Newton Masking Fluid
Living Creatively with Fibro | The open pack of Faber-Castell Watercolour Pencils

Using A Sheena Douglass Stamp

For my first project, I decided to dig out one of my Sheena Douglass stamps that I haven’t used in quite some time. Because Sheena is an artist, her designs are worthy of the high-quality watercolour pencils I have to use. I used some Letraset 270 GSM Cartridge Paper I had stashed away for this project because I needed something appropriate to use with watercolours.  When it came to stamping the design, I still used the clear side of the Stamping Platform because the rubber stamp was unmounted. I fastened it on with some Crafter’s Companion Stick and Spray which is a repositional spray glue. I always use an old 12″ x 12″ plastic box to spray things in so that the spray can’t make a mess. I am going to be watercolouring the image, so I stamped it with Versafine Ink because it is permanent and water-resistant.
Living Creatively with Fibro | Spraying the back of the rubber stamp with spray glue within a plastic lid
Living Creatively with Fibro | Versafine Inkpad

Time to watercolour

Although I have not created a whole video for this project (I was not feeling well, it was a stinking hot day, and I was not appropriately dressed to be visible on camera) I have recorded a few snippets for you on my phone though so you can see my progress and how I got on.

Creating a Card

I decided that the watercoloured image needed to speak for itself and therefore a simple design would be best. The first thing I did was to cut the image. I scanned the image into my ScanNCut and sent it to the Canvas software. I added an oval that was the length of the design over the top of it and deleted the outline that the ScanNCut created. The next step was to create an offset line 5 mm bigger than this line (removing the first oval) and cut that out of Lynda Chapman’s black cardstock. The two ovals were glued together with some Collall All Purpose Glue. I decided that I wanted to use a 7″ x 7″ card blank for the project and chose a backing paper from a pad called Happy Watercolour I picked up last year in Poundland! The page was 14.8 cm wide, so I cut the length to match creating a square. I stamped a simple “sent with love” sentiment from the Hunkydory Essential Inserts Collection – Sentiments onto the top right corner using my Stamping Platform. Then I cut another piece of the black cardstock to 15.8 cm squared and glued the two squares together and fastened this to the card front. Finally, I stuck down the oval feature image to the card to complete it.
Living Creatively with Fibro | Completed Sent with Love Card featuring watercolour image

A watercolour background

For my second project, I wanted to challenge myself even more! I decided to stamp and colour with alcohol markers a ship from the Hunkydory For the Love of Stamps Set Sail collection.
Living Creatively with Fibro | The Hunkydory Set Sail Ship stamped in black ink
Living Creatively with Fibro | The ship has been coloured with alcohol markers the sails are ivory and egg shell blended and the wood in a medium brown the top flags are a muted green colour

Masking the Ship

Once I had coloured the ship using my Spectrum Noir markers (a mixture of Illustrator and second-generation colouring system pens) I covered the boat with the masking fluid. I didn’t have a special paintbrush for this and didn’t want to spoil one of my (pretty basic) set, so I used a cotton bud to do this. It was tough to do the intricate parts like this, and I will make sure I have either a small basic paintbrush or a dedicated tool next time.

Designing the background

Once I had the boat masked it was time to create the scenery, and I panicked!  It is one thing colouring in some stamped images, but this felt more like art, and I wasn’t sure where to start. So I did what I always do in these situations I had a look at YouTube, and that is when I discovered Jamie Jo’s channel. I initially found her channel by searching for Cass Art, and she had a video from when she visited the shop.  I then explored her channel and found she has made a great video of a sunset, and I used this for inspiration. Although mine didn’t work in the same way as Jamie’s because I was using watercolour and she painted in acrylic paint; I was still really pleased with my result.
Living Creatively with Fibro | The ship with a watercolour background showing the sea with a sunset, using blues, yellow, orange, pink and red

This watercolour is a keeper

I was so happy with this first attempt that I decided I wanted to keep it as a piece of artwork rather than use it for cardmaking. To complete it I stamped three birds and a sentiment on the picture then added a layer of black cardstock behind to frame it. Here is the completed work.
Living Creatively with Fibro | The completed watercolour picture with the birds and the sentiment You can't control the wind but you can adjust your sails

I am feeling grateful

Firstly, I want to thank Cass Art for sending me these watercolour pencils and masking fluid. But I am also thankful for the opportunity to do some art rather than just colouring. I have enjoyed this process so much and will be making good use of these watercolour pencils. If you have been a reader for some time, you may be confused thinking I have used coloured pencils before. You would be correct but you blend the pencils in question with an oil-based blending solution rather than water, and they have a completely different look, you can see an example of this on one of my Christmas Card projects.  I am also delighted to have discovered Jamie and will continue to learn more art from her tutorials. I even have my eye on this starter set of Cass Art Acrylics to give the sunset another go, when I have some spare pennies…  Watch this space, or to be more precise my crafting category, let’s see if I can become brave enough to develop an art subcategory!

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