Spring Watercolor Tree

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Last fall, I created a Thanksgiving card using a watercolor technique that  Julie Ann Davidse shared on the My Digital Studio (MDS) site. She credited the technique to Patty Bennett’s watercolor card, also on the MDS site, and I ultimately found the instructions on Cindy Schuster’s Watercoloring Technique video and her MDS Watercolor Technique Tutorial blog post.

Thanksgiving Watercolor Card

Tonight, I finally got around to creating a spring version of the card, using the same technique with different colors:

Spring Watercolor Tree

Here are the details on the card:

Wishing You The Best This Holiday Season

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Wishing You The BestThe ninth card in my 25 Holiday Cards Challenge came about because I tried the watercolor technique (with the Splatter stamp from Extreme Elements) with the Pine Tree from Lovely as a Tree. It was nice, but I found that when I resized it to a much smaller size, the effect worked best. At full size, it was okay. At the smaller size, I really liked it. So that meant that I needed to create a card around the trees, and this is the result.

Here are the details on how I made it:

  • Background: Night of Navy
  • Trees: Pine Tree from Lovely as a Tree, with Splatter from Extreme Elements to create water color effect.
  • Santa: Sled from Old Saint Nick Stamp Brush Set (stamped twice, with a punch of Night of Navy masking one of the sleds so that only the reindeer show, since Santa needs all eight of his reindeer)
  • Embellishments:
    • Home for the Holidays—House 2, with a watercolor Pine Tree over the one included
    • Home for the Holidays—Snowman
    • Home for the Holidays—Snow Page, used twice for snow on the ground and falling snow
  • Sentiment: Season of Cheer—Holiday Season

Watercolor Spectrum Thank You Card

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Watercolor Medallion Thank You CardI really like the way that the watercolor technique allowed me to color in an image with more variation than piecing punched shapes behind a stamp had allowed me. I wanted to try another card, and the Medallion image from the Day of Gratitude stamp brush set seemed like a good option. It has a lot of play between the stamp image and the background that seemed suited for watercoloring.

I was impressed with the color spectrum paper that Heather Summers created for her contest cards, using the color swatch option in the color fill section. Her video explains the process better than I ever could:

So I put the two ideas together in my card. As I had done on the Thanksgiving Watercolor card, I stamped the Splatter from the Extreme Elements set to build my watercolor pattern. I choose colors from the color swatch option in the color fill section as Heather did, but I didn’t follow up the rows. I picked and choose nearby colors that fit the pattern I was going for. It took dozens of stamped images in layered concentric arcs to fill in just one section of the medallion.

After I filled in four of the sections, My Digital Studio crashed repeatedly. Every time I tried to do anything, the software responded with memory errors. I realized that pasting hundreds of stamps onto a single card was more than the software could handle. I had grouped my first arc, and was copying and pasting it around the medallion. With a bit of trial and error, I was able to remove the copies, so that I was down to just one color spectrum.

I had to get creative if this was going to work. I copied the spectrum of Splatters and pasted it on a new page of the greeting card and then exported that page as a JPEG. I opened the image in Photoshop and saved it on a transparent background (this got rid of the surrounding white space). This is the exported image:

Orange-Red Spectrum for Medallion Card

I then went back to My Digital Studio and used the Photo section to add that JPEG image repeatedly to the card, rotating it to fit around the Medallion stamp. It wasn’t exactly the look I originally wanted, but it was close—and I was no longer crashing the program.

Finally, I added additional Splatter stamps to the image to fill in empty spaces and correct places where the colors were not overlapping correctly. I found that the butter yellow color at the outside of the image was too subtle, so I stamped over it with the brighter yellow that you see in the card.

I ended up adding a bright yellow and black (Go Steelers!) punch, using the Modern Label Tag at the bottom. I added a Basic Black Grosgrain ribbon behind the Punch and Basic Black Brads to “hold” it in place.

Thanksgiving Watercolor Card

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I was intrigued by the Watercolor card posted by Julie Ann Davidse on the My Digital Studio (MDS) site. She credited the technique to Patty Bennett’s watercolor card, also on the MDS site. I had to figure out that technique!

I ultimately found the instructions on Cindy Schuster’s Watercoloring Technique video and her MDS Watercolor Technique Tutorial blog post. I’m not 100% sure who came up with the instructions originally, but those are the examples and sites that inspired my Thanksgiving Watercolor Card:

Thanksgiving Watercolor Card

I wanted to try something other than flowers, and a splashy fall tree seemed like a perfect option. As the saying goes around here, you can tell Fall is proof that God’s a Hokie.

It looks a bit more like an impressionist’s painting to me because of the colors are deep. I used the same basic technique that was described in the tutorials:

  • I changed the background to Very Vanilla.
  • I stamped the Dutch Elm from the Lovely as a Tree set in Early Espresso and resized it to fit the card.
  • I stamped the Splatter from the Extreme Elements set in Cherry Cobbler and in Pumpkin Pie.
  • I rotated and resized the Splatter stamps, and I changed the layering until I had the leaves covered and a color arrangement I liked.
  • I adjusted the opacity on some of the Splatter stamps, rather randomly, to add some lighter colors and give the image some depth.
  • I stamped the Splatter from the Extreme Elements set in Soft Suede and Early Espresso, resized to a much smaller size, to fill in the trunk of the tree.
  • I restamped and resized the Dutch Elm from the Lovely as a Tree set in Early Espresso, and aligned the images (I found this easier than moving the images up and down to get what I wanted).
  • I stamped the sentiment Gratitude Transforms from the Bright Blessings set in Cherry Cobbler, resized it to fit the width, and added the drop shadow.

So happy to learn this technique. I’m now reconsidering my Wish List to see is there are other stamps that would be great for watercoloring. Thanks to Julie, Patty, and Cindy for posting their examples and explanations.