The whole month is a celebration of stamps and stamping (as well as some of the stuff that goes along with them) and today the STAMPtember post on the Simon Says Stamp blog is a special PaperArtsy feature, and I'm delighted to say I'm there helping to showcase their fabulous stamps and paints and glazes.
I'm so excited to be involved, because I can still vividly remember Tim Holtz's amazing tag video from my first encounter with STAMPtember in 2012. I'd only been stamping and inking for a few months by then, and although I'd watched plenty of Tim's videos, this one just blew me away.
Inspired by him, I've worked on tags today, and I've tried to make the most of my stamps. So, I've used them as focal images, to add background detail and also to create my dimensional embellishments. I've even both tapped and swiped my ink onto my stamps as Tim did in the video.
I would love it if you could hop over to see the post, and leave a comment there to let me know what you think. Simon Says Stamp are having all sorts of giveaways to celebrate STAMPtember, so just for leaving a comment there you could find yourself winning a prize.
Not only that, but there's a special 20% discount on PaperArtsy stock at the Simon Says Stamp store if you use the code ARTSY2S as in the banner above. It's valid until Monday so enjoy yourselves.
Creating the tags was pure pleasure. I started by putting on some Fresco paint (this version uses Granny Smith and Captain Peacock from the new Limited Edition release, but you can get a similar effect with some Beach Hut, Guacamole and Hey Pesto) quite roughly - doesn't matter much at this stage because...
... the next stage is to cover it with PaperArtsy Crackle Glaze and then, once that's dry (which you can speed up with a heat gun) I added a mixture of Chalk and Snowflake to get a soft white. This stage you probably don't want to speed up with a heat gun - you can, but then you get very large, much less subtle cracks.
You can see I left an area on each of the tags uncrackled. I'm perfectly happy to stamp over crackle - I do it all the time and it works beautifully - but this was an extra refinement to leave a bit of clear stamping space.
I stamped my images in Coffee Archival with some Potting Soil added in places for some darker shading. The main images are from the Hot Picks range, HP1305, HP1506 and 1507.
I added some extra text for background detail - using the surround of the flower stamp from 1305, but inking it by sweeping the pad across it rather than tapping down. That way you get a much lighter ink application, like a secondary stamping.
And then I started playing with paint! All the colour on these tags is done with PaperArtsy Fresco Finish Chalk Paints.
One of the great things about PaperArtsy Fresco Paints is they vary between opaque, semi-opaque and translucent - so you can get great coverage with the opaques, or you can use a translucent if you want a lighter, see-through effect.
Now, I'm a great lover of translucence, so I quite often turn even the opaque colours into translucents by adding water to make them into washes. In fact, I did almost all the painting on these using water brushes. The joy for me of using translucent colour is you can build up the layers and keep the benefit of all the previous layers shining through.
So for instance, the blue-green butterflies have layers of Captain Peacock, Beach Hut, Granny Smith, Hey Pesto and even some Chalk in places - all of which gives you that lovely look of variegated butterfly wings.
For the flowers it's a similar process. I tend to start with lighter shades and add my darks for additional shading or to zhuzh up the colour.
The leaves have layers of Guacamole, Granny Smith, Hey Pesto and Hyde Park all in there.
The large tulip started with some Orchid and Professor Plum, then some Claret gave it some extra depth, and then some London Bus to give it a bit of oomph.
I always stroke the paint in the direction of the petals - then, if there are any brush strokes visible once it's dried, they will only help with the look of the thing.
Once the main elements were dry, I gave them a coat of PaperArtsy Gloss Glaze. This gives them a lovely sheen, and also creates a seal or resist for the next stage which is to put the very light washes onto the background (Beach Hut, Mermaid, Granny Smith, Glass Blue, Southern Skies all taking part, but all diluted with water, even the ones which are already translucent).
The resist means that even if you go over onto other areas - such as the clock - its whiteness is preserved. You have some resist time to catch the erring paint with some paper towel!
You can see I also stamped some separate butterflies to make my embellishments. They've also had a coat of Gloss Glaze to keep them shimmering in the sun.
I love that this way you can give them some dimension and let them alight or almost take off from the surface of the tag.
Finally, I added some words (you'll notice from the name of the blog that they're quite important to me too!) using one of the new Simon Says Stamp STAMPtember releases, Big Hugs.
The words come as separate stamps so you can mix and match the phrases to suit your project. I thought they worked quite nicely with the PaperArtsy stamps. And the perfect positioning for each phrase on each tag gave me a perfect rising line of words across the trio - pure luck, I assure you!
I'm actually demo-ing on the PaperArtsy stand at Ally Pally today, so the timing of this seems appropriate. Big thanks to Stephanie and the team at Simon Says Stamp for inviting me to be part of the STAMPtember celebrations this year - I'm so honoured, and it's a real thrill!
The arts, quite simply, nourish the soul. They sustain, comfort, inspire. There is nothing like that exquisite moment when you first discover the beauty of connecting with others in celebration of larger ideals and shared wisdom.