Friday, 4 August 2017

Sunshine Watercolour Dwellings

Hello all!  It's time for the new challenge at A Vintage Journey.  The theme chosen by our fabulous host, Amanda, is Watercolour, so I wasn't going to miss that one!

As most of you know, I've been experimenting and dabbling in watercolour this year, but for this I've been using them in a more mixed media kind of way, and here's what I came up with.

If you've been visiting recently, you'd be forgiven for thinking that I only ever deal in blues and browns and soft neutrals.

Not so - there have been occasional departures from the neutrals, blues and greens in the past (try this, or this, or this, for instance!), and I've done it again for this project.

I'm always inspired by vivid colours - Andrea Ockey Parr, Marjie Kemper, and our own Tracy Evans all use brights in ways that really excite me, with a freshness and a life and a positive energy.  And when I have dabbled in the past, it's often been to this contrasting colour world of pinks/reds/oranges.

Believe it or not, this is made with just two watercolour paints... Daniel Smith's Quinacridone Lilac and Aussie Red Gold.  Then of course there's some gesso and white acrylic paint involved too.

But one of my chief delights with the watercolours, as with inks, is watching how they blend and play with one another, and the unexpected tones and shades which appear as a result of combining pigment with another pigment with water.

For these tiny houses, I started by adding gel medium through the Tim Holtz stars stencil onto a 12x9 inch sheet of watercolour paper.

Once the gel was fully dry, I started to add washes of colour, enjoying all those moments where the water and the pigment dance together.

It makes me so happy... the splatters and edges and washes and brilliant clashes of colour which make the senses tingle.

Of course when it dries, watercolour always becomes much paler, so I went in with a second application (a glaze, in official watercolour terms, though a glaze is very different in mixed media/acrylic world).

I'd fallen in love with the full on vivid colour tones, so that's what I wanted to build with the extra layers.

Once I liked the effect, I ran the sheet through the BigShot with Tim's Tiny Houses die a couple of times to get my walls.

I stamped the tiny text from the Stuff 2 Say set in Snowflake Fresco paint.  I generally just "paint" a bit of the paint onto my craft mat and press the stamp into that to get my impression.

I used a couple of differently sized lids to add gesso circles... one was from a mini jam jar which appeared on my craft desk while I was away (!?), and one was a Distress Paint lid.  And of course there's some white spatter too.

For the roofs, I cut some corrugated cardboard with the die and applied a couple of coats of gesso and one of watercolour ground.  I love this stuff - it turns any surface into a watercolour-suitable surface, and it has a lovely grainy quality which gives great textural detail.

I added spatters and splotches of my same two watercolour paints - some pure and some mixed for a nice range of colour tones.

And I sponged up some of the spare paint washes to blend onto the edges of the roofs.

I used Tim's large butterfly punch to punch out a few butterflies from some of the leftover starry sheet.

It's symmetrical enough that you can glue two butterflies back to back.

That means you get a) colour on both sides and b) a much sturdier butterfly.

(I know that butterflies aren't meant to be sturdy, but it does help when they're perched on a rooftop.)

Now's the time when going for the really vivid watercolour tones pays off - the white is all the more dramatic against the brights.

Some wild threads add extra movement, tucked behind my two selected Idea-ology Quote Chips.

I do feel so lucky to be able to spend my life creating art - whether in my working life with words, or here on the blog with pictures (and some words!).

As a final finishing touch, I added some tiny wooden Scrapiniec stars (you also saw them in action along with some Neutral Blues very recently).

They've had a touch of the watercolour ground for texture.  I love how they echo the gel resist stars in the background.

And if you just want the full-on colour effect without any interruptions you can take a trip round to the back of the houses!

Thanks so much for stopping by today.   I hope you've enjoyed this trip to the other side of the colour wheel... I know I have!

If these sunshine watercolour dwellings haven't already fired your imagination to play with Watercolour this month, you'll find lots more inspiration over at A Vintage Journey where my fabulous team-mates have once again provided an incredible range of glorious projects for your delectation.

There's a prize voucher on offer from the brilliant Craft Obsessions online store for one random winner, and you might be picked as one of our Pinworthies by the Creative Guides.  We hope we'll have the pleasure of your company on the road some time this month.  Happy crafting all!

The nature of watercolour... Its unpredictability, its sensuousness, the textures it seems to make of its own accord, and its legendary luminosity are some of the qualities often lauded.
Rachel Rubin Wolf

I'd like to share this at Stamps and Stencils where they are hosting a Technique School for this month's challenge.  You need to share at least one process photo - mine are about using using watercolour paints and watercolour ground in mixed media work
At That's Crafty Challenges they are looking for Anything But Cards - I'm always happiest when it's not a card!
And I'd like to play along with the August Watercolour Challenge over at Happy Little Stampers


  1. Gorgeous houses, love the colours. Hugs, Valerie

  2. wow, what gorgeous colours!! I love the swirls and splatters to contrast.

  3. An amazing mix of colour and creativity Alison. These will brighten a dull corner for sure.

    Love Chrissie xx

  4. So it was pinks and oranges... just delightful these houses! Beautifully made background and brilliant white circles in addition.

  5. I always love it when you dig out those brighter colours Alison, and what a joyous combination this is! Displaying these little gems somewhere would brighten anyone's day! Great mixed media techniques!

  6. Love this colour combo, right up my street, little houses look great in those hot, hot, hot colours, love them!
    Amanda x

  7. Well, Alison, you seem to be as comfortable with the pinks and oranges as you are with the blues and browns! Your watercolor resist masterboard with the contrast of the stark white is stunning and just darling on these houses! I had never heard of watercolor ground before, so thank you for enlightening me! Gorgeous little houses! Hugs!

  8. I am just sitting here smiling from ear to ear, mesmerised by the gorgeous happy colours of your little houses. The white accents really do stand out beautifully and the sturdy little butterflies are just the perfect finishing touch! Gorgeous!! Anne xx

  9. Such a fun project and wonderful post you have shared with us. Love the inspiration and fun colors.

  10. Oooh these look delicious enough to eat! Fantastic use of colours Alison
    Donna xx

  11. These look good enough to eat! Would love to have this sitting above my desk just to put me in a good mood when I create.

  12. Gorgeous colours Alison! I love your masterboard, and the thread adds wonderful movement behind the words on the houses.
    Alison x

  13. Such happy little houses, all filled with amazing energy from your color blending and adding of white , they make me smile and feel happy, Alison, and love the stars all over, this bright night :-)
    Hugs, Dorthe

  14. Wow! These little houses look stunning Alison and love your hot, hot, hot background which is so beautiful with the white details added. A really wonderful idea and lovely to see we thought alike for once.
    Fliss xx

  15. wow gorgeous houses. Hope you have an interesting weekend.

  16. All the pinks and oranges make a beautiul sight Alison and your little houses are adorable..just perfect..

    Luv CHRISSYxx

  17. I am in love with this fancy houses! They make me just HAPPY!

  18. These are absolutely beautiful ! Alison . Your post was a joy to read and pretty much says everything I was thinking as I scrolled to admire and delight at your fabulous creativity. Your tiny houses full of zingy and zesty colours are a sheer delight and I have nothing but smiles and hearts for them .
    Thank you so much for joining in this challenge and showing us the magic that can be created using watercolours.
    hugs x

  19. Wow what happy little houses! These are wonderful Alison xx

  20. Oh wow, I love the change of colours, the pinks look fabulous.
    Two gorgeous sweet houses, so happy to look at and so summery.
    Yvonne xx

  21. I adore the colours Alison, so uplifting and I love the houses created from your master board backgrounds. I love how,you interpreted the challenge. Have a lovely weekend. Tracy x

  22. I love your fresh colour washes Alison, the watercolour glaze helps intensify and the white really does ignite it all. Those tiny houses frame it all so perfectly. Thank you for sharing the beauty over at That's Crafty and joining in with the *Anything but Cards* Blog Challenge. Best Wishes Tracey.

  23. Another fabulous project...clever, unique and inspiring as always. Love your houses!

    Have a wonderful weekend!

  24. Gorgeous little houses Alison. I really like the bright colours with the white. These are truly happy houses. x

  25. Lovely! And the butterfly on the rooftop adds a certain dimension to the whole concept.
    Love the pink and orange colour scheme that you have chosen for these - perfect for the sunny days we have had this summer.
    Have a lovely week
    Hugs, Neet xx

  26. These are fabulous, love the colours !
    Corrie xx

  27. Love the mix of colours with the white accents, and beautiful butterflies. These little houses will brighten anybody's day.
    Avril xx

  28. Great project Alison! Your background washes and glazes are so effective... what a great idea to use them to make your houses. The details, as always, are stunning. xx

  29. I'd like to pop over for a visit in these vibrant homes! Thanks for the shout-out, too. Love the bright ones just as much as I do your blues and browns. xx

  30. Alison, I smiled big when I saw that these darling houses were what you were dabbling in when you mentioned these colors on my blog. Fun stuff! I think because you and me could continually work in grungy blues and greens and always be happy that we push ourselves to these "foreign" color palettes. But you've worked this one so naturally and beautifully, with just enough grunge for both of our tastes - ha! I love this darling duo! Big hugs, Autumn

  31. Wonderful watercolour background Alison and I adore the colour combination xxxx The Tiny houses look wonderful and the additions of circles etc are perfect additions xx TFA and best wishes
    Annie xx

  32. These look brilliant Alison!! Super to see you combine your new adventures in watercolour with some new and old techniques. Stencilling the gel resist worked perfectly. I presume any stencilled texture paste would absorb the watercolour? Im still very much at experimental stage with my watercolours and am growing a new palette of colours that really appeal to me. Surprisingly, Im going for brights, different from my vintage style, so its interesting to see your bright choices too. Im mostly selecting Schmincke and Daniel Smith. Sorry to be mia so much, life is still stretching me in other directions. Nicola x

  33. WOW Alison! I wasn't quite sure I opened your email when I saw the colors! heehee
    These are really quite lovely and I am amazed that you only used those two colors- great color blending!!
    Jackie xo

  34. These little houses are magical with their stars and butterflies. Lovely colours and that wonderful use of white, make these very special. xx

  35. Just pinned these new ones on my 'Houses' inspiratonal board Alison, your project using only two watercolor paints (so beautiful!) is simply marvelous!!!!!!
    Thank you for all the detailed steps, and your technique and tips as usual.
    Hugs again, Corinne xx

  36. I love your bright little houses! They insist a happy feeling =)
    xxx Evelyn

  37. Awesome work, Thank you for Joining us at Happy Little stampers and waiting to see next time.

    Meena HLS WC DT

  38. Working with these shades suits you Alison! I adore your houses - I love how the first stage is still such a feature at the end and the words you chose certainly describe this fabulous project! Hugs, Chrisx

  39. So gorgeous Alison, I adore this colour palette and amazing to read that it is only two watercolours that you used, the depth and range of shades and tones is breathtaking. I love your little dwellings and the wonderful message that they convey, thanks so much for sharing them! Deb xo

  40. What a lovely colours and rare pink about you. xx

  41. What an awesome, fabulous project and I love all the beautiful details.

    Thanks for sharing with us at Happy Little Stampers and I hope you will join us again soon.
    Carol x

  42. A gorgeous project Alison! I love the way you have used these colours to such a stunning effect. Wonderful ! Thank you for joining us over at Stamps and Stencils. Toni x

  43. Not just a hint of pink, when you change colours you go for it and the results are glorious little dwellings! The layering or second glaze? has added such depth contrasting beautifully with white, LOVE these gorgeous creations Alison, thanks so much for joining in at Stamps and Stencils. Ruth xx

  44. Your little houses are absolutely amazing alison - the masterboard you created is fabulous - I just adore the final makes too - inspired and beautiful. Thanks for sharing with us at stamps and stencils! Hugs rachel x


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