I know, you have been meaning to getting around to the glazed cards/gifts described in November’s Technique but here it is December and they aren’t even started!


This month: Short cut cards!

Take two half sheets (15 x 22″) of 140 lb Arches cold press, submerge them in clean water and — one at a time — take them out, holding them vertically until they no longer are dripping.
Then apply random color.
In the first example, I stuck to subdued winter colors:

  1. cardbluestreaksI started with patches of blues.  for the heck of it, I made patches of each of my blues: cerulean, pthalo, ultramarine, and cobalt.
  2. Whatever colors you choose, leave white areas. Put down random colors. Then pick the paper up and let the color run for soft edges. Be sure and leave lots of white space. Oops cerulean doesn’t run, so brush through it.
  3. Next, I made horizontal strokes cutting through the blues with blue violet.
  4. Then I mixed gray (blue, green, violet)  and used horizontal swoopy strokes, still leaving areas a soft white.
  5. Pick up the sheet  again and let run.  If the colors run too much, you had too much water on your brush.  Let the excess water run off and start again, keeping the brush dryer this time.
  6. Imagine the small (I chose 3 x 5) size and be sure each of the areaa has some interest. Look for areas that are totally bland; look for brushstrokes that end abruptly, look for no value change. Do something about those before you stop.

Set it aside to dry and get the 2nd sheet.

ccards1ccardsmidwayChoose your colors.
On this one I used brighter colors — pinks, yellows, light blues. I tried sunset bands on the lower right and wet trees on the lower left, some wet-on-wet fir branches across the pinks and yellows at the top.  At the end, after the shine was gone, I sprinkled some salt and left to finish fixing dinner.

The next day, I measured the paper for 3 x 5 cards.  With a little margin, I found I could have 4 down and 5 across.

cardsfolded2On the blue-gray sheet, I folded the paper back and forth along the designated edges: halved and quartered it on the short side and divided it into 5 sections on the long side (see photo, left). I plan to tear these to get a deckled edge.

At this point, let your shapes and your imagination dictate what you do. You can draw or paint, but keep it simple.

On my gray one, I drew with an indelible fine-line pen and added color without a lot of water. I negative painted little farm buildings and let the negative paintings become hills; negative painted white areas with sky color getting snow-covered mountains.  I tried a few close ups of trees.  If some don’t turn out, you can just throw those away.

ccardalmostWith the second,  the brighter one, I moved my slightly less than 3×5 template around making rectangles where I thought there might be compositional possibilities. I drew these with a pencil, to be cut later. On this one, I negative painted some ornaments on the top wet-n-wet branches.  After that was dry, I positive painted the ornaments.  It was fun to try to make the salt part of the design.

With the wet trees, I added a foreground trees to the card on the left and didn’t change the right one  (see photo below).

Some of them are not going to turn out.  I don’t really  care for the sunset ones.  Maybe they will get chopped into bookmarks to go in gifts of books. For one of the middle ones, I turned some red splatter into another person walking in the snow. Feel free to return to ideas you have used since each is unique in execution  – theme and variations.

To show you the deckled edge, I folded the first sheet again on the creases and then tore the paper with one hand firmly holding down the rest of the sheet.
You can see it below.

The brighter sheet was cut with a paper cutter.

The wet-on-wet starts probably took a half hour the evening before.  The measuring and painting probably took two to three hours today.

For handmade cards, pick up some card stock at an office supply store or paper store such as Paper Zone.  I like the cream colored linen weave.  You can also buy the A2 envelopes.  With the 3 x 5 size, you can cut the paper in half and get two cards to a sheet.  Or you can plan to fit envelopes you already have.
Below is one in a  simple mat to show how  they can be presented for a little gift.
Have fun with these.  I hope it brightens your holidays.
My best,

cardtree     cardmatted

© 2008 Buchanan Watercolors Ltd