Hello, Julie here. Today I am sharing a video showing you how to use masking to create a watercolor background on a flower card. (I've also made a step-by-step tutorial of the same project, in case you would rather read than listen.) I used the the Kind Cosmo stamp set for my card but this technique would work well with many of the stamp sets in the Greenhouse Society Collection.
To begin I stamped my Kind Cosmo image on watercolor paper with waterproof ink.
Marking the background
First step was figuring out and marking where I wanted my background to be. I used a ruler that has a zero in the middle on one side, so I could keep things symmetrical. I decided that I wanted my masked background to be two inches wide. I centered the ruler at the top of the page, marked it at 1 inch on each side of the zero, and then I marked the same points down at the bottom. Next was the height of the masked area. I decided that the masked area should be 2.5 inches tall, and that it didn’t need to be centered top to bottom, so I centered the ruler vertically on the side, then looked at my zero and marked 1 inch below zero, and 1.5 inches above. I marked that on each side, and then used the ruler to find and mark where the lines intersected with little tiny pencil marks. I didn’t want those marks to be very big or dark, so they’d erase easily later.
Next was the masking part. I took my washi tape, and stuck it down just over those little marks, so that it barely covered them. This is so that when it came time to remove the mask and erase the lines, I wasn't erasing through paint. I put down all four sides and pressed the tape down to seal it. I sealed it well enough that paint couldn’t get under it, but not so well that when I removed it I tore the paper.
Starting the Gradation
Once the masking was done, I was ready to start my painting. I wanted my background to be sort of a gradient from green to blue. I got my watercolors set up, along with my handy dandy water pen, and a piece of paper towel. I started out with my water wash. I didn't start out all that precisely, because it’s just open background space, but I did get precise when I came to around the edges of the flowers. I wanted them to be white, which is why I decided to do a background – so they’d stand out, and not look like I just didn’t bother to color.
I took the green about half way up, and then started in with the turquoise. I started with the wash, and as I went I took the opportunity to touch up a bit of the green that didn’t go on quite as smoothly as I would have liked. I overlapped the green a bit to get a smooth gradation, adding a little green to the turquoise. Once again, I went more slowly and precisely around the edges of the flowers. I spread the turquoise to about three quarters of the way up the background. I went back in around the edges of the flowers and darkened the color up just a touch to add contrast.
I kept an eye on it as it dried, since as I go back over previous colors, sometimes I end up with uneven spots. When that happens, I just go back in with my color and touch things up.
I started in on my darker, bluer blue next, beginning with the water wash before the blue. I got tired of adding blue slowly, so I added a bit more water to my blue paint block, and picked up a lot of color on my brush. Because I got my water wash in really well, I could just touch my brush to the page, and my extra intense load of color flowed from the corner beautifully. I may have put a bit too much color in here, but I just used my brush and clean water to pick up and spread it out a bit. If I had decided that this was too much color to spread around, I could have used a dry paper towel to blot it up while it was still super wet, and then started over again.
And because I had such an intense bit of blue here, I added a bit more of the turquoise to balance the intensity.
Next were the centers. First the water wash, and then I went in to the centers of the flowers, adding a bit of yellow to each. As Bev has pointed out, cosmos come in all kinds of colors, but they all have a nice yellow center. So you can be pretty creative with the color of the petals, and as long as it has the yellow center, you’re good. I added a little bit of orange for some shading, and kept going on it. I went back into the colors, adding a bit more color, smoothing and spreading the color some more, and then darkened the color around the flowers for some extra contrast.
Next I very carefully took off my masking tape. I went very slowly so I could stop if the paper started to tear, and I pulled it off at a very sharp angle, which seems to help avoid the tearing.
After the tape was all off, I took a clean eraser (clean is important, as a dirty eraser can leave marks) and removed my little marks. The corner marks are most important, because I planned to cut the paper down to go on my card and would end up cutting off the marks on the edges anyway. I went around and erased all the marks.
As you can see, my example piece has been cut down to about 4 by 5.25 inches, and put on a 4.25 by 5.5 inch card front. My final piece is on the right. I really had fun with this project!
I hope you enjoyed learning a little bit about masking a background and that you can use something like this on your next project. Thanks for stopping by!