Sunday, July 5, 2015

Ocotillo Artist Trading Card

Hello :)

I am trying to update my blog more frequently then I have been... but soon I will be traveling and having guests and just crazy busy .. so bear with me through the summer! Today I was working on my artist trading cards for a four month long swap I have joined over at 'Sisterhood of the Traveling Canvases' G+ Community. The first project we did in this community was a round robin canvas swap wherein 8" X 10" canvases went traveling around the country getting worked on by different mixed media artists. At the end we each received a finished canvas to keep that we had not worked on. It was very fun! Now the same community is doing 4 ATCs over the summer months to trade with 9 other artists. Here is my second month ATC... the theme is flowers in your area. Of course, my favorite 'flower' is the Ocotillo. WHAT? you say. It is pronounced ah-kah-tee-yo. An upside down funnel shaped desert plant that is made up of several woody, spiny, straight branches angling outward from the base. It can reach 20 feet tall. It has 2 inch oval shaped leaves that spring up in clusters above the spines when it rains. In the Spring it has red blooms made up of 5 petal flowers that cluster into 10 inch clusters at the end of the branches. I find this plant fascinating and have since I first saw Tucson flying in for a friends wedding long before I moved here. It is just so cool! I even named my blog after it :)


This ATC is not very complicated...but it does show why I love mixed media. NO RULES. I can combine watercolor with acrylic with ink with whatever I want. No media police here! So, I started out with watercolor. I did not wet my paper (140 pound watercolor paper cut into 2 1/2" X 3 1/2" rectangles) I used a medium wet brush and dipped it into my color then painted it on. Rinsed and added a color in a different area. I did not want a bunch of mixing of the layers that wet paper would have created.


Once my watercolor was dry I wanted to seal it so it would not be effected by any layers I may put on after. For this I used clear gesso. I dropped a few dots on the paper and then went over it with my 2" soft rubber brayer. It looks slightly milky when wet..but dries nice and clear and adds some 'tooth' to the paper as well.


My next layer was to add the plant using acrylic paint. I started with the darkest green and painted in the branches. Then I went to the next darker and using a up and down motion ..dotted on some leaves. Then I used 2 more lighter colors with the same effect..making them lighter and lighter towards the top of the plant. This created a more depth on the plant.


Now I added my flowers. Instead of using red..then orange for highlight. I did both colors at the same time using the same uncleaned brush. I wanted the colors to blend some so that it appears like the sun is hitting the edge of the petals inside the clusters of flowers.


Once that was all dry I added the word 'Ocotillo' at the bottom of each card using a glaze pen.


Some of you may have noticed I don't like unfinished edges. I often put a solid color paper around my small projects to frame them. This time I just used ink for the same effect. I used a finger dauber to apply dark brown ink to the edges of all the cards to finish them off.


My final touch was to print some info about the Ocotillo plant and glue it to the backs of the cards.


I hope you enjoyed my project :) Give me feedback if you wish...I always read and respond!
<3 Shel

16 comments:

  1. I say this all the time but I love your paintings, the colors, the design. Thumbs up!!

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  2. That is gorgeous!!!!! I loved the process!!!

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  3. This is an awesome tutorial and so well painted! I have ever heard of this flower but I can see why you are intrigued by it. Wonderfully done! Thank you for the sweet comment on my blog. :) ~Niki

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    1. Thank you Niki :) Yes it is quite an interesting plant...I keep asking if the boys will plant one in the yard but they never do!

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  4. Wow, Shel!! what a beautiful gem you've created! Of all the desert flora, I find this one intriguing. When you drive 83 south from I10, to Sonoita, you pass thru an area I call Ocotillo Valley. Even though it's mountainous, not a true valley, you see thousands of Ocotillo. When we have rain, it can be ablaze with crimson, and quite the sight. But thru these drought years, it's an intriguing mass of grey sticks, very unique to see.

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    1. Thanks Sylvia :) Hmm.. I have yet to take that road but I am intrigued. I will have to go out there soon,,maybe during this monsoon season even. My friend is visiting and we will be out and about.

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  5. Never knew what the heck was the reason for your blog name - now I'm educated and delighted with your ATC at the same time!

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    1. Thanks Win :) Glad I could help you in your knowledge of desert flora..not that it is particularly a thing you would need to know. But hey..we keep learning right?

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  6. Shel, what can I say other than, you are sooo very talented and never cease to amaze me with your gorgeous art! hugs xo

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    1. Thanks dear Jackie :) It is positive people like you that keep me going :)

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  7. I enjoyed reading your lead in to your tutorial. It's always interesting to read your step by step process in creating your project. I, too, really like the Ocotillo plant. I have been calling it a cacti. I just looked it up. The Ocotillo (Fouquieria splendens) is a woody shrub; it is not a cactus. Ooops! I love everything about your ATC... from the background and finished edges to your painting of the blooming ocotillo shrub!

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  8. This is my first time here, but I saw yourlink in yourIG account. Glad I now know the meaning of your blog name. So cool to read this post! I'm arty_kat

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    1. Welcome Arty Kat :) Glad you found your way over from IG. I never know if linking it all together works! Thanks for visiting <3

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Thank you for your comments. I read every one :)