Land of the Free


So I’m in a new Facebook group for making swaps – Creative Crafty Friends. The emphasis seems to be on more types of art – not just ATCs – but any art that fits the given theme. I will probably mostly go with ATCs but I veered away from that for this particular swap.

The theme for this trade was 4th of July. I immediately thought about a watercolor tutorial I wanted to try out. Let’s Make Art does regular tutorials with watercolor and there was a recent post about making the America flag. I made this piece on a sheet of Harmony hot pressed watercolor paper from Hahnemühle and I began by taping around the edges to keep my painting crisp on the sides. And I sketched in my stripes and stars with a pencil.

I knew that I basically wanted this piece to look old. That was my whole plan. Hahahahaha! Adding color around each of these little stars was a pain. But considering this star section is about 2″ by 2.5″ they look a whole lot better in real life than they do here. Hahahahaha!

Then I added the red stripes. Apparently I forgot to take a photo of that stage. Oh well. Too late now. One of the points in the tutorial was to shoot for light, medium and dark values in color which to me meant to have some places darker and some lighter by adding water. That was as far as the tutorial took us. The rest is what I normally do to most things. I used a dark indigo color and a fan brush to add splatters to the entire piece. Then let the whole thing dry before I removed that blue painter’s tape. Bad things happen if you remove the tape while the piece is still damp.

See the nice crisp edges? I am very happy with this but I still wanted it to look old.

Hand tearing this 140 lb watercolor paper wasn’t all that easy. But I wanted the edges torn and not pristine.

And old looking. I took a graphite colored ink pad and went along the edges and scrubbed it over parts of the surface. I love the lines and edges where it looks like the paper was crumpled up at one time. It was not. But this didn’t look done to me.

And now it does look complete. Hahahah! And old. I used my small letter stamps and some StazOn ink to add a couple lines from the Star Spangled Banner. Pretty much the perfect lyrics for the 4th of July swap. I hope whoever gets this loves it! I hate to give it up!

Harmony hot pressed watercolor paper and other Hahnemühle product with purchase links

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12 thoughts on “Land of the Free

    • thanks, jan, those little alphabet stamps for $1 was a great Michael’s find years ago

  1. This is such a beautiful piece! Love how you made it look old!!

  2. Absolutely splendid – it certainly looked like it had been around some by the time you’d finished with it. The stamped lettering is perfect too.

    • this was a fun piece and one I didn’t really know where it was going until I was finished

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