I hope all the mums out there had a lovely Mother’s Day on Sunday. It was a beautiful autumn day here, continuing our run of amazing autumn weather.
I made my mum this mixed-media picture using watercolour and inking techniques from Jane Betteridge’s book Watercolours Unleashed. After the background was dry, I added pressed flowers and leaves from my garden, and a few butterflies cut from scrapbook paper.
Jane Betteridge does the most beautiful watercolour painting, using nature as her inspiration. I was so pleased to have discovered her book. You can see her lovely work on her website at www.janebetteridge.com.
This art journal page reminds me to look for the magic in the everyday (or night). A full moon surrounded by swirls of violet cloud, a garden bathed in moonglow, the brilliant light from a distant star, the changing colours of the seasons as trees shed their leaves and plants lie dormant, then a new cycle of growth begins all over again. The feelings of comfort and belonging inspired by a little cottage; a sense of home, of occupying my own little place in the universe.
Pansy…think of me
Forget-me-not…true love, forget me not
Alyssum…worth beyond beauty
I love collecting flowers from our garden, and wildflowers from our walks, to press and use in craft projects. It is always interesting to see, after they have been pressed between the pages of a book for a few weeks, what they will turn out like. Some hold their colour much better than others. I find that blue and purple ones seem to hold their colour well, while red and pink often seem to fade quickly.
I bought this lovely journal a couple of years ago and have been saving it for a special project. When I thought about keeping a record of the pressed flowers, the journal seemed like a perfect place to keep them. I simply attached a few of each of the flowers to the pages with washi tape, and wrote the names below on a strip of masking tape. These are a few of the flowers that I have pressed over the last two or three months.
I’m looking forward to filling up the rest of the pages as different plants come into flower over the seasons.
Lately I have been having fun creating mixed-media art on mini canvases that measure just 4 inches square. They have cute little easels to stand them on, too. For this trio, I wanted to create something light and breezy to reflect the beautiful summery weather we are having at the moment. I used watercolour paint, texture paste with a flower stencil, pressed flowers from our garden, butterflies cut from scrapbook paper, plastic mesh, some colourful fibres, and a few sparkly rhinestones for the centers of the stenciled flowers.
A while ago when my mother was having a clear-out, she gave me an old flower press and some pressed flowers that she had pressed many years ago, some of which still lay between the pages of old telephone books. She knew that I could find a use for them in my craft projects. They are great for making cards and bookmarks, for embellishing scrapbook pages, and for using in mixed media art.
I decided to paint the top of the flower press to add a bit of colour.
I have been experimenting with flowers from my garden, learning which ones press well and which ones keep their colour. I’ve found that oranges and yellows seem to hold their colour well, as do mauves and violets, but pinks will often fade to nothing, and reds will sometimes change to a brown colour. When I go for walks, I collect interesting ferns, grasses and leaves that I think will press well. Below is a variety of flowers and foliage picked from my garden.
I placed the flowers and leaves between sheets of blotting paper, building up layers. It’s a good idea to label them as you go, as it is easy to forget what they are when you go back to them several weeks later. They should be left for at least two weeks, although thicker plants may take up to six weeks. Of course, you don’t have to use a flower press. Placing the flowers between sheets of blotting paper, then putting them between the pages of a book with something heavy on top, such as a pile of books, will work just as well.
The calendula and lobelia held their colour well as you can see from this bookmark. The cute little feverfew flowers added some nice texture.
My grandmother always loved flowers and gardening, and all the homes she lived in had beautiful gardens. She did the flowers for her church for many years, providing flowers from her own garden, and also ran the flower stall at the church fairs. The pressed flowers that I used on this scrapbook page are ones that my mother pressed more than twenty years ago. Amazingly they have held their colour for all those years, and made a wonderful embellishment for my grandmother’s page.