One Layer Tropical Scene

Stampscapes Palm Tree One Layer Creative Scenery Card (4)

Do you ever just want to escape through your paper crafts?  Michael is in Saint Lucia today.  And yesterday he was in St. Barts – what a life!  Of course, it’s business – researching the Southern Caribbean for the family travel biz.  Well, he called me from the beach in St. Barts (I know – the nerve!) – so I just HAD to put myself there somehow – it’s SO gorgeous there.  This card was a close as I could get.  Here are some photos from when we were there last March!



For the full tutorial, be sure to watch my video One Layer Creative Scenery #2 posted on my YouTube channel.  If you haven’t already – subscribe! Smile  And be sure to give me thumbs up below the video too if you like it.

Stampscapes Palm Tree One Layer Creative Scenery Card (3)

To make this card, you will want to mask off the space you are looking to create.  I used a 1/2” border to the top, left and bottom and made my scene 2 1/4” wide leaving a white border on the right of 1 3/4”.

I used the following supplies:

  • Ranger Adirondack Lights Cloudy Blue and Aqua
  • Marvy Matchables Caribbean Blue, Turquoise, and Jungle Green
  • Stampin’ Up! Chocolate Chip and Sahara Sand
  • You will need a greeting, Pictured is Expressly You (hostess) by Stampin’ Up!
  • Stampscapes Stamps – Palm Trio (one trunk) and both Palm Leaf Left and Right
  • Sponges
  • Post It Notes
  • White cardstock – 4 1/4” x 11”
  • Stampscapes Palm Tree One Layer Creative Scenery Card (5)

This card does make me feel like I’m looking out a window into the gorgeous waters of St Barts and the Caribbean.  I hope I was able to transport you too!

Be sure to check out the Creative Scenery Classes in the classroom – over 2 hours of instruction in each one.  And if you’re not on The Creative Grove Newsletter List – be sure to sign up today – exclusive videos and tips are mailed out only to subscribers.  Don’t miss out!

Stampscapes Palm Tree One Layer Creative Scenery Card (8)

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Using a Variety of Supplies

Diversity is always great in artistic supplies.  Today I wanted to share a card with you that uses a variety of companies.  After all, do ALL your clothes come from the same store?  Probably not.  So, along with that theory, here is a colorful scene that uses Stampscapes Images, Marvy  and Adirondack Dye based inks and a Signo White Gel Pen.  This scene is a re-creation of one done by Kevin Nakagawa from Stampscapes

Misty Forest Buck (3)

This misty forest scene makes me want to go hiking!  To get the sweeping motion of the ink carried across the cardstock, you will need a Colorbox Stylus which has sponge applicators.  You can find this tool in almost any craft store.  It does take a little getting used to and be sure to use a light touch.  But when using the stylus tool, you have to have the right inks. 

While I love my Stampin’ Up! inkpads, they tore up my sponge tips with this technique.  Which, I’ll be honest – will frustrate you and you’ll need new tips!  Stampin’ Up’s fast drying edge is great for clean and simple stamping, but not for this technique.   What you need, is the right ink – a wetter dye based ink like the Marvy Matchables or Adirondack Ink Pads.  Both of these have a wetter saturation and work better with the stylus tool and glossy cardstock. 

Note – Marvy has discontinued several of their colors of ink pads here in the US (just a few months ago), so if you come across them – nab them up!  Not to worry, the reinkers are not being discontinued, so you’ll have access to the full color spectrum for their markers (which let’s be honest – ROCK!) and you can always use the reinkers just like paints, which is great for this technique.

Misty Forest Buck (2)

To stamp the images first, use a black that sets well without bleeding – I use Memento Tuxedo Black Ink.  It’s the best non-bleed ink I’ve come across.  Then create your under layer with your lighter tones first.  Remember, you can always darken any scene up, you can’t however make it lighter.  It’s the same theory in painting.  Get your undertones first. 

Once I have my scene set up, I can add highlights and contrasts using darker colors.  I framed my scene here using darker blues, greens and browns.  Leaving some light can be hard – I have to admit, one of my challenges – but I promise, you’ll love that contrast at the end – so resist, resist, resist!  For finishing touches, you’ll want to use white pigment ink and a q-tip to create the fog.  The highlights were made with a white gel pen. 

Misty Forest Buck (1)

The depth in this card captivates you.  the light in the sky balances the darkness.  It really seems like the beginning or end of an old movie – you know and the dark circle opens or closes the scene?  I hope you enjoyed it!  Now go have fun with all your supplies!

Personal Note – thanks to so many of you emailing me lately!  I have to admit I haven’t been stamping too much lately due to an injury to my right thumb which affected my right wrist.  Of course I’m right handed – and it’s just doesn’t work with my left hand!  No matter how hard I try. Smile  This also kept me off the computer for any long sort of typing.  The angle has been tough – including using a mouse.  So, after a lot of trying to work my way through it, I actually had to take a real break to recover!  Not so easy. 

Thankfully, I’ve been back in the studio and even trying some other artistic mediums that aren’t as much pressure on my thumb and wrist – like painting!  It’s been therapeutic to be creative again!  I’ve only been able to watch stuff online and make sketches and notes on projects and upcoming classes.  Thanks for stopping by today, I look forward to seeing you around the grove for more.

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Products Used:

Adirondack Ink Pads  Colorbox Stylus Tool Marvy Matchables  Signo White Gel Pen

Taking a different view

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For you today, I have a tweaked version of a great card.  It’s a completely different look – a more subdued, dare I say masculine look?  Today, I’m going to share with you how to take a great project and then improve upon it so that you get more from those great ideas that you have.

I thought that you would enjoy seeing what I mean.  Here are both projects on top of each other.  Which one do you prefer?  I mean, they both are great, but yet evoke a different feel.  Be sure to tell me in the comment section which one you prefer!  I am rather curious…go do it now and then come back and read the rest!


It’s funny, I love the sunset cards, but there’s something about the other one that mesmerizes me as well.  I can’t quite put my finger on it.  Here it is close up.  To see the other close up click here.

The main difference between the two, other than the color, is that the foreground palm trees are embossed first to really resist the background and remain clean.  I just love that pop of Jungle Green.  The Cloud Space stamp was added in place of the sunset – that’s a FABULOUS stamp. Smile

I made this card for a friend of my Dad’s who lost his wife to a long battle with cancer.  When I remember her, I think of how much she loved the beach and waters of the Mediterranean and Atlantic.  She would come back from vacations in Spain so brown it was unbelievable.  Laura was a real artist who painted the most amazing sceneries on canvas.  Of course by trade, she was a pharmacist, but I remember her as an artist.  Laura, this one’s is in memory of you. Smile

Signature Snowflake 001

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Stamp Sets – Stampscapes Stamps Ink – Marvy – Oriental Blue, Turquoise, Caribbean Blue, Jungle Green, Yellow, Brilliant Yellow; Adirondack Lights – Cloudy Blue, Aqua, Peach Bellini; Stampin’ Up! – Early Espresso, Crushed Curry, Tangerine Tango, Sahara Sand, Crisp Cantaloupe, Early Espresso Marker Paper –Glossy White, Early Espresso Tools – Colorbox Stylus, Brushtix Mixed Media Brushes Finishing Touch – Uni-ball Signo White Gel Pen

Dog Days of Summer: Tropical Lagoon

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Is your creative process for a project always perfect?  I know mine sometimes is not.  Yesterday I worked on a project for my friend Trish in Australia.  What you see above is the final result.  Here’s the creative process it took me this time around.  I hope this helps some of you!


This time, I began with the following project. My  lagoon stamp was larger than my intended project size, so I wanted to only use part of it with still having room for a palm tree in the forefront for perspective.  It didn’t work out as I intended. 

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My original project is at the bottom.  The grass didn’t blend with the palm tree well enough, I didn’t care for the extra grass and so much real estate at the bottom.  By accident I swiped red right over my sun, the card stock had divot’s  at the top that wouldn’t take in any ink, and the bungalows were stamped strangely.  Now, you may be saying I’m being nit-picky, but that’s a whole lot of things wrong for me, so I created a plan to fix my scene.

I began by taking a piece of scrap paper and stamping my scene on a larger card – 3 3/4” x 9” instead.  Here you see my beginning project, my test scene and the final project all next to each other.  I think you’ll agree with me – it’s MUCH better!Stampscapes Tropical Lagoon 9.5.13  (3)_thumb[7]

I used several colors of Marvy, Adirondack Lights, and Stampin’ Up! inks to get my desired look with a Colorbox Stylus Sponge Tool  Now I’m going to have to make one for myself!  Stampscapes Tropical Lagoon 9.5.13  (16)_thumb[2]

Creative Tips –

  • I stamped the entire scene in Early Espresso rather than Black.
  • I stamped the lagoon and then masked the sky.  I colored in my water – Aqua Adirondack Lights, Caribbean and Turquoise Blue.  I kept the color in streaks so to leave a little light in it.
  • For the sand, I used Sahara Sand Stampin’ Up! ink.  I then masked the water and my sun.  The sky is made of Yellow, Brilliant Yellow, Crushed Curry, Peach Bellini, Crisp Cantaloupe, Tangerine Tango, Cloudy Blue and Oriental Blue.Stampscapes Tropical Lagoon 9.5.13  (18)_thumb[3]
  • The huts were stamped after the horizon masks were removed and right on the horizon line.  The roofs were colored in using a Brushtix Sponge Tip applicator and Jungle Green with Early Espresso Marker accents.
  • You can extend the dots that make up the surrounding scene with the fine tip of the Early Espresso Marker.
  • The reeds and tropical plant are stamped with Jungle Green.  It was necessary to mask the tree with a little bit from a paper towel.Stampscapes Tropical Lagoon 9.5.13  (17)_thumb[3]
  • Three of the birds were colored with the Early Espresso Marker and stamped in the sky.
  • The Palms extend off the page and I stamped the lower parts of the leaves in Jungle Green.
  • To brighten up the scene and give it some life, you can use a Uniball Signo White Gel Pen.  You may want to go over some of the natural waves from the stamp if you’ve gotten color on them like I did.  Add some dots in the sand for the foam left behind the wave that rolls onto the shore.
  • Highlight the trees, huts and birds, keeping in mind where you light source is coming from.Stampscapes Tropical Lagoon 9.5.13  (10)_thumb[3]Stampscapes Tropical Lagoon 9.5.13  (14)_thumb[3]
  • Here you see the difference between sponging the edge of the scene in Early Espresso and leaving the canvas as is.Stampscapes Tropical Lagoon 9.5.13  (13)_thumb[2]

I love the end result – it’s by far the best Stampscapes tropical scene I’ve done.  In the end, I used 9 various stamps to create this scenery.  I hope you love it too!  It’s a fitting end to the summer.

Online Brayer Class

Do you want to learn how to make creative scenery cards?  Try our Brayer 101 – Introduction to Creative Scenery online class.  You’ll learn how to master this technique using a brayer to create unbelievable scenes that will leave you feeling like an artist.  Find out more here.


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Stamp Sets – Stampscapes Stamps Ink – Marvy – Oriental Blue, Turquoise, Caribbean Blue, Jungle Green, Yellow, Brilliant Yellow; Adirondack Lights – Cloudy Blue, Aqua, Peach Bellini; Stampin’ Up! – Early Espresso, Crushed Curry, Tangerine Tango, Sahara Sand, Crisp Cantaloupe, Early Espresso Marker Paper –Glossy White, Early Espresso Tools – Colorbox Stylus, Brushtix Mixed Media Brushes Finishing Touch – Uni-ball Signo White Gel Pen

The Creative Process and a Sneak Peek!

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Do you ever feel like it is a definite process to get to your desired project result?  Do you hit a home run each time you start a new creative project?  I certainly do not!  I hope this post will help you to realize that it’s okay to re-do a project, or take it in steps.  Today, I thought it might be helpful for you to see what my desk looks like when I’m right in the middle of a project.  I took a break from packing to get a little creative for you!  Here’s a snapshot of my process – notice a not completed project in the upper right, a middle project template  in the center and then my actual finished project in process.

Stampscapes Tropical Lagoon 9.5.13  (5)

This is actually not that bad.  I cut my paper in a different space or it’s just too much!  Today you see that I’m using various types of ink pads – four different brands actually!  And to get some business inspiration at the same time, I was taking a class – that’s what’s on the computer monitor.  My space started to get a little overwhelming, and I had to put some stuff in it’s place so that I felt like I had some elbow room, but my end result worked out awesome!

To the left, you see a sneak peek of tomorrow’s project with the end result at the top, my middle test project that became my creative process, and my beginning project that went all wrong in several ways.  I know it doesn’t look like it, but trust me, it did!

I began a project for a friend and wanted it to be just right.  It didn’t quite turn out the way I had planned.  So what I did was take a piece of scrap paper and work the project out so that I felt a bit more confident and now I LOVE the end result.  Please tune in tomorrow to see it!

Update – Packing up the Stamping Studio – It’s been quite a task to pack up the studio.  We’ve been here for nine years and my craft room is 28’ x 14’ – it’s loaded with open spaces and shelves filled with projects, cards, and supplies.  And that’s not even my classroom.  Yes, I’m lucky – when I first started in this industry, I had a 4’ x 2’ folding table, chair and one plastic set of drawers – in the corner of our family room.  I couldn’t stand putting things away each time I scrapbooked or made cards – I vowed to have a room all to myself with a door someday!

I didn’t get it until we purchased our home nine years ago, and now I’m leaving my dream space.  It’s okay – we’re on to a fun adventure – but I now have the experience of knowing how much space I truly need to be creative and productive.  While my huge room (rooms if you include my even larger classroom), will be missed – I know I will be fine in a smaller space.  Actually – I’m looking forward to it.  You see, I ended up collecting way too much stuff with such a huge space (makes sense – we just have to fill it, don’t we!) – it made for a nice downsizing sale for my local customers though!  Thanks for bearing with me as I continue to pack and purge!

See you tomorrow – you’ll want to tune in…this card is my most impressive Creative Scenery project to date.  I’m going to have to make myself one to keep!  Have fun stamping!

Signature Snowflake 001

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Stamp Sets – Stampscapes Stamps Ink – Marvy – Oriental Blue, Turquoise, Caribbean Blue, Jungle Green, Yellow, Brilliant Yellow; Adirondack Lights – Cloudy Blue, Aqua, Peach Bellini; Stampin’ Up! – Early Espresso, Crushed Curry, Tangerine Tango, Sahara Sand, Crisp Cantaloupe, Early Espresso Marker; Memento – Black Paper –Glossy White, Early Espresso Tools – Colorbox Stylus, Brushtix Mixed Media Brushes Finishing Touch – Uni-ball Signo White Gel Pen

Finding Inspiration

Where do you look for creative inspiration?  For me, I usually head to Pinterest or look in magazines.  I love to look at photographs and generally a color palate or random organization of shapes will strike up an idea.  I thought today I would take you on a journey for a simple CASE (copy and steal everything) of a photo for me. Smile

When you see a photo online, do you sometimes shift in your chair, or move your head?  That to me is the sign that I’ve found something.  Here is the photo I found on Pinterest and my final project:

Cable-Beach-Broome-North-Western-Australia Moonlit Waters 004

While it’s not exact, it was my first attempt at making a mostly all black scenery.   I immediately thought, I can do that.  I’ll challenge myself and try something totally new.  I have to admit – it felt all wrong…lol!

Creative Tips –

  • You will want to start by masking a horizon line and beginning with your sky.
  • Give a good coat of various shades of yellow.  Here I used Glossy paper and a stylus tool to layer several coats of ink.Moonlit Waters 007
  • Mask your moon and continue layering ink, switching to Black.  You’ll want to leave a little faint yellow showing through around your moon for the glow.
  • My edge of my mask lifted up, so I got a splotch of black on my moon on the left side.  To cover that mistake up, I lifted my mask completely and dragged my stylus across a little to create whispy clouds.  Here is my friend Amy’s who didn’t get any on hers – see the difference? Moonlit Waters 001
  • When done with your sky, fully dry and switch your mask to reveal the water and cover the sky.
  • Layer color from the sides across your water being careful to leave the middle showing the moonlight reflection.
  • To create the feel of water, you will want to bring in a little black into your yellow.  Do this a little at a time so that you don’t cover up too much at once.  If you feel like you aren’t sure if you want to add more, stop.Moonlit Waters 008
  • Once you have the desired look, stamp your palm trunks and leaves at the top to give the viewer’s perspective.
  • Stamp the birds, layering a few over your moon.
  • Create a mask for the island and add into the horizon opposite your birds with a sponge in black ink.
  • Pick a saying that fits your scene.
  • This card is finished 5 x 7 and the scenery layer is 4 1/4 x 5 1/2”

It’s a fun scene and looks so striking in person.  I can’t wait to try it in purples next!

If you loved this card…

Be sure to subscribe to the creative tips e-letter & FREE video series. There’s a great scenic project in our first video series that I think you’ll love. And if you want to learn more about scenic cards, be sure to check out our Brayer 101 & 102 classes in addition to our upcoming Stampscapes class where we’ll make this similar project: Find out more HERE

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Stamp Sets – Stampscapes Stamps, Really Good Greetings (130333c, 130330w) Ink – Marvy – Black, Yellow, Brilliant Yellow  Adirondack Lights – Sandal Paper –Glossy White, So Saffron, Basic Black Tools – Colorbox Stylus

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Stampscapes: Sunrise Canoe Ride

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Are all of your clothes from the same store?  Probably not, so why would your crafting supplies be?  The world of rubber stamping is vast and varied.  So take what you already have – inks, paper, tools, and incorporate a little nature from Stampscapes into it! 

If I had my way, I’d live at the base of this scene.  Well, pretty close to it at least, the falls might be too loud!  About six months ago I came upon a scene built with these amazing outdoor scenery stamps.  You already know how I love to create brayer scenes, so these stamps really jumped out at me. 

Stampscapes stamps were first created by Kevin Nakagawa in 1993.  They are individual nature stamps that you can very easily combine together to create a seamless scene.  The designs are tonal in nature which allows them to overlap seamlessly.  Here I used 9 different stamps to build this scene.  I know, you’re probably saying, what?  I’ve become quite the addict, and have loved incorporating them into my stamping passion.  If you love creative scenery and scenes with depth, I know you will too.  Enjoy the steps to how I made this card.Stampscapes 004 Front

Creative Tips –

  • This scene was stamped in Black Dye ink on Glossy cardstock.  You can use a dye based ink pad like Memento Tuxedo Black or Marvy Black.  You will want an ink that will dry, that’s why you want a dye based ink.  The Stampin’ Up! Basic Black has had it’s issues since they’ve been working to perfect the formula, so I wouldn’t recommend it for a project on glossy paper at this point.
  • The Cascading Falls is the main image, so to build around that, you’ll want stamps that can accentuate it, not take away from it. 
  • The other images you will want to use for this scene are:  The right side of Side Falls, the left side of Lakeside Reflections, both the right and left side of Tall Rock with Falls, Rock 1 and 2, Reeds, Shimmering Water, and Solo Canoeist.  All stamps are in the large format with the exception of Reeds.
  • When building the scene, you want to overlap about 1/4” of the edge with your new image to create a seamless blend of images without any gaps.  Use a torn piece of paper towel rather than an actual cut out mask.  Since these stamps are tonal in nature, they blend seamlessly with each other.  The added bonus … this method is so much faster that traditional masking!
  • To add color, you will want to carefully place color with your Colorbox Stylus tool using various shades of blue.  Remember to always start with the lightest shade working into darker ones.  Keep some white space to keep the scene light.Stampscapes 004 CU Pool
  • Add a slightly darker shade around the rocks, building up a shadow underwater.  You might want to do the same at the base of your three falls.
  • Be careful not to add too much blue to your falls, waterfalls reflect light and they are primarily white.  I added three shades of blue in streaks in the general same areas. 
  • Use a grey ink color to shade your rocks with your stylus tip.  You will want to be careful as you edge your rocks near the water.  Try also adding a few grey streaks into your pool of water for some shadowing, but not much!Stampscapes 004 Side
  • You can add some green to your trees with a more precise applicator such as a Brushtix Mixed Media Brushes by Tsukineko or use markers.  When using markers, be careful not to add too much color as the images are quite fine.
  • The ripples in the water were stamped with Marvy Salvia Blue.  This gives the water a little depth and movement without taking away from the scene.  Use a light/medium blue for this.
  • To highlight your scene, add some movement in the water with streaks and dots using a Uni-ball Signo White Gel Pen.  Also add random streaks to your waterfalls.  Be sure to add texture along the rocks and base of the falls.  Stampscapes 004 CU Falls
  • To give the look of water mist that you see on waterfalls, you will want to loosen the end of a Q-tip to give it a lighter texture and dab it into the Whisper White White Craft Ink Pad.  It’s a pigment ink that is sticky and will give you the lightness and movement that you are looking for.  Be careful not to press to hard – practice on scrap paper first. 
  • For the sunrise, you can add a little Peach Bellini by Adirondack Lights at the top of your forest line. 
  • I got a little blob of black in my sky on the left, so I dabbed my Q-tip into my grey and lightly added some streaks for clouds in my sky.  You can quickly and easily overdo this, so make sure to use gentle pressure and less is more.
  • Stampscapes 004 Main L

    Creative Scenery Classes

    If you love creative scenes, check out the online Brayer 101: Introduction to Creative Scenery class.  In this class, you will learn how to master the use of your brayer to build scenes using Stampin’ Up! stamps and layering ink in a seamless way.  For more information, click here.


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Stampscapes 004 Angle

Stamp Sets – Stampscapes Stamps Ink – Marvy – Black, Prussian Blue, Salvia Blue, Light Blue, Bottle Green, Grey; Adirondack Lights – Cloudy Blue, Aqua, Peach Bellini; Stampin’ Up! – Whisper White Craft Pad  Paper –Glossy White, Basic Black Tools – Colorbox Stylus, Brushtix Mixed Media Brushes Finishing Touch – Uni-ball Signo White Gel Pen, Q-tip

Tropical Sunset Stampscape

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If you hadn’t noticed, I love creating sunset scenery.  Today I have a tropical sunset using a great image from Stampscapes.  This is the perfect birthday card for someone who would love a little of the tropics to escape to.  For me – I’m sending this to my mom for her Birthday this week.  I know she’ll love it.

I worked on glossy paper with a colorbox sylus tool for this scene and Stampscapes 002 008

Creative Tips –

    • I used the now retired Stampin’ Up! glossy paper as my base.
    • To keep my paper wet so that my stylus could move a bit better, I worked in sections.
    • I gave the middle of my paper a good coat of So saffron in the middle, followed by Daffodil Delight and Crushed Curry.  I had masked the sun, so I had a white sun when done.
    • Next I layered a small amount of Tangerine Tango towards my horizon line.  Stampscapes 002 002
    • I created my sun first with a light coating of Crushed Curry followed by Real Red.  I worked my stylus just outside the white lined border to not have such a defined line, but have that white outline that you see in the sun.
    • For my sea, I began with a light coat of Soft Sky.
    • Next I layered Pool Party, Bermuda Bay and a little Tempting Turquoise into my water in a streaking motion.  I kept a little white area off to the left just below the sun.
    • For the sky I started with Soft Sky, followed by Tempting Turquoise, Marina Mist and Island Indigo.Stampscapes 002 010
    • I stamped my tropical island, birds and water texture stamp in Black.  I wanted the island in a particular spot, so I used a Stamp-a-Majig to position my stamp.  Of course I dropped it as I lifted it, so I had to stamp it twice since on the glossy, the Black ink was still wet and smeared.  I was able to save the image!
    • I used a White Gel Pen to accent my trees and water.

 Stampscapes 002 008

My colored base was so pretty – I almost didn’t want to stamp on it!  Something unexpected happened to me – This scene made me want to paint.  So I have a feeling the more I do these types of scenes on paper – the more I will definitely venture into the art of painting.  Do any of you paint?  If so, what is your favorite medium?Stampscapes 002 007

Try our Online Brayer Class

Creative Scenery classes using a brayer have by far been my biggest hit with stampers.  Learn how to create gorgeous gradual transitions with 100+ minutes of step by step detailed video instruction teaching you how to master this technique.  The end result – You will feel like an artist.  Best of all, you will look at your stamps in a whole new way, and try things you never would have thought to do before.  Find out more here



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Stamp Sets – Four You (130538c, 130535w), Stampscapes Stamps Ink – Memento Tuxedo Black, Soft Sky, Pool Party, Tempting Turquoise, Bermuda Bay, Marina Mist, Island Indigo, So Saffron, Daffodil Delight, Crushed Curry, Tangerine Tango, Real Red, Versamark Paper –Glossy White,Whisper White, Tangerine Tango Tools – Colorbox Stylus Finishing Touch – Black Embossing Powder, Signo White Gel Pen