Thursday, August 13, 2015

Note Cards from Palette Mixes Leftover

Watercolor Note Cards

One July Saturday we took a drive to check out the Farmer's Market in Great Falls, Montana.  Years ago we took our two kiddos; they were probably 7 and 8 years old then.  They were not excited.  It just didn't sound like a fun day to them.  We described it to bring their produce to sell, along with others selling crafts and baked goods.  They enjoyed themselves once we arrived and they sampled the baked goods and cotton candy.

This recent visit was for a different reason.  We wanted to begin planning for our own booth.  My husband has been building shelves from wood pallets; my daughter and I have been finishing them off with chalk paint and antiquing wax.  We haven't made as much progress as we'd planned.  The days just aren't long enough.  Add to that, the fact is I'm in the art mode...I'd rather go work on watercolor paintings.  While we were exploring the variety of booths with jams and stuffed olives and knit potholders...I began to get excited about my own booth offering my artwork for sale.  I studied the vendors' setups and how they arranged their tables.
 I noticed which booths caught my eye, attracted me to stop and see their products.  I took a few photos for referencing later when I'm ready to tackle this undertaking.  For now, I'm mentally tallying the costs for a shade canopy, table and folding chair, as well as what creative flair would best suit me.  I've seen the pennant banners and I think I could create one with watercolor paint and fabric medium.

As the mental planning went on, I thought about what I could offer to sell in a smaller price range.  It would be smart to have a wider range of price points on items for sale.  Note cards would be perfect!  I've stamped and made beautiful greeting cards in the past but how do I bring it back to a watercolor style product?

Then it occurred to me...when I'm cleaning my mixing palette and I hate to waste it, I'll put it on watercolor paper in an abstract way.  Once those mopping cards are all wet and shiny, I'll add a few more fun effects.  Cropping these will give me a watercolor swatch that is the focus of the card.  After stamping on a phrase or image in black plus a few shiny brads and twine, it's ready to sell.

This is an example of what my palette might look like when a painting is finished.  In fact, it looks this way, looks worse, and then I clean it and start fresh again.  I could go through that several times during the process of working on a painting.  Lately, I've been working on three at a time which means the mixes can be used on all three paintings.  When it's time to clean up before starting another set of paintings, I need to clean up that center mixing area.  These color mixes worked together in the painting and they make a great loose background for a note card.

I have so many little ribbons, twisted twine, unusual buttons and could be fun just playing around with all the added touches.  I have some brown kraft labels and this little bird stamp that's my favorite.  There are washi style decorative tapes that bring in another texture and layer.  I've got an idea for stamping on shrink plastic and making a little charm that could be tied to the front of a card.  Layering on the colored pencil makes it so brilliantly eye-catching once baked.  That's an added touch to keep in mind until I've gotten further along with all these goals.  Whew!  Sometimes my head is so full of ideas, it might burst.  I need a to-do list/supply list to keep it all straight...which is on my to-do list.  Really.

Aren't these just lovely?  It was very enjoyable to just brush on the splashes of pigment and letting the various colors mix on the paper.  With a squeeze bottle I'd drop on water and then tip the paper to make the paint run in unusual ways.  A little spray bottle came along for the fun, too.  A pinch of salt sprinkled in strategic places and left to dry makes the crystal like effects.  Taking the time to use the paint mixes on open areas of the palette like this was a relaxing transition for me.  I was able to play without hesitation for the outcome.  It's kind of like the after party!  A change of pace that is very much welcome.  The time spent working on a painting is very calculated; the mind is working through the steps needed to reach the end result.  The mental processes going on take a lot of concentration to stay on track.  If not, I'll find there's a hitch in the plan later on.

So if you were to come upon an artist's booth at a farmer's market, would this catch your eye?  Do you enjoy handmade tokens like this?  I'm still needing to price items and perhaps selling 3 or 5 for a better price than a single card would be a good idea.  If you have any other ideas of items artists can offer for a more affordable expense, I'd love suggestions.

My mother encouraged me so much when I was young.  I didn't always appreciate it as much as I do now.  We would go to enjoy a craft fair for the afternoon occasionally.  I remember so often she'd draw my attention to a cleverly made item and she would say, "Christy, do you know how easy that would be to make?"  At times, as a teen, I would roll my eyes or make one of those under-the-breath groans because I was tired of attempting to recreate a craft at home.  Guess what?  I have taken that into my own mothering and I love crafting, too.  It's even easier to be creative than back then.  That was before the internet, Google, YouTube, and Pinterest...just to name a few of the advances made.  Now I have a teen daughter and I am grateful that she is usually on board with my latest attempt at a new project.  We've had our rough moments with the glue gun and burned fingers but we press on! There's just an indescribable excitement to figuring out how to do that...what ever "that" is.  A exploration to dare yourself and see if you can figure it out.  I've even stretched myself to making my own lipbalm and creams, yogurt and just recently laundry detergent.  If you are thinking I'm crazy strange, maybe you should step out and give something new a shot.  These little ventures challenge your brain and keep you young!  

Oh, yeah...I did take some photos with my phone.  It's kinda' crazy to write about the Farmer's Market

and not show any photos from that outing.

I took these for the purpose of gathering ideas and seeing how vendors set up their little spaces.

I loved the banner at the top and the colorful display pieces...and the window frame at left 
used to display merchandise.


Very colorful handmade signs with chalk painted crates to help make the display.
Oh, and see the bright red rug on the ground?  Nice.


This isn't the best photo.  I took it from the back side.  I wish I'd gone around to the take a shot from the front.  We were sitting at a table eating some of the goodies at the time.  
I took this photo because I liked the shuttered doors on the left and right.
Shutters would make a great way to hand art with S-hooks.

This booth has a definite logo design...eyecatching yet simple.  More fabric pennant banner 
and it's such a fun and playful touch.  Very clean with bright accents.

What is your favorite part of the Farmer's Market?  Fresh fruit/veggies, baked goods, jams and jellies, cotton candy, hand knitted or sewn items...there's so much!

Until next Thursday, when I'll hopefully be posting the completed Indian Paintbrush paintings...
and I need to get my business cards done, too!

- Christy

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