Saturday, October 6, 2012

Creating the One Stroke Way - Day 4


Welcome back! I've been wanting an Autumn wall hanging for my entry for some time now. This series motivated me to get it done and now you can create one for yourself or a friend.

The supplies we need are:
-a surface to paint (I chose a canvas I had in my storage stash. You could choose paper, a board, notebook, a plate. Any paintable surface will do)
-paints (orange, burgandy, white, tan, brown, thicket, sunflower are the colors I used)
-a palette of some sort (I use styrofoam plates)
-paint brushes (I used #12 flat, #8 flat, script liner, a scruffy for the main project.  I used a sponge roller and a 3/4" brush to cover my canvas)
-a little water (we use very little with the One Stroke Painting Method)
-paper towels

I'm going to turn this not-so-attractive long-ago-project-never-completed into the Welcome Sign you saw at the opening of this post.
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I wanted the background to be a warm, neutral color. The blue and green already there just wouldn't cut it. I used a chocolate brown color randomly over the whole surface.

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Not too pretty. Dipping the 3/4" brush into white on one side and tan on the other, I loaded it up with plenty of paint
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and then base-coated the whole canvas, starting at the top and moving from left to right, back and forth all the way to the bottom. 
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Can you see how double-loading the brush makes beautifully blended, shaded colors across the canvas? That's the beauty of One Stroke! So easy. 

Now that the surface is prepared, there's no need to wash out the brush, just blot it well on a paper towel, and then go ahead and load up your next colors. 
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I poured out puddles of orange and burgundy onto my palette and loaded my brush, ready to start work on my pumpkins. Orange mostly, but the burgandy for shading. You can see a close up of the strokes to make the pumpkins in the Day 2 post of this series. I was a little hesitant to get started, so I did some practicing on my newspaper-table-covering. I played a little with color and technique and spacing.

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I decided to paint 3 pumpkins: a large one in center, with a smaller one sitting near it, and a third smaller pumpkin to the right.
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Ok. They look like pumpkins, sort of. They are needing some help, though, aren't they? Like, stems and leaves and such?  

I want to show you how forgiving this painting method is. Mistakes are so easy to undo, cover up and make over.  I was mostly pleased with the pumpkins and was in a hurry to dress them up with greenery. But in my hurry, I grabbed the wrong bottle of paint. Instead of a thicket green color, I picked up the chocolate brown. I loaded the brown and the sunflower yellow onto my brush, and then realized this was not the color for the foliage in my little sign.

Instead of scrapping my palette and washing out my brush (using the #12 flat brush) I simply blotted the paint onto a paper towel and loaded it with the green and yellow I wanted. If a little of the brown might show through, it would be all the more natural. It all blends together and adds more depth of color.

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It actually made the perfect combination of colors for the stems. To create the stem, I made a curved stroke, like a tall skinny hill, and them made a 'U' stroke right on top of it.  You can see how it created a small cylinder with little curly-Q or circle on the top. 

Before adding the leaves to my canvas, I practiced on my worksheets. These worksheets I purchased from Dewberry Crafts. I slipped the leaf worksheet into a plastic sleeve protector, copied the sample leaves to get comfortable making them. The plastic easily wipes clean.

After testing out some different leaf patterns on my newspaper/practice pumpkins, I added them to my canvas. I used the green as the main color, and loaded a little yellow to highlight the leaves. I kept the green, being the darker color, turned to the outer edge and the yellow to the inner edge.

To add more interest, and to fill empty space, I took a script/lettering brush and loaded it with thin green paint and had some fun adding little tendrils scrolling out from the stems and leaves. I also add greenery, using a 'scruffy' brush loaded with some green and yellow paint. 

The scruffy is great fun - you use it dry, with a little paint, and pounce, pounce, pounce -- see the fluffy bed of greenery it created? And don't forget to sign your work of art. I like to add the date as well.

So, we have pumpkins with stems and leaves and tendrils and greenery. Now we need to add the 'welcome' to our sign.

Once again, I practiced on my newspaper. After experimenting a little, I decided I had better pencil in the letters on the sign before I painted them in.


You can take those pumpkins, painted on paper, cut them out and create place cards like we did below. Or greeting cards or bookmarks and oh, my! the possibilities are endless!

If you'd like to know more about the One Stroke Painting method created by Donna Dewberry, or if you are interested in her workshops, instruction books or other products, you can check her website at

You can find other inspiring posts from hundreds of bloggers joining in the 31 Days series adventure hosted by The Nester. Click on over for ideas on everything from diy home decor to homemade gifts, new and improved recipes to how-to-clean and organize anything and lots more!

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