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How to use Twinkling H2Os

These paints are brought to you by LuminArte (the manufacturers of Radiant Pearls), so you know you are going to be using something very special! As you know, conventional watercolours can sometimes disappoint as colours appear flat and less vibrant when dry. These 'Twinklers' keep their wonderful shimmer even when dry - and even on black paper!

These water-based paints are "cake" style watercolours of concentrated pigment infused with mica, packaged in individual little pots, each with its own screw-top lid. They are designed to be used exactly like watercolours.

You can use a waterbrush, but will find you have much more control with a conventional paintbrush - and the less water you use, the stronger the colour. However, if you want just a pale wash, add lots of water - the shimmer will still be there.

GETTING STARTED

A good idea is to unscrew the tops off all your colours when ready to start a painting session, and spritz with clear water. This moistens the cakes, ready to use, and saves a lot of mixing time - you can just dip the tip of a paintbrush to pick up the highest concentration of colour - and paint away! Don't worry if your Twinklings dry out - just spritz again, or add water with a brush. It won't affect the paint in any way (so if you leave your art area and forget to put the tops back on the colours - it doesn't matter!)

MIXING COLOURS

You want to lighten and mix your colours - but don't want to dilute with water? You want to mix a red with something to achieve a strong rose pink? You could use a conventional white paint, whether watercolour, gouache or acrylic - but then you won't get as much shimmer! And how do you mix a flesh colour?

Don't worry - there is a special colour which the Twinklings people have made, for exactly this purpose: Oyster. It will come with some sets of colour, but if you don't have it, make a point of buying it specially - you won't regret it! This colour lightens, brightens, can be used over the top of other colours to add highlights, and under darker colours as a basecoat (especially on dark paper) so their true vibrancy shows through.

MIXING FLESH TONES

OK - so how do you mix a good flesh colour? A little bit of Golden Opal, a touch of Playful Peony and a lot of Oyster for a pale flesh tone, or Golden Opal, Copper Penny and Oyster for a more Asian skin tone. African skin tones can be achieved with Black Cherry, Hot Cinnamon and Copper Penny - plus Oyster! In all cases, use just a tiny amount of colour to start with, and mix mix mix. It's all about experimentation! Never be afraid of colour.

HOW TO WATERCOLOUR

Pre-condition the paints by spritzing with water before you start, to make them even easier to mix. Then dip a paintbrush in water, swish around in the pot, and paint away! Colours are highly pigmented, and very rich, creating dazzling colours which I have never seen anywhere else.

SOFT & MUTED WATERCOLOUR EFFECTS

To watercolour a card, stamp with a permanent ink, eg: Versafine, Ancient Page, Memories, Staz-On. Allow to dry thoroughly. Use a waterbrush or conventional paintbrush, and paint clear water inside the entire image, then mix up your chosen colour on the brush and 'drop in' the colour (which will spread through the water) and move the paint around with the tip of the paintbrush to fill in the image. If you would like to add shading, mix up another colour and drop in the colour with the very tip of the brush into your chosen area - remember, less is more! If you have overdone it, blot with kitchen roll and try again.

On dark or black paper: paint the image with plain water first, as before, then drop in Oyster (which will act as a light-reflecting base) and allow to dry before adding any other colours. Then add different colours until you achieve the desired effect. If you don't want the colour to 'pop' too much on dark paper, paint the image with water and drop in Oyster, as before, but don't wait for the Oyster to dry before adding other colours.

DRAMATIC WATERCOLOUR EFFECTS

Stamp an image with pigment ink and emboss it (one of the tinsel embossing powders, or any metallic, for the most dramatic effect).

Either mix up your colour right on the brush and paint straight into each embossed area, or paint the area with plain water first, then drop your first colour in. Allow to dry, then add your next layer of colour - and allow to dry again. Use this technique of layering a colour, letting it dry and then adding another colour until you have painted all embossed areas. Finally, add a little Oyster as a highlight if you feel it necessary - or even a transparent glitter glue for extra pizzazz.

EVEN MORE DRAMA

Stamp the image with a permanent ink (see above) and paint it. Allow to dry thoroughly, then RESTAMP the image (use a stamp positioner) with pigment ink and emboss it. This will give emphasis to the raised embossing; the colour will shine through the outline like stained glass!

OTHER TECHNIQUES

Paint directly onto the rubber stamp! This depends on the stamp - new ones can have a coating which makes the paint 'bead' on the surface (although this gives a very interesting impressionistic effect when stamped). To stop this happening, use a conventional stamp cleaner on the stamp and wipe off with an old flannel or kitchen roll, then try again.

Paint the rubber stamp, using as many colours as you wish - allow the paint to dry and then spritz with water to remoisten and blend the paint. Stamp onto watercolour paper for a 'watercolour painting' effect.

Re-spritz, and stamp again - there will be enough colour on the rubber for at least one or two more impressions. Each impression will be progressively lighter.

OTHER SURFACES

Due to the binder in these little pots of paint, you are not restricted to only card and paper. Twinklings will give great results on canvas, wood, MDF and leather!

You might want to paint several layers of paint (or prepare the surface with a coat of Oyster and allow to dry before painting with other colours) so that the colour is intense - MDF, leather and canvas can absorb the first layer of colour. Alternatively, spray with a sealer (eg: Krylon - or even hairspray!) first.

PLASTICS

If you paint on dominoes and other non-absorbent surfaces (acrylic, glass) you do need to seal the paint afterwards, otherwise it can scratch off or (if water gets on the paint) wash off. Again, a fixative eg: Krylon, is the solution.

CLEAN-UP

Clean-up for paints and brushes is simple: rinse out your brush, reshape the bristles with your fingers (don't leave the brush in the water overnight with the bristles splaying or you'll have to throw it away) and simply screw the lids onto the pots. All lids identical, so there no worries about mixing them up. If you forgot to put the lid on and the paint is dried out, don't worry - spritz with water (or use a brush) and carry on painting!

How to clean rubber stamps

©Susie Jefferson for Blade Rubber Stamps 2009
Susie Jefferson is a regular teacher of popular Classes at Blade Rubber

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