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Two Stamped Watercolor Classes – with Art Impressions!

Two Stamped Watercolor Classes – with Art Impressions!

A while back I had out all the AI watercolor supplies….and decided to go ahead and film not just one but TWO classes! Every time I post a YT video with AI watercolor I get so many questions….and hopefully now I have a place to point folks that answers them in a deeper way than I can on YouTube! Sorry it’s taken so long after recent teases that the classes were on the way – I wanted to be sure we got at least some of all the stamps and markers in for those who need them!

I’ve put together one intro video for both, then read on for more info on the differences between the classes!

Stamped Watercolor Jumpstart

This is a relatively traditional Jumpstart class (the first level recommended for any medium). 10 lessons, including the basics on applying color, using water to move it, different ways to get a variety of effects. There are a few videos from the AI YouTube channel so there are more ideas than just mine in the class – Bonnie is AMAZING and I want everyone to see her work!

There are 6 stamp sets involved – I tried to keep it limited so supplies wouldn’t get crazy-expensive! Ellen Hutson is offering a discount, at least for a while (through Christmas, in case you need to ask Santa to get on it for your wish list!) and that info is in the pre-class lesson.

The Jumpstart class is also in real-time, just cutting out the time to go change markers as much as I could so as not to waste time….

I kept my card designs simple – but you can do whatever you want with your beautiful paintings!

In both of these classes I use Tombow markers – the set that’s now available at Ellen Hutson!

Stamped Watercolor Scenes Mini Class

This class is for those who’ve already tackled Art Impressions watercolor – crazier scenes and masking to challenge you!

The stamp sets for this class are, well, there are a bunch. Yep. I figure if you’ve been doing AI watercolor a while, you have some stamps that would be fine substitutes for some of these that I used! Containers, trees, branches, buildings. The bench is one stamp I definitely recommend as that’s in all the lessons. And if you want to add critters, there’s one set that has a bunch of sleeping critters in one set, or you can get bunnies, dogs, cats, etc in individual species sets with more options. (The dog park scene can be done with just the bench and trees, skipping the puppers.)

In this class I also use a MISTI – mostly the mini but in one case a full size; you do not HAVE to have a MISTI to take the class, just use whatever technique you have used before to align stamps.

I hope Santa brings you a fun class for Christmas – remember to put a Gift Card on your wish list!

25 Creations of Christmas, Day 6, It Came Upon a Midnight Clear

25 Creations of Christmas, Day 6, It Came Upon a Midnight Clear

Welcome to Day 6! Halfway through the tag series – and today’s the last day to enter on the day 3 tag for a giveaway, just sayin’…..lol. And the song for today is It Came Upon a Midnight Clear.

Note: Supplies are linked in the supply list at the end of this post. Compensated affiliate links may be used  – that means if you make a purchase using my links, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support of my work on this blog!  Read more.

This version is by Chris Tomlin….I like the way they shot the video to keep it simple to have lyrics on top of it. He inserts a different verse in it, which is really beautiful. And the guitar chords are in the corner for anyone wanting to learn to play it:

Now on to my tag! The Over The River set has little houses in it, so I added a moon and some dramatic shadows to create a midnight scene.

25 Creations of Christmas Day 5, Jingle Bells

25 Creations of Christmas Day 5, Jingle Bells

Twas the fifth day of Christmas….and Santa got upsot! Yep, today’s song is Jingle Bells. I really had to work not to go down the “Batman smells, Robin laid an egg” road that my sisters and I did as kids!

Note: Supplies are linked in the supply list at the end of this post. Compensated affiliate links may be used  – that means if you make a purchase using my links, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support of my work on this blog!  Read more.

Instead, if you click….you’ll be treated to a Minions version of Jingle Bells! Just know you need to know the lyrics yourself to singalong. LOL!

“We got into a drifted bank and then we got upsot!” I totally got hung up on that phrase, and ended up using Santa from the Holiday Characters set, masked off half the face, drew in a couple mittens….I did make sure Santa’s laughing so we don’t have to feel horrified! I did use a white pen over the black outlines to make the beard and hat look fuzzy.

25 Creations of Christmas, Day 4, Deck the Halls (with video)

25 Creations of Christmas, Day 4, Deck the Halls (with video)

On day four (“my” day on the Ellen Hutson blog!), I got to make a tag with the “Deck the Halls” song – and I went pedal-to-the-medal “A Christmas Story” with it! Remember that song in the Chinese restaurant? Remind yourself of it HERE:

I have always LOVED that movie! And the restaurant scene never fails to make me laugh. And to cringe when the poor duck loses his noggin! No matter how many times I see it….that movie keeps me giggling over and over again!

Note: Supplies are linked in the supply list at the end of this post. Compensated affiliate links may be used  – that means if you make a purchase using my links, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support of my work on this blog!  Read more.

Here’s the video on Ellen’s channel where I made this tag (don’t forget to head over to her blog—these tags are challenges with prizes, so go read the instructions and comment to win!):

You could likely create this same idea with a lot of other mediums. I’m thinking especially of all of you who are great with inks and those blendy brushes! Or watercolor. Or colored pencil…..so many options!

See you tomorrow with more musical tags!

25 Creations of Christmas, Day 3, I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa

25 Creations of Christmas, Day 3, I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa

It’s Day three – and it’s time for a little mistletoe love! Today’s got a surprise giveaway in it…to qualify to win, leave a comment and tell me how you learned Santa wasn’t….well….real. Dang, I hope I didn’t blow the secret for anyone! LOL! I’ll pick a winner on the 7th to receive a pack of crafty goodies.

Plus it’s #givingtuesday – so go give away some of what you have been blessed with to someone who has less!

Note: Supplies are linked in the supply list at the end of this post. Compensated affiliate links may be used  – that means if you make a purchase using my links, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support of my work on this blog!  Read more.

Today’s song to inspire a tag is a blast from the past…most people think of it as a John Cougar Mellenkamp rock version, but the original was recorded in 1952 – Jimmy Boyd! I remember sitting on the floor in the living room going through our family’s record albums, and this was on one.

That brought back memories! The challenge for this one could be easy or hard. Easy would be a sprig of mistletoe. Hard: watching mommy kissing Santa! I opted for hard, of course, that’s how I roll. I used Beach Lady to be the child, wiping the mouth off the stamp so I could draw in a shocked mouth. The green wall next to her has just the shadow of Santa’s hat…and I used some dramatic lighting to complete the story of a nighttime peek!

Giving Tuesday

It’s my favorite holiday! There is just something that feels SO good about giving things and money to those in need. Not with big fanfare or hashtags, but just DOING it. For the sake of it. Giving makes me feel so JOYFUL that I just can’t not do it.

All classes purchased on #GivingTuesday are 5% off – and 15% of class fees will be donated to World Central Kitchen!

SIGN UP FOR A CLASS TODAY

And now, my annual tradition: a little soapbox speech…..

In this crazy world, so much of the news is all about the bad stuff and people, criminals and scams….but there are SO MANY GOOD PEOPLE and GOOD ORGANIZATIONS out there. Every Christmastime, and this year is no different, I see a lot of the old memes popping up trashing charities falsely; and not only are they passing off wrong information as true (just coz its in a meme and makes you mad does NOT make it true!)…..they are CAUSING more skepticism. Let me explain.

First, there are some folks who are already complete skeptics, and there’s not much hope of changing that. They’re somehow certain everyone is always out to make a buck, and they don’t understand the passion that drives working in the nonprofit sector. Studies show that if your mind is set on an idea, though, however wrong it is, even learning actual facts won’t change your mind. I don’t believe those folks will let go of their ideas, so my little message here isn’t aimed at them.

The people I want to influence are those I call “swing skeptics.” The folks who aren’t sure; they’ve heard there are some charities that had scandals at some point, maybe years ago, but they don’t know who, or remember what it was all about. It’s these folks who’ll see a meme that tells them all the top charities have people making millions at the top and 5% of the money goes to the beneficiaries, etc. — and since it’s hard to look up the truth, they’ll just believe it. They’ll suddenly “know” every big charity is bad. They’ll consider it “fact” that those big scary numbers are right. They can swing into hard skepticism with just a nudge.

Brandishing the “scam” word can push the swing skeptics over the edge. But it does more than just trash the org it’s attached to. It increases skepticism of ALL charities. It makes people question EVERYONE’s motives. And having worked at one worldwide charity, and run another of my own, I can tell you – people who choose to work in the nonprofit sector are not in it for the money. They’re in it to HELP. The last thing they’d do is misuse funds.

Yes, some have had scandals over the decades. Some of those have totally turned around – but the recirculation of old memes penalizes them even though they have done EXACTLY what everyone wanted them to do: clean up their act and be transparent! The lies pursue them, and it’s a depressing constant battle; we have the power to stop that by just not reposting it, and commenting about the truth to those who do spread it.

Now if you see an actual article about a particular charity scandal, with actual facts in it – not just an op ed – sure, share it, but before you share:

  1. Check the source. Is it a reputable news outlet? (Far-left and far-right blogs aren’t reputable, nor are Facebook “news aggregators” that just collect and post the most outrageous things to get clicks)
  2. Where is the reporting done? In the country where the charity is founded, where they can access tax filings and do fact research? Other countries may have ulterior motives for trashing charities from outside. (Note there are some on Facebook that pretend to be American but are not. Do your homework.)
  3. What’s the date on the article? Has the org responded and cleaned up its act since then? If so, they deserve support.
  4. Check Snopes. They’re really good at finding out what’s behind the memes. They go through the text line by line and tell you what’s true, what’s old, and what’s distorted.

Misunderstandings about overhead %

Calculating the overhead rate for nonprofits is not a standardized thing. If you take the number of dollars brought in, and the number of dollars put out, you might think that’d give you the overhead rate, right? Well, yes and no. That’s their cash overhead.

Most nonprofits rely on gifts in kind and volunteer labor, to one extent or another. Those aren’t calculated into that cash number. Reporting them on a 990 tax form is, well, challenging at best, and finding what those numbers are can require experience in reading a 990. Every org has a different mix of how much of their work is donated goods/services vs cash, how they set the value, and comparing them is really really really hard.

For example, with the charity I ran, if you only calculated the little cash dollars we brought in with the number of dollars we spent on supplies and shipping for boxes (programs) and everything else like website, marketing, legal fees, wages, etc (admin)….. we would have reported an overhead rate in the 55% range. But no one could argue we wasted our donors’ money; we delivered millions of blessings to service members and their families on a shoestring budget based on the impact of millions of cards delivered!

One calculation I think would be most interesting, if more orgs would do it, is how much value is delivered to beneficiaries per dollar donated. These are a made up examples, but show you how poor an “overhead” calculation is in judging the efficacy of a charity:

  • A charity gives donated overstock tennis shoes to people around the world. To the person who receives a pair of shoes, that gift is worth, say, $10. The org may spend 98 cents of your dollar to collect the shoes, store them in a warehouse, sort for appropriate country to send it to, shipping it, and delivering that pair of shoes to the village, paying all those staff members along that chain. Only 2% of your dollar is left after all that work getting the shoes delivered, but: $1 donation = $10 benefit.
  • Another charity gives funds to startups in small remote villages. There’s no staff to provide business support, no training on how to market their goods, no assessment of who’s got potential to succeed. But boy is their overhead low because they just hand out the bucks nice and directly the way we like! They report back that 98 cents of every dollar goes directly to the beneficiaries. Delivering….just 98 cents. $1 donation =$1 benefit.

These are made up examples, but not unheard-of in the nonprofit sector. I hope they at least show you how looking at context matters when deciding what charity to give to.

Just don’t give up because it’s hard to understand how charities work…. do what I do and give anyway. Assume good motives among those choosing to serve those in need, and trust they’re doing their work to the very best of their abilities. Refrain from sharing broad-swiping memes that trash charities without evidence; share charities that you love and trust without tearing down others – and encourage others to give, too.

Donations are down $57 billion in America since the tax bill last year – we need to do more building up and less tearing down….in this and many other areas!

*steps off her yearly soapbox….

25 Creations of Christmas, Day 2, Joy To The World

25 Creations of Christmas, Day 2, Joy To The World

Welcome to day 2 of the 12 tags of Christmas! Each tag in the series is music-inspired, and today’s song…..Joy to the World! I looked for a unique version of the song to inspire me; there are tons that were practically dance versions which kinda didn’t seem right! Yes, the joy is something to celebrate, but I wasn’t in the mood for a dance party.

I didn’t know about Anthem Lights, but I’ll be checking out more of their music…this is traditional, meditative, and just lovely:

Wasn’t that pretty? It got me into that very traditional Christmas mood – which turned me toward thinking about making wreaths from pine boughs and holly and berries. I just did go pick some greens and made some wreaths and swags, so for my tag I went that direction.

Note: Supplies are linked in the supply list at the end of this post. Compensated affiliate links may be used  – that means if you make a purchase using my links, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support of my work on this blog!  Read more.

I pulled out Mondo Holly and started coloring…and ended up filling in the areas between the holly leaves. I used subtle, desaturated colors, and of course a little white pen for highlights on the berries!