July’s theme for Art Elements was flowers and that’s a perfect challenge when summer is filled with the glory of blooms. I’ve actually spent a great deal of the month in gardens and in mountain hikes with fields of wildflowers. To provide a bit of inspiration, I made a few photo collages from my recent trip to Denver.
This one is of blooms at Denver Botanic Gardens. It’s one of my favorite places on earth and I could gladly live in this park all summer. There are acres of gardens to wander through and explore – serene Japanese gardens, traditional cut flower and herb gardens, plains and meadow habitats, water gardens, greenhouses, and (my absolute favorite) – an alpine rock garden.
This collection of flowers came from some of the mountain hikes that we enjoyed during our trip. I’m constantly enchanted that on each visit to the mountains we are greeted by different wildflowers, depending on the weather conditions of the winter and early spring. For example, on this trip the flowers were about 3 weeks behind what we usually see, so we were able to see more “spring flowers” in bloom and enjoy the beginnings of summer flowers. The thistles weren’t quite open yet, but we did get to see the beautiful mariposa lilies.
Since this blog is a celebration of flowers, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to share with you my favorite quote concerning the botanical beauties.
“Our highest assurance of the goodness of Providence seems to me to rest in the flowers. All other things, our powers, our desires, our food, are all really necessary for our existence in the first instance. But this rose is an extra. Its smell and its color are an embellishment of life, not a condition of it. It is only goodness which gives extras, and so I say again that we have much to hope from the flowers.”
– Sherlock Holmes/Arthur Conan Doyle
I first heard this quote one summer in high school when my family watched all the Jeremy Brett Sherlock Holmes episodes from the library. “The Naval Treaty” was one of my favorite stories, mostly because of this observation made by Holmes. It touched me deeply and shaped my theology and my views of the world. Truly flowers are to me one of the surest proofs of the existence and goodness of God and I’m delighted to share my creations inspired by flowers with you.
This first set of cards was an exploration in techniques. Apparently I really enjoy making pink flowers – I noticed that as I was taking photographs. The left card is a collage technique with overlaid floral and fern elements. I inked the stamps with markers and small inkpads so I could use a variety of colors for a more realistic effect. It reminds me of pressed flowers and leaves in an old love letter. The right top card was made by inking the rose stamp, then spritzing it lightly with water to achieve a watercolor effect. After stamping, I lightly flicked water on the paper to mottle the image a bit more and layered it with a variety of floral papers. The bottom right card features a collage stamp that was inked and stamped on vellum. Then after drying I used markers to color the image on the wrong side of the vellum, and I lightly inked the edges. I adhered the vellum to white cardstock and cut it out and layered it with a doily and patterned papers.
For these cards, I explored watercolor techniques a bit further. These were some I made while playing – not fancy cards. Upper left card was created by stamping flowers and leaves with a light brown ink. Then you can use watercolors to paint over the stamps, giving a free-form watercolor look. (This is handy for those of us who can’t draw for beans). After creating the background, I lightly added a teal wash to the unstamped areas, and flicked brown ink specks for interest. I stamped a quote on vellum and adhered it along with some pearls. The upper right card was made by clear embossing the large floral stamp on watercolor paper. I colored it with watercolors and then inked the leaves and spritzed with water before stamping so they’d look watercolored as well. I gave a wash of light teal to the background and splattered it with water drops to mottle. Then I stamped the quote, punched out the butterflies, and colored them with inks. Bottom card was made with similar techniques – stamping image and watercoloring the flowers, adding the teal background (can you tell I like pink and teal?). This one I finished a bit more with patterned papers.
For jewelry, I have several pieces to share. This first one was actually made for another challenge just recently but it worked so perfectly for this one that I wanted to share it here. The floral focal was a gift from a bead artist and was formed with air-dry clay and highlighted with gold gilding. I had a beautiful collection of vintage beads from a local bead store that were a perfect match for the flower. I love how this piece came out.
The rest of the necklaces are made from the Vintage Groove Collection, designed by Jill Schwartz. These were released in Michaels and Hobby Lobby many years ago and I loved all the components – lots of pendants, charms, dangles, frames, and flowers! This piece incorporates a rhinestone frame with a ribbon flower link, resin word, and a dangling butterfly. I used tiny floral carved beads mixed in the chain.
“Romantic Florals” is one of my favorites from this collection. I enjoyed practicing assembling a variety of motifs as choker-style necklaces – this is a bit different from my usual design. For this one, I placed a dark brown mesh rose as the main focal, with a smaller green velvet flower off to one side and a framed scrap of old letter on the other. I added a couple tiny charms to the top to balance out the design and a brass leaf dangles from the brown flower. These Art-Deco inspired brass frames were part of the Vintage Groove collection and I’ve used them quite a bit in my pieces. I like the way it gives the necklace a retro-vintage feel.
“Garden Blooms” is a more simple design, that just lets the collection of flowers speak for itself – here a velvet cut rose, doily with resin flower, and mesh rolled rose combine for an elegant effect. It’s the perfect accessory for strolling along the garden paths before tea.
“Assemblage Florals” is a mix of a variety of components that I put together. In this necklace, the carved shell pieces provide a unifying framework. A gingham ribbon flowers with sequins and seed beads and a beaded flower with resin rose anchor the bottom of the design, with a mother-of-pearl leaf dangle. On either side is a shell rectangle and a flower made of shell slices, sequins, and seed beads. I added tiny carved shells with a floral-inspired design before finishing off with doubled chain.
I really enjoyed creating these pieces – it was fun to lay out all the components and see which ones wanted to play together and how to create cohesive designs with them. Thank you all for stopping by to share my love of flowers and see how I incorporated them in this month’s challenge. In the comforting words of Sherlock Holmes – “We have much to hope for from the flowers”
This is a blog hop – please follow the links to see all the beautiful creations from our talented participants.
Here is a list of our Visiting Artists:
Evie and Beth
And our Art Elements Blog Contributors:
Blessings to you,
Your flower pieces are very pretty, the last one is my favourite
You have been so busy, what a wonderful flower garden you created for us to see!
I think I need to visit Denver Gardens those flowers look magnificent! You have been so creative this month but the blue necklace you have called Garden Blooms is my favourite. I really like that piece.
I’ve been thinking of practicing watercolors on ready made pics and after having seen your cards, I’m really inspired to do so – they are beautiful! The necklaces are each one of a kind assemblage pieces, I really like that vintage feel about them!
The photographs of flowers are so lovely! I will definitely have to go the the Botanic Gardens next time I visit Denver. I adore all your cards. The descriptions of how you created them are so detailed. I need to remember to come back and study them for future reference. All your floral necklaces are beautiful and would be so fun to wear.
Gosh, Sarah, these jewelry pieces and cards are fantastic! I love how natural they are. You are a wonderful artist!
I love all the different ideas for your cards! your jewellery is stunning too… particularly the first piece with the vintage beads.
I love the pink card with gold outlines. It looks ethereal. The assemblage flowers are cool – esp the button flower and the beaded one.
My favorite card is the Ball jar one. The colors are so vibrant. Your necklaces are perfect for the summer. Garden Blooms is my favorite. I love the mix of colors and textures.
I love all your designs, cards and jewelry, but especially the cards and their words AND the first necklace pictured (air dry clay and vintage beads). Alysen
Just…wow! You were definitely inspired by all the flowers you were lucky enough to encounter recently. Your cards are so well-developed, but it’s the jewelry that really catches my eye. Like you, I especially love your Romantic Florals necklace, but they’re all sublime!
So many offerings! Lovely – and thank you for joining us this month! There are some real treasures from those Pieces from “Vintage Groove” collection. I like the diversity of materials you have combined!
LOVE your flower photography, and Garden Blooms is my absolute favorite! You made so many things I can tell you were very inspired!
So many mediums celebrating flowers in your post! You definitely rose to the challenge. Everything is beautiful!
We’ll have to check out the Denver Botanical Gardens next time we’re out there… never been to that one! I adore all of your necklaces. The one you made with Erin’s pendant is just dreamy and your others are all super fun.
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