What better blessing could there be for an avid cyclist than wishing him endless days of sunshine-filled cycling weather? Imaginative uses of a linear stencil and layered rose stamps are the key features of this card, inspired by the AECP course For the Guys, which sends sunshine on the rainiest of days to any cyclist.
The versatility of Altenew’s Molded Line Stencil is exhibited in the rolling, grassy hills and rays of the sun in today’s landscape card. To create the hills, the stencil was canted, placed at an angle on the cardstock, ensuring a gentle slope to the land. To protect the paper, painter’s tape was applied along the topmost hill line, and Altenew’s Shadow Creek Ink was heavily brushed in the stencil’s open channels. After removing the stencil, a medium layer of the same ink was blended in the remaining white space.
To create the depth of the second hill nestled in the background, the stencil was canted and taped in the same manner as the first with additional tape along the first hill’s exposed contour. This time, blending included a base layer of Altenew’s Maple Yellow Ink prior to a much lighter coating of their Grass Field Ink. The resulting white lines were once again blended over after removing the stencil; then, the hills were cut as one piece. Though this could have been a masked, one-layer card, a multi-layer format was chosen for added subtlety of depth and interest.
The sun’s rays, the second creative use of the Molded Lines Stencil, were achieved through straightforward stenciling and fussy cutting. The stencil and paper were temporarily adhered with painter’s tape, and Altenew’s Maple Yellow and Snapdragon inks were blended in the openings with greater intensity towards the narrow end. Because the rays originate at the orb of the sun and radiate outward, it was necessary to fussy cut the ink blended lines and arrange them, with orange tips touching, on a card front-sized foundation sheet of cardstock, which had been lightly and haphazardly blended with Altenew’s Tide Pool Ink to create the look both of sky and clouds. The alignment of these five rays enabled their yellow ends to become part of the horizon line where the sky meets the light green hill. These rays almost sink behind this hill, creating the illusion of great distance.
The tree’s leaves were created with the smaller of the two blossoms, measuring just under 1.75 inches, in Altenew’s Antique Roses stamp set. On a separate sheet of cardstock, the base layer was stamped with Grass Field Ink in an overlapping, triangular formation, rotating the stamp each time. Because the fourth layer lent itself more to leafy density than the intervening layers, it was stamped a plethora of times with Shadow Creek Ink. Once again, the stamping was frequently overlapped and rotated without regard to staying within the triangular impressions of the tree’s crown. Using the remaining ink on the blending brush from coloring the hills, Green Fields was applied around the perimeter of the crown in order foster greater flexibility in the fussy-cutting process, with the added benefit that some of the stamping that fell outside the base layer could be used, too. The building of layers with the base and pseudo-leaf images created great movement and the impression of a flourishing tree on a summer day, as well as being an example of using stamps in unexpected ways.
The wood grain of Altenew’s A Walk in the Woods stamp set provided the perfect texture for the tree’s trunk, which was stamped and deeply blended with Altenew’s Milk Chocolate Ink. Using a hand-drawn guide with a gentle taper from wide to narrow on the back of the paper, the trunk was cut out and glued to the back of the tree’s crown. Care was taken to cut with a rough line along the root end of the trunk.
Altenew’s Artist Markers were used to color the focal bicycle, from their Shadow Play stamp set, in tones of gray: Limestone for the seat, handlebars, and spokes; Silver Stone for the frame; Pure Graphite for the tires. To help the bicycle blend into the landscape, the areas between the spokes, frame, and gears were shaded with Bamboo and Forest Glades for the grass and Dark Chocolate for the trunk. After fussy cutting the bicycle, the edges were shaded with Pure Graphite so none of the paper’s original color would be visible. The metal frame was coated with a Sakura clear glaze pen for an added metallic sheen.
To finish the card, the cut edges of the hill, rays, and tree were pulled against their matching blending brush prior to layering the landscape scene with the sun’s rays behind the hill duo. This detail of coloring the edges of the cardstock allowed the layers to transition cohesively into one another without interruption. After adhering the focal tree and bike to the foreground, Silver Stone was used to draw their shadow on the grassy hill before them.
Both “Wishing You” from Altenew’s Faceted Stars stamp set and “Sunshine” from Shadow Play were stamped with Simon Says Stamp’s Intense Black Ink in the upper right corner of the scene. After tidying the edges, the card front was adhered to a 5.25″ x 5.5″ card base, the border of which frames this charming scene of a bicycle leaning against a tree. One can almost imagine the cyclist taking a short break to enjoy the countryside before beginning the journey home.