The Pleasure of Coloring

One of the great enjoyments I get from rubber stamping is the chance to sit down and color. The lines provide the structure, and the patterns provide the shading, so really all you need do is focus on the creative color-making. It’s wonderfully relaxing, and you can do it while sitting and talking, or thinking…it can even be meditative. Plus as an adult you get lots more options than when you were a kid! Crayons of course, but also colored pencils, markers, watercolors…you name it.

The focus of this card is really the colored image, and I took my time over it and really enjoyed the making of it. I stamped the Roller Skating image in waterproof black ink on cold-pressed watercolor paper. I used cold-pressed paper because it has a smooth surface, like bristol paper, so the details of the image would show up well. Then I added watercolor, let it dry, and trimmed the image from the larger page.

For the background paper, I chose a light moss-green textured sheet, and stamped it several times with Lilac in a sepia tone. This gives a mottled, verdant look, without stealing attention away from the colored image. This I matted on a piece of white card stock, and this again on dark navy cardstock creased in half with a bone folder. Having lots of layers gives the card texture and visual interest. Lastly, I added a bit of tartan plaid ribbon.

With the major elements of the card established, I can play with composition. I want the focus of the whole card to be the child in front, balancing on roller skates with her arms wide open. I colored her coat red so that it also would stand out from the mostly greens and blues behind her. Using the “Rule of Thirds” I placed her on the upper-right point, while all of the background papers remain centered on the card. Then I aligned the tartan ribbon so that it would run along the upper third dividing line, reinforcing the horizontal spread of the child’s arms. The ribbon acts as a kind of virtual guard rail for your eyes…you aren’t worried that she will fall, and the card as a whole is restful and playful, rather than tense.

My goodness, I remember my first roller skates had metal wheels, and how they squeaked and scraped as I rolled over the cement sidewalk. That was tough enough – I can hardly imagine using them on cobblestones! I’d say a good sentiment for this card would be one of playful encouragement, and perhaps the confidence that things will improve in the future. After all, now we have roller scooters and rollerblades, not to mention skate parks!

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