Wintery Watercolor Forest Tutorial

It's almost Christmas! Yay!

Remember how I was decorating for this holiday with some golds and greens?  I had painted three versions of these watercolor pine trees to create a winter forest scene.  The painting process is memorizing and I'm in love with it!  

Original watercolor pine trees in winter by Elise Engh 2016

And now,  the Wintery Watercolor Forest Tutorial is up on the Craftsy Painting Blog.  The tutorial details the painting process in three different values.  You can even make a mini value scale to keep you on track as you paint.

So go try it out. You might just fall as much in love with painting these watercolor pine trees as I am!

8x10 Winter Watecolor Pine Forest Original Painting (Elise Engh Watercolors)

Christmas Craft Tutorial: Rustic Wood Slice Ornaments

Homemade ornaments are the best! I grew up making salt-dough ornaments with my siblings and those were always the favorite ornaments to hang on the tree.  We may have fought a little over who got to hang the cinnamon roll ornament every year :)

If you're not into making huge messes with salt-dough, you can give wood slice ornaments a try this year.  They are very simple and relatively clean.  Plus they are right on-point with the rustic holiday trends!  Gotta love that style!

Read below to learn how to make your own customized family wood slice ornaments.

Christmas Craft Tutorial: Rustic Wood Slice Ornaments

  • Wood Slices (2 1/2 inch) 
  • Wallet Size Photos
  • Drill or Dremel Tool
  • Scissors
  • Modge Podge
  • Foam Brush
  • Sharpie
  • String
Wood Slice Ornament Materials and Tutorial: grow creative blog

Step 1:  Drill a hole at the top of each ornament.

Although you can do this step later on, I prefer to drill the holes in the wood slices before I do anything else.  You can avoid having to drill through a photo that way. These holes will be used for the string that will hold your ornaments on the tree, so don't miss this important step!

If you have a drill, use a drill bit with a small diameter.  You can use a dremel tool too- that's what I used.

Wood Slice Ornament Materials and Tutorial: grow creative blog

Step 2: Cut your wallet-sized photos to fit your wood slices.  

You can lay the wood slices on top of your photos and trace an outline to get a good fit.  Trim the photos so that they are slightly smaller than the outer edge of your wood slices.

Step 3: Modge Podge it!

With a foam brush, apply a layer of modge podge to the wood slice.  Then lay your cut photo on top of it. Press down for about ten seconds to make sure the photo adheres to the wood slice well. Wait a few minutes to dry, then apply another layer of modge podge on top of the photo to seal and protect it.

Step 4: Poke a Hole.

Once the modge podge is dry, you can use a pencil to poke through the photo to the hole at the top if your photo covers the hole.

How to make wood slice ornaments with family photos: grow creative blog

Step 5:  Cut the string.

Cut your string to 5-6 inches long, thread it through the hole at the top of the ornament and then tie the ends together.  Simple!

Christmas Craft Tutorial: Rustic Wood Slice Ornaments

Step 6:  Date it! (Optional) 

Use a sharpie to write a special message or date on the back of the ornament.  One day I dream of getting a wood-burning-tool so I can burn the date into the back. That would be awesome!

Christmas Craft Tutorial: Rustic Wood Slice Ornaments

I made a few batches of these to give to the parents and in-laws as gifts this year.  I think they will be a hit!

Rustic Christmas Woodslice Ornaments DIY

How to Ship a Watercolor Painting

Happy Holidays!

how to ship a watercolor painting: grow creative blog

How are you handling the lines at the Post Office?  The busy shipping season is in full swing and I've been spending a fare share of my time at the post office.  

If you are shipping some art this season and are a little intimidated by the postal system in the US, then you are in luck! I have a few years of experience in that area.  It's taken some trial and error over the years to get it down pat. It comes down to using the right packaging materials and securing your paintings properly so that they don't get damaged in transit.

I've put together a helpful post on how to ship a watercolor painting over at the Craftsy Blog.  Go check it out!

how to ship a watercolor painting: grow creative blog

how to ship a watercolor painting: grow creative blog

Happy Holiday Shipping!

DIY Watercolor Christmas Gift Tags

It's gift-giving season again! Ready to make some pretty watercolor gift tags? If you have some left-over watercolor paper scraps, this is the perfect use for them! 

Here's what you need:
watercolor paper
watercolor paints
paint brush
hole punch

Step 1: Paint!

Paint small watercolor trees, Christmas wreaths, poinsettia flowers, ornaments, or flower garlands on your watercolor paper scraps.

Have fun and play with your color palette.  I didn't paint any pink Christmas trees, but I think that would be an awesome idea! Also, don't worry about making these paintings look realistic.  The quicker and more fluid, the better.

Let dry.

Watercolor Christmas Tags

Step 2: Cut

Cut your paintings out of the paper to make small tags.  For the wreaths, I cut around the edges of the painting.  For the trees, I used my paper cutter and made rectangular tags.

Step 3: Punch

Use a small hole punch to punch out a hole in the top of each of your tags.

Step 4:  Tie

Cut small lengths of string.  I used baker's twine purchased from the dollar store.  Tie a string through the hole at the top of each tag.

Watercolor Christmas Gift Tags

When your tags are all done, use a pen to write your "to's" and "from's" on your tags.  Use the loose ends of the strings to tie your beautiful watercolor gift tags to your gifts.

Happy gift giving!

DIY Christmas Gift Ideas

Watercolor Christmas Gift Tags

Crochet Hats for Kids

It's been too long since I've posted a crochet project.  What can I say?!!  Life got busy and most of the time, if I do something creative, it involves painting.  But I still like crocheting, especially if it's something for kids.

Here are a couple of hats I made this fall. These make me smile!

Crochet Hats for Kids by Grow Creative Blog
Purple Crochet Pom Hat for girls: grow creative blog

The pom hat is one I sort of made up. I should have written down what I did, but it was an experiment.  It's loosely based on a hat pattern by Ali Crafts.

The bear hat was made from a pattern by JJ Crochet

Crochet Mint Bear Hat: Grow Creative Blog

Make Your Own Watercolor Business Cards!

Watercolor Business Card Tutorial: Grow Creative Blog

The holiday season is upon us and if you are an Etsy seller or small business owner, you have been gearing up for this time of year for months!

My business checklist for the holidays includes:

  1. Having a large inventory of paintings to purchase in my shop
  2. Having collections of seasonal items
  3. Finding ways to promote my artwork through my blog & social media
  4. Ordering shipping supplies
  5. Creating lots of business cards

I've done well on all of those except the business cards. So a major watercolor business card making session was in order last weekend!  I make my own business cards to cut down on costs and because I can make each one unique and colorful- just how I like it.

As I was making this last batch, I realized that I need to share the process.  It's simple, but also kinda fun. Each card is like its own mini-painting in itself.

Keep reading to learn how to make your own watercolor business cards.

Watercolor Business Card Tutorial: Grow Creative Blog

  • heavy white card stock or watercolor paper
  • watercolor paints
  • large paint brush
  • computer and printer
  • large paper cutters or paper punch

Materials to make your own watercolor business cards: free tutorial

Step 1: 
Using an photo editor, like picmonkey or microsoft publisher, design a printable page of cards with your business's info.  Include name, website, email, blog or social media pages.  Space these evenly apart on the page so that when you cut them out of the paper later on, they end up the same size.

You can find a tutorial on designing cards with picmonkey here.

Step 2: 
Lay out your paper and cover it with light washes of watercolor paint.  I like to vary the colors and leave some white space to keep it interesting.  Remember to keep the paint light so that you can see the font that will be printed on top of your paper later. Let this paper dry completely.

Step 3:
Change your printer settings to ensure a high quality print on thick paper, then hit print and feed your paper into the printer.  If you have a setting on your printer that allows you to feed thicker paper through a separate feeder tray, then use that mode.  Try not to have the paper be rolled through your printer any more than necessary.  A laser or an ink-jet will work just fine!

Step 4:
The last step is to cut your cards out of the paper with a paper punch or a paper cutter.  I like my cards to be fun shapes, so I use a large flower paper punch for my cards.  I flip the paper punch over and feed the paper into it with the print facing me so I can make sure the print is centered on the card.

Make your own watercolor business cards: free tutorial!

Now you are all set to go! You have unique business cards to ship out with all your sales.

Watercolor business cards: grow creative blog

Photos of the Week: Grove Creek Trail

Grove Creek Canyon, Pleasant Grove UT- in fall color

Thanksgiving is almost here!!! Do you have your turkey ready?  I'm lucky this year. My very own mother is cooking the turkey for me. 

The fine fall weather has passed and it's cold now, but since I missed posting these hiking photos, I'm going to post them now and pretend that it isn't 30 degrees outside.  

Grove Creek Canyon, Pleasant Grove UT- in fall color
Grove Creek Canyon, Pleasant Grove UT- in fall color

It's a rare occasion when the husband has a day off at a time when our son is in school.  We took advantage of one warm afternoon and explored a new trail together to blow off some stress. The adoption home study is not for the faint of heart (and neither is hosting a birthday party with 13 little kids!).  With our home study, we have had to give so much information about ourselves, like really personal stuff, and we've had to do a lot of soul-searching to figure out how we really feel about things, our weaknesses and strengths, our parenting style, and so on. But, we know it will all be worth it one day. 

I can't wait for that day!

Holiday Home Decor Ideas: Decorate with Watercolor Winter Forest Paintings

We had our first snow of the season this week and it was magical! It got me in the mood to paint some winter forest scenes.

Turns out, painting misty, snowy forests are addicting.  I painted three versions and I'm working on a watercolor tutorial to show you how I painted them too! 

Green and Gold Christmas Decor

Once I had the paintings all finished, I popped them into some white frames and set them up with some golden Christmas decor.  I'm thinking I need to go with golds, greens, and whites for the holidays this year. I'm loving that color combination! My frosted twigs and scented pine cones are the perfect match for these three paintings.

Original Watercolor Winter Forest Painting by Elise Engh
Winter Pine Forest Watercolor Paintings by Elise Engh

I have one of these available for purchase in my Etsy Shop!

What are your favorite colors to decorate with for the holidays?

For the Love of Pumpkins

I've been busy painting more versions of my mint pumpkin.  Pairing a pumpkin with flowers turned out to be awesome!  I need to do that more!

Watercolor Mint Pumpkin with Flowers: Elise Engh

I actually got around to painting all of my mini-gourds and pumpkins this year. I set them up on my art room table and painted away.  They have such incredible shapes and colors.  I could have painted about twenty more of these, but ran out of time.  

So, for now, these two are in the shop!

Watercolor Pumpkins: Elise Engh
Watercolor Pumpkins: Elise Engh
Watercolor Mint Pumpkin with Flowers: Elise Engh

Photos of the Week

Another beautiful week of beautiful weather, although, I wish it were more rainy or snowy here.  We need some kind of precipitation soon or my beautiful lake may dry up.  So sad to see it so low this year.

Well, it's November! A time to be grateful!

Last week I was grateful for:

  • my camera (as always- i'd die without it)
  • a good neighborhood with friendly neighbors (Halloween was a blast!)
  • another art deal with Hobby Lobby!
  • that my son didn't require any medical attention when he swallowed his loose tooth- it passed just fine :)
  • my hard-working husband who earned himself a bonus
  • my two-month-old nephew that I got to babysit on Friday night.  He is the sweetest baby ever.
  • I had the privilege to vote early
What were grateful for last week?

Fall Florals and Pumpkins

It's been a crazy fall! I just finished a huge licensing project which I'm not able to write about yet. It involves car illustrations and comes out next summer.  So you'll have to wait a while to see those.

These little paintings I can write about, so I'll share some fall/ autumn watercolors I've been working on. I'm hoping they end up in Hobby Lobby next year.  Fingers Crossed they like these!

In the meantime, you can find the originals in my shop.

Watercolor Floral Heart by Elise Engh
Mint Green Fall Pumpkin Painting by Elise Engh
Watercolor Floral Heart and Arrow by Elise Engh
Mint Green Fall Pumpkin Painting by Elise Engh

I painted this mint green pumpkin from a real life pumpkin I have in my house as a fall decoration and at first I just had the lone pumpkin, just floating in space. My husband gave me some art advice on this one... haha! He said I needed to ground the pumpkin.  I could see his point, so I later painted in some shadows beneath it and some grass, but I still like the lone pumpkin better.  There is something about the clean white space around it that I love.

Which version do you like better?