Get Creative

Paige and I are both massive fans of watercolour art work, but neither of us have ever really been able to perfect it on our own. Don’t get me wrong – I’ve tried! That said I’ve never really ended up with anything I actually like all that much.

Luckily, I have an artist for a room mate.

Johanna (aka @blousesandhouses on Instagram) has been drawing and painting all her life, and it’s truly a treat to watch the magic come out of her paintbrushes. She’s always working on something new, perfecting a difficult technique, or painting over something old to master something different. She’s so truly talented, but since creating comes so easily to her I assumed it was something us “normal” people wouldn’t be able to replicate. When Johanna offered to do a watercolour 101 tutorial with us for the #pastelcraftclub I was extremely doubtful that I’d actually learn anything, but decided to give it a shot.

It turns out watercolour painting is actually a fairly forgiving medium, and as long as you’re able to draw a semi decent shape from a reference photo and stick to a sort of “paint by number” system, you’re likely to end up with something cute! Johanna picked a super simple gem shape and shared all of her favourite texture techniques with us, and by the end of the lesson Paige and I were both pretty confident we could make gems of our own (though Johanna’s actual super intricate crystal paintings are still a bit out of our skill set!)

Scroll down for Johanna’s tips on watercolour painting like a pro!




Supplies //

A simple reference image
Watercolour paint
Cold pressed watercolour paper
Watercolour brushes
Toothbrush or old paintbrush
Iridescent watercolour medium (optional)

Instructions //

To start:

If you don’t feel confident in your abilities to draw your crystal shape, don’t worry! There’s a trick to help you!


Print your reference image to the size you’d like you’re final painting to be, on regular bond paper.
On the back of the image, where the points are – colour a fine even layer of graphite.
Tape the reference image graphite side down onto your watercolour paper.
Using a sharp pencil make indents where the points occur onto of the reference image, this pressure causes the graphite underneath to transfer. Now peel up the image and use a ruler to connect the dots! Don’t worry about pencil marks you can erase them at the very end.


Now that you have your basic shape drawn out:

You’ll need to identify 3-4 values of your shape: Darkest to Pure White.
In watercolour, pure white is always represented by the paper itself, not white paint. To create values with watercolour start with the pure pigment whether its from a tube or a palette. Pure pigment mixed with a bit of water will be your darkest value, add more and more water to create the lighter values. Unlike paint, water is the only thing added to watercolour pigments to lighten them – not white pigment! Use a test piece of watercolour paper to make sure you’re happy with your value scale.


Identify your values in your reference image, I recommend taping off or using Masking Fluid (Frisket) on the sections you wish to leave pure white.

Now move on to your darkest valued sections. Use tape around the outside edges of the section and lay down a wash of the darkest value. Repeat on any other dark sections and allow to dry.



I used a technique called Wet on Wet for my mid-values. Paint in with pure clean water the section you are working in – making it damp with a slight puddling effect, make sure to stay inside the lines. While the paper is quite damp dip the tip of your brush into the dark value and place the pigment into the wet paper – you’ll see the pigment quickly be sucked up by the water and spread across the area. Move the brush around adding more pigment and water until you see the desired effect, allow to dry completely.



Another technique that lends itself well to painting gemstones & minerals is the salt technique! Lay down an area of quite damp colour (one of your middle values) wait a few seconds and sprinkle a tiny bit of salt over the area – Each crystal of salt chases away the pigment to make a lighter area beneath it. Allow to dry completely before brushing away the salt.


The last technique can be used to fill in the mid-light values – Splattering! Again, tape off the outer layers of the section you’d like to fill. I use pieces of paper in addition to make sure splatter stays off the rest of the painting. Dip an older paintbrush or old toothbrush in your darkest value, Use your fingers to flick the paint onto the painting – Try experimenting on your test paper first! Continue until you’re happy with the value.



You can continue this splatter technique by taping off different areas of your painting and layering splatter on top of other techniques. You can also start to add other colours this way, I used a hot pink on the bottom half here. Layer as much as you’d like until you’re happy with the outcome.


Finishing details:
When everything is dry remove all the tape, use an eraser to erase any visible graphite lines and brush away the salt.
With a small watercolour brush, use your darkest value to straighten up and lines and add details.

I used an Iridescent Watercolour Medium over the highlighted parts to catch the light.



Ta-Da! You made a watercolour painting!

You can check out Johanna’s work here

Get Creative

I’m all about watercolour right now: on my walls, my pillows, my tea towels, everywhere! Personally I’m not all that crafty, and I’m certainly not a great painter by any stretch of the imagination, but there’s something about the forgiving nature of watercolour that makes it feel like something even I can do with a bit of patience. I love sitting down with a pad of watercolour paper and seeing where the colours take me, and more often than not I end up with something simple that I actually really like.

Lately I got to thinking about what I could watercolour other than just pieces of paper, and it turns out adding watercolour flair to fabric is much easier than you think. I toyed with the idea of painting napkins and placemats, but in the end I decided what could be cuter than watercolours that you wear? With the help of painting expert @blousesandhouses, I picked up a few pairs of plain white sneakers and got to work on my next masterpiece: watercolour sneakers.

Scroll down for tutorial







Supplies Needed //

White sneakers

Watercolour paint

Iridescent medium (optional)

Two jars of water

A few paintbrushes

Fabric Medium

Directions //

1. Mix your colours by watering down each shade and testing the colour on a paper towel.

If you want to make a colour shimmery, add a touch of iridescent medium (I did this with

the green and blue for a mermaid-like effect)

2. Start painting your shoes! I like to use a bigger brush to cover more surface area, and

then go in to add details and different colours with a smaller brush, but it’s really totally

up to you.

3. Wait until the paint has dried, then paint over the entire shoe with a mix of 3 parts water

and 1 part fabric medium. This will seal in the colours so they last!

And there you have it- one of a kind shoes that look like you’re walking on a work of art.






Originally published on the Brit+Co site

Get Creative

There’s something special about wrapping up a hand-picked gift, but turning the wrap itself into a work of art really takes things to the next level.

I teamed up with @blousesandhouses, my artistically-inclined partner in crime here at RAOP, and together we created a roll of dreamy watercolour gift wrap! With a colour scheme inspired by our upcoming #pastelxmaspartea shoot, we chose shades of pink, purple, and blue, carefully blending them together to create pastel Christmas magic. Super simple and oh-so pretty, this is the perfect way to personalize the presents under your tree. You could even throw a DIY holiday wrap party if you felt to inclined…  





Supplies //

-Roll of white drawing paper (found at art supply stores)

-Watercolour paint in tubes

-small paint brushes for mixing

-small plastic containers (yogurt etc.) or a palette with deep compartments


-Cups of clean water



Instructions //

1 // Roll out your paper on a clean surface, use weights or clamps to secure it.

2 // Designate a container for each colour you’d like to use. Drop about a dime’s worth of watercolour paint into the bottom of the container. Add a few tablespoons of water and mix well.

3 // Dip the rag in a cup of clean water to saturate it, then dip into a colour mixture and in broad sweeping motions apply to paper. Try not to oversaturate the paper with water as it will tear!

4 // Once the paper is dry you can add another colour – We don’t recommend using more than 3 as the paper could become too weak.

5 // Allow to dry fully with the weights or clamps. Once dry (ideally next day) lay a clean towel over the paper and on a low setting lightly iron over it to smooth out any wrinkles.

6 // Start wrapping!

Note: Try not to overlap contrasting colours (ie: green and red) as this will make brown. Stick with cool or warm colour families to avoid making a mess of your artwork!

Dress Up

A dreamer caught in a distant paradise of her own making, she twirls in the sunlight to light up the sparkles on her cheeks. With flowers in her hair and a faraway gleam in her eye, she pulls the petals from wild roses echoing the words “He loves me, he loves me not”.

Absent minded and a little bit lost, she’s ready to dive in… but the water is all gone.

Some might say she’s gone off the deep end.

Styling and Concept // RAOP
Photos // Johanna Martin
Clothing // Samantha Pleet
Crowns // Summerblossom

























Get Creative

The nail art trend has been around for awhile now, but we still can’t get enough of painting cute little symbols on our paws from time to time!

A few weeks ago Paige and I got together at Studio B with Johanna Martin, a friend of the shop, local artist, and nail art extraordinaire. We went over some ideas, grabbed a handful of Trust Fund Beauty polishes from the shop, and started penning sketches onto scrap paper. Together we came up with a simple, super cute accent nail tutorial that almost anyone can accomplish with a roll of washi tape, nail polish, and a little bit of patience!

1 // Cut 3 peices of washi tape approx 1-2″ inch off the roll.

2 // Cut those pieces in half vertically (length-wise) – you need 5 total

3 // Paint your nail a solid colour

4 // Once the nail is very dry, create a diamond shape with washi tape (<>)

5 // Take the 5th piece of tape and place it level across the top of your nail (as if it were a french manicure?) Make sure the tape is stuck down well and paint the space with desired ‘diamond’ colour. We went with Trust Fund Beauty’s “Credit Card Workout”, a perfect glittery silver that you can find at the shop!

6 // Wait as long as you possibly can to ensure the polish has dried, then slowly and carefully peel back the tape. If you feel up to the task, add a few lines or glitter details with a tiny nail brush before top coating your nail to protect the design.

Shine on, you sparkling diamond you!