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Easy Right Brain Painting With Heat Embossing

Try this easy right brain painting exercise with heat embossing and shush your inner critic. Plus, learn how to watercolor with embossing powder. 

Easy Right Brain Painting With Heat Embossing

Hi friends, Amber here with a video and post that is different than my usual content. While searching for an art book for my daughter, I discovered a fascinating interview with Betty Edwards. Betty wrote Drawing On The Right Side Of The Brain which revolutionized art instruction. 

This book was originally published in 1979. However, this book is new to me because I don’t have any formal art training. I ordered Betty’s book and can’t wait to start reading it. The interview struck a chord and I already look at art differently.

Whether you believe in left and right brain theories there are incredibly useful principles and techniques to be learned from Betty’s book.

Watch this cardmaking video tutorial here or in HD on YouTube. While you’re there we’d love it if you like, subscribe, and share with your crafty friends. 

Right Brain Painting Exercise

Heat Embossing with Water

Heat embossing with water isn’t a new technique, but if you haven’t tried it before, you need to. I filmed this video before watching Betty’s interview but, did the voiceover after. During the voiceover, I realized painting with water forces you to use the creative right side of your brain.

Watercolor with Embossing Powder

When you paint with water, it’s almost impossible to see the shape and contour of what you paint. That prevents the logical critical part of your brain from kicking in. You may be asking yourself, why does that matter?

Try drawing a circle with a pen or other medium that you can see. Do you automatically want to correct the shape and make it perfectly round? I know I do and I’m often disappointed that it’s not “right”.

watercolor with embossing powder

Now try painting a circle or many circles with water or a medium you can’t see. The systematic part of your brain can’t kick in and it’s not able to criticize or correct what’s on the page. While it might be uncomfortable at first, it’s quite relaxing to paint shapes without pressure to be precise. 

You start to focus on the outline or edges and negative space of the page. And you end up with imperfect and incomplete circles with an artsy feel. 

Paint fairly quickly and use a very wet brush to ensure the water does not dry before you add the heat embossing. Next, sprinkle on some embossing powder to reveal your pattern. Repeat the process with a smaller brush and different embossing powder. 

Embossing Powders

Here I used WOW! Alexandra Renke embossing powders in Judith’s Blush, Gitty’s Power, and Ulla’s Cognac. I adore the color combination of pink, dusty coral, and yellow ochre/gold. 

The pink powders are translucent whereas Ulla’s Gold is comprised of fine translucent yellow ochre powder and chunkier metallic gold powder. Just gorgeous!

easy right brain painting exercise with embossing powder

Gotta Love a Twofer

Don’t you love a good twofer? Use a rectangle stacking die (or any shape) to cut the background panel. Center the die to create a frame and smaller panel. Voila, you’ve got yourself the makings of a twofer.

Altenew Eucalyptus Jar Stamp Set

To fill in the center of the frame, I stamped an image and sentiment from Altenew Eucalyptus Jar with Rouge Crisp Dye Ink. Altenew Frosty Pink and Rouge Crisp Dye Ink coordinate perfectly with Judith’s Blush and Gitty’s Power embossing powders respectively. 

As you can see I filled in “hi” with a black fine liner and added a sub-sentiment for contrast. 

Hush Your Inner Critic!

My inner critic definitely reared its ugly head with this card. I worked hard to silence it and it was worth it. As you can see the yellow ochre and gold stripes are totally broken up. I started with those stripes and it took everything I had not to trash the card. 

easy right brain painting exercise with heat embossing

I didn’t intend for the stripes to be broken and distressed and I didn’t like the look at all. But, I persisted with the next set of stripes and again started to see the negative spaces. And, I figured a sentiment would fit perfectly in the negative space of the first stripe. Altenew Rosie Posy has this perfectly simple hello sentiment stamp.

WOW! Alexandra Renke Embossing Powders

As you can see, Ulla’s Gold is the star of the show here. I wanted to see more of those chunky metallic granules. To ensure the chunky powders don’t blow away, start heating the powder from beneath the cardstock. Once the powder has started to melt and embed the chunky granules you can move to the front. 

Despite these projects making me uncomfortable, I had a lot of fun with this exercise and I hope you do too! Thanks for joining me and I’ll see you soon with more inspiration.

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Right Brain Painting with Heat Embossing


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  1. Giselle D. says:

    I love all of your cards! Your first background made me think of 1970’s art! I too, thought the break in your line would be perfect for a sentiment and it was! I am going to try this and get my husband to do it with me. He is always saying he isn’t artistic but I bet his turn out better than mine and that’s ok! I am shocked at your statement that you have no formal art training. I guess for some people it really is a natural gift! I can’t wait to see what you come up with next. I hope it is more from the book you discovered

    1. Ooo, it will be so fun for you guys to do this together! Yep, aside from Zentanle and card making classes and everything I learn from the wonderful world of YouTube.

      I don’t know if it’s so much natural artistic talent per se, but I’ve always had an eye for shape, space, and patterns. When I was little I loved the toys where you had to match the shaped peg with the correct hole. And later, I loved Tetris when it was released.

      I think art comes easier when you’re observant and you can totally train yourself to observe. When you see the shapes and lines of things in their surroundings you can recreate it. At least the basic shapes and then it’s a matter of learning how to shade. I’m still learning that and so much more, but I believe everyone can learn to draw and be creative.

  2. Hol crap this is fantastic!! I’m totally trying this! Thank you! I can definitely be my worst critic.