Tribute to a Retiring Rose

Twentieth Century French painter Henri Matisse said: "There is nothing more difficult for a truly creative painter than to paint a rose, because before he can do so he has first to forget all the roses that were ever painted." Maybe that explains why I had a hard time initially with the Roses in Winter (RIW) stamp set. After playing a little with it and getting help, it's now my favorite. There are just so many ways you can play with it to produce a rose that's as unique as the artist, you. This post is a tribute to all creative craft artists is search of their perfect Rose.


My rose is inspired by a Sherry Cheever masterpiece and, while mine certainly isn't perfect, I'm finally satisfied that I did the set justice. I'm going to show you how to use four techniques to put your own interpretation to the Rose: Rock & Roll, Stamping Off, Two-Step Stamping, and Masking. Gracious, ready?

First gather these supplies:

  • Img_1302Choose ink in three shades for the rose itself (light, medium and dark). In our example we'll use Cameo Coral stamped off once for the light shade, full-strength Cameo Coral for the medium, and Pumpkin Pie for the dark shade.
  • I also used Mellow Moss ink in full and stamped-off strength for the leaves and Creamy Caramel for distressing.
  • Stamp sets: Roses in Winter, French Script (also about to be retired), and Weathered.
  • Not pictured: Stipple Brush, VersaMarker, Versamark ink, Iridescent Ice Embossing Powder, Stamp-a-ma-jig, and Cutter Kit.
First Rose Layer, Rock & Roll: Ink the large rose image first with full strength Cameo Coral. Press the edges of the stamp in a rolling motion on the darker ink pad, Pumpkin Pie, being careful not to ink the center of the stamp. This is the Rock & Roll technique, described again here, and it produces this image.
Second Rose Layer, Stamping Off: Clean the stamp to remove the Pumpkin Pie ink. Re-ink the large image with Cameo Coral and stamp the image once on scrap paper. Without re-inking the stamp, stamp on the first rose image at just a little more than a quarter turn counterclockwise. This is called stamping off and it will give your rose some fullness and gentle shading.
Third Rose Layer, Two-Step Stamping: Ink up the middle size rose image with Cameo Coral full strength and use the same Rock & Roll technique to rub Pumpkin Pie on the stamp's edges. As with many two-step stamping sets, you may want to use the Stamp-a-ma-jig to help you overlay the smaller image over the larger rose image. Stamp your middle image in the same direction as you originally stamped the large image. 
Fourth Rose Layer: Clean your stamp. Re-ink the middle size rose with Cameo Coral and stamp off. Turn it counterclockwise not quite a half turn and stamp again.
Fifth and Final Rose Layer: Ink the small image rose in Pumpkin Pie ink. Again you may want to use the Stamp-a-ma-jig for placement. Stamp it in the same direction you originally stamped the large image. 
Wow. Matisse would be proud.
Bordering Roses: Repeat the steps for layers 3, 4 and 5 to make smaller roses bordering your large rose. 
Leaves, Masking: First stamp the large and small rose images on scrap paper and cut them out to make a mask. Move around the masks to protect your rose images while you stamp the leaves. Stamp in Mellow Moss, stamped off once for the large leaves and stamped in full strength Mellow Moss for the smaller leaves. 
You can fill in empty spots with the smallest flower image stamped with So Saffron ink. Be sure to change the direction of your smallest flower so it's not always facing the same way. You can also stamp off one or two times to get various strengths. Or, even stamp off once and Rock & Roll it with the same So Saffron ink for variation. 
Now, just to add some more individuality to it, here's some other things you can do with your rose image.
  • I put my mask over just the largest rose image, inked the French Script background stamp with Creamy Caramel and stamped off twice before I used it to stamp over the whole image.
  • To add additional softness use the stipple brush to put Creamy Caramel ink to the paper edges.
  • Highlight the Pumpkin Pie areas of your rose with a VersaMarker embossing pen and then heat emboss those areas with Iridescent Ice embossing powder. It gives it a dew-kissed look.
  • Stamp the whole image with VersaMark ink using the Weathered background stamp.
  • Distress the edges with the Cutter Kit.

If you followed all those steps, you've graduated to what Henri Matisse would call a truly creative painter.

Up against a wall with all these steps? Eleanor Roosevelt wrote: "I once had a rose named after me and I was very flattered. But I was not pleased to read the description in the catalog: no good in a bed, but fine up against a wall." Keep trying, the results are worth the effort.

Sweet Comments

  1. Nicole Seitler says:

    Beautiful card! This set will always remain one of my most favorite sets… :)

  2. Kerilou says:

    I love and will miss this set, too! I love the example and tutorial you have…top notch work, I say!!

  3. That is truly gorgeous! I will always like the rose best too, I think. . . I have no desire for the new one, compared to this one. You created a masterpiece!

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