When I was little, we used to go to the Texas coast occasionally for a beach vacation.
It's important to note though, that a Texas beach vacation is nothing to write home about. Our beaches are not the sugar sand, clear water beaches you find in the Caribbean and Florida. You're never going to see a Texas beach on Pinterest, unless it's a pin called "Five Ways to Remove Tar From Flip Flops" or maybe "What Makes Water Brown?" It's just a fact. We Texans only go there because it's the only beach you can get to after driving for 9 hours with a bunch of cranky people you're related to.
But you can still do all the fun things you do on pretty beaches - you can look for shells and little crabs, you can see those teeny ground squirrel thingies in the dunes, you can eat sandy hot dogs and drink canned beer and you can hear the ocean, if you like that sort of thing.
But from a very early age, I always thought the MOST dramatic and interesting thing about Texas beaches was the jellyfish. But in true Texas beach style of only doing things halfway, the jellyfish we encountered weren't even REAL jellyfish - they were Portugese Man o' War, also known - wait for it - as FLOATING TERROR. I'm not making that up.
And they are terrifying - they continue stinging you even after they're dead, even if only little pieces of them are floating around or washed up on the beach, which is where we saw them the most.
Even though we all were very careful not to come into contact with them, having been told dramatic tales by our parents, we still got as close as we could to them on the beach to look at them, because they are so strange and beautiful. They are like a deadly soap bubble - all iridescent and multi-colored. They look so delicate and improbable.
Unlike the FLOATING TERROR, real jellies can move themselves, instead of just floating on currents, and they are actually some of the most efficient swimmers of all sea creatures. It's magical to watch, and the jellies are always my favorite thing to see at aquariums. Their looks and their movements are mesmerizing. If I actually liked the water, and got to be reincarnated as a sea creature, I think I'd come back as a jellyfish.
So, lucky me, there happens to be the most gorgeous jellyfish stamp in the newest My Monthly Hero kit, among other incredible sea-themed images. There was much SQUEE when I opened the stamp set.
The jelly images are actually layering, but I thought the detail layer alone was so delicate and perfect that I used it to do some emboss resist with my beautiful Mijello Mission Gold Watercolors, which I've neglected since May!
I tried to incorporate all the dreamy colors I saw on the washed up Man o' Wars into my more peaceful floating jellyfish.
In the end, it was so pretty and serene I didn't even want to add a sentiment - I just wanted to let the jellies float, wordless, as they do.
I don't know why, but I really think this is one of my favorite cards I've ever painted. It just is so peaceful.
I painted a bunch of watercolor backgrounds while I had the watercolor out. I used another one for the sweet sea turtles in the set. I wanted the colors to be more turtle-y on this one, so I went heavy on the greens. AREN'T THEY CUTE?
There's something so soothing about sea images, even though I find the sea completely the opposite of soothing. (Insert screaming from all my beachy friends here. It's okay - I'll wait)
Finally, I had to make a card set with the more graphic images in the set - including an octopus with the most hilarious look in his eye! This time I did use both layers on the jelly, and I combined a few sets for the sentiments, including Hello Gorgeous and the sentiments from the kit. They crack me up.
July kit to ocean preservation through the World Wildlife Fund. Since I'm a member, this really spoke to me. I love all creatures great and small and whenever I find an animal-related crafty cause, I have to get behind that. So a big thanks to the kind people at Hero for doing this!
I made a little video for you of the watercolor process for these cards - so you'll see how I fixed a few color mistakes along the way - remember with watercolor - never give up! Contrary to popular belief, it can be a very forgiving medium.
This is a while-supplies-last kit, so move faster than a jellyfish! It's a BIG kit, and includes alllll this:There are also add-ons, which I will be buying - this completely cracks me up. It comes with dies as well.
And I'm hopping with some friends today if you want to see some more inspiration with these lovelies - the people on this hop have my complete admiration - they are incredible artists!
The Hero Arts Blog
So thanks for stopping by - I'm swimming off now. Loveyameanitbye.