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  • Writer's pictureDiane M Kellogg

Lilac Wishes and Dreams By Marianne Andreazza

This project’s inspiration came from a trip through the trade floor at the AFCI Creativation Show in Phoenix, AZ this January. Since I retired, I have been enjoying many hours of fun paper crafting. After posting many paper crafting projects to Facebook, a painting friend challenged me to combine paint and paper. This project was my response to that challenge.

I have been painting for over 20 years, designing for the last 5 while working full time. I have had the honor to teach at SDP chapters regionally and on the national level at SDP Conference, Creative Painting and HOOT. I have also been published in Painting World Magazine, Pixelated Palette, Painting EZine and other online and print publications. Painting has been the path to meet and enjoy time with other artists, getting to know and love the most awesome group of people who enjoy playing in the paint as much as I do. I am now learning to enjoy retirement after spending 36 of my 46 working years in high-stress financial management positions in and around the Dept. of Defense. I also consider it a blessing to have been an integral part of program teams who provided awesome products and capability to the guys in uniform during my working career. Without them, we would not have the freedom to enjoy life as we do. Retirement is an adjustment, but I can create all day long in my home studio in Temecula, CA, being selective about what trouble I can get into next.


Jot Hardcover 5 x 7” notebook from Dollar Tree.

Any 12 x 12” piece of scrapbook paper. I chose brown craft paper. You can choose any design.

Watercolor paper, Cold Press/140 lb. 8 x 8”


DecoArt Americana Acrylics:

Emperor’s Gold DA148

Lamp Black DA067

Moon Yellow DA07

Snow (Titanium) White DA01

DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics:

Burnt Umber DMFA03

Cobalt Teal Hue DMFA10

Dioxazine Purple DMFA05

Gold Interference Medium DMFA100

Green Gold DMFA14

Raw Sienna DMFA36

Sap Green DMFA07

Transparent Yellow Iron Oxide DMFA42

DecoArt Other

White Gesso DMM18

Inspiration Stencil ASMM38

Decou-Page Matte Glue/Sealer DS106

DuraClear Soft Touch Varnish DS123


Dynasty Brushes

Black Gold, Series 206W, 3/4” wash

lack Gold, Series 206S, #10, #8, #2 shader

Black Gold, Series 206SL, 10/0 script liner

Black Gold, Series 206A, ½” angle

Dynasty Designer Stencil Brush, ½”

Miscellaneous Supplies

Paper Distressing tool, Palette knife, Water in Spray bottle, Paper Towels, Water Basin, Stylus, Palette Paper, Transfer Paper or General Sketch & Wash pencil, purple ½” wide ribbon, Brayer, Hole Punch or Crop-A-Dile tool, and one Brass Eyelet

Helpful Tip or Hint Have plenty of paper towels handy as creating the background is messy. Every background will be unique. The good news is that you can create your own background with a palette of other colors you prefer.


1. Cover the book with the scrapbook paper. Wrap the inside book pages with paper towel so that they do not get dirty in the following process.

a. Center the book on the paper so you can judge how much paper you will need to cover the book, and how much overage you have to glue inside the book cover.

b. Use the decoupage glue to adhere the paper to the front, binding, and back of the book. Work the front first, using the brayer to spread the glue between the paper and the notebook cover, working out any bubbles that may occur. Repeat on the binding, then the back of the book.

c. Use scissors to snip the scrapbook paper at the binding of the book. You will cut a small rectangle into the paper and snip closely to the book. Cut that piece away. You want to get as close to the book as possible. You can use a small brush to push a little decoupage glue in between the cover paper and the binding to be sure the paper totally adheres to the binding.

d. Decoupage the excess paper onto the inside of each side, using the brayer to ensure the flaps stay down. Decide whether you will glue down the top/bottom or the outside edge first, and be consistent on the method for the front and the back of the book.

Watercolor Paper

2. Cut the 8 x8” watercolor paper into two pieces: 5 x 7” and 3 x 8”.

3. Use a palette knife to apply Gesso to both pieces. Use a vertical application. Let it dry completely, preferably overnight.

4. Work both pieces simultaneously. They are the same, except for the size of the flowers.

5. Use transfer paper to apply the pattern to the piece. I prefer to use the General’s Sketch and Wash pencil to draw the outline vs. tracing because as you paint. When you use this pencil, the lines disappear and dissolve into the paint, and those that do not, wash away with a little water.


1. Create a wash of Transparent Yellow Iron Oxide and apply the color to the entire surface using the ¾” wash brush. Let it seep into the crevices created by the palette knife. Let dry.

2. Work on a paper towel to soak up the mess of the next step.

3. Deepen the color by adding washes of Raw Sienna and Cobalt Teal Hue to the background. Hold the paper by the corner in an upright position, and spritz the background with water to help move the color. Repeat to deepen the colors if desired, and spritz again.

4. If you see an area you totally do not like, blot it with a Viva towel. It must be a rag or paper towel with no embossing on it so the background does not take on the pattern of the paper towel. Work the background until it is pleasing to you.

5. When the background is relatively dry, load some Cobalt Teal Hue to a wet ¾” wash brush. Tap the wooden part above the chisel with another dry brush to add the speckles to the background. Let the pieces dry entirely.



1. Be prepared to mix color as you paint these flowers. These are Impressionistic flowers so there are no fine details, shading, or highlighting as you might do in other projects.

2. Paint the first layer of all of the lilacs in very loose and transparent strokes using a #2 shader loaded with a wash of Dioxazine Purple. You will use dabs instead of structured 4-petal blossoms on the lilac flowers to begin. The object is to lay down color and shadow, not structure.

3. On the focal lilac add some full strength Dioxazine Purple in the middle of the flower.

4. The rest of the focal flower will be painted using Dioxazine Purple and Snow (Titanium) White using more traditional 4-petal flower clusters, but still remaining loose. The background flowers are just that…background. Their purpose is to trick the eye into believing something is there, so they do not get all of the layers and brightness that the focal flower gets.

5. To continue with the focal flower, add Snow (Titanium) White to the Dioxazine Purple to create two or three various increasingly lighter values of purple on your palette. Use those values to add petals to the focal lilacs, painting darker layers first, focusing the lighter layer on the part of the flower you determine to be most toward the sun. Decide now which side of the flower will be getting sun and follow that sun placement into your leaves when you decide which side to highlight on them.

6. If your layers are getting muddy, pick up some white in your dirty brush. This will add the dimension you might have lost.

7. To continue with the background flowers do the same layers, except the brightest, last one. They shouldn’t be as bright because they are not up front. You can add water to the paint to make these layers more transparent if they are looking too much like the focal flower.

8. On all flowers, do not cover up all of the dark layers beneath each lighter one. They are creating shading without your going back to create shading later on.

9. Use the smallest end of the stylus loaded with Moon Yellow to apply flower centers where the eye might think there is one. The petals are loose strokes, not defined ones, so sometimes a tiny yellow dot fools the eye into thinking there is a 4-petal structure around it.


1.Use the #10 or #8 shader/flat brush to basecoat the leaves with Sap Green, allowing the paint to dry between each coat.

2.Recall where you chose the sun to be coming from when you painted the lilacs. Use the same logic here.

3. Media Fluid acrylics are transparent by nature, so add a touch of Snow (Titanium) White to Green Gold to give it more of an opaque quality. Load this color on the #8 flat and add highlights to the leaves.

4. Repeat the above step with Cobalt Teal Hue to add shadow on the opposite side of the leaves.

5. Create an inky mixture of the highlight color you mixed in step #2. Add a touch of Snow (Titanium) White to lighten it. Paint the veins with this mixture loaded on the 10/0 script liner.

6. Pick up significant amounts of Burnt Umber and Sap Green into the 10/0 script liner and paint the lilac branches. Paint the main branches as well as smaller branches which will support the flower cluster.


1. Load the ¾” angle brush with Burnt Umber in the toe and water in the heel. Shade around the leaves, between the flowers, and any other area you want to pop.

2. To age your piece (optional), apply a wash of Transparent Yellow Iron Oxide to the entire piece. If you decide to do this step, use a very light wash at first, working around the lilacs as you probably do not want to deepen those. You can always let it dry and repeat to deepen the color if your first wash is too light.

3. Use a #8 or #10 shader/flat to apply Gold Interference Medium to some of the leaves or any other project element you choose to add more brilliance to the piece. Be selective. Too much of a good thing isn’t necessarily good.


1. Use the stencil brush lightly loaded with Lamp Black to stencil the words onto the pieces. Both words are included in the DecoArt Inspiration stencil. You can also hand letter the sentiments or use words of your choice of other stencils you may have.


1. Trim the paper’s length to fit the book. The paper was 8” long, and you need a finished edge at about 6.25” x 4.25. Because you are going to distress the paper, you will notice there is a .25” allowance on the pattern on the top, sides, and bottom.

2. Use a paper distressing tool to fray all sides of the paper. Distress the paper to your taste. Wet the edges with your fingers and curl the paper slightly so that the pieces look like old documents. If you are a paper crafter, you can also use a bone folder to do the curling. But painters we are, and fingers work just fine. Let dry.

3. Use the #10 shader loaded with Emperor’s Gold to paint the exposed white edges of the paper.

4. Adhere the aged paper to the book using the decoupage glue. You will have a few seconds to move it around to center it. Use a significant amount of glue because you are adhering two porous surfaces.

5. Use a hole punch or a Crop-a-Dile to punch a hole in the bookmark. Snip the corners of the bookmark so it is shaped like a traditional tag, if desired.

6. Using the ¾” wash brush apply two coats of Dura Clear Varnish in a matte finish to the tag, to the paper attached to the book, and to the scrapbook paper decoupaged to the book. Let it dry.

7. Finish the bookmark with a 6” piece of ½” ribbon.

I hope you enjoyed transforming your plain notebook into a work of art. You can customize this project to accommodate any notebook, and you can attach two pieces of scrapbook paper together with double sided tape adhesive to cover larger books. The possibilities are endless, and I hope you share your versions of your notebook transformations with me on social media.

Happy Painting! Marianne

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