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Learning Through Inspiration with Joan Bardee

March 26, 2019

I’m back sharing more of my Learning Through Inspiration series. That series is all about improving my cardmaking through studying other designers’ cards. Today I’m continuing my study of Jill Foster.



  • Both cards use Penny Black “Brushstroke” stamps. For those of you unfamiliar with this line, stop reading this and go buy some!! Ok, welcome back.
  • Brushstroke stamps are cling stamps. Many of them create multiple beautifully layered images with ONE stamp. There is no need to fiddle with trying to line up different stamps to create layers – the layering is done for you and is foolproof. In fact, there are different textures on some of the stamps; parts are textured and take less ink and the remainder of the rubber is smooth. That little (genius) touch makes it even easier to get beautiful results.
  • The flowers and leaves on Jill’s cards do not look “stamped” (not that there’s anything wrong with that…); rather they look hand painted. Jill’s an artist and she makes the most of the details on these images.
  • The colors are intense with a lot of variation.
  • The frames! Jill frequently uses masking tape and ink to make a frame on a one layer card. These frames add depth and interest. (I use this frame technique in my next Learning Through Inspiration post).
  • Notice how the flowers go beyond the borders of the frame? That’s a wonderful way to add movement and more interest to a card, and something I would never have thought to do.



  • I can make cards I love with Brushstroke stamps. And, seriously, that’s all I needed to learn! I have a lot of Penny Black Brushstroke stamps and haven’t used them much. They intimidated me. After studying Jill’s cards and her Brushstroke videos, I’m not intimidated anymore.
  • Having a stamp positioner makes using the Brushstroke stamps easy. I started with a light shade of ink on the entire image and then added darker shades as I went along.
  • Jill often stamps these images with multiple colors and then uses a damp paintbrush to blend the ink on the paper (she recommends hot press watercolor with these stamps). I tried that and it came out ok, but not great. I think I used too much water and I lost the details in the flowers. I need to practice that technique. So, for these cards, I switched to one color cards using mini ink pads.
  • If you look at the green card, you’ll see that the inks are not as blended as the blue card. I didn’t use any water; rather, I used 3 ink dye cubes with different shades of green and white linen cardstock.
  • I tried to get the darkest green along the stems and centers of the flowers because I’ve seen Jill concentrate her darkest tones there.
  • Speaking of the green card, I’m still not sure about the gold glitter paper sentiment. My husband voted thumbs down, but my friend liked it. What do you think?
  • While I like that green card, I wanted to see if I could get closer to Jill’s results. So I used hot press watercolor paper for the blue card. Since painting on the paper wasn’t working for me, I inked the stamp and then painted a tiny bit of water with a brush directly on the stamp. If any water pooled up, I blotted it with a paper towel before I stamped the image on the paper. Voila! The blue card has a softer blend.
  • It’s hard to see in the picture of the blue card, but the flowers have a bit of yellow on them. That’s because I was practicing using this image and had stamped with a yellow ink pad. Some of that ink survived my cleaning. In real life, that tiny bit of yellow adds to the flower. I’ll remember this next time I use a stamp like this – vary the colors a bit and see what happens!
  • If you look at Jill’s cards, you’ll see that she has a greater variation of tone than I do – her darks are darker and her lights are lighter. Most importantly, Jill left a lot of white on the flowers. That’s harder to do than it looks, but it’s worth trying as her flowers have more depth and are more interesting.


MOOD WHEN DONE: Working on this series studying Jill Foster reminds me of when I was in high school. I wasn’t happy with my yearbook picture and complained to my mom (the least helicopter parent ever!). Her answer? “What do you want? You’re no Elizabeth Taylor.” HA!

So here I am posting my cards next to Jill’s and I can hear my mom saying, “Well, what do you want? You’re no Jill Foster.” No I’m not. But I’m old enough to know that I don’t need to be Elizabeth Taylor or Jill Foster or anyone else to love this hobby. We can learn from others without falling into the trap of comparing ourselves to them in a negative way.

See you next week, courtesy of Jill and Penny Black. Thanks so much to both of them!

for the products featured on Joan’s cards above

40-680 At Grace
51-523 Radiant Cut Out
30-558 Butterfly Garden

Green Card other supplies: green dye ink mini pads; gold glitter paper; liquid adhesive; white linen cardstock; stamp positioner
Blue Card other supplies: blue dye ink mini pads; Tombow Dualbrush Pen 565; ruler; Arches Hot Press watercolor paper; stamp positioner.

And before you go, don’t miss this…

Click HERE to visit our clean and simple stamping site for the full reveal, supplies, and instructions.

Disclaimer: From time-to-time we have guest bloggers post on our site. The views, opinions and positions expressed within these guest posts are those of the author alone and do not represent those of Penny Black Inc. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are not guaranteed. We accept no liability for any errors, omissions or representations. The copyright of this content belongs to the author and any liability with regards to infringement of intellectual property rights remains with them.
15 Comments leave one →
  1. Jan Pignanelli permalink
    March 26, 2019 2:02 am

    I really like your attitude/philosophy! I’m no Jill Foster either, but this is a great way of learning from her talent. Thank you so much, Joan! I’m going to work on my Brushstrokes stamps this week and have fun doing thst!

  2. jillianfoster82 permalink*
    March 26, 2019 4:58 am

    Joan! You are the sweetest and you are much too kind! How I am loving your brushstroke cards– you give these stamps a modern, fresh look. And the way you’ve added your sentiments is inspiring me! Thank you, thank you… and hugs!

  3. March 26, 2019 5:15 am

    Jill does make everything look easy. I too have trouble with hot press paper…leaving white space, etc. but your cards are really beautiful. I think the brushstroke stamps are my favorite and I have many from 2002-2003 which are on wooden blocks and I wish they would remake them as clings. The Misti to me has opened up so many more ways to use these wonderful stamps.

    • March 26, 2019 8:02 am

      You can dismount them from the wood blocks. It’s not too hard.

  4. March 26, 2019 7:24 am

    Your cards are lovely, and I am really enjoying your series…its thoughtful, and your style of writing is enthralling.

  5. Judy Jung permalink
    March 26, 2019 7:48 am

    Your cards are spectacular! And your mom and my mom must have been related!! No chance of growing up overly confident. I so enjoy your writing … hugs.

  6. March 26, 2019 10:00 am

    I love the clean look of both your cards…and, no, you don’t have to be either Jill or Liz…just be you. Think the blending on both cards, though different , is done very well and you’ve done your muse (Jill) proud.

  7. Regina M Dziak permalink
    March 26, 2019 10:54 am

    Thanks much. I loved reading this and had a good laugh too.I am glad I am not alone wanting to be Jill Foster. I gather practice makes a master, or at least getting better and better with time. And just so you know. I like your cards even so you are not Jill Foster. I love the blue.

  8. barbara lassiter permalink
    March 26, 2019 10:57 am

    Jill’s cards (and yours, too) are there to inspire us and they do! 🙂 Watercolor has a mind of it’s own and no two cards will ever be the same, as I’ve learned over time. I can’ t be Jill but I learn from her and from you too, and my skills have improved. Thanks and to Penny Black,too for providing some amazing designs and to all the others on the design team for more inspiration. You’ve got us covered!!!

  9. DebbieP permalink
    March 27, 2019 4:09 pm

    Both cards are beautiful. Love them all

  10. SmilynStef permalink
    March 28, 2019 4:48 am

    So fantastic seeing you here … you make me want to try my own learning through inspiration experience. Love these.

  11. Maura permalink
    March 28, 2019 8:24 am

    Love the cards, and love the reflective narrative. Thanks so much for inspiring!!

  12. Diana K permalink
    April 2, 2019 7:20 am

    You really are one of a kind, Joan, and thank goodness for that! Love your cards, love this series.

  13. Daria permalink
    April 10, 2019 11:00 am

    I’m also a big fan of Jill Foster. I especially love your blue card. The colors are gorgeous and the shading is just perfect. I love the way the sentiment is featured too. Thank you for sharing this post.

  14. Caroline permalink
    June 21, 2019 8:01 pm

    I love, no L O V E your series and I have been a long time fan of Jill Foster as well and am now becoming one of yours. Both your cards are beautiful and I am going to be as blunt as your mom: the blue one is the most beautiful one and not because of the coloring of the flowers (though it’s a little nicer one the blue card, love the serendipitous yellow), but I prefer the color and placement of the sentiment on the blue card — it is much better than the small golden die-cut one. I can’t wait to see the rest of your posts in this series and hope you will do this for a very long time with many more artists. Most of all though: Thank you for sharing and for your courage. It is not easy to learn in public… And best wishes for your health; I hope your heart and you are doing much better! (Imagine a rainbow-colored bunch of hearts here, from me to you)

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