Distressed Gel Print backgrounds

Last week I taught a couple of gel printing classes and had a blast seeing others fall in love with the process and results. As you might imagine I have many prints now, a big box waiting to be used. I thought I would use a few scrappy patchy prints as backgrounds. Some of these prints are ghost prints where I pick up a patchy layer of paint left on the gel print after a more distinct print has been taken. I also have some patchy distressed looking prints taken from a damaged gel plate. I don’t know how the surface got damaged but I still use it as a place to roll out paint before brayering on the main plate or to clean off excess paint after brayering on the main plate. The little dots you see on today’s prints are from imperfections in the damaged plate.

On the print above you can see not only the specks of black paint from the plate but also the leftover paint from the border of the plate. Most gel printers love being able to pick up some of those colourful leftovers on a future print.

Both the print above and the one below were made from excess paint so there is very little defined pattern but instead some lovely specks, blends and blobs.

I chose to make cards from these prints not just because I wanted distressed backgrounds but also because it shows how even the scrappy, incomplete, messy prints can be worth saving.

The only colour on the background print above was some black. I used rustic wilderness, wild honey and frayed burlap archival inks to stamp flowers and grasses from Darkroom Door sets, nature walk and wildflowers vol 2.

The ghost print above was pulled with rice paper. When I stamped the purple flowers in versafine clair they soaked through the paper and spread to give the image a halo surrounding it. Although it was an interesting effect I switched to archival inks for the rest of my stamping as they sit of the surface and dry quickly.

I used similar colours to stamp flowers from DD sets, tall flowers and art de fleur vol 1 over the purple ghost print.

The print above was by far the busiest one I used so a bright contrasting colour seemed like a good idea. I used thistle, wild honey and faded jeans archival inks to stamp flowers from DD sets, nature walk and wildflowers vol 2. I also added some text with a stamp from the nature walk set

To attach the cards to the neenah card bases I used double sided adhesive sheets. I added some black and white paint splatter and Darkroom Door sentiments.

If you have read right to the end you are a champion. If you are a gel printer I hope you are inspired to use a few of those patchy prints you might otherwise discard. I have been using them in my art journals but it is nice to see them on cards too and it’s not as if I am going to run out anytime soon!

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Floral Mix

I think I told you my one tulip bloomed already but I was still inspired to stamp more. My many lupins are yet to bloom so the idea of a floral mix card appealed to me. I have teamed up Penny Black’s ‘distinctive, ‘fresh spring’ & ‘sweet sprouts’ stamp on this card.

Once again I worked on hot press watercolour paper with distress inks. I usually spritz the stamp lightly with water before stamping then use a paintbrush to blend the inks or dilute them. The inks I used are listed below; I had seedless preserves as the main colour on the tulips and the highlight colour on the lupins. The technique for this card is featured in my online class Floral Faves which is still on sale for 30% off as part of my Moving Day Sale.

What’s blooming in your garden or neighbourhood right now?

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Grape Hyacinths

My garden seems to have lost its grape hyacinths; I used to have quite a few that would pop up year after year but I only saw a couple this year.

We had three days above 30°C last week so there is plenty happening in the garden. The crab apple is blossoming and the last of the daffodils are hanging on. I bought some annuals and started filling pots yesterday.

The stamp featured is from the Darkroom Door set ‘fine flowers vol 2’ designed by Godelieve Tjiskens. I inked the petals with seedless preserves and blueprint sketch distress inks then blended with water after stamping. The stems are rustic wilderness distress and the sentiment rustic wilderness archival.

Hope you are enjoying some colour in the world around you; perhaps you’re seeing warm tones if you are in the southern hemisphere.

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Blue Florals

I spent a little while painting florals the other day. My watercolour paints were on my table so I painted two precut card panels with a few blues. I started the flowers on both cards by putting five little dabs of paint in a circle then blending them out with a wet paint brush. After blending I added dots to the centres with black and yellow markers.

Both the bold and the soft florals looked ok but the leaves I’d added didn’t work. I set the panels aside, happy that I had practised but not planning to use either pieces. When I came back to them a day or so later I did some extreme cropping which took out the leaves I didn’t like and left me with some nice blends and a configuration which had some balance.

Even if I had not cropped them and put them on cards the exercise was worthwhile. Even after years of making, practising and learning I still have the niggling feeling that everything I work on should ‘work out’! I know it is unrealistic and I am getting better at spending time practising and playing just to grow and enjoy.

The pale blue ‘washy-er’ panel is my favourite but I love the colours in both. After cropping them I added them to an embossed panel (SU scripty) and popped up some Taylored Expressions sentiments over the top.

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Fresh Spring

Now that May has arrived I feel it is the right time to post tulip cards. My one tulip is blooming and the tulip festival is a week away. I have used the Penny Black ‘fresh spring’ stamp on hot press watercolour paper with distress inks.

Sometimes I stamp then blend with a paintbrush after stamping. This time the blends from a spritz of water on the inked stamp were almost enough without adding anything. I did a little blending on a few tulips and a few leaves but some of the blends just happened so I let them be.

I inked the tulips with wild honey distress ink and added festive berries over the base of the petals with a marker. Same with the leaves but using rustic wilderness with added forest moss for depth and variation. I know the distress markers are discontinued but they are so useful for adding ink selectively I will keep using them ’til they give up! The sentiment is from the PB set ‘special sentiments’.

My friend Jan recently sent me some more floral inspiration pics so I have added the inspiration for today’s card below. Thank you Jan.

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Green Truck in the City

This little green truck card was made on request, and probably not a focal point I would have come up with myself. The end result however made me very happy and all but the kraft buildings and road sign were cut from gel prints.

I could have cut all the components from coloured cardstock but I chose instead to use gel prints and mixed the green and blue paints on the gel plate in order to match the green of the truck requested. I love the added texture a gel print gives. The sky is very textured because it was printed on my damaged gel plate. I use it mainly as a palette where I mix colours or roll off excess paint. I pull prints off it now and again during a session and the patchy blue and white print made a perfect sky. I don’t have a truck die but I did some mods to a van die-cut and ‘ta-da’ I had a little green truck on its way to graduation!

Would this be a good time to mention there are a couple of spaces left in next Friday’s gel printing workshop?

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2022 BuJo – May theme

It’s been a while since the last bullet journal feature. I gave the journal a break over April; I was in recovery and catch up mode. We have skipped to May which is the month of the tulip festival in Ottawa so the theme was an easy pick. Coloured pencils seemed to make sense too as I have been working with them a bit lately.

I drew all my calendar squares by hand purposely making them a little wavy with breaks and dots. The Penny Black clear stamp ‘springtide’ seemed to work with an outline theme so I stamped in jet black archival on each page then coloured with polychromos pencils.

For each tulip colour scheme I used at least two co-ordinating colours; for the yellow tulips I used four. I forgot that both Ranger archival inks and FaberCastell polychromos pencils are oil based so the first layer of pencil blending ended up dragging some black ink. As you can see it didn’t spoil the result but I probably should have stamped the outline in memento or distress ink.

I kept the titles simple with some hand drawn block letters. I know that to-do list is empty in the photo but believe me that is no longer the case! Visiting the Ottawa Tulip Festival will be on the list for sure!

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Pencil Daisies

When I stamped the PB ‘brilliant’ stamp for my recent pencil poppy card I also stamped several other outline stamps on kraft cardstock for pencil colouring. This stamp is called ‘daisy dream’ and is coloured with Karin pigment decobrush markers, white gouache and Faber-Castell coloured pencils.

In my recent pencil poppies post I referred you to the talented Debby Hughes for a video tutorial about colouring with gouache and coloured pencils. I used some of the same tips for this card but ended up using the Karin pigment brushmarkers as well. I coloured the petals on the flowers above with the gold marker. The effect was very similar to painting gouache first but easier because the marker brush tip did such a good job on those narrow petals. I painted the centres with white and the leaves with the Karin ‘leaf green’ marker before using coloured pencils to add details and shading to the flowers and stems. The glass vase is coloured with a white and two grey pencils.

I added some shading below and behind the vase, a white embossed sentiment and some white gouache splatter before attaching the panel to a white card base.

I now have three daffodils blooming in my garden so there should be at least 47 more coming! I did plant 50 daffodil bulbs a year and a half ago and they are supposed to multiply aren’t they?

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Pencil Poppies

Today’s pencil and gouache technique was inspired by a beautiful card recently posted by Debby Hughes. Debby did a video of her process so if you are interested you can pop over to her youtube channel and follow her directions like I did.

I used a different stamp, ‘brilliant’ from Penny Black but the other supplies and technique are the same as Debby’s. I stamped on kraft cardstock with pumice stone ink, painted inside the petals with white gouache then did all the colouring with Faber Castell Polychromos pencils.

When I first stamped the ‘brilliant’ poppy stamp I used Papertrey ink soft stone ink which is my current favourite for no-line watercolour techniques. It stamped well on the kraft cardstock but when I looked at it ten minutes later it had faded quite a bit. It would be fine for someone whose eyesight is perfect but mine is not so I stamped in pumice stone distress which gave me a bit more contrast.

Debby’s technique included painting the petals in white gouache then colouring over the top. I hadn’t tried it before but I will do it again in the future. It worked very well and took the place of my previous method which was colouring in white pencil first then adding colours over the top before blending again in white. Painting with gouache first gave me a base which happens to also be a nice matte surface to colour over. I finished the design with some white gouache splatter as Debby did. So basically I am saying, ‘ do what she did!’ Thank you Debby for a great technique tutorial.

The polychromos pencils I used were: white, medium flesh, medium cadmium red, raw umber, emerald green, pine green, naples ochre and walnut brown.

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Fresh Bouquet

My Karin markers have been a bit neglected lately so I brought them out to work with the cute cup of flowers stamp from the PB ‘fresh bouquet’ set. I worked in a stamp positioner on hot pressed watercolour paper. First I inked the flower centres with the gold marker, next the blue petals with cyan, leaves with grass and berries with rosewood.

I used a paintbrush and water to pull ink from the stamping to fill the petals and leaves working loosely but taking care not to blend much from one ink to the next. Blue and yellow make green as you know and I didn’t want the petals or centres turning green.

Adding a sentiment was a bit tricky. The cup of flowers stamp comes with a large and lovely sentiment but it would have covered too many flowers. I need birthday cards at present so I stamped the little ‘happy birthday’ from the PB ‘how sweet’ set in paradise versafine clair ink and then wondered where to place it. It is rare that I will place a sentiment right in the middle of a card but it just seemed to work this time.

I have some beautiful tea cups, some from my mother, my nanna and my grandma. I rarely use them because I like a large mug of tea. Perhaps I could occasionally put a few flowers in one, once I have more than two tiny flowers in my garden.

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