Global Postmarks et al

The new Darkroom Door global postmarks set features on today’s cards, and if you look closely you can see I chose several Australian postmarks but there are different shapes and sizes from all over the world. It is a very cool set and once again these cards have made me want to create an art journal page.

I’ve had my gel press out after quite a break and I’m hooked again. In any one session I always end up with some duds and some winners but the more I print, the more I like what I;m printing. One of the lessons I learnt in my latest session was the beauty of restricting my paint colours. You would think I would know that by now considering how often I restrict myself to a limited palette when watercolouring.

The prints I turned into today’s cards were made with a turquoise, dark blue, gold, beige and purple palette. The first card was just beige, gold, turquoise and a bit of dark blue left on the gel press from the previous print. To create patterns in the print I used Darkroom Door stencils and stamps.

I won’t go into my gel printing process because there are videos aplenty that will show you. I brayered acrylic paints onto the press and used the new ‘brick wall’ stencil along with the diamonds and starry night stencils. I also pressed the mesh background stamp and the wavy line postmark stamp into the paint before pulling a print.

After pulling the prints I used black archival and black versafine clair inks to stamp the flowers, sentiments and dragonfly. I stamped several of the global postmark stamps in mermaid lagoon archival ink and tiny numbers from the new ‘number medley’ set lightly in black.

The flowers on the square card are from DD ‘tall flowers’ and are stamped in nocturne versafine clair then embossed in clear powder. The black stamping on the larger card is black soot archival ink. I tried popping up the sentiments from the ‘warm wishes’ set but it didn’t look right, the beauty of a monoprint is that it looks like it has depth and texture even though it is a single layer.

Supplies


Poppy birthdays

 

When I pulled out the MFT ‘poppies background’ stamp my intention was to do some loose watercolour with splashes and dabs here and there. As you can see I didn’t manage that; I stayed inside the lines. It was not a fiddly job though, painting this panel. I was surprised at how quickly I was able to get it done. I put the stamp in the stamp positioner along with a piece of cold pressed watercolour paper. Using the papertrey ink cubes I was able to ink the flowers in ‘scarlet jewel’ and the buds, stems and pods in ‘ripe avocado’. If the inks ended up on the wrong section I either wiped it off or let it be because a little green in the flowers or red in the stems doesn’t matter.

I blended one petal at a time which sounds time consuming but they are large petals so it wasn’t bad. As I finished blending the ink into one petal I picked up a little bit of ‘blueberry sky’ ink and dropped it into the wet petal at the inner edge. When I came to the poppy centres I got mixed up and did the centres black and the surrounding dots in yellow so to fix it I went over the yellow with little black dots then went over the black center with a gold gel pen to turn it yellowish! Adding a sentiment took me an age, not because it was too fiddly but because I couldn’t decide how to arrange it and my embossing game was definitely off. I ended up with ‘you’ from Pink Fresh ‘phrase builder: you’ set overlaid with a sentiment from MFT ‘YAY for you’ set.

The second panel definitely involved more slap dash watercolouring but I still managed to stay inside the lines. I stamped the whole image in distress peeled paint which blends very easily with water. As I wanted some depth of colour in the centres of the flowers I smooshed faded jeans and chipped sapphire distress inks on my glass mat and picked up ink to paint shadows on the petals. I inked up the centres of the poppies with a chipped sapphire marker then chose a dark blue (not black) cardstock to die-cut the letters for the sentiment.

The die-cut letters got a little lost when placed straight on the busy background panel so I attached them to a piece of vellum first. To line them up I perfectly magnets held the vellum in place on my Wendy Vecchi magnetic board and, because it was vellum I was able to see a whole grid of lines to get them straight vertically and horizontally. I was pretty happy with this arrangement and might just have to do all my sentiments on vellum to experience the same satisfaction! I put ‘stick it’ adhesive on the back of the dark blue cardstock before I cut the letters so I would not have to deal with glue or tiny bits of tape for each letter. That would not have given me any satisfaction at all!

Even though green poppies are a bit of an oddity I think that one ended up being my favourite.

In other news make sure you pop over to the Penny Black blog to enter their giveaway; you have until March 1. I will be sharing plenty of new PB product in the weeks to come.

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Shimmer floral

The fun continues around here with pearlescent paints and black watercolour paper. I just wish the photos would show better how pretty the shimmery paints are.  The Foiled Fox sent me some yummy new paints from Coliro, I used the ‘ocean’ and the ‘vintage’ sets for this card. I also tried out the ‘penny’ embossing powder from Brutus Monroe. It is a copper colour which worked nicely with the paints I chose. I embossed part of the Penny Black ‘floral medley’ stamp in one corner of my black watercolour paper panel then flipped the panel and moved the stamp around a little before stamping more flowers on the other corner. I paired up a couple of stamps from the PB ‘strength’ sentiment set to emboss a sentiment in between the florals.

Coliro (or Finetec) paints are full of shimmer and look amazing on dark paper but can also be used on light or white paper for more subtle effects. I have painted them on neenah black cardstock before, the colours looked great but I like the way watercolour paper gives me more flexibility with blending from dark to light. When attempting light and dark areas on black paper I have to think about the direction of my blending. On white watercolour paper I paint strong colour then blend it with water to decrease the intensity and so end up with a lighter area. On dark paper I paint an area in bright pearlescent paint and then dilute it with water to get a darker or shadow area. Shading isn’t really necessary of course, the colours look great painted as solid sections without shading.

To finish off the card I die-cut a frame from copper coloured shimmer paper. I have two frame dies from the PB ‘square frames’ set still linked together so I get a plain frame when I run the two decorative dies through the machine together.

I am teaching a ‘Watercolour on Black’ workshop in Ottawa at the end of March where we will be playing with these lovely shimmer paints and creating stamped and painted panels that really shine. Click over to my upcoming classes page for more details.

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Pretty in pink

I’ve been playing with pretty paper again and have the Foiled Fox to thank for this lovely Alexandra Renke design. Make sure you pop over to the Foiled Fox blog where I’m sharing my process in making today’s cards. I believe I said it last time I worked with AR papers, the colours and patterns are so lovely I really don’t want to add much over the top.

For both cards I covered the whole front with AR ‘Autumn Plant Rose’ paper. The delicate floral design covers most of the paper so I didn’t want to add too much that would clash with the paper. I chose instead to die-cut cream flowers and birds as focal images, keeping them cream coloured and stacked made them stand out from the background pattern. The tall flower die is from Penny Black and is called ‘shall we dance’. I like the way the long thin stems mimic the thin lines of the paper’s design.

Adding the same die cut on the inside of the card was a must and simple to do after first adding stick it adhesive to the back of the patterned paper.

I used the same design idea and stacked three bird die-cuts for the second card and added a single patterned die-cut on the inside of the card. The die is called ‘the sweetest song’ and is another PB one.

I debated whether or not to add any sentiments and ended up deciding on one with and one without.

I will be doing more with this lovely paper and a pink abstract paper also by AR. I’ve linked the papers and supplies below and look forward to sharing more designs with you soon. Make sure you click over to the Foiled Fox and check out all the Alexandra Renke papers.

Supplies


Clover journal page

Are you wondering if I’m repeating myself? Didn’t I post this a few days ago? Indeed, I posted something similar on Monday, a card featuring the new ‘warm wishes’ set from Darkroom Door. At the end of the post I mentioned that I’d like to transform the design into a journal page…so I did!

I kept my colour scheme with the addition of more green and added a few extra stamp images and a bit of texture. I used a Fabriano ‘Venezia’ art journal, with drawing paper not watercolour paper. The weight of the paper is decent but if I’m going to be spritzing and adding water and ink I paint a layer of absorbant ground on both pages first.

I began by inking up the clover stamps with worn lipstick, aged mahogany and peeled paint markers, spritzed them so the ink started blending on the stamp then stamped randomly across the pages. I spritzed the images lightly so the ink moved and softened and also dabbed colour and water away with a paper towel. I inked the number/account book stamp from ‘number medley’ set with stormy sky distress stain and stamped it randomly around the pages. After stamping I spritzed the images so the ink spread, diluted and ran across the page. I dabbed some of it dry but left other bits to make watermarks. I also splattered the stain around with a paintbrush. Once the first layer of stamping was dry I switched to stormy sky distress ink and a blending brush to add colour to all the page edges. Also on the dry page I added a bit of texture by applying modeling paste through the DD stencil, ‘crackle’. The crackle was not very obvious but showed up a bit more after I added more stamping.

At this point I considered the background complete and started on the more distinct stamping. As I was working in the journal I couldn’t place it in the MISTI so I placed my ‘staytion’ magnetic board under the left hand page and added some acrylic blocks underneath the board to balance the left side of the journal with the right. I used an acrylic block to stamp all the clover and positioned a stampa-ma-jig against the block a couple of times just in case I didn’t have a complete image. I was able to do touch ups with a paintbrush and extra ink if the stamping was too pale.

I wanted some clover-ish leaves to stamp around the flowers so I grabbed a stamp from the DD ‘wildflowers vol 2’ and stamped foliage all around in peeled paint and forest moss inks. I added some green splatter too because journal pages always need splatter! At this point I was almost finished but I wanted a little more blue on the page. Rather than add more of the number stamp I used a very delicate floral stamp from ‘nature walk’ in faded jeans archival ink so I would have fine detailed lines that wouldn’t blend or blur. To balance mass of colour at the base of the pages I added more blue across the top edges. The blending brush was going to take too long so I swiped the ink pad over the edges and some water droplets also.

My journal is nowhere near full but it has become bulky with uneven pages because some have been glued to each other, others have been collaged. When I started the journal I glued pages together for sturdiness because that was what Vicky Papaioannou did and Vicky is an art journal wizard! She doesn’t always do that any more and neither do I because some of the pages just don’t want to be joined to each other, it makes it difficult to open them or flatten them. If you are an art journaller I would love to know if you prep your pages in some way so they can take a bit of water and liquid ink.

 

I hope you enjoyed seeing how a card inspired a double page spread; I definitely enjoyed working on the large scale with less pressure to keep things neat and contained!

Supplies


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Banner Blooms

Recently I blended through a stencil to create square grid backgrounds for some floral silhouette stamping. Today’s card uses a similar technique but I wanted the squares to be less neat, a little imperfect but still recognisable as squares. I guess I could have freestyled them entirely but I wanted them to be evenly spaced and I didn’t trust myself to do that without the stencil as a guide. To achieve this look I once again taped a grid stencil (DD boxes 6 up) to a piece of cold pressed watercolour paper but instead of blending the squares then painting over them I just painted squares inside the stencil squares. I didn’t paint right up to the edges of the stencil because then liquid would have seeped underneath and made a mess. I used the stencil as my placement guide and painted a square inside each space.

I used Sennelier watercolour paints but you could use any watercolour paints or inks. I started each square with a stroke or two of mustard yellow then added some blue, red or orange and blended it with the mustard. After it dried I flattened it in my minc then transferred it to the stamp positioner to stamp five different images from the PB banner blooms set in versafine clair nocturne ink. Simple but quite effective. I chose a sentiment from the PB ‘strength’ set for the last square.

I really like the simple ‘shadow frame’ created by popping up the panel on a piece of foam; that’s why you keep seeing it!

Supplies


Sending Love

I posted a clean and simple two tone card last week featuring a new Darkroom Door set, ‘warm wishes’. The detail of the stamp was very apparent in my earlier card but this time I am showing it off with a watercolour look. The set includes five flowers ( I think they are clover) of different shapes and sizes. I have used a rounder flower on this card and stamped it several times to create a blurry background then twice with detail in the foreground.

I began by taping some hot pressed watercolour paper to my glass mat then spritzing it unevenly with water. When it was fairly wet I inked the flower stamp in worn lipstick, aged mahogany and peeled paint distress inks then stamped it repeatedly over the wet panel. I re-inked the stem to stamp several times in the bottom left hand corner.  To frame the design I painted some stormy sky distress stain around the edges. After the panel dried I transferred it to a stamp positioner so I could add a couple more flowers. I used the same three distress markers to ink the flower and stem then added darker green with a forest moss marker.

For some added interest I used a number stamp from another new Darkroom Door set, ‘number medley’. I know I am going to enjoy using this set to add texture and detail to a whole lot of projects. You probably wouldn’t have guessed the stamp is made up of numbers because I stamped with distress stain and did some spritzing to make the ink move a little.

To complete the card I added a sentiment from ‘warm wishes’ in faded jeans archival ink then popped up the whole panel with some white foam. I feel like transforming this design into an art journal page; what do you think?

For more inspiration with this new set head over to the Darkroom Door blog.

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