Birthday butterflies

Darkroom Door has just released an amazing new collection of stamps so I will be showing off a few of them in the coming weeks. The narrow arrow stamp named ‘this way’ motivated me to pull out the brusho powders. Brusho is wonderful when used with embossed patterned stamps where the paint crystals can get trapped. I used both ultramarine and emerald green brusho on this card.

I embossed the ‘this way’ stamp in white powder on hot presssed watercolour paper then sprinkled brusho on top and spritzed water from above to get the colours activated. I also painted the black embossed butterflies with brusho but was a bit more strategic in my paint blending.

I popped some gold cord behind the butterflies and tucked a tiny DD birthday sentiment in as well. This slim border stamp is very versatile and in future posts I will be sharing how I used it with cars, motorbikes and a lighthouse!

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Spring Emerges

Spring is emerging around my place but not to the extent suggested in this stamp. I do have a daffodil plant that has broken through the soil and I can see a bud on it even though it is a couple of feet from the snow drifts! The stamp featured today is called ‘spring emerges’ and it is a small transparent stamp from Penny Black’s latest release.

It’s been a while since my coloured pencils were the stars of the show but after finishing this little panel I might keep them on my desk a little longer. I particularly like pencils on kraft cardstock. I often add either a base of white pencil or just highlights so the brown of the kraft doesn’t make everything too muted. On this card I blended white and reds for the tulips and added white highlights purple flowers. I layered a mix of yellows and oranges for the daffodil and two greens for the leaves and grass. I kept the panel and stamp in the stamp positioner in case I wanted to restamp over the top after colouring (which I did). With a stamp this small sometimes my colouring goes outside or over the lines, restamping just sharpened the outline. I used Gina K’s osidian amalgam ink.

I used A2 layer dies to cut the panel and the mat and added a sentiment from the PB ‘hope is…’ set. You can see some very pale white shading around the flowers too which was done with the white pencil.

Wishing you a hope filled day.

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Today I am delighted to be sharing this card on the Foiled Fox blog. I have mentioned before how much I like the people at the Foiled Fox and we seem to enjoy a lot of the same artsy things. This new set from Penny Black is called ‘Canopy’ and it includes three similar trees of different sizes.

I completed the sky first by blending speckled egg ink over the panel of hot pressed watercolour paper. I painted over the blended ink with water then dabbed away some of the ink with a tissue to create the look of clouds. I also added some splatters because why not?

I stamped the trees one at a time and added a hill below the trunk each time. Painting the little hill while the ink on the trunk was still wet made it possible to softly blend the brown and green inks together.

Make sure you pop over to the Foiled Fox blog to learn more about my process and to browse their lovely projects and products. You know how I feel about tree stamps; you can never have too many. I love the whimsical bendy trunks on these ones; they look like they are swaying in a breeze.

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At the Garden Gate

This little front fence is a new digital stamp from Echidna Studios. It’s a set of five images that you can arrange yourself. Each image is opaque (or stackable) which means when you arrange them before printing you can put the plants in front of the fence and in front of each other. The five stamps are the fence, the triple topiary, the flowers in the grass, the flowers in the pot and another pot not featured on this card.

I had great fun arranging these images to create this little scene. After finalising the scene I printed it on hot pressed watercolour paper and coloured the images with Derwent inktense pencils. I use inktense pencils it two ways; sometimes I colour directly on the paper then blend with a wet paintbrush, other times I pick up ink from the sharpened tip of the pencil with a paintbrush and then paint.

After colouring the pots and the plants I had to decide how to colour the fence and gate because it wasn’t going to stand out if I left it white. The problem was that I wanted a white picket fence. I ended up colouring the fence and gate with an embossing pen then embossed with Ranger weathered white embossing powder which is textured and creamy coloured. It’s subtle but it does make the fence stand out a little. I coloured the hinges with a gold gel pen.

To add some sky I blended speckled egg distress ink here and there, then splattered some over the scene. The sentiment is from Penny Black’s ‘only you’ set and all the links can be found below.

Thank you to all of you who have left such kind messages about my daughter’s digital design etsy store. Thank you to those who have popped over to purchase some of her digital stamps. We would both love to see what you have done with the images. You can attach an image when you comment in the store or even use the contact button to send her a message.

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Welcome Home

This sweet scene is called ‘Welcome Home’ and it is a new rubber cling stamp from Penny Black. Yes you can see little white flecks on the panel again, not snow, just textural interest, or perhaps rain. I used a panel of hot pressed watercolour paper splattered with masking fluid. As usual with a scenic stamp I kept the panel in a stamp positioner throughout the whole process.

I stamped first in antique linen so I could see the whole scene as I added colour bit by bit to the cottage, fence and trees. I used a mix of distress ink pads and markers. To blend the inks I sometimes spritz the stamp before stamping so the inks start moving or I use a paintbrush after stamping to move the inks to fill an area like the roof or walls of the cottage. If some details get lost in the blending I use a marker to add definition back to the scene eg. bricks, roof and chimney outlines.

I loosely painted the grass, sky and driveway with smooshed distress inks. I thought the wide sentiment worked well to balance the height of the tree and stamped it in dark brown. It’s another new one from PB’s ‘delightful day’ set.

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Bud & Bloom

More flowers on the blog as we get more snow on the ground! The trio of flowers on the card above and the single bloom on the card further down the page are both digital stamps from the ‘bud and bloom‘ set available from Echidna Studios. I printed them on hot pressed watercolour paper then used Karin brushmarkers to add colour.

I haven’t used my Karin markers in a while but there are still as juicy as ever so a little ink goes a long way. I have seen the Karin markers used direct to paper, then blended with water and also scribbled onto a glass mat or palette then picked up with a brush. In the past I have tended to apply directly to my watercolour paper or directly on a stamp. This time I scribbled the markers onto my glass mat and blended colours before painting the flowers. I think this gave me more control over the blends. I worked with a yellow, a couple of oranges and a red to come up with the three mixes you see in the card above.

To add a green background to the card above I blended northern pine memento ink (the magic green ink) around the flowers then splattered water droplets over it and dabbed them up with a paper towel.

On the second card with the single bloom I added orange to the soft peach marker, once again picking up ink from a glass mat rather than applying it directly to the paper. While the ink was still wet on the paper I did touch the tip of the orange marker to the areas where I wanted deeper colour and shadow then immediately blended it out towards the ends of the petals. I added a little extra shading on both panels with coloured pencils, a trick I learnt from Kathy Racoosin a colouring wizard!

I used a warm grey marker from my set of 26 colours to add a background with a few spots of very diluted orange here and there. There are three greys in the set, a warm, a cool and a neutral grey. I tried each one on a scrap of watercolour paper before settling on the warm grey. I painted water onto the background then applied the grey ink onto the wet cardstock. I also added texture to this panel with the ‘subtle’ embossing folder which creates a canvas look.

The sentiments on both cards are from the new Penny Black set, ‘delightful day’. I’ve mentioned before one of the bonuses of a digital stamp is that you can print it out whatever size you like. I’ve already printed the trio of flowers image larger on watercolour paper so the flowers will fill the whole panel. I hope to have that one finished to share with you soon.

Hope you have a delightful day whether you are surrounded by snow or flowers!

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I have another lovely new stamp from Penny Black and it is aptly named ‘Lovely’! It is a brushstroke stamp, meaning that it is semi solid and made from a painted image to look like you painted it. I find that dye inks and water based markers are great for this type of stamp.

I worked on hot press watercolour paper which had some masking fluid splattered over it. I sometimes use masking fluid even when I am not creating a snowy scene because I like the slightly aged or ‘rainy’ look it gives my stamping and painting. I wanted to do the background before I stamped so I smooshed some speckled egg and mowed lawn distress inks on my glass mat, spritzed water to dilute it then swiped my watercolour panel through it. The result is very soft but enough to add subtle interest to the background.

I inked the flowers with a mix of tattered rose, abandoned coral and seedless preserves distress inks, spritzed the stamp with water then stamped. I used a paintbrush to blend the ink to fill the petals. You can see me use this technique in a video here. I inked the stems with mowed lawn and the tiny flowers with iced spruce. I do use a mix of large and small ink pads when I ink the stamp along with distress markers. I know distress markers are discontinued but I will keep using mine until the bitter end. I managed to reink a marker the other day following a video a friend told me about. The video maker used a distress stain but I had a re-inker in the required colour so I used the re-inker. I didn’t see any improvement until the next day after the ink had time to soak through the tube and into the brush tip.

Because I love the matchy-matchy I pulled out a Ciao Bella ink to stamp the sentiment from the new PB set ‘blessings’. My colour inspiration was from a photo Jan sent me last year. My colours are not as subtle as the ones in the photo but I still like the unusual mix of coral and purple. Thanks for the inspiration, Jan, I went to my file of your pics as soon as I started working with this stamp!

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Penny Black has new stamps! And of course I am especially interested in new flowers and tree stamps. This rose, aptly named ‘prized’ is just one of the new stamps I will be sharing on the blog in the next few weeks.

My mother loved roses and she and my father grew them in every garden they made. My dad has several lovely ones out the front and the back of his retirement unit. I think he has one with peachy/yellow colouring a bit like this one.

To colour the ‘prized’ rose I worked on hot pressed watercolour paper and kept it in a stamp positioner. I inked the petals with both fossilized amber and abandoned coral distress inks. I spritzed the inked stamp before stamping which made the ink wetter and easier to blend into each petal shape. When using this technique I always smoosh the ink pad on my glass mat so I can pick up ink there as well.

While the petals dried I inked the leaves and stem with forest moss and a small amount of faded jeans distress inks then followed the same technique as above to paint the leaves. I went back to the petals and did a second round of stamping and blending adding candied apple ink to the centre of the rose to deepen the colour.

After I had completed the flower I used mix of diluted inks to paint around the rose. I added hickory smoke to the other four inks as I blended around the edges of the flower and feathered out to pale yellow or grey at the edges of the watercolour panel.

I chose the title sentiment from the PB set ‘delightful day’ and stamped it in peeled paint archival ink.

Hope you are having a delightful day!

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Handmade Art Journal

A couple of weeks ago I posted photos and description of the handmade book with Coptic binding which I made as a participant in the November 5-Day challenge from the Handmade Book Club. I really like the construction and binding of this particular book so I made another one, this time with cold pressed watercolour pages and a gel printed cover.

The pages in this book are seven inches square so the covers are a little larger. When I went through my very large stash of gel prints I didn’t have two pieces large enough and matchy-matchy enough for my liking. Hard to believe I know, because my gel print collection now inhabits two large boxes. Knowing that I needed at least 9″ x 9″ prints I made a couple on rice paper especially for this journal. The pretty circle/tile pattern in the print is from a piece of embossed cardstock I have been holding onto for a very long time ‘just in case I needed it!’

I make my covers from the thick cardstock backs of watercolour paper pads. You can buy bookboard, but my stash of thick cardstock pieces is large and easily sturdy enough. I printed the cover patterns on rice paper which folds beautifully over the thick cardboard.

As you might have noticed from recent art journal posts, I’ve been creating in a 6″ x 6″ journal for my classes and at home. This one is just that little big bigger so I’m excited to get started in it.

Stay tuned to see what I put in this journal. I think it is safe to say some of the prints from those two big boxes will end up in here! Hope your day includes a book, in some shape or form.

Time Art Journal page

This journal page is unlike many of my other pages but contains some of my favourite papers and techniques. What you can’t see is the design I started underneath about a year ago. It had the look of a watercolour sunset but everytime I flipped to that page I didn’t know what to do with it; eventually I covered it up completely.

This is the same as the 6″x6″ watercolour paper journal I use in my Art Journal Adventure workshops. The clock and the starry sky background are gel prints. I did them quite a while ago but because of their size I didn’t know how to use them. The clock was 7″ across before I cut it. It’s an image transfer from a Tiffany’s catalog which arrived at my house for no reason. I don’t have anything from Tiffany’s but I can tell you the images in that catalog are perfect for gel print image transfers! The starry sky was also a large print made with large stencils from Darkroom Door. I could have cut up the panel for cards but I wanted to keep it together if possible. I did end up tearing it into two pieces before gluing it to the page. The galaxy type strip from left to right covers the area where the two pieces meet.

The theme of time is not meant to bully me into being busy, more to remind me that time is precious and why not use it wisely. I printed the letters for the phrase on the rice paper leftovers from the cut out clock using the Darkroom Door ransom alphabet set. That little definition in the corner is from a little palm sized dictionary bought second hand for collage.

The splatter on the black gesso strip is finetec pearlescent paints which tie in with the gold metallic printing on the star gel print. Considering the double page was uninspiring for so long, I’m quite happy with how it turned out.

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