Remember when we all had library cards?

I have always loved the library, perhaps now more than ever. I remember as a child having my own library card at the Civic Library in Canberra as well as library cards at school. Filling a library card with date stamps seemed a worthy achievement and then I would get a fresh new card. If only I had kept those cards for forty years later when I wanted to put one in an art journal! I worked in my 9″x 6″ ‘literary themed journal’ for this one not the 6″x 6″ I’ve been sharing a lot lately.

The library card on this journal page I made with a new Darkroom Door stamp, but I’m guessing you already knew that! The new set ‘library books’ includes a library card stamp, two stacks of books, an open book and three quote stamps. What can I say; it’s a delight.

This page was not a delight most of the way through but as I tell the participants in my art journal adventure classes this is often the case. Many pages really do not pull through until the very end. It is an example of a collage page which is what we will be doing in Art Journal Adventure Episode #3. All the dates are listed and linked on my Classes page including a couple of Episode #2 sessions next week.

I began this spread by gluing down pieces of old book pages. If you look at the top right corner of the photo above you will see the aged rounded corner of an old page. It has been become one of my favourite collage tricks to stick the book corners over my page corners then cut away the journal page behind to leave that soft round corner. I did it on all four corners of this page. After the old book pages I added stamping, paint and a couple of photos of books from magazines. More paint then more books using stamps from the DD set ‘bookworm’. I had already stamped my library card, distressed it and set it aside.

The stacks of very old books I made by stamping the DD ‘bookshelf’ border stamp on some gel prints. I cut them out (fussy) and defined some edges and spine details with markers. Once everything was glued down I added splatter and ink blending and some partial stamping with the DD world map stamp. Last but not least a wonderful quote.

I couldn’t end a post like this without asking for a couple of book recommendations. You have helped me before so please leave a recent favourite in the comments below. A few months back I read the first two books in a trilogy and now I am very keen for the third to be published. They were The Lost Queen and The Forgotten Kingdom by Signe Pike. I also enjoyed The Salt Path by Raynor Winn and have The Wild Silence, her second book, waiting for me at the library. I’m in the middle of Roots & Sky by Christie Purifoy which introduced me to her story telling podcast. That’s enough from me; I want to hear from you.

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Watercoloured Ink Bottles

I’m sure the new ‘pen & ink’ stamp set from Darkroom Door will be a new favourite of mine. There are five different bottles, two pens, four nibs and some labels. You will see it on my cards, in my journals and on my gel prints.

I wanted to end up with a loose watercolour sketch of ink bottles. I worked on hot pressed watercolour paper with distress inks as my ‘paints’. You will see in the video below I did not really plan my process at all and realised a few things about the stamps a little late but it turned out fine in the end.

Next time I play with these stamps I might try putting the pens in the inks, and creating different colours of ink in the bottles. Ahh, so many possibilities.

By the way there are a couple of new dates for upcoming classes; the details are on my Classes page

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Dragonfly on text

All the coloured sections of this pretty dragonfly are inlaid between the outlines of the cream die-cut! Does it look the same as if I had just glued the cream die-cut over the top? Yes, I’m afraid it does. Perhaps if gel print had been on cardstock the same thickness as the dragonfly it might have been more noticeable. Lesson learned.

One branch of my current gel printing obsession is image transfer. In the past I have tried it mainly with high contrast photos of people but it works with text as well so I added interest to this blue, gold and red print with some black magazine text. I notice now as I stare at the screen the random line across the panel makes it look a little like an ocean view.

While I was painstakingly inlayaing every little bit of dragonfly wing I was listening to the audio book version of The Salt Path, a memoir with many references to ocean views, cliffs, weather and unexpected encounters. The author and her husband hiked the South West Coast path in the UK in rather traumatic and totally unexpected circumstances. I found the whole account fascinating and heartrending in places. By the end I had google maps open so I could see where the path was taking them.

Once again the photos don’t show the shimmer of the finished project. The sand coloured foreground is actually gold paint so there is shimmer spreading half way up the panel. Can you see why I love gel printing?

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Pods & Wings

The background of today’s card is another gel print featuring a gorgeous Lavinia stencil called ‘pods’. You can’t see in the photos but in real life there is some shimmer on the print as I used silver paint along with blue, green and white.

Over the print I added a green and a white wreath die cut from Penny Black. It is part of the new ‘soaring’ set which also includes four butterflies. The background called for dragonflies rather than butterflies so I die cut three from the ‘flutters’ set, an oldy but a goodie.

As I spent a chunk of time yesterday listening to Ann Voskamp’s book ‘One Thousand Gifts’, the joy sentiment seemed like a good match for the design.

I was watching a Julie Balzer book club discussion on youtube today as I worked and she mentioned how addictive gel printing is and how if you haven’t tried it you must (48 minute mark)! She called it the one tool that has changed her life! So I will again shamelessly plug my upcoming gel printing workshops and hope you will join me in this addiction!

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Snow & Ice

Although most of the ice is now gone, over the last few weeks I have seen it breaking up on the river near our home. The ice that once covered most of the bay cracks and ends up in layers as it breaks, moves and eventually disappears. When I lifted the print above from my gel plate I immediately thought of the cracking ice. It also reminded me of the colours in glaciers, not usually navy blue but I have seen blues and aquas.

Around the time the ice was breaking and melting this snowflake stamp arrived from Darkroom Door so I stamped it on vellum to overlay the background. I really didn’t want to lose much of the background hence the vellum and then a very narrow navy frame and sentiment.

This gel print delighted me, both the colours and the pattern. That’s the fun of gel printing; you never know quite what you will get. I will be sharing a few more gel prints turned into cards and backgrounds over the next few days. In May I will be teaching a couple of gel printing workshops at Crop A While. I’d love to have you join me in making surprising and intriguing prints.

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Fresh Pansies

Pansies seem to be a happy flower don’t you think? This is the new ‘pansies’ stamp from Penny Black stamped twice on cold press watercolour paper.

In my previous post I asked what colour suggestions you had for irises. Jan in Oregon sent me some beautiful photos she has taken over the years featuring some stunning irises, so the inspiration file has definitely been topped up. She also sent a few photos of pansies, tulips and daffodils as they are the next flowers to be featured here on the blog. The photo below was my inspiration for today’s card. I ended up with more purple petals than white as I didn’t have time for negative painting but I was still inspired and delighted by Jan’s photo.

I stamped with distress inks then filled the petals with brusho watercolours using the same method I used recently for the irises. I used shaded lilac, mowed lawn and fossilized amber to stamp the outline then violet brusho and a mix of leaf green and moss green for the leaves and stems.

I used a purple marker to draw the lines coming out from the centre of the flowers, blended some mowed lawn around the stems and finished with a sentiment from the PB ‘love big’ set.

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Iris Elegance

This is the second iris card I’ve painted but it probably won’t be the last. Iris Elegance from Penny Black is such a bold beautiful stamp.

I worked on hot press watercolour paper in a stamp positioner to stamp the outline stamp in chipped sapphire, peeled paint and wild honey distress inks. I blended ink into the petals from the stamped outline but also used brusho paints to fill the petals with blends of colour. I had violet, ultramarine and moss green brusho mixed in a palette beside me so I could dip my brush and add paint to the petals.

To fill out the design I stamped just leaves to the left and the right of the main image. Let me know if you have irises blooming already or suggest some petal colours to me. The yard is covered in snow again here so the irises best keep on sleeping for now!

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Circle Flowers journal page

Last week I spent several happy hours gel printing. One of the prints I completed has ended all over this art journal spread. If you are a gel printer you know you can sometimes pull a couple of prints of the same design. The first one is full of colour and pattern and the second is often called a ghost print as it displays outlines and left over bits of paint.

For this journal page I used both the bold blue and green print and the ghost print. The ghost print can be seen on the top left and bottom right corners and is peeping out in a couple of other places. The first print which was very geometrical has been turned into circle flowers. It also had traces of a new stencil called ‘pods’. You will see more of it here on the blog because it is fabulous!

Also in the background you might see some black ink stamping (DD mesh and alphabet medley) and the texture of paste through the DD ‘checkered stencil. The text you see is a fabric tape with dictionary definitions of happiness; it is the first 49 & Market product I have bought and it is going to be handy!

There is plenty of white gesso over the background to pull it together and mute some of the bold elements.

The flowers are all cut with Penny Black ‘abstract flowers’ dies which basically cut slightly wonky circles so I could have cut them myself but why bother when the machine will do it. The print was on rice paper so I could cut a few layers at once. After drawing an edge on each circle with a silver paint pen I stuck a small circle on a larger one, then sewed a cross in the centre with silver thread. There are stems in the set of dies but I doodled mine with a black marker. The blue splatters and pops of pink are from inktense pencils which are coming in handy for art journalling.

I know that was a lot of photos and chit chat but that is the way with some art journal pages especially the collage ones which involve different papers, paints, stencils, and mediums. I probably haven’t mentioned everything I used but if you are still here now I’m sure you’ve heard enough!

If you are in Ottawa and feel like doing a little art journalling of your own, there are still spaces left in my next Art Journal Adventure workshop where we will be creating a watercolour green and leafy spread similar to what you see below. All the details are on the Crop A While website.

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Farm Fresh floral

I’m having ‘fun with the Foiled Fox‘ today so I am chatting about this card over on their blog too! I posted a card the other day featuring two sweet jugs of lavender. The jugs were two separate stamps from the new PB ‘farm fresh’ set; this is the third and largest stamp from the set. I’m not sure what kind of flowers they are but that never really stops me from inking the stamp with whatever colours I choose.

I worked in the stamp positioner on cold press watercolour paper for a little texture. Starting with the jug I inked it with chipped sapphire and bundled sage distress inks. After stamping I inked the flowers with wild honey and rusty hinge inks, spritzed the stamp with water then stamped a slightly blurred and blended impression. The leaves and stems are stamped in rustic wilderness ink which is such a lovely green; it is giving forest moss some competition as my favourite green distress ink. To add a little definition to the flower centres I drew some black dots.

I stamped the jug of flowers on a post-it note and cut it out so I could mask the whole image while working on the background. I also masked across the panel so I could blend wild honey ink to represent a table or shelf and chipped sapphire ink with the ‘letter background’ stamp to represent the wall. To finish off I added a tiny bow to the jug. Make sure you visit the Foiled Fox blog and online store to see all the beauty and goodies they are sharing over there.

In other news I am teaching the second episode of Art Journal Adventure on Saturday March 26, Friday April 1 and Saturday April 2. There are a few spaces left if you’d like to join me at Crop A While, here in Ottawa. Each ‘episode’ is a stand alone workshop so there is no problem jumping into episode 2! Last month our journal page was a wintry scene; this time we are using watercolour techniques to go all green and leafy! For more information or to register visit the Crop A While website.

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Irises

The new ‘iris elegance’ stamp from Penny Black is a delight to work with. The design is large so there is plenty of space in the petals for pretty watercolour blends. I inked the stamp with distress inks then blended the stamped ink with water to fill the flowers using some co-ordinating colours of brusho for extra depth and variation. I have been flipping back and forth between hot and cold pressed watercolour paper lately; this one is hot pressed.

I have purple irises that come up in my garden each year but they don’t have the yellow centres I’ve featured on these ones. Yellow tends to be a pigment that pushes other pigments away which worked well on the petals. I painted the purples and then while the paint was still wet added yellow paint which spread and pushed the purple without making too much brown.

I don’t always add background but I did this time by painting water around the flowers then adding some Payne’s grey paint and a little diluted purple. Once again I chose the sweet little birthday stamp from the new ‘how sweet’ stamp set. Speaking of backgrounds, thank you so much to everyone who left me a message saying nothing more was needed on the recent poppy card. I am so encouraged by you, my kind and generous readers!

The warm weather and rain of the last few days has melted quite a lot of snow and now I see some green tips emerging. I have also spied a cardinal and a blue jay on the feeder. Spring is definitely in the air.

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