Home is… journal page

The shenanigans continue in my Art Journal Adventures workshops. Last month the theme was collage & texture and the range of pages was amazing. We all chose different papers, colours and focal images but followed a similar method to put them together.

For this spread I relied heavily on my growing collection of gel prints. The little cottage picture is from a greeting card and I used it as a starting point when settling on colours. All the papers you can see are gel prints I made except for one kraft scrap down the bottom with text stamped on it. I added gesso as well as texture using modeling paste through the Ciao Bella patchwork stencil.

During each session of the class it was definitely a treat to walk around and be inspired by the ideas coming to life on all the pages. Some participants had their own stash of gel prints to draw from, others used some of mine. It was fun to see my prints pop up on other people’s pages. I loved it!

This week we are working on Tea and Coffee themed pages and next month it will be texture & movement. If you are close by and haven’t tried gel printing, I’m teaching another introductory class on July 9.

The sweet cottage with sheep at the gate looks nothing like my house! I do grow morning glory but that is about the only similarity. Home is definitely where my people are which means I have two homes very far apart. Although very much at home in Canada I claim Australia as home too, how could I not, some of my favourite people are there!

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Coffee art journal page

I’ve been having a delightful time in my art journals and in the Art Journal Adventure workshops. We have gone in three different directions so far and the next one is coffee or tea themed. You can see an example of a tea themed page on my classes page and here is my first coffee page.

It doesn’t show up in the photo but the red cup is embossed and glossy and I want one just like it in real life! I used distress embossing glaze for both the words and the cup then had to create a visual triangle in red, do you see it?

I am currently not a coffee drinker which actually makes the quote all the more apt for me. I love the aroma! For Christmas I gave my husband a coffee subscription and each month the coffee comes in a cardboard package which smells delightful as does the mailbox !

If you are interested in joining in the art journal adventure please check out my Classes page where you will see the next two sessions or click on the Crop A While classes page.

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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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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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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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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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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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Gel printing & a new crafty crush

I had a couple of opportunities to gel print last week and it was, as always, most enjoyable. The prints did not all work out but I have a couple that made me very happy.

Now would be the time to tell you I have a new crafty crush! Not a crafter, a craft company. I have fallen for the beautiful stamps, stencils and papers from Ciao Bella. The stencil I used to create today’s prints is called ‘patchwork’. I bought it because it features eleven different patterns that will be good for adding texture to art journal pages. I had no idea how beautiful it would look when I printed it as a whole! (Both Crop A While and Ecstasy Crafts carry Ciao Bella products; if you shop from Ecstasy make sure you use my link to get there and the discount code heathertecs10 for a 10% discount at checkout.)

I brayered some blues and browns on my gel plate then placed the stencil over the top followed by a piece of paper so I could remove some of the paint. When the first layer was dry I brayered a layer of white over the top and pulled the print. This is only a small section of the stencil but it was the best part of the print. I used adhesive sheets to attach it to the card base then added three Penny Black ‘tall flowers’ die cuts.

I used browns and black for the base of this print then light browns and white for the second layer before pulling the print. (yes I will do a video sometime soon)

The sentiment is from the Darkroom Door ‘long distance’ sentiment stamp.

I have no immediate use for many of the prints but they will go in my collage collection for now because they might come in handy for art journalling.

I taught the first Art Journal Adventure workshop on Saturday and enjoyed it so much. The workshop was held at Crop A While; there are spaces in the Friday workshop this week, March 4, and the Saturday March 12 workshop.

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Trees over Gel Print

Sometimes a background scrap can make a whole card. If you have done gel printing you probably know how beautiful the leftover edges can be. As you make print after print, excess paint layers up on the edges of the gel plate. I like to ‘collect’ those edges at the end of a gel printing session by brayering white paint over the top then lifting the whole section onto a last print.

The horizontal lines of blue and green you see here are from cleaning up edges. I thought they looked like the edge of a lake or river so I stamped trees over the top. Even the blue and white paint in the background looks a little like clouds and mountains.

I used tree stamps from Darkroom Door’s ‘Majestic Mountains’ set and Catherine Pooler inks to add to what was already a landscape. I had my gel plate out again yesterday after quite a break and once again saved some textural edges .

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