Winter Tree art journal page

I continue to create and experiment in my 6×6 art journal, definitely inspired by the current season and view. When I started this page I had a technique in mind but no picture in my head of how it might turn out. I couldn’t be happier with the end result!

I am trying a range of techniques and methods in my art journals because that is what they’re for and because I have a series of workshops coming up this year (temporarily postponed until restrictions change). On this spread I started by layering and gluing torn papers on the pages. I pulled blue pieces from my considerable stash of papers, some old (Penny Black 6×6 packs) and some new (decorative rice paper) along with Dina Wakley printed white collage paper. After gluing the strips here and there I added modeling past through a stencil and let that dry.

Over the papers and paste I painted white gesso and then a couple of blues from Dina Wakley’s acrylic selection. You can see some of the patterns show through from the papers and in real life you can also see the texture from the stencilled paste. I added stamping in blue and white with Darkroom Door background stamps, ‘snow flakes’ and ‘French Script’.

I had started the page with a vague idea of adding a picture from a Christmas card or magazine. In choosing the tree picture you see included I fell down a rabbit hole of memories going through boxes of saved cards! I have saved cards since childhood and I was sorting and reading for quite a while. I didn’t open every single card but I found some adorable and hilarious cards made by my children and some I taught in school, I also found many sweet notes in cards from my parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents. The picture I chose of the single tree on a snowy hill was in a Christmas card from a sweet friend.

It is worth noting at this point that I didn’t plan this layout or have this card on hand when I started the painting so the colours did not match perfectly. You know how I feel about the matchy-matchy so I ended up adding paint to the sky around the tree to make the blue a bit more purply and less aqua. I also extended the scene by turning a white area that was already on the page into a clearly defined snowy hill. I used a white gel pen to add more foliage to carry the scene off the little square onto my page. I finished off the page with some die cut Penny Black snowflakes.

I know that is a lot of description that would be better understood with video footage but it didn’t happen this time. As I continue to make pages I will try to capture some of them on film.

Do you save the cards you are given? Do you put them to use making something new? Just wondering…

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Winter Wildflowers

The bright and beautiful flowers of spring and summer delight me as you know but so do those left standing through autumn and winter. On a snowy walk recently I was happy to see the brown tones that show up bold and contrasting against the snow. Queen Anne’s Lace closes up and dries out after summer but that makes it all the better to balance some snow like icing.

For this wintery image of dried stems against aged wood paneling I stamped the flower stems from Darkroom Door’s ‘nature walk’ first in brown archival inks so they wouldn’t blend when I worked on the background. I stamped the DD ‘woodgrain’ stamp over the top first in hickory smoke distress ink then a few more times adding black soot, forest moss and barn door distress inks. I blended as sparingly as I could to retain the texture of the stamp.

I added a sentiment from the DD ‘happy birthday’ set and now I am wondering if I can recreate the same aged wood effect on a journal page. This seems to be the way I roll at present; a journal page inspires a card then a card inspires a journal page.

By the way my Art Journal Adventure class has been postponed for now due to current restrictions here in Ontario but we will reschedule when possible. In the interim I will continue scheming and dreaming up themes and techniques!

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2022 BuJo – January theme

My plan for the new year was to take a different artistic route with my bullet journal themes but here I am with the same mask, stamp, blend approach. I still have fifty pages left in my current journal so I will continue in a similar style for now and make some changes when I switch to a new one.

I masked the edges of the page with painter’s tape for delicate surfaces but it was still a bit sticky for the smooth bullet journal page. I did press it on my clothes first but I think post it tape is a much better choice.

As well as a masked frame around the page I tore tape to mask snow hills across the page. I used the pinecones and needles from Darkroom Door’s ‘pine cones’ set and trees from the DD ‘majestic mountains’ set.

The inks are all distress inks (listed below) and you can see a bit of bleed through the paper. The juicier the ink the more likely it is to show through. None of the ink went right through the page so it doesn’t bother me or stop me from using the pages. I used a black fineline pen to rule the lines and letter the headings.

After a year using this particular dot journal I am still a big fan of the quality but havent’ settled on the best way to keep track of work projects past, present and future. I also want to come up with a workable chore tracker, not nearly as fun as the project tracking but necessary!

As I look at my ‘to do list’ page above I’m not so keen on the little trees to mark the list items; they look like tree shaped rain drops falling from a pinecone!

I’ll be setting up a new booklist for my 2022 reading and plan to put all the birthdays on one spread too. That won’t guarantee that I will remember to send greetings but it might help.

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Rustic Wreath

When I am designing classes, both online and in-person it can take many days and many samples before I settle on a collection of projects. This card is one that did not end up in a class but I love the rustic textured look of it.

I used two circle dies to cut a kraft ring as the base of my wreath. I stamped the background with the Darkroom Door ‘woodgrain’ stamp and a few brown inks. To create the holly leaves and berries I painted a few strips of watercolour paper with greens and also a strip of red then hand cut the leaves and punched out the berries. To fill out the wreath I used some Penny Black die cut twigs and berries in brown and gold.

The sentiment is from Taylored Expressions; I used the very handy stamp and die sentiment strips combo. My daughter joined me on Monday afternoon and we had fun decking the tree and living area. I now have a decorated wreath hanging over my fire place and greenery hanging either side of the front door.

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A Winner & some Chat

Thank you to everyone who left a comment on the Wreaths – Stamped & Painted online class launch post a week ago. It was lovely to hear from you. Thank you to all of you who have already registered in the class; I am delighted to have you making wreath cards with me. I used a random number generator to pick a winner from the comments left on last Monday’s post and the winner of a class registration is …

Jo Anna Grimsley

who wrote that she had completed her Christmas cards. YAY! and had never been done this early! Well done Jo Anna, you can now treat yourself with an online class. I will be in touch by email.

On Christmas Cards

I was interested to read that many of you had started Christmas cards, some of you don’t make holiday cards but prefer to send cards throughout the year. Several people make photo cards which I think is a great idea; I love to receive a family photo or scenic photo taken some time during the year. A few of you, like me decided to make Christmas cards throughout the year; I didn’t do that well actually so I have had to ramp up the process lately. Some of you keep it simple with a mass produced design but a few of you departed from that plan this year and have been making quite elaborate cards. Thank you so much for all your comments. I made my list yesterday and counted that I need 80+ cards. I spent the afternoon writing in all the ones that go to Australia; they need to be in the mail first.

On Markers

When I mentioned distress markers being discontinued several people commented on their disappointment with the way distress markers dried out faster than other markers. I have found that to be so with the bullet tip of the distress markers but haven’t noticed it so much with the brush tip which is what I usually use. Although I have Tombow markers I tend to forget them. I used several in the wreaths class and found them to be good as new so they are not drying out while they wait for me to choose them! For a while now I have been using the Staedtler watercolour brushmarkers and they also feature in the new class. I am enjoying them and there is a nice range of colours in the set of 36. I found them at Michaels, and with a coupon the price was not bad. I am going to do some side by side comparisons with markers and will let you know what I find.

On Handmade Books

When I posted about my first handmade book (well, first since making big storybooks with 1st graders) the other day a few of you mentioned the need for yet more supplies. I don’t own any book making supplies but I had a long spike tool from an eyelet hardware set, I think a Stampin’ Up purchase from years ago; I also have a crop-o-dile which can punch holes of a certain size. I had the stiff board backs from paper pads stashed away along with plenty of patterned papers. I had embroidery thread and linen twine which, once I bought the beeswax, worked to sew my book signatures together. I had a metal ruler and utility knife and the bone folder from my scorboard. So you see you might have most of what you need. All I bought was the beeswax and the course which was $10. I’m not receiving any affiliate income from the maker of the course; I just loved it, that’s all!

On Artsy Podcasts

I listen to a lot of podcasts on a range of topics. Over the last year I have added several art podcasts to my line up. I have been a fan of Julie Fei Fan Balzer’s Adventures in Arting podcast for years. She hosts it with her mother and they chat with each other and often have a guest to interview. It covers a whole range of art pursuits and art related topics. If card making is your artistic outlet or you are an Altenew fan you might enjoy Jennifer Rzasa’s podcast Craft Your Life. She also interviews guests and the latest was the wonderful Jennifer McGuire.

Another art themed podcast I thoroughly enjoy is Laura Horn’s Art podcast. She and her photographer husband talk all things art related and include interviews from time to time as well. Every single time I listen I am inspired or motivated. It is worth listening just to enjoy their accents. I have also been encouraged and learnt a lot from Art Juice with Louise Fletcher and Alice Sheridan. They include interviews, chats about the artistic process as well as the business side of things. (again the accents are a bonus). One more recommendation is Izzy & Gina in Stitches. Izzy Moore and Gina Ferrari are machine embroidery artists but their art is not limited to fibre, like me they have a range of artistic pursuits. Their conversations always encourage, inform and amuse. Do you have any art related pocasts you can recommend?

Thank you for your continued interest and support; I will be back with a card video next time. Take care.


Checkered Bookmarks

For a change and because I’ve seen a few beautiful stamped and painted bookmarks lately, I decided to make a few of my own. My preference is always a very flat bookmark. I have had fancier bookmarks over the years with layers and lace but I like the book to close nice and flat over the bookmark. These ones are one layer of hot press watercolour paper without even the raised surface of embossing.

I taped a piece of watercolour paper to my glass mat using washi tape and the grid on the mat to keep the tapes even as they divided the panel into three strips. I blended distress inks through the Darkroom Door small checkered stencil onto the panel, two colours for each strip then blended more ink to fill the spaces. I chose a different theme for each bookmark but used reading quotes from the Darkroom Door ‘Bookworm’ set for each one. (all the stamps and inks are listed below)

After painting over all the images with distress ink I used a black pen to darken the edges and a white gel pen to add highlights and dots.

I am always keen to hear book recommendations so feel free to leave them in the comments. Last time I asked several readers suggested authors who were new to me that I ended up reading and enjoying.

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Big Leafy Hugs

No need to guess where my current inspiration is coming from. I went for three walks last week through the same woods and could see the colours spread over just five days. These leaves are all stamped by one stamp in the Darkroom Door ‘leaves’ set on Fabriano hot pressed watercolour paper. For each impression I inked with a combination of wild honey, old paper and barn door distress inks. After stamping I blended over the image with a pearlescent water mix.

Once I had filled the panel with coloured leaves I stamped over them with the same stamp but just old paper ink which filled the remaining white area with pale leaves. I added more texture with some script, some scratches (both DD background stamps listed below) and some gathered twigs splatter.

Once the panel was dry I sewed around the edges then made a couple of tags featuring a sentiment from the DD ‘warm wishes’ set and a small leaf from the DD ‘leaves’ set. I hope you see some delightful colours outside this week whether they are autumnal or springy!

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Butterfly art journal page

My art journal is a place where I experiment with new techniques and mediums. It’s also a place for taking ideas further after making a card or creating a gel print. For this butterfly themed page I experimented with layering. I don’t find layering easy so it is a good technique to be playing with in my journal. You can’t see all the layers clearly on this page but there are layers of rice paper under gesso as well as on top of it.

Another technique which I am just beginning to play with is sewing on cards and mixed media pieces. Rachel Greig from Darkroom Door is a master at it and provided loads of inspiration during her recent Artful August challenge. I have tried sewing on paper with my precious Pfaff sewing machine but it didn’t like it so a few weeks ago I bought a second hand machine especially for sewing heavy and unusual materials. The machine is an old one but it is very sturdy and hums along beautifully.

I began by tearing up a large gel print done on rice paper. It featured diamonds on one side and stars on the other, both patterns made with large Darkroom Door stencils. The colour scheme was blues, reds and gold. I glued the torn pieces around the edges with gel medium then painted over them with diluted gesso. After the gesso dried I stamped a few butterflies then added more gesso over the top.

I spritzed over the pages with a faded jeans and broken china distress sprays, only enough to add a bit of speckle here and there, not so much as to cover the colour and pattern underneath. I stamped more butterflies from the DD butterflies set in colours similar to those in my gel print patches.

Once the stamping was done I sewed borders around two pieces of gel printed rice paper then glued them on the pages. I stamped, cut out and glued down sentiments from the DD wildflowers vol 1 stamp set.

Oh, and I stamped the DD French script stamp a couple of times on each page in gold to co-ordinate with the gold on the gel prints. Not a ton of layering or sewing but I am learning how to paint over background layers just enough to make them fade but not so much that they disappear. I realise looking at these photos that the gel print on the left looks like a pocket… it’s not but that’s an idea for another page.

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2021 BuJo – September theme

This was not the original plan I had for the September theme; I’d thought instead of doing apples. I sketched a few apples in preparation then realised I would want to have them on all my pages and that would take me half of September. I would then want to colour them in and that would take the other half of the month. I was already late on getting this done so….

…when short on time and want something pretty what do you do? You pull out one of your faves! ‘Nature Walk’ from Darkroom Door is definitely a fave and for a late summer theme it works beautifully.

I began each page design with a masked sun, blended in harvest gold ink. Next I masked either a straight or hilly base and blended fine linen for the background then stamped flowers and grasses in gold, kraft and chartreuse.

Life now includes a few more commitments so I decided to spread the month of September over a few pages with the middle one cut down narrower.

I also have a page for my work commitments, current projects, future projects, etc. The title is my attempt at a mixed up font. There are plenty of examples on the interwebs but I decided to make up this one out of my head. Not too bad for a first try. You would think it would be easy to do every letter a different way but even a mixed up font needs balance!

Hope you are feeling more balanced than mixed up! Have a great week.

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Artful August Home Journal page

The fun and inspiration continues in Rachel Greig’s Artful August challenge. I am so impressed and inspired by what I have seen. Rachel’s own art has been beautiful and unique every single day. As I mentioned in my last post I have not participated every day but I have definitely enjoyed the times I have followed the prompts. Today’s prompt is ‘Home’ and I decided to make an art journal page of a street.

Make sure you read to the end of this post to find out the winner of Summer Giveaway I hosted with the Foiled Fox.

None of these quirky houses look anything like my home but I have had thirteen different homes over the years so I wasn’t going for realism, instead I wanted to create more of a neighbourhood feel. Once again I cut up gel prints to make the houses, trees and flowers. I particularly like the gel print trees. The one on the left was printed with bubble wrap and the one on the right features texture from three different stencils which ended up giving me leaves and a branch to hang a swing on.

I began by masking the top and bottom edges then used blending brushes to fill the sky with blue distress inks and the road with black soot ink. I cut all the shapes by hand not worrying about perspective or scale and glued them on with multi matte medium. Once the glue dried I drew around all the edges and added detail with with a black ultrafine sharpie. I added markings to the road with a white sharpie paint pen.

Thank you to everyone who entered the Summer Giveaway by telling us your favourite summer activity. I enjoyed reading about beach walks, mountain hikes, picnics, porches and time spent with friends. I hope you are all still enjoying those pastimes. Summer is not over yet! Congratulations to Stephanie Clapper, check your email for your gift certificate to the wonderful Foiled Fox online store.

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