Stencils & watercolour

Some recent art from Kathy Racoosin inspired me to use my stencils a little differently. I used four stencils from Darkroom Door and my ever useful distress inks.

All these cards are one layer; I often attach a one layer panel to a card base and keep the layers minimal that way but this time I cut card bases from cold pressed watercolour paper and did all the stenciling and painting on directly on the card base. I taped the stencil to the card base using the grid on my glass mat to make sure the stencil sides and card sides were parallel. I used a large blending brush to transfer antique linen to the watercolour paper. Whatever ink you use through your stencil will lend some colour to the final images as it will mix with the ink painted on later.

On the twelve square background I painted peeled paint and pine needles ink using the blended antique linen as my guide. On the card below I used wilted violet, abandoned coral and blueprint sketch inks to fill the six blended squares.

After both cards had dried I used a stamp positioner to stamp the flowers in versafine clair nocturne ink. There is texture in the cold pressed watercolour bases so I stamped and restamped a few times. After stamping a couple of sentiments also from Darkroom Door I embossed all the stamping with clear powder. (I’ve listed and linked all the stamp sets and stencils at the end of this post.) I used one or two of the same distress inks  to stamp matching envelopes.

For the next two cards I used the same ‘blend then paint’ method. Once again I blended antique linen ink through the stencil then for the ferns painted a section at a time switching between cracked pistachio, peeled paint and pine needles inks.

I smooshed the ink pads on my glass mat and added a little gold shimmer with a few drops of Ken Oliver’s ‘yellow gold’ liquid metals. The shimmer isn’t very obvious in the photos but in real life it adds a little pizazz!

On the cone flowers I also added shimmer and used peeled paint for the stem, and fossilized amber with abandoned coral for the flower and petals.

Techniques like this make me take a second look at my stencils. I want to try it with a different base colour next time. Take a look at Kathy’s video to see her step by step technique.

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Pinecones & joy

The pine needles and pine cone stamps I used for this card are from Darkroom Door and I love how realistic they are. The stamps are quite large and there are several sizes and shapes of cones which makes for lovely feature images and fillers as well. I used one pine cone stamp but two of the pine needle stamps and worked on hot pressed watercolour paper which had been splattered with masking fluid. If you look at the close up below you can see large white dots as well as tiny ones; they’re all made by the masking fluid.

I stamped the pine cone three times using a stamp positioner and four different brown distress inks. A spritz of water started the browns blending and I did a little blending with a paint brush as well.

I stamped the green pine needles with forest moss and evergreen bough distress inks and the fine needles in the background with iced spruce. I added some green splatter then some gold splatter using one of the gansai tambi starry colours. I used the ‘jumbo joy’ die from Penny Black to cut out the word joy from the stamped panel and cut three layers from shimmer gold cardstock as well so I could stack them up just a little offset so the gold peeps out on the side.

I stamped the rest of the Christmas carol lyric using a stamp from Ink to Paper’s ‘season of joy’ set and some gold embossing powder. The overall pattern may be a little messy but it reminds me of what I see if I look up into the branches of the very messy pine tree in my front yard, which is currently covered with snow but not gold splatter!

I have been blessed to receive some beautiful handmade Christmas cards in the mail this week and I am enjoying them on my window ledge. I hate to say it but as yet I have not sent a single one! As I’ve said before there are twelve days of Christmas so I haven’t run out of time yet!

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Time for tea

I love this little stack of teacups from Darkroom Door. I have some pretty teacups that belonged to my Nanna, some from my Grandma and some from my mother. I don’t often use them because I like a much bigger cup of tea but I love having them. There are intricate details on the cups on this stamp but I have chosen not to colour the patterns individually, instead colouring each cup a different colour. I kept my colour scheme muted sticking with inks I have been using to stamp forests and trees lately.

I used a stamp positioner so I could ink one cup at a time. I kept a wet cloth handy to wipe off any ink that ended up on the adjacent cups. after stamping I blended the stamping with a damp brush to gently spread ink into the cup but not dilute the pretty patterns.

The stamp has its own frame so I trimmed with scissors right next to the frame and ran a peeled paint marker along the edge to make sure it was all inked. I chose my sentiment from another DD tea themed set, ‘Cup of tea” and cut it out with a PB tag die. I had hemp twine which exactly matched so I added a little bow to the tag. The stamped panel is popped up on adhesive backed foam on a textured cardbase.

Hope you have time for tea today, unless of course you are all about the coffee, but that’s a card for another day!

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Gerberas

This pretty bunch of gerberas is one of the newest stamps from Darkroom Door. I would have shown it to you sooner but it arrived from Australia two days after I left to go to Australia! The inspiration for this colour scheme once again came from a simple web search. A photo popped up with pink, red, apricot and orange gerberas massed together. So that’s what I did.

I stamped in black ink and embossed in clear powder on hot pressed watercolour paper then used zig clean color real brush markers for colouring. I started each flower by colouring around the centre with the marker then blended out the colour with a brush and water. I was able to add more with the markers as needed. To give the flowers even more pizaazz I gave them all a layer of clear wink of stella. (the red and pink ones then got a coat of micro glaze because I kept touching them and getting pink and red stains on things that were not meant to be pink or red!) I wanted to mount the flowers on a background but didn’t want it to fight with the focal panel. The DD mesh stamp worked beautifully and reminds me of the decorative mesh that is sometimes wrapped around cut flowers.

I stamped a sentiment from the large DD ‘thank you’ set and threaded some sparkly black thread through the tag and round the panel. A friend gave me a stash of metallic threads recently and they are coming in handy for a little subtle sparkle.

For the second card I went with a more country style look. All the gerberas feature the same fossilized amber, vintage photo and rusty hinge colour scheme with the two brown inks used also to create a background. I stamped the whole gerbera stamp in fossilized amber  distress ink first then inked the centres in rusty hinge. I blended each petal with water and did the same with the centres then inked one side of the flower centres in vintage photo to add some dimension.

I tried a woodgrain background but it was too dark. By choosing to stamp the ‘thank you’ sentiment strip several times more of the cream background showed through. I inked the sentiment strip in vintage photo and rusty hinge distress inks and spritzed it lightly before each print. The result was blended and sometimes smudgy words. I gave both the flower panel and the background the splatter treatment then popped the gerberas up on a foam rectangle.

Gerberas are pretty classy flowers I think, they always seem to stand out in a bouquet.

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Lake Wanaka

I have been creating with the new ‘Lake Wanaka‘ stamp from Darkroom Door. When I first saw this stamp I searched ‘Lake Wanaka tree’ and up came a range of inspiring images. Then I waited for the stamp to arrive so I could try to recreate some of the seasonal shots of this lake and tree in New Zealand.

For this first summer scene I worked with a hot pressed watercolour panel in my stamp positioner because I knew I was going to add inks step by step. I started by inking the lower (lake) portion of the stamp with stormy sky distress ink and the top portion of the stamp with tea dye distress ink. Next I worked with  forest moss marker and ground espresso distress markers to add colour to the tree. This took a little while as the tree is made up of fine detail so I was only transferring a little ink at a time. Once the tree was defined I painted the lake with stormy sky and weathered wood ink. (smooshed onto my glass mat – I know you’ve probably got that step by now!) I switched to earth tones to paint the mountains and followed some of the definition of the stamp with rusty hinge, frayed burlap, vintage photo and tea dye inks. I painted a little stand of trees in the left corner with forest moss ink and added some reflections in the water. Once the mountains were dry I painted the sky with weathered wood, stormy sky and faded jeans ink.

For the sunset look below I used did less painting and worked with a base of one colour ink. I used faded jeans archival ink to stamp the whole image then painted more faded jeans distress ink into the shadows of the mountains, black soot ink over the foreground hills and faded jeans and spun sugar inks over the lake.

I used forest moss and ground espresso markers to ink the tree and stamp over the initial print and painted over the trunk also with ground espresso ink to make it bolder against the background. The sky is a mix of worn lipstick and spun sugar inks.

I decided to make a co-ordinating background panel by painting some worn lipstick, spun sugar and faded jeans distress stains onto my glass mat then swiping a piece of watercolour paper through it. I popped my stamped panel up on some dimensional tape.

My autumn Lake Wanaka panel features the main tree and stand of trees in fossilized amber ink. I inked most of the stamp with a stormy sky marker but avoided the tree so I could use a fossilized amber marker to ink the foliage. I wanted to leave snow on the mountain tops so I did very little to that area but painted stormy sky and chipped sapphire shadows further down the mountains. Once again I painted the foothills in black soot ink. I used diluted stormy sky ink for the lake and chipped sapphire for a bold sky. When I was stamping the tree I spritzed the stamp to help the fossilized amber ink spread further.

I finished the card off with white and navy mats and a little sentiment strip. I think you can probably guess why the sentiment is positioned right there. You’ve done the same I’m sure to cover a little bit that didn’t go the way you wanted it to!

Thank you for joining me today. I hope to be back before too long with more Lake Wanaka interpretations. Make sure you visit the Darkroom Door blog to see other creations featuring this stamp.

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Ocean escape

I have another scenic card to share featuring the new PB stamp ‘Escape‘. As you can imagine I was very happy to see these scenic stamps in the recent Penny Black release; I love to stamp and paint scenes. It does help to have a technique that enables you to work on the background separately from the foreground. I have used the same technique in the two cards already shared, plus this card and two more to come. It is very similar to a technique Jill Foster often uses and had demonstrated in numerous videos. I use a stamp positioner, I work on the foreground and middle ground images such as trees, grass, and canoes first and when they are completed I emboss over them with clear powder so I can paint the remaining spaces, usually sky, sea, sand or snow with inks or watercolour paints.

Once I am back in my workroom and reunited with my supplies I will try other techniques but I am happy with the way these scenes have worked out. For this particular card I worked on hot pressed watercolour paper and inked the grass and tree foliage with old paper distress ink then stamped. To build up depth and variety I added extra applications of old paper ink to the tree foliage and wild honey ink to the grass and scrubby areas. For the rocky outcrop and tree trunk and branches I used gathered twigs, rusty hinge and ground espresso inks and markers.  The stamp includes a narrow line along the horizon which I inked with a stormy sky marker. Once all the stamping was done and dry I inked the whole stamp with versamark and embossed in clear. This step ‘seals’ the previous coloured stamping enabling me to paint or blend over the images without affecting the colours at all.

I painted the sky after adding masking tape along the horizon to protect the sea and land area. I wet the whole sky then painted salty ocean around the edges and scattered straw and wild honey ink in the centre. While the ink was still wet I blotted some colour out with a paper towel or thirsty brush to leave the bright, white sun. Once the sky dried I moved the masking tape an painted the sea in a mix of stormy sky and salty ocean ink then dropped a little wild honey ink under the ‘sun’. To finish I smooshed the tea dye and rusty hinge inks onto my glass mat so I could mix some sand colours to paint the ground. The stamp from ‘destination sentiments‘ set fitted the scene so I added it with ranger archival ground espresso ink.

I took a few photos of a ‘Bonny Hills’ sunrise last week when visiting my brother and sister-in-law so I’ll leave you with one of those. My sister-in-law gets up every morning and takes the dog for a walk on the beach before she goes to work or starts her day. Two mornings I was there I slept way past sunrise and she showed me her beautiful photos later (kind but cruel!) Another morning I woke up ready to go and it was raining. The final morning I was there I joined her for her walk and enjoyed a lovely sunrise.

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Stamps: Escape (PB), Destination sentiments (PB)


Carved flower sunset

I tried out a few new products yesterday and ended up with these two cards featuring the Darkroom Door carved flower set. I coloured both cards with distress oxide inks. For this first one I smushed the oxide inks on my glass mat, added some water then painted a graduated wash going from yellow to brown. Oxide inks are designed to react with water so the diluted wash I painted on the card had a muted looked to it when it dried. I wanted to add a pale sun and some stenciled diamonds so I used my new ‘Wendy Vecchi Stay-tion’. It is a magnetic surface which is well suited to stenciling. There are four magnets to hold the stencil firmly over the paper while adding a medium through the stencil. I used it first to hold the DD circle stencil over the panel while I diluted the exposed circle with water and dabbed colour away with a paper towel. I then used the magnets and board to hold the diamond stencil while I sponged some oxide ink onto the background. I splattered some water over the panel then stamped the carved flowers and carved leaves in black archival ink.

Instead of painting a wash with diluted oxide ink for the second card I blended oxide inks over the whole panel which I had added a circle mask to before I started. Once again I used the magnets and board to keep the panel in place while I blended the inks and while I dabbed out some colour through the diamond stencil. Even though the two cards look similar the techniques were a bit different; you can see the oxide ink applied with a blending brush is smoother than the painted panel. Oxides really do blend well. I used the make up blending brushes my children gave me for mothers’ day. They are not life changing but they did do a very good job 😉

Once again I stamped carved flowers and wildflowers in jet black archival ink using the misti.

In keeping with the solid black flowers I chose to emboss sentiments on black cardstock in rose gold powder hoping it would look a bit coppery like the sunset. It did. The sentiments are from the DD ‘thank you’ sentiment strip stamped then cut out with the Avery Elle sentiment strip dies and popped up on black foam tape. The black tape is handy when the card base or element needing the tape is black or a dark colour.

It was my first time trying the Wendy Vecchi ‘stay-tion’ and I found it very useful. The magnets held the stencils and paper in place and it cleaned up easily. I am sure I will be using it often.

Don’t forget to check out the ‘Color Trio Challenge’ I am hosting with the Foiled Fox. I would love to see your three colour cards and give you the chance to win a shopping spree at the Foiled Fox store!

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