Ferns & friendship

It is a long time since I had my gel plate out for monoprinting; I’m definitely keen, but for the last few months my time has been taken up by an exciting new project I’ll be sharing with you soon. I decided to go through prints from previous gel print adventures to make a few cards with Darkroom Door stamps.

Most often I use acrylic paints on my gel plate but to make this natural coloured background I used water colour powders. I can’t remember which paint colours I used, possibly only one like sandstone which can give a range of browny orange tones. To turn the monoprints into cards I used stamps from DD sets ‘leaves’, ‘butterflies’ and ‘global postmarks’. I also used the small ‘mesh’ texture stamp.

I stamped in ‘vintage sepia’ versafine ink, brushed corduroy and rusty hinge distress inks. Initially I stamped the sentiments from the ‘friendship’ sentiment strips on watercolour paper scraps but they looked too stark and clean so I splattered and swiped some ink on them so they blended into the background a bit more.

I also added some linen thread which worked with the natural tones and the postal images. I popped up the panels with a couple of cardstock layers on white luxe textured card bases.

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Warm wishes circle

I am hanging out on the Foiled Fox blog today sharing a Darkroom Door project. I’m pretty happy to tell you Foiled Fox is carrying some Darkroom Door stamps now. I’m always happy when my favourite products come to my favourite stores! Today’s card features the DD ‘warm wishes’ set with it’s pretty clover flowers and sweet sentiments.

Before stamping I traced a circle on a piece of hot pressed watercolour paper then painted masking fluid around the edge of the circle to mask off the area inside. I also splattered some dots of masking fluid inside the circle. I used two distress inks to paint the background starting by smooshing the inks on my glass mat and adding a little water so I had a diluted ink to pick up with my paintbrush. I painted broken china ink on the top section of the  circle and bundled sage on the bottom blending them together a little while keeping the centre of the circle lighter than the edges. Once the background was dry I placed the panel in my misti so I could stamp the flowers multiple times if necessary. The flower heads are a mix of worn lipstick and spiced marmalade distress inks and the stems are stamped in forest moss distress ink.

I splattered a few water droplets over the finished panel and dabbed them away with a paper towel to leave watermarks. With all the stamping and painting complete I removed the masking fluid (so satisfying) and popped up the panel on a piece of foam before attaching to a luxe white textured card base. Make sure you pop over to the Foiled Fox blog and store today to see the other Darkroom Door products in stock.

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Masked Wildflowers Video

I have a simple design for you today and I turned on the camera while I was doing it. It’s probably something you have tried before but might be new to a few readers. I used washi tape to mask off a frame on a one layer hot pressed watercolour card base then created a watercolour background with distress inks and salt.

The stamps are some of my favourite silhouette stamps from the Darkroom Door ‘wildflowers vol 1’ set with a sentiment from a recent set ‘warm wishes’.

It was fun creating a one layer card again; some of you will remember when I was part of the ‘One Layer Wednesday’ challenge and ‘One Layer Simplicity’ challenge a few years back.

Let me know if you try this technique, I’d love to hear or see what you came up with.

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Virtual Coffee

I posted a coffee themed card using the Darkroom Door ‘coffee time’ set recently which prompted a request for a pack of coffee themed cards. These ones are on their way to Australia, and were made with the addition of the word ‘virtual’ because, well, you know why. I rarely do multiples and when I do they are never exactly the same. This time I did four of one colour scheme with the cup and saucer stamp from Darkroom Door’s ‘coffee time’ set and then four more in a different colour scheme a little more like my original coffee card featuring the take out cup from the same set.

The nice thing about making multiples is starting with a large panel to create the background. I used hot pressed watercolour paper for both sets and splattered masking fluid over the panel first. I like the addition of some random white spots and shapes from a masking fluid splatter but often I wish I’d done more when I remove it from the finished project. To create the cards above I smooshed ground espresso, salty ocean and crushed olive distress inks on my glass mat. I spritzed water over the inks until they were spread over a large area then placed the watercolour panel over the top and moved it around to soak up random coloured patterns. When I turned the panel over there were blotches of each colour along with blends and blank areas. I did some further spritzing and picking up of colour until I was satisfied with the coverage. Once the panel was dry I cut it into four pieces and used both the DD handwritten script and brick wall stencils to add pattern in the same three distress inks. I used blending brushes to apply the ink which gave me soft blends that faded away into nothing at the edges.

Next I add coffee cups and coffee stains in ground espresso ink. I blended ink inside the cup on some panels but on others I added more ink outside the cup to darken the negative space. It is hard to describe my process with the cups as I did each one differently and kept playing with the three inks until I was happy with the results. On a couple of the panels I added a partial print of the world map stamp. With all the artsy stuff done I just needed to add the ‘virtual coffee’ label. The word ‘coffee’ is part of one of the word stamps from the set so I masked, stamped and embossed then wrote the word ‘virtual’ above and embossed that. I was interested to see I could write the words with a papermate flair pen and then if I covered it with clear embossing powder straight away I could get the shiny embossed effect. I do have clear embossing pens but it is impossible to see what I’ve written with a clear pen!

I also did four more cards with the takeaway cup stamp using much the same technique and a peeled paint/scattered straw/dusty concord colour scheme. I added a few stamped coffee beans to these ones; the ‘coffee time’ set is a very cool collection of stamps.

Thanks for joining me for ‘virtual coffee’ today. I hope your week is off to a good start.

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Coffee with a friend

Are you missing the coffee shops? I’m sure you are missing your friends and perhaps you are missing coffee with friends. This one is for a friend of mine who loves her coffee!

I began with a piece of hot pressed watercolour paper and splattered a few drops of masking fluid over the whole thing. Once the masking fluid was dry I sprinkled sandstone brusho on my glass mat, spritzed the brusho with water and swiped this panel through it. It took a few swipes before I had an orange and brown abstract background. I added some dark brown brusho on one side and spritzed that to make it blend and spread a bit. Once I’d dried that I blended through the new Darkroom Door ‘handwritten script’ stencil with rusty hinge oxide ink.

At this point the panel was very much just an abstract background so I stamped the cup from DD ‘coffee time’ in gathered twigs distress ink and blended the stamping with some water and extra ink. The set also has a coffee cup stain stamp so I added that here and there, spritzing it to make it blurry. I stamped some postmarks from the ‘global postmarks’ set because I can’t help myself.

Unfortunately the coffee cup did not stand out enough from the background and the background itself looked incomplete. DD world map stamp and blueprint sketch distress ink came to the rescue. I stamped the world map several times on the panel in gathered twigs ink and then, to break up the orange and brown monopoly, I added some blueprint sketch ink in just a few places. I found some blue cardstock that matched the blue and stamped ‘friendship’ and ‘you’re the best’ from the DD ‘friendship’ strip of sentiments to finish the card. Oh, and I added a thin strip of brown cardstock separating the blue from the patterned panel.

I’m glad I didn’t give up on this panel; it is just the thing for my friend who I will enjoy a coffee with again one day.

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Classic motorcycle

Recently I posted a classic car card and both my brother and father responded that it was time for a classic motorcycle card. It is my dad’s birthday tomorrow so here is a motorcycle themed birthday card. Unfortunately it won’t arrive in his mail box anytime soon but we will chat via the interwebs. Happy Birthday, Dad!

To create the card I pulled out the distress oxide inks; I haven’t used them lately and had forgotten the cool effects I can get when I layer them. I started by smooshing three colours on my glass mat then spritzing them with water. The three inks were dusty concord, frayed burlap and fossilized amber. The dusty concord looks more pink than purple when it’s wet, the amber gives a nice bright pop of colour and the burlap is a neutral that works with both. Before I swiped my watercolour panel through the spritzed ink I had splattered some masking fluid on it and let that dry. The little white spots here and there on the finished card are the results of using masking fluid before adding any ink. I know they are a subtle effect but I like the contrast of a few white spots.

I ended up swiping the panel through the inks several times, letting it dry between swipes so the colours would layer rather than turn to mud. Once all the layering was finished I used the new Darkroom Door small brick wall stencil to blend some bricks over the panel with frayed burlap and fossilized amber inks. I stamped the motorcycle from DD ‘classic motorcycles’ set in versafine clair nocturne then added some collage numbers and letters using stamps from  DD ‘alphabet medley’ and ‘number medley’ sets in black soot and dusty concord oxide ink.

I stamped and embossed sentiments from both ‘happy birthday’ and ‘classic cars vol 1’ and die cut them so I could pop them up down the side of the card. The embossing powder is Ranger ‘weathered wood’ to fit with the slightly grungy style of the card.

I have no idea what kind of motorcycle this is but maybe my brother can fill me in on that. About six months ago he became a Harley owner; that’s him and his lovely wife out for their first ride on the new bike. It is certainly not his first bike so maybe he will recognise some distinctive feature of the one on my card.

Thank you for getting in touch on my last post about online church and hope at this time of isolation. I am happy to hear it was an encouragement to so many of you.

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Classic car

I have some mixed media goodness for you today. I know it’s pretty flat and doesn’t involve any fibres or other funky textured things but it is mixed media and currently my favourite mixed media option – gel printing. I spent a day with a friend a few weeks ago, and we printed up a storm on our gel presses. This is one of my backgrounds patterned with Darkroom Door stencils then stamped with DD stamps.

The textures in the background were made with the DD small stars stencil, diamond stencil and some corrugated cardboard. This background was cut from a bigger panel and I chose a section that had a pop of yellow in the corner; it’s only a small thing but it provides some contrast and leads the eye from left to right.

Once I’d trimmed my panel I stamped one of the cars from ‘classic cars vol 1’ in versamark ink and embossed in white. The background is so busy I needed to do something to make the car stand out a bit more so I coloured it with a white pencil which softened the area inside the stamped car just enough to make a difference. I added numbers from the new ‘number medley’ set in black so they would subtle but noticeable. The sentiment also from ‘classic cars’ set is embossed on a strip of the gel print then matted in white and popped up on some foam tape.

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Butterfly mail

I started today’s card by creating a colourful watery background with distress stains smooshed on my glass mat. ( I am still using up my distress stain daubers but the spray stains will work just as well). I let the panel dry then added some water droplets which sat for thirty seconds before I dabbed them off with a paper towel to create pale watermarks.

To create the collage like background I inked Darkroom Door stamps with both distress stains and distress inks (salty ocean, mustard seed, crushed olive, broken china and hickory smoke). Some stamps I inked then spritzed with water, others I stamped then spritzed the panel with water and dabbed away colour with a paper towel. To create the collage background I used the new sets ‘global postmarks’ and number medley along with ‘French script’ background stamp. The butterfly stamp is from the ‘wings’ set and was stamped three times. I didn’t re-ink between impressions but I did spritz with water so each butterfly is paler than the previous one.

I swiped some of the same inks onto a scrap of watercolour paper before stamping the sentiment from the ‘warm wishes’ set and popping it up decorated with a bit of mustard cord.

Darkroom Door has some beautiful collage stamps but if you want to make your own collage prints then the recent global postmarks and number medley are perfect. Make sure you check out the rest of the latest release and all the inspiration on the blog.

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Global Postmarks et al

The new Darkroom Door global postmarks set features on today’s cards, and if you look closely you can see I chose several Australian postmarks but there are different shapes and sizes from all over the world. It is a very cool set and once again these cards have made me want to create an art journal page.

I’ve had my gel press out after quite a break and I’m hooked again. In any one session I always end up with some duds and some winners but the more I print, the more I like what I;m printing. One of the lessons I learnt in my latest session was the beauty of restricting my paint colours. You would think I would know that by now considering how often I restrict myself to a limited palette when watercolouring.

The prints I turned into today’s cards were made with a turquoise, dark blue, gold, beige and purple palette. The first card was just beige, gold, turquoise and a bit of dark blue left on the gel press from the previous print. To create patterns in the print I used Darkroom Door stencils and stamps.

I won’t go into my gel printing process because there are videos aplenty that will show you. I brayered acrylic paints onto the press and used the new ‘brick wall’ stencil along with the diamonds and starry night stencils. I also pressed the mesh background stamp and the wavy line postmark stamp into the paint before pulling a print.

After pulling the prints I used black archival and black versafine clair inks to stamp the flowers, sentiments and dragonfly. I stamped several of the global postmark stamps in mermaid lagoon archival ink and tiny numbers from the new ‘number medley’ set lightly in black.

The flowers on the square card are from DD ‘tall flowers’ and are stamped in nocturne versafine clair then embossed in clear powder. The black stamping on the larger card is black soot archival ink. I tried popping up the sentiments from the ‘warm wishes’ set but it didn’t look right, the beauty of a monoprint is that it looks like it has depth and texture even though it is a single layer.

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Clover journal page

Are you wondering if I’m repeating myself? Didn’t I post this a few days ago? Indeed, I posted something similar on Monday, a card featuring the new ‘warm wishes’ set from Darkroom Door. At the end of the post I mentioned that I’d like to transform the design into a journal page…so I did!

I kept my colour scheme with the addition of more green and added a few extra stamp images and a bit of texture. I used a Fabriano ‘Venezia’ art journal, with drawing paper not watercolour paper. The weight of the paper is decent but if I’m going to be spritzing and adding water and ink I paint a layer of absorbant ground on both pages first.

I began by inking up the clover stamps with worn lipstick, aged mahogany and peeled paint markers, spritzed them so the ink started blending on the stamp then stamped randomly across the pages. I spritzed the images lightly so the ink moved and softened and also dabbed colour and water away with a paper towel. I inked the number/account book stamp from ‘number medley’ set with stormy sky distress stain and stamped it randomly around the pages. After stamping I spritzed the images so the ink spread, diluted and ran across the page. I dabbed some of it dry but left other bits to make watermarks. I also splattered the stain around with a paintbrush. Once the first layer of stamping was dry I switched to stormy sky distress ink and a blending brush to add colour to all the page edges. Also on the dry page I added a bit of texture by applying modeling paste through the DD stencil, ‘crackle’. The crackle was not very obvious but showed up a bit more after I added more stamping.

At this point I considered the background complete and started on the more distinct stamping. As I was working in the journal I couldn’t place it in the MISTI so I placed my ‘staytion’ magnetic board under the left hand page and added some acrylic blocks underneath the board to balance the left side of the journal with the right. I used an acrylic block to stamp all the clover and positioned a stampa-ma-jig against the block a couple of times just in case I didn’t have a complete image. I was able to do touch ups with a paintbrush and extra ink if the stamping was too pale.

I wanted some clover-ish leaves to stamp around the flowers so I grabbed a stamp from the DD ‘wildflowers vol 2’ and stamped foliage all around in peeled paint and forest moss inks. I added some green splatter too because journal pages always need splatter! At this point I was almost finished but I wanted a little more blue on the page. Rather than add more of the number stamp I used a very delicate floral stamp from ‘nature walk’ in faded jeans archival ink so I would have fine detailed lines that wouldn’t blend or blur. To balance mass of colour at the base of the pages I added more blue across the top edges. The blending brush was going to take too long so I swiped the ink pad over the edges and some water droplets also.

My journal is nowhere near full but it has become bulky with uneven pages because some have been glued to each other, others have been collaged. When I started the journal I glued pages together for sturdiness because that was what Vicky Papaioannou did and Vicky is an art journal wizard! She doesn’t always do that any more and neither do I because some of the pages just don’t want to be joined to each other, it makes it difficult to open them or flatten them. If you are an art journaller I would love to know if you prep your pages in some way so they can take a bit of water and liquid ink.

 

I hope you enjoyed seeing how a card inspired a double page spread; I definitely enjoyed working on the large scale with less pressure to keep things neat and contained!

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