Yesterday was coast line, today we are back to the city. I hesitated before sharing these as I am still experimenting with the technique but I think these two panels are good representations of what I am aiming for.
These panels are quite large; they are printed on rice paper from a 12″x18″ pad. My gel plate for these is 12″ x 14″ so it was tight on the edges and sometimes I didn’t get it lined up exactly. With gel printing not getting things lined up exactly is part of the charm in my opinion. I initially bought the rice paper for painting but it was the perfect size for large gel prints so I tried it and liked it.
My technique for both these panels was the same. I began with a two or three colour base layer then every time I printed over the top I lay rectangular pieces of thick magazine paper over sections of the panel to mask ‘buildings’. Some of the rectangles had little squares and rectangles cut out; I used the Waffle Flower ‘color combos’ dies for that.
The tall panel has gold stars in the sky created using the Darkroom Door large ‘stars’ stencil but other than that I didn’t add texture to the layers. I plan to do more of that as I keep experimenting.
My plan wasn’t to make one rather dark and the other light but that is what happened. Both feature gold paint but in the lighter one it has showed up as a sheen in the photograph and distracts a bit from the ‘buildings’.
The process is enjoyable but takes some planning and thinking because any surface that I want to preserve has to be masked on the next and subsequent layers. Sometimes I get it right, sometimes not, but I’m still happy with these abstract cityscapes.
A friend commissioned me to make a ‘vintage’ themed card recently and I happily pulled out a bunch of Darkroom Door stamps to do so. You can see the pocket watch stamp managed to feature three times but the French script, global postmarks, and gerberas also contributed. I stamped, blended and painted with two brown tones of distress ink, two blues and a black. (all the supplies are listed below)
To begin I smooshed some speckled egg and antique linen distress inks on a glass mat, added water swiped the panel through the diluted ink. After that the gerbera background stamp became part of the base layer in speckled egg distress ink. I layered the other stamps over the top in tea dye and antique linen inks and blended some speckled egg ink through the DD diamonds stencil. Of course there is splatter, watermarks and extra blending to darken the edges. To add a dimensional feature I die cut several stems of flowers with the Penny Black ‘shall we dance’ die, some are from watercolour paper, some from tan cardstock and a few from paper painted with salty ocean ink and stamped with the DD gazette stamp.
Almost finished, I added a strand of twine around the base and tied some tiny tags on with stamped PB sentiments on them and some little wooden stars I found. I was pretty happy with all this vintageness but decided to risk some gold paint. I splattered and added it to the tiny stars and heart, the flower centres. Where it worked best though was unevenly painted along the edges of the square panel. You probably can’t even see it clearly but it ended up being one of my favourite parts of the card.
By the way there are yummy new stamps on the Darkroom Door website. You will see them here soon, a few are winging their way here as you read this! Have a great day.
(Compensated affiliate links used when possible)
When I was making knitted panel cards a few weeks back I thought I should create a knitted stocking card at the same time. I also decided to try and make at least one, but hopefully more than one Christmas card each month. Usually I don’t feel like making Christmas cards after Christmas but I’m happy to right now so I made this little stocking and hung it by the chimney with care.
I stamped the Darkroom Door knitting pattern in versafine clair ‘glamorous’ ink, embossed in clear powder then painted over it with festive berries distress ink. I cut out a stocking with one of the Penny Black Christmas Stocking dies. To fill the stocking I cut foliage from watercolour paper using the PB layered wreath set then coloured the die-cuts with festive berries, pine needles and ground espresso distress inks. The stocking needed a bit more trim so I cut out a white cloud shape to and blended some brown ink around the edges.
To create a chimney I used a stencil and a stamp from Darkroom Door, the woodgrain stamp for the mantle and brick wall stencil for the bricks. I worked on hot pressed watercolour paper for both so I could blend distress inks and add watermarks. I stamped the wood with ground espresso archival ink so it wouldn’t blend then painted and blended ground espresso, black soot and rusty hinge distress inks over the top. I blended the same three distress inks through the stencil then spritzed some water over it before lifting the stencil. I blended some of the bricks with a paintbrush and added some black soot splatter.
The mortar around the bricks looked too white so I blended antique linen ink over the whole panel and used some to blend above the mantel too. To finish of the card I added a gold bow and a sentiment from the DD Christmas sentiment strip stamp.
So that’s one Christmas card done so far in 2021! Do you make Christmas cards all year?
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This page is in one of my Fabriano art journals. I’ve mentioned before that I have a love/hate relationship with these journals as the pages are not really meant for watercolour and I always want to do watercolour. I can’t bear to quit though because there are quite a few completed pages in the journals and I want to get to the end.
I began this spread with some inspiration pages open on my Pinterest ‘journal‘ board but no real plan; I was after a look but didn’t have a theme. I rarely use my distress stain sprays as sprays; I usually paint with them but this time I taped the edges of the pages then put the book in my recycle paper box and sprayed with vintage photo, faded jeans and wild honey spray stains. I then sprayed some water but as I mentioned, this paper doesn’t act like watercolour paper so the stains didn’t blend and move.
Next I added some texture with modelling paste through the Darkroom Door diamonds & handwritten script stencils. Once that dried I blended round the edges of the pages with faded jeans, vintage photo, wild honey and black soot distress inks which highlighted the added texture. I was happy with my chosen colours but still didn’t know what the focus should be. I coloured some strips of sheet music and added Darkroom Door ‘plaid’ and ‘sheet music’ stamping here and there.
Initially I wanted to use the pocket watch and the teacups so I stamped them in vintage photo and swiped them through diluted inks to pick up colour as well as adding colour with a paint brush. Once they were painted and cut out I clear embossed the clock face three times with high gloss embossing powder to look like glass and used normal clear embossing powder for the cups.
To brighten up the centre of the double page I ended up spreading white absorbent ground over the strips of sheet music and out towards the edges. Then began the longish process of turning the page into a composition. After much rearranging I realised that the tower of teacups and the pocket watch need a third element so I tried a floral piece then just a single shelf (stamped with DD woodgrain background stamp) and finally realised the ‘book spines’ stamp would probably work again. Honestly I’m not trying to put that stamp in every single journal page. Even with the books it still took a while to balance the layout and come up with some words. I finally decided on ‘one day at a time’ stamped on the shelf with the DD alphabet medley stamps. As Vicky Papaioannou often does on her amazing art journal pages, I finished with both black and white splatter then removed the masking tape before gluing down my elements.
It’s nothing like my initial inspiration photos on Pinterest but it did give me some good practice at adding texture and layers to my art journal, two things I don’t find easy. I only have one of my art journal pages on youtube as there is so much humming and ha-ing as I work out what I want. If I cut out the pondering parts is an art journal page process something you’d like to see in a video?
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Just popping in with a couple of cards carrying a couple of messages for you. I hope your new year is off to a good start; I am still enjoying the beauty of an array of Christmas cards sent from around the world, thank you my creative friends for brightening up the midwinter days.
I made today’s cards from a gel printed panel done several months ago. I can’t remember the paints but you can see there was definitely orange, aqua and black. The panel I cut up is shown below, most of it included distinct or faint stars made with the Darkroom Door small starry night stencil. Along one edge there were two very distinct feather prints made with real feathers.
I ended up cutting a square which included one feather, leaving me one for another project. I also cut a rectangle covered in colour and texture which became the base for die cut letters and stars. I chose gold cardstock and gold embossing powder to add some brightness and shimmer on top of the dark background featuring a ‘scripted bold sentiments’ stamp from Pinkfresh Studio, alphabet dies from MFT and nesting star dies from We R Memory Keepers. I popped up the letters and the stars on black foam which kind of makes them appear to be floating.
I wanted to let you know I am taking a short blogging break so I can devote some time to planning and prep. I will be working on projects to share with you over the coming months. Ideally I would have done this before I stopped for Christmas but that didn’t happen so I’m doing it over the next week or so. I have lovely ideas and projects floating round in my head, I have a little stash of stencils and stamps that haven’t been out of their packets and some new release products from Penny Black on the way.
It has been a while since I devoted time to gel printing, alcohol inks, stenciling and lettering so that’s on the list along with some more hand painting. I will be making some videos to share here on my blog and youtube channel. I have a new online class in the works also. So you see while it’s quiet on the blog it will be busy behind the scenes.
As always I am happy to answer questions and I’m open to requests or suggestions for new projects and videos. If you feel like diving into one of my online classes just click on COLOUR CLUES or WINTER WONDER to learn more. (Here is a discount code for COLOUR CLUES which will take 20% of the price until January 15, 2021 HTNY21 )
So take care everyone, I’m looking forward to sharing techniques and experiments, cards, journal pages, paintings and more here on the blog during 2021. See you soon…
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I’ve dones some more experimenting in my art journal with Darkroom Door stencils and stamps. As with some of my previous pages I finished and wished I done a few things differently but on the whole I was happy with the bright, happy look.
I began by taping the edges of the double page with painter’s tape which helps keep the pages flattish and creates a clean frame for the design. I painted the pages with absorbant ground in case I wanted to do some watercolour techniques then, when it was dry I painted the top of the page with dylusions pure sunshine paint and the bottom of the page with a mix of dylusions lemon zest & blue lagoon.
I blended oxide inks through the new small sun stencil to make sunflowers, the small wildflowers stencil to make stems and extra flowers and the brick stencil to fill in background. I also traced inside the flower stencil with a black gel pen to make the flowers stand out a little more.
Although I worked mainly with stencils I filled the centre of the sunflowers with texture stamps, added extra leaves around the stems with a fern stamp from the ‘leaves’ set and stamped some script along the lower edge of the page. After adding all the different textures to the centre of the sunflowers, I wished I used the ticket one on all the flowers; it really does look the cutest.
I added splatters of black and white gessos over the panel and wrote the words of the ‘Irish Blessing’ along the sunflower stems. It was the line ‘may the sun shine warm upon your face’ that I thought fitted with the page but decided to include the whole blessing.
There is a collection of fabulous new stamps and stencils in the latest Darkroom Door release so pop over and check them out. You will be seeing more of them around here over the next few weeks.
I’ve had oxide inks out on my desk the last few days so I put them to use on a journal page.
I taped the edges of the pages with painter’s tape which gave me a border and held the pages flattish while I worked and painted the page area inside the tape with absorbent ground so I could add water to the inks and move them around a little.
Because the journal pages do not lie flat any more I was only able to pick up sections of ink from my glass mat. To get more coverage I squished ink on a piece of acetate, spritzed it and dragged it across the pages spreading ink as I went.
I added visual texture with two stencils from Darkroom Door then stamped feathers from the DD ‘feathers’ stamp set in black and then in the oxide inks. When it came to doodling on the page I used black and gold gel pens and wrote the verse with the same pens. I finished it off with gold and black splatters then removed the tapes to reveal an uneven but quite artistic border.
This was an unplanned experimental page as many of my pages are. I was inspired mainly by what was on my desk and a desire to doodle some of the design and not just stamp.
I am rather frustrated by the paper in this journal. It is good paper but not made to handle wet media so I am limited in creating the kind of blends and wet into wet designs I love to do. The question is do I persevere and learn some new techniques that don’t rely so much on watercolour (gasp) or do I buy a good watercolour journal?
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.
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.
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.