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.
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.
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!
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!
I spent a delightful day learning how to use my gelli plate last week. I have had it for years and only used it once or twice so everything my friends showed me was new and exciting.
I was so happy with these feather prints, I couldn’t believe the detail using real feathers. If you want to see how it’s done check out this video on the gelli arts youtube channel.
I did a few with navy and shimmery gold paint as well as some with burgandy and gold. Half of them got sentiments but only small ones as I didn’t want to cover up the lovely detail. I had a MFT sentiment already stamped and die cut which matched the panel below. I haven’t listed or linked any of the paints because I don’t remember what brands I used or colour names. If I continue with my gelli plate (and I’m pretty sure I will!) I will let you know what paints I buy.
My favourite panel is the one at the top of the post which also has the texture of the new ‘diamonds’ stencil from Darkroom Door in the background. As I was learning and experimenting I used computer paper for most prints, not the weight of cardstock I would usually use for panels on my cards. To make sure I didn’t tear or buckle the panels with glue or narrow adhesive I covered the back of all the panels with double sided adhesive sheets.
These last two narrow panels were done on watercolour paper strips. I decided to add sentiments from the new Darkroom Door sentiment strip ‘Sympathy’
Have you used a gelli plate? I love to hear what your favourite techniques are.