Echinacea Journal Page

I have echinacea or cone flowers growing happily in my garden and now happily in my almost finished 6″x 6″ art journal. A friend recently gave me a great big dictionary for cutting up so I ripped out the ‘book’ page and the ‘journal’ page and used them to cover the whole double page spread before I did anything else.

There were a few words I didn’t want covered up so when I was ripping then gluing I took care to keep them exposed. The word ‘boomerang’ appeared so I didn’t cover that one up even though it has nothing to do with this journal page. I am an Aussie after all. ‘Bookish, bookmark, bookshelf, bookworm, book-club and bookend are all visible, some of them highlighted. Somewhere in the gluing I lost the word ‘journal’ but ‘journey’ is still there.

I used a black all pencil to darken the edges of the torn pieces and softened it with water. I also added white gesso over the top to mute the background a bit. I should have done those two steps in the opposite order so the gesso didn’t reactivate the pencil. I blended some tea dye or possibly antique linen ink around the edges and then wished I hadn’t, after all I don’t have to vintagefy everything!

I cut the petals, cone, and green bits from different gel prints using a photo I’d printed out to guide me with the shape. After everything was glued down I used black, white and gold gel pens to add details and metallic paints on the cone details as well. I added white and gold splatter and a mix of washi tape and gel print circles dotted around the the place.

Hope you are surrounded by books and flowers…if you like them as much as I do!

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Gardens on gel prints

Another gel print post? Yes indeed, and no apologies. If you have tried gel printing you will know it is a little addictive. Today’s post features cards stamped with Darkroom Door flowers. Some are stamped on clean up sheets, others on gel prints. A clean up sheet is thick drawing paper I keep at the right of my gel plate for rolling excess ink off my brayer. As you can see in the panels above and below I can end up with some very colourful sheets.

I stamped flowers from the DD set’ ‘fine flowers vol 2” and the ‘mesh’ texture stamp in Ciao Bella Oceania ink. The ink is a pigment ink which stamps beautifully on gel prints and dries quickly so I don’t end up smudging it.

This deep red background is also a clean up panel. I am always excited to see landscapes or skies appear in an abstract print or clean up sheet. Those two strips of white added a hint of clouds to a very bold sunset! I stamped the silhouette flowers from the DD set, wildflowers vol 2.

The last two cards are made from gel printed panels not clean up sheets but are very distressed. The print I pulled and cut up to make a couple of garden cards include plenty of distressed texture from a printing session including a little bit of text.

There was some blue in the print so I chose a co-ordinating ink to add the large grassy stamp from the DD ‘nature walk’ set. I’ve said it before it is a favourite set which I reach for again and again. I think I used versafine clair paradise ink.

I was crafting with a friend when I made these two cards and she had a tiny butterfly punch so the card below features a few co-ordinating butterflies. I haven’t seen many butterflies in my garden this year but there have been plenty of bees in the day and fireflies at night.

None of these cards have sentiments on them at this stage, I like to have blank cards on hand to use for any occasion. Thanks for dropping by today; I know it’s been quiet around here lately. I plan to be back soon with more projects and inspiration.

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Die-cut gel print florals

If you are thinking that’s an unusual choice of colours, patterns and textures, you’re right, but it actually makes me quite happy. This is the only layered flower die cut I have of the this type; I don’t generally do layered die cuts. It’s from Penny Black and it appealed to me because of the little buds rather than the complex flower. I know the idea of these dies is to layer in shades of the same colour going from light to dark in the layers. Instead I grabbed one of my gel printing clean up sheets which was covered in black, blue, green, pink, red and purple sections. The texture is from the brayer which I clean off on a thick sheet of paper when I’m gel printing.

In keeping with the combination of colours and texture I decided to go for an unusual background also and attached the flower and buds to a card-base embossed with the a Taylored Expressions chicken wire pattern. I won’t be surprised if you find it a bit odd but I just can’t help reaching for gel prints and this odd scrappy combo makes me smile. By the way, those little black dots in the centre, I added them myself; they aren’t part of the original die.

This second card has a bit more elegance. I used the PB ‘whisper’ die to cut flowers from a gel printed text transfer. The text is from a recipe page in a magazine so you might be able to pick out the word cinnamon if you look closely. The dark mat looks black but is actually dark blue to co-ordinate with the gel print. I’ve used the same die to cut both blooms but used only a portion on the right hand side.

Do you use layered dies? Do you blend the cardstock with inks or pick co-ordinating cardstock? Or perhaps you go for random colour combos like I did!

By the way, Foiled Fox is having a Penny Black sale, so pop over and have a browse.

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Home is… journal page

The shenanigans continue in my Art Journal Adventures workshops. Last month the theme was collage & texture and the range of pages was amazing. We all chose different papers, colours and focal images but followed a similar method to put them together.

For this spread I relied heavily on my growing collection of gel prints. The little cottage picture is from a greeting card and I used it as a starting point when settling on colours. All the papers you can see are gel prints I made except for one kraft scrap down the bottom with text stamped on it. I added gesso as well as texture using modeling paste through the Ciao Bella patchwork stencil.

During each session of the class it was definitely a treat to walk around and be inspired by the ideas coming to life on all the pages. Some participants had their own stash of gel prints to draw from, others used some of mine. It was fun to see my prints pop up on other people’s pages. I loved it!

This week we are working on Tea and Coffee themed pages and next month it will be texture & movement. If you are close by and haven’t tried gel printing, I’m teaching another introductory class on July 9.

The sweet cottage with sheep at the gate looks nothing like my house! I do grow morning glory but that is about the only similarity. Home is definitely where my people are which means I have two homes very far apart. Although very much at home in Canada I claim Australia as home too, how could I not, some of my favourite people are there!

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Distressed Gel Print backgrounds

Last week I taught a couple of gel printing classes and had a blast seeing others fall in love with the process and results. As you might imagine I have many prints now, a big box waiting to be used. I thought I would use a few scrappy patchy prints as backgrounds. Some of these prints are ghost prints where I pick up a patchy layer of paint left on the gel print after a more distinct print has been taken. I also have some patchy distressed looking prints taken from a damaged gel plate. I don’t know how the surface got damaged but I still use it as a place to roll out paint before brayering on the main plate or to clean off excess paint after brayering on the main plate. The little dots you see on today’s prints are from imperfections in the damaged plate.

On the print above you can see not only the specks of black paint from the plate but also the leftover paint from the border of the plate. Most gel printers love being able to pick up some of those colourful leftovers on a future print.

Both the print above and the one below were made from excess paint so there is very little defined pattern but instead some lovely specks, blends and blobs.

I chose to make cards from these prints not just because I wanted distressed backgrounds but also because it shows how even the scrappy, incomplete, messy prints can be worth saving.

The only colour on the background print above was some black. I used rustic wilderness, wild honey and frayed burlap archival inks to stamp flowers and grasses from Darkroom Door sets, nature walk and wildflowers vol 2.

The ghost print above was pulled with rice paper. When I stamped the purple flowers in versafine clair they soaked through the paper and spread to give the image a halo surrounding it. Although it was an interesting effect I switched to archival inks for the rest of my stamping as they sit of the surface and dry quickly.

I used similar colours to stamp flowers from DD sets, tall flowers and art de fleur vol 1 over the purple ghost print.

The print above was by far the busiest one I used so a bright contrasting colour seemed like a good idea. I used thistle, wild honey and faded jeans archival inks to stamp flowers from DD sets, nature walk and wildflowers vol 2. I also added some text with a stamp from the nature walk set

To attach the cards to the neenah card bases I used double sided adhesive sheets. I added some black and white paint splatter and Darkroom Door sentiments.

If you have read right to the end you are a champion. If you are a gel printer I hope you are inspired to use a few of those patchy prints you might otherwise discard. I have been using them in my art journals but it is nice to see them on cards too and it’s not as if I am going to run out anytime soon!

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Green Truck in the City

This little green truck card was made on request, and probably not a focal point I would have come up with myself. The end result however made me very happy and all but the kraft buildings and road sign were cut from gel prints.

I could have cut all the components from coloured cardstock but I chose instead to use gel prints and mixed the green and blue paints on the gel plate in order to match the green of the truck requested. I love the added texture a gel print gives. The sky is very textured because it was printed on my damaged gel plate. I use it mainly as a palette where I mix colours or roll off excess paint. I pull prints off it now and again during a session and the patchy blue and white print made a perfect sky. I don’t have a truck die but I did some mods to a van die-cut and ‘ta-da’ I had a little green truck on its way to graduation!

Would this be a good time to mention there are a couple of spaces left in next Friday’s gel printing workshop?

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Dragonfly on text

All the coloured sections of this pretty dragonfly are inlaid between the outlines of the cream die-cut! Does it look the same as if I had just glued the cream die-cut over the top? Yes, I’m afraid it does. Perhaps if gel print had been on cardstock the same thickness as the dragonfly it might have been more noticeable. Lesson learned.

One branch of my current gel printing obsession is image transfer. In the past I have tried it mainly with high contrast photos of people but it works with text as well so I added interest to this blue, gold and red print with some black magazine text. I notice now as I stare at the screen the random line across the panel makes it look a little like an ocean view.

While I was painstakingly inlayaing every little bit of dragonfly wing I was listening to the audio book version of The Salt Path, a memoir with many references to ocean views, cliffs, weather and unexpected encounters. The author and her husband hiked the South West Coast path in the UK in rather traumatic and totally unexpected circumstances. I found the whole account fascinating and heartrending in places. By the end I had google maps open so I could see where the path was taking them.

Once again the photos don’t show the shimmer of the finished project. The sand coloured foreground is actually gold paint so there is shimmer spreading half way up the panel. Can you see why I love gel printing?

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Pods & Wings

The background of today’s card is another gel print featuring a gorgeous Lavinia stencil called ‘pods’. You can’t see in the photos but in real life there is some shimmer on the print as I used silver paint along with blue, green and white.

Over the print I added a green and a white wreath die cut from Penny Black. It is part of the new ‘soaring’ set which also includes four butterflies. The background called for dragonflies rather than butterflies so I die cut three from the ‘flutters’ set, an oldy but a goodie.

As I spent a chunk of time yesterday listening to Ann Voskamp’s book ‘One Thousand Gifts’, the joy sentiment seemed like a good match for the design.

I was watching a Julie Balzer book club discussion on youtube today as I worked and she mentioned how addictive gel printing is and how if you haven’t tried it you must (48 minute mark)! She called it the one tool that has changed her life! So I will again shamelessly plug my upcoming gel printing workshops and hope you will join me in this addiction!

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Snow & Ice

Although most of the ice is now gone, over the last few weeks I have seen it breaking up on the river near our home. The ice that once covered most of the bay cracks and ends up in layers as it breaks, moves and eventually disappears. When I lifted the print above from my gel plate I immediately thought of the cracking ice. It also reminded me of the colours in glaciers, not usually navy blue but I have seen blues and aquas.

Around the time the ice was breaking and melting this snowflake stamp arrived from Darkroom Door so I stamped it on vellum to overlay the background. I really didn’t want to lose much of the background hence the vellum and then a very narrow navy frame and sentiment.

This gel print delighted me, both the colours and the pattern. That’s the fun of gel printing; you never know quite what you will get. I will be sharing a few more gel prints turned into cards and backgrounds over the next few days. In May I will be teaching a couple of gel printing workshops at Crop A While. I’d love to have you join me in making surprising and intriguing prints.

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Circle Flowers journal page

Last week I spent several happy hours gel printing. One of the prints I completed has ended all over this art journal spread. If you are a gel printer you know you can sometimes pull a couple of prints of the same design. The first one is full of colour and pattern and the second is often called a ghost print as it displays outlines and left over bits of paint.

For this journal page I used both the bold blue and green print and the ghost print. The ghost print can be seen on the top left and bottom right corners and is peeping out in a couple of other places. The first print which was very geometrical has been turned into circle flowers. It also had traces of a new stencil called ‘pods’. You will see more of it here on the blog because it is fabulous!

Also in the background you might see some black ink stamping (DD mesh and alphabet medley) and the texture of paste through the DD ‘checkered stencil. The text you see is a fabric tape with dictionary definitions of happiness; it is the first 49 & Market product I have bought and it is going to be handy!

There is plenty of white gesso over the background to pull it together and mute some of the bold elements.

The flowers are all cut with Penny Black ‘abstract flowers’ dies which basically cut slightly wonky circles so I could have cut them myself but why bother when the machine will do it. The print was on rice paper so I could cut a few layers at once. After drawing an edge on each circle with a silver paint pen I stuck a small circle on a larger one, then sewed a cross in the centre with silver thread. There are stems in the set of dies but I doodled mine with a black marker. The blue splatters and pops of pink are from inktense pencils which are coming in handy for art journalling.

I know that was a lot of photos and chit chat but that is the way with some art journal pages especially the collage ones which involve different papers, paints, stencils, and mediums. I probably haven’t mentioned everything I used but if you are still here now I’m sure you’ve heard enough!

If you are in Ottawa and feel like doing a little art journalling of your own, there are still spaces left in my next Art Journal Adventure workshop where we will be creating a watercolour green and leafy spread similar to what you see below. All the details are on the Crop A While website.

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