Grape Hyacinths

My garden seems to have lost its grape hyacinths; I used to have quite a few that would pop up year after year but I only saw a couple this year.

We had three days above 30°C last week so there is plenty happening in the garden. The crab apple is blossoming and the last of the daffodils are hanging on. I bought some annuals and started filling pots yesterday.

The stamp featured is from the Darkroom Door set ‘fine flowers vol 2’ designed by Godelieve Tjiskens. I inked the petals with seedless preserves and blueprint sketch distress inks then blended with water after stamping. The stems are rustic wilderness distress and the sentiment rustic wilderness archival.

Hope you are enjoying some colour in the world around you; perhaps you’re seeing warm tones if you are in the southern hemisphere.

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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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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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Brilliant

It seems that Penny Black always includes a poppy or two in a spring release. This large stamp is called ‘brilliant’ and I think the mix of flowers, leaves and seed heads is just lovely. I chose to do no-line watercolour with soft stone ink and peerless paints.

I stamped the large image in Papertrey Ink ‘soft stone’ then worked with rose red, mountain green, golden yellow and warm sepia peerless paints. If you haven’t heard of Peerless Watercolour paints take a look at the video I made about them a few years back.

I wondered about adding background pattern or blended ink but left it clean except for the simple ‘vintage touch’ die-cut. The vintage touch set has two fancy banners as well as two dies that cut negative space banner patterns. I finished off the centre of the poppy with a black marker.

I am still undecided about the lack of background and sentiment; what do you think?

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Blue flowers on red gel print

Here is another of my gel prints from last week. When I sit down to write my process for you I get a little confused as to the order I did things. With gel printing you need to do the top layer of the final print first on the plate then layer the background over the top. I don’t list the paints I use for my prints because I end up with many paints over my work surface during a printing session of several different brands. If you are wondering about paints for gel printing, use any acrylics you have and see what you like best.

I imagine I brayered blue paint on the plate first, then pressed the fiddly flower die cuts into the paint, took a print to remove all but the outlines of blue then brayered the orange and red over that. I added texture to the red layer and took the final print, I think. The grid print you see was made by pressing a textured piece of cardstock into the paint on the gel plate. I guess I need to video my process for myself as well as to share with you!

The blue prints were not as distinct as I had hoped; I’ll keep working on that. I do like the shadow flowers though and when I found an outline flower die from Penny Black I stacked two blue layers and added it over the shadows. I like its grunginess, bold colours, shadow flowers and grid texture. And those two odd white dots were made as old paint peeled off the plate. Gel printing is full of delightful surprises.

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Gel printing & a new crafty crush

I had a couple of opportunities to gel print last week and it was, as always, most enjoyable. The prints did not all work out but I have a couple that made me very happy.

Now would be the time to tell you I have a new crafty crush! Not a crafter, a craft company. I have fallen for the beautiful stamps, stencils and papers from Ciao Bella. The stencil I used to create today’s prints is called ‘patchwork’. I bought it because it features eleven different patterns that will be good for adding texture to art journal pages. I had no idea how beautiful it would look when I printed it as a whole! (Both Crop A While and Ecstasy Crafts carry Ciao Bella products; if you shop from Ecstasy make sure you use my link to get there and the discount code heathertecs10 for a 10% discount at checkout.)

I brayered some blues and browns on my gel plate then placed the stencil over the top followed by a piece of paper so I could remove some of the paint. When the first layer was dry I brayered a layer of white over the top and pulled the print. This is only a small section of the stencil but it was the best part of the print. I used adhesive sheets to attach it to the card base then added three Penny Black ‘tall flowers’ die cuts.

I used browns and black for the base of this print then light browns and white for the second layer before pulling the print. (yes I will do a video sometime soon)

The sentiment is from the Darkroom Door ‘long distance’ sentiment stamp.

I have no immediate use for many of the prints but they will go in my collage collection for now because they might come in handy for art journalling.

I taught the first Art Journal Adventure workshop on Saturday and enjoyed it so much. The workshop was held at Crop A While; there are spaces in the Friday workshop this week, March 4, and the Saturday March 12 workshop.

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Alcohol Ink + Stencil

This card was inspired by the wonder and wizardry of my friend Ardyth who just happened to be the Featured Stamper on SplitcoastStampers yesterday. Ardyth has been doing quite a few alcohol ink techniques lately and I have been loving them while waiting for an opportunity to get my own inks out again. Take a look at Ardyth’s videos here and here for inspiration and instructions.

When I pulled out the inks and the substrates I found several panels from another session. The panels hadn’t inspired me enough to make them into cards when I first made them so I decided to work over the top of them. The panel for this card is Grafix white craft plastic and was originally covered in blue patterns, you can see a little remaining in the top right corner.

I lay the Paper Rose Studio ‘little swirls’ stencil on top of the panel and sprinkled ginger, pesto and sunshine alcohol inks over the stencil along with some rubbing alcohol to move the inks a little further. I was impatient so I pulled up one corner to check on the pattern before the inks dried. That is why the top left corner does not have distinct detail like the lower right. Once dry I removed the stencil and was left with this amazing pattern. Thank you for all the inspiration Ardyth!

Those sharper swirls at the bottom are my favourite part of the design but I love the whole effect. I will definitely be playing with this technique again. I finished off the card with a stacked PB die cut and a sentiment strip from the black Paper Rose Studio black ‘so extra’ set. I ended up sealing this panel with clear gesso. I haven’t done this before but some of my alcohol ink panels end up a bit sticky so I wanted to see if clear gesso worked as a sealant. I’ll will keep testing the process and let you know more next time I post about alcohol inks. Meanwhile head over and drool over all Ardyth’s clever cards!

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Winter Tree art journal page

I continue to create and experiment in my 6×6 art journal, definitely inspired by the current season and view. When I started this page I had a technique in mind but no picture in my head of how it might turn out. I couldn’t be happier with the end result!

I am trying a range of techniques and methods in my art journals because that is what they’re for and because I have a series of workshops coming up this year (temporarily postponed until restrictions change). On this spread I started by layering and gluing torn papers on the pages. I pulled blue pieces from my considerable stash of papers, some old (Penny Black 6×6 packs) and some new (decorative rice paper) along with Dina Wakley printed white collage paper. After gluing the strips here and there I added modeling past through a stencil and let that dry.

Over the papers and paste I painted white gesso and then a couple of blues from Dina Wakley’s acrylic selection. You can see some of the patterns show through from the papers and in real life you can also see the texture from the stencilled paste. I added stamping in blue and white with Darkroom Door background stamps, ‘snow flakes’ and ‘French Script’.

I had started the page with a vague idea of adding a picture from a Christmas card or magazine. In choosing the tree picture you see included I fell down a rabbit hole of memories going through boxes of saved cards! I have saved cards since childhood and I was sorting and reading for quite a while. I didn’t open every single card but I found some adorable and hilarious cards made by my children and some I taught in school, I also found many sweet notes in cards from my parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents. The picture I chose of the single tree on a snowy hill was in a Christmas card from a sweet friend.

It is worth noting at this point that I didn’t plan this layout or have this card on hand when I started the painting so the colours did not match perfectly. You know how I feel about the matchy-matchy so I ended up adding paint to the sky around the tree to make the blue a bit more purply and less aqua. I also extended the scene by turning a white area that was already on the page into a clearly defined snowy hill. I used a white gel pen to add more foliage to carry the scene off the little square onto my page. I finished off the page with some die cut Penny Black snowflakes.

I know that is a lot of description that would be better understood with video footage but it didn’t happen this time. As I continue to make pages I will try to capture some of them on film.

Do you save the cards you are given? Do you put them to use making something new? Just wondering…

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