Winter Garden art journal page

It’s been a while since I worked in my book themed art journal. As I looked over a table covered in gel prints I settled on two blue ones filled with pattern and paint. Both were on rice paper and sized 6″x6″ which is not big enough to cover the whole journal page. I decided to tear a rough edge on the bottom and glue the panels with space above and below.

The inspiration for the page is Kristin Hannah’s novel ‘Winter Garden’. I used Darkroom Door floral stamps to decorated the gel prints with blue flowers then added more stamping to the blue area and the white space at the bottom of the page.

Picking from a few themes in the book I stamped trees to represent the orchard, a suitcase to represent the escape from Leningrad, books from the library where the main character worked. I also used number, correspondence and snowflake stamps to complete the collage.

I am always in two minds about adding words to my pages and this time was no exception. Rather than a quote I just added the name of the novel and author. I used pigment and archival inks for all the stamping, white gesso around the edges and white ink and embossing powder to add the snowflake borders.

Have you read any Kristin Hannah? My book club considers ‘The Nightingale’ our best choice so far! We are always searching for good book club reads; if you have any suggestions please leave them in the comments.

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Gel Printing with stencils + video

In recent gel printing sessions I have used some of my intricate stencils from Paper Rose Studio. This stencil, ‘little swirls‘ makes a particularly beautiful background. I’ve been printing on a 6″x6″ gel plate with a 6″x6″ stencil but I cut the print down to make a 4¼” x 5½” card.

I used stamps from Darkroom Door’s nature walk , butterflies and happy birthday sets. (all linked at the end of the post). The process for making this type of print is shown in the video below.

After any gel printing session I usually have quite a pile of prints, some become cards but I am hoping to use more in my art journal. I have to be a bit more adventurous in tearing and layering and turning them into more than just a patterned print.

The making of the background above is included in the video. To turn it into a birthday card I stamped ‘have fun’ directly on the print then popped up a sentiment strip on top. The words are stamped in Gina K obsidian amalgam ink using the Pink Fresh Studio ‘Heather’ lowercase alphabet set.

The making of the background below is also part of the video and you can see the mustard paint beaded on the surface of the gel plate making an allover pattern when printed. I didn’t necessarily want the beading but was happy when it ended up uniform. Paints of different brands perform differently on the gel press so experimentation is necessary to work out how much paint and which brands will give you the results you want.

I turned this background into another birthday card by embossing a car from the Darkroom Door Classic Cars vol 1 set along with a sentiment from the same set plus one from the Happy Birthday set.

I also filmed some gel printing with a few textured surfaces from the recycling box; I’ll be sharing that video soon.

I’d love to hear how you use your gel prints; I’m always open to ideas.

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Puppy’s Quilt in Pencil

More pencil on kraft cardstock, this time Faber Castell polychromos pencils and a black stamped image from the Colorado Craft Company. My first card with this stamp, ‘puppy’s quilt‘ featured watercolour and lots of blue. This time I have included more white which is always eye catching on kraft along with blue, green and burgandy.

A bonus when colouring an animal on kraft cardstock is using the light brown of the kraft as a colour in the fur or feathers. I have coloured the dog with white and grey but there are light tan areas that show through the shading.

I used archival jet black ink for the outline stamping, I like the way it dries quickly before I have a chance to smudge it! Having used both the inktense and the polychromos pencils on kraft I think I would say the inktense are a little brighter and chalkier, the polychromos more muted and creamier. Not sure how helpful that comparison is but you can compare the two looks if you go back to Monday’s floral card.

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2021 BuJo – July theme

With all the flowers blooming in my garden right now I have a wealth of inspiration. I decided to go for daisies but then realised I didn’t want to fiddle with white petals and settled on black-eyed Susans instead.

I tested the black fine tip markers currently in my possession to see which ones were waterproof and would give me a dark black. I ended up choosing the small and the medium from a set of Faber Castell Pitt artist pens. I did most of the drawing with the small tip (0.3mm) and then used the medium (0.7mm) for the calendar page.

I drew all the daisies myself and let the black ink dry before colouring with orangey-yellow and light green brushmarkers from the Staedtler set of watercolour brushmarkers.

I used the same four pens for all the pages. On the calendar page below I made a couple of mistakes, in marker! Not ideal but I came up with some fixes that satisfied me. I will do a bit more pencil sketching next time; I think by the time I got to the calendar page I was not being as careful as I had been for the previous two pages!

The first mistake you can probably guess was a vertical line which did not line up to make even 7×7 dot squares! To cover the mistake I made all the vertical lines off by one dot! The second mistake was drawing the title letters in pen without sketching them in pencil first. Both the downstroke of the J and the curve of the U ended up narrower than the rest of the letters. Solution? A few little flowers to pad them out!

Despite the errors along the way I am happy with the July theme because it is bright and happy and showed me I could draw my elements from scratch and not need a stamp or die every time! Hope your July is off to a great start.

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Floral Focus in pencil

Last week I shared a card featuring the Pinkfresh Studio background stamp, ‘floral focus‘ watercoloured with Karin Markers. Today I have another card with the same stamp but pencil coloured this time using Derwent inktense pencils. At some point I should do pencil colouring on white or cream cardstock again but I am still in love with the look of pencil on kraft. Inktense pencils are watersoluble but you can also use them as traditional pencils with no water added, that’s what I did here.

I embossed the background stamp in white powder, another technique that looks great on kraft cardstock then used the inktense pencils to fill the flowers and leaves. The flowers are coloured with red violet, fuchsia and antique white. The leaves and stems I did with felt green and apple green and the small flowers are coloured with sun yellow and antique white.

To finish the card I added a strip of violet cardstock and cut letters from the same cardstock with the Pinkfresh ‘Heather lowercase letter’ dies. The little sentiment is from PF set ‘scripted bold sentiments. You might think this is an odd pairing of sentiments; I was thinking it would suit someone starting something new, some encouragement along with a reminder to enjoy the experience.

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Captivating Blue

I’ve been creating backgrounds for landscape stamping lately often by smooshing a few inks on my glass mat, diluting the ink then swiping the watercolour paper through it. The background for this floral card was done the same way and features faded jeans and kitsch flamingo distress inks plus some scattered salt for subtle patterns.

I stamped the Penny Black ‘captivating’ stamp in Catherine Pooler ‘juniper mist’ ink then blended the stamped ink to fill all the lower petals of the fuchsias. I painted the upper petals with kitsch flamingo and the leaves with CP eucalyptus ink. For the tips of the little stamen I used a white gel pen.

With all the pattern in the background I kept the sentiment simple with part of a stamp from the PB ‘carefree wishes’ set in CP juniper mist.

This stamp features in one of the lessons included in my Floral Faves online class where I teach a range of techniques for use with floral stamps. It’s a self paced class where you can access the video content at your own convenience.

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Floral Focus

Hello! I am excited to be sharing this post here and on the Foiled Fox blog today. All this floral beauty is on one stamp from Pink Fresh Studio and it’s called ‘floral focus’. Since it arrived on my work table I’ve tried it with pencil colouring, emboss resist and this Karin brushmarker watercolour technique. I love how bright and summery it looks with these colours.

Floral Focus is a large rubber background stamp and rubber stamps are my favourite to work with. I know transparent stamps are great for placement but rubber stamps seem to hold onto their ink better. I will always have both in my collection but I get a little bit excited when I ink the rubber stamps. I used a stamp positioner for this panel and inked the large pink flowers first with magenta red and henna markers. If I get ink on adjacent areas I just wipe it off before stamping. Once stamped I blended the pink ink to fill the petals and restamped the centres in brown to make them a bit bolder. Next I inked the small flowers and buds with the gold brushmarker, then blended with water. For the leaves and stems I inked with both henna and grass markers to get a muted green rather than a bright green. Finallly I did the twiggy bits with the henna marker.

The large letters are from two Pink Fresh studio alphabet sets, the ‘H’ is from Lea’s Ornate uppercase set and the rest of the word from the Heather lowercase set. I stamped several times in versafine vintage sepia then embossed in clear powder for a glossy finish.

Thanks for dropping by today, make sure you visit the Foiled Fox blog for more information and inspiration!

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Country scene

Another stamped scene, this one a little closer to home than the desert in the previous post. I paired the PB ‘arbor’ and ‘snow fence’ stamps to create a pastoral scene. I worked on hot pressed watercolour paper using distress inkpads and markers as my ‘watercolour paints’.

As the fence posts are in the foreground I stamped them first in a mix of browns, black and grey then blended on paper with water. Once the posts were dry I inked the trees in a few greens and brown avoiding the area behind the fence post. I should have masked the posts but I was feeling a bit lazy so I just inked and stamped several times getting closer each time to the post without stamping over it.

Once the trees were completed I painted a light wash of crushed olive and peeled paint inks over the ground area then used a fan brush which I’ve left untouched for years to paint grass in both forest moss and peeled paint. For a bit of interest I added blue dots to look like flowers under the trees. My stash of birthday cards is looking low so I added a partial sentiment from the birthday humor set. Are you a scenic stamper? What are your favourite techniques for bringing scenes to life.

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Desert Sky

After creating some gel printed landscapes I was inspired to return to another technique I enjoy: creating landscapes with scenic stamps. Sometimes I combine scenes to create a new landscape or stamp additional elements, other times I stamp a single complete landscape as shown in this ‘desert dreams’ stamp. It was released a few years back but this is the first time I’ve inked it. Before getting to the stamping I created the painted background which included a two tone blue sky and two toned desert floor. I smooshed distress inks on my glass mat, spritzed water over the ink and swiped the watercolour panel through to pick up colour.

Once the panel dried I did the stamping in a stamp positioner so I could build up the colour and picture bit by bit. I started by inking the cacti with crushed olive and peeled paint markers, the distant foliage with rusty hinge and the foreground foliage with peeled paint and forest moss. I spritzed the stamp but also used a paint brush and occasional spritz on the panel.

You can see my finished design doesn’t contain fine details but the overall feeling is a hot day in the desert day among some bold contrasting scenery. I finished the card with a sentiment from the PB ‘Faith.Hope.Love’ set.

To see more scenic stamping take a look at these posts: Arbors, Pumpkins, Fields of gold and Beloved view.

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Craft Roulette

I had the opportunity to participate in Craft Roulette on Friday night. If Craft Roulette is new to you (as it was to me until a month ago) it is a live crafting improv game show hosted by Mary Gunn every Friday night on Youtube. She has a different guest each week, sometimes more than one, and they craft together. Every week the parameters for the card are different as the wheel is spun four times, once for type of card, then colour choices, a theme and finally a random element.

I was delighted to see familiar names from this blog pop up in the live chat; thank you so much for joining in. Although I could not respond to all the chat I went back and read through it yesterday and was so encouraged by your kind words. I know some of you stayed up very late to watch!

The wheel was pretty kind on Friday night and none of the parameters took me too far out of my comfort zone. The card style was MATCHBOOK ( I needed a refresher on that), colours were RED +2, theme was MORNING and the random element was SPLATTERS! You know I love splatters.

I chose to create a background sunrise, add some red and green flowers (PB garden variety) then add splatters with water at the end. My three colours were red + green and yellow. The evening was very enjoyable; Mary is a hoot, the viewers on live chat were the loveliest and being live on the interwebs was not as daunting as expected. I might just attempt my own live creating on youtube from time to time.

As the challenge unfolds, viewers are encouraged to make a card following the same parameters. Some viewers watch and create as the show progresses but most make and post their cards after watching the show. Everyone has until Sunday evening to submit their creations. The cards are all shared during the show the following week. Contributors are entered into a few prize draws at the end of the show. So you see, Craft Roulette is a happening place, full of fun and inspiration and worth checking out on a Friday night. To see how I created this card you can watch the replay here.

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