Enjoy the Journey Journal page

This week I have shared a gel plate video and a series of cards made with prints and leftovers from that gel printing session. If you look closely at this journal page you will see a couple more prints put to use.

The Darkroom Door set, Nomad, recently arrived in my mailbox and the main reason I chose it was the pile of suitcases. I own one old suitcase which belonged to my grandmother; it houses the ‘dress up’ collection. It is not unlike the third one in the left hand stack. The stamp set also has a single suitcase, some passport stamps and two sentiments, one included on this page.

To add even more vintage-ness to the vintage suitcases I stamped them on a grid and striped prints from the gel printing session. I used corrugated cardboard to make the patterns on the gel plate originally. I stamped the suitcases in archival inks then added extra colour with distress inks and gel pens. To create the background I smooshed blueprint sketch distress inks on a piece of acetate, spritzed water over the ink then transferred it to the masked journal pages. With the blue protected I blended a brown base, also with distress inks. Over the top of the inking I added some impressions with the DD world map and scratches background stamps. To balance the suitcases I added the vintage car and sentiment on the right hand side.

Maybe these pages came from my longing to be out and about seeing new and old places, or a longing to be poking around antique and thrift stores. The latter will probably happen before the former.

Are you longing for a trip somewhere? Are you thinking near or far?

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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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Fern gel print journal page

Another art journal page today which is unusual for me. After noticing there was a fern growing beside one of the drainpipes off my roof I had to try gel printing with one of the intricate fronds. I made a card with a fern gel print too but carelessly I let it leave the house before being photographed!

To gel print a leaf or feather I use a two step process. I apply paint to the gel plate; I used blues and greens and the large 12″x14″ gel plate. I lay the fern frond as flat as I could on the plate and then took a print; once again I used rice paper. The first pull picks up all the surrounding ink leaving a white empty frond shaped space in the middle. I carefully removed the fern which reveals the print of the frond still on the gel plate. I took a second pull, laying the paper down in the same place so it picked up all the detail of the fern. You can see a video of the same process in an earlier post.

To attach the large print to my art journal pages was a little tricky. I cut it in half and worked one side at a time applying the matte medium to the page not the print. I will do the opposite next time. Rice paper is thin which makes it less bulky but I had to be careful not to use too much glue. When I made the card (which is gone!) I applied a thin coat of matte medium to the gel print and immediately pressed a piece of cardstock down on the rice paper and put something heavy on top. It worked well.

Thanks for joining me this week as I went off in card-less directions. I have enjoyed your encouragement and thoughts in the comments. If you are free tonight at 7:30 EDT and want to see me creating live online for the first time I would be thrilled. I have no idea what I’ll make; it all depends on what the wheel spins for me!


If you have a garden…

The rest of the quote says, ‘… and a library you have everything you need.’ My art journal is pretty much all book or flower related pages; I guess there is room for a new inspiration. Currently with a garden that is looking promising and an online course newly launched you could say flowers are on my mind.

The background for this page was created months ago when I was making subtle backgrounds for a few cards. Instead of swiping a whole panel through waterbased inks I was inking a piece of acetate then spritzing it and swiping it on a stamped panel. I opened a spread in the art journal and swiped the acetate across the pages a few times to leave some ink there. I don’t remember the exact colours but the smooshed ink covered the lower half of the pages in blue, green, yellow and pale orange. Last week I pulled it out again and turned the page into a messy garden.

As I said the lower half of the pages is smooshed ink. The upper half is broken china distress inks applied with a blending brush. The flowers are a mix of silhouette stamps from Darkroom Door’s ‘you are everything’ and ‘wildflowers vol 2’ sets. I inked with papertrey ink cubes, spritzed the stamp and stamped on the pages. Sometimes I blended the stamped ink, other times not. To make the blue flowers stand out a bit more I painted blue gouache paint over the stamping. The gouache works well on the journal pages so you will probably see more.

Once all the flowers were added I stamped the DD ‘scratches’ background stamp in black on the lower section of the page and added black and white splatter all over. I added the quote with a black gel pen. If you are in my Floral Faves online class you might this was inspired by one of the projects in lesson 3.

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Fern and floral art journal page

Recently when I was making a card with the new Penny Black stamps, ‘garden variety’ and ‘fresh fern’ I also began an art journal page. I really need to be braver with my art journal, I tend to reach for the same mediums that I use all the time in my cards. Today’s journal page was not particularly adventurous but I did pull out my box of pastes, gels and mixed mediums only to find several of them had dried up completely in their containers while others that used to be thick had turned to liquid. Those ones got tossed but a jar of distress collage medium came in handy along with some modelling paste. I think they might have both done the same job in the end.

I’m still working in my Fabriano art journals made up of drawing paper so I’m trying not to rely on my watercolour habits and techniques. I began as usual by taping the edges of the pages both to keep the book open and to create an attractive frame.

I inked the garden variety stamp with tangelo, northern pine and rosebud memento inks, spritzed it and stamped on the pages multiple times. I did first and second generation stamping to get both bold and pale prints. Then, feeling all brave and mixed media-ish I coloured some modelling paste with peanut brittle memento ink and applied it around the edges with a little plastic applicator (an old bank/library card would do). This step didn’t really yield the results I wanted but it was all in the spirit of experimentation so on I went.

I hadn’t used tissue paper in a while so I scrounged through our wrapping paper box and found some white, stamped the fresh fern in rich cocoa memento ink then tore it into sections before gluing it on the journal pages with collage medium. The tissue became almost transparent which gave the flowers behind a soft pearly look. I stamped the verse from 1 Corinthians on tissue too and glued it down in the same way replacing the first word, ‘love’ with a die cut.

I would love to know if you have an art journaller you admire. I am a big fan of Vicky Papaioannou and have watched many if not all her art journaling videos. I am interested to know what gels, pastes and mediums people use for what purposes. Which are best for resist effects, which are great for gluing, etc. Please share any recommendations you have.

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Faith & floral journal page

I know it is not spring yet, in fact it is still very winter where I am; we’ve had some of our coldest days and nights just in the last few days. Maybe because it’s so cold now is a nice time to muse about spring.

Sometimes I have a plan for a journal page, other times I work it out as I go along. To begin this one I painted absorbant ground on the journal double page. It is a base preparation a bit like gesso which makes the paper act a little more like watercolour paper. I should probably just switch to a journal with watercolour paper pages but I stubbornly want to keep adding to the this one.

Once the base dried I stamp the Penny Black ‘springtime sigh’ stamp in one corner then coloured with Arteza real brush pens. The colouring is not precise, the surface doesn’t react the same as watercolour paper but I found blending with very little water gave me the most control.

I stamped first with Gina K skeleton leaves amalgam ink which I have used for no-line watercolour in the past but it remained too distinct on the journal page so I switched to antique linen which worked a bit better. I restamped and coloured springtime sigh several times then decided I wanted fewer little flowers to colour! I switched to the new Penny Black ‘illustrious’ stamp which co-ordinated well. I don’t know for sure but I wonder if both stamps were drawn by the same artist, the scale and style is similar.

When stamping the ‘illustrious’ stamp I was able to ink most of the stamp with Arteza real brush pens which cut down on the colouring. I still used antique linen ink on the large open leaves then blended with a marker to shade the leaves. When I had almost framed the double page spread I switched to the PB ‘tranquil buds’ stamp to add some lavender.

Next came the tricky stage when I had to decide what was happening with the empty area of the journal page. Writing, stamping, hand lettering or empty space were all options. I decided a bit of ‘filler’ in the shape of a text stamp would be nice and instead of the large script one I often use I chose the smaller typed text stamp from the PB ‘footnotes’ set. I stamped it here, there and everywhere in old paper ink, often spritzing with water before stamping so it just stamped a blurry pattern. I also added splatter then chose a phrase from the new PB ‘inspirational sentiments’ set.

Is that cute notebook die-cut covering a failed stamping attempt? Yes it is but I’m quite happy with that because the notebook page looks sweet. I cut it with a die from the PB ‘a pocket full’ set. I love how this page turned out even though I had no idea at the beginning it would progress this way. That’s the beauty of a journal page.

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Bloom Art Journal page

After making a Christmas card with the new Darkroom Door Christmas Bush stamp set I was keen to use the silhouette stamps for a different project. I decided to fill a journal page spread with them and chose a different colour scheme to do so. I think they look a bit like violets.

I taped the edges of the pages which frames the layout, keeps the pages flat and protects any pages underneath which are poking out. I painted absorbant ground over the whole area as a base before stamping and painting.

I wanted to have layers of flowers and so I tore a ripped edge on some masking paper and attached it across both pages. I used blending brushes to apply colour over the torn edge then did generational stamping in blueprint sketch, shaded lilac and peeled paint distress inks. Once the top section was completed I masked again, further down the page this time and repeated the process twice.

For highlights and details I used markers and gold paint to add details to the petals and centres to the flowers. I also used gold embossing to make a print border and title with the Darkroom Door ‘torn text’ and ‘sketched alphabet’ stamps. The Christmas Bush stamps proved to be very versatile as I thought they would when I first saw them.

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What should I read next?

This book themed page has been in my mind for quite a while and that little open book stamp on the right side of the spread pushed me to make it happen. All the stamps are from Darkroom Door; I used ‘mini open book’ once, ‘book spines’ several times and the ‘scratches’ background stamp for the wall behind the books.

I have three art journals on the go and this one has a literary theme. I’ve done pages inspired by books and others inspired by quotes. I have a few started but not finished and several in my head.

I taped the edges of the double page spread before doing anything; it really helps keep the book open and stable while I work, it protects the other pages from paint and ink and I think it frames the finished design really nicely.

I embossed all the books on hot pressed watercolour paper in either gold or copper powder then coloured them with markers, distress stains and distress inks smooshed on my glass mat. I really just played with techniques until I had a good selection of colours and patterns. I stuck to jewel tones featuring dark green, bright blue, red and aqua. I’ve listed all the distress inks below. I also painted over the inking on a few books with Coliro pearlescent paints so they have a bit of shimmer.

I painted the background with ‘absorbant ground’ as I usually do when I want to work with liquid inks and water then I smooshed some ‘peacock feathers and ground espresso inks on a piece of acetate, spritzed it and dragged it across the page multiple times. That gave me some abstract colour but not enough so I used distress stain sprays in the same colours. After it dried I stamped the scratches background stamp a few times in ground espresso stain. When that dried I used a piece of tape to mask edges to sponge vertical lines across the pages.

Arranging the books on the page took a little while. I cut them all out first then cut some of the groups into smaller groups to play with the layout. Once I had it settled I glued them down and started adding titles and decoration with gel pens, embossing pens and embossing powder. I wrote quite a few of my favourites on the spines, nothing particularly new even though I have read some great new books lately. I guess they just haven’t stood my test of time yet. I have some empty spines left that I will probably fill another day.

I finished by balancing that open book on one of the piles and added the name of my favourite podcast, ‘What Should I Read Next?’ I get a large chunk of my book recommendations from Anne Bogel, the host of WSIRN. I could talk about books for several more paragraphs but if you’ve made it this far you’re a champion so I’ll save the book chat for another book themed project. I think there will be a spin off card from this journal page.

Oh, and one more thing, please feel free to leave book recommendations in the comments; I’d love to hear your favourites.

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Sunflower journal page

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.

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Quote & floral journal page

I completed another page in my art journal a few days ago; not the one that inspired a recent card, that one is still to come. This one I started, stopped and restarted again.

You can see there are some shadowy flowers in the background. They are the first flowers I stamped and painted straight on the journal page. The journal isn’t watercolour paper so diluting and painting with ink didn’t work well. I tried to fix it by drawing black outlines and then white gel pen highlights but that didn’t look good either. I like to think of the art journal as a place I can try techniques but sometimes those experiments don’t end up looking pretty.

When I’ve wanted to paint on other pages I have prepped the pages with absorbent ground first; it makes the surface more conducive to ink and water blending. Adding one layer of absorbent ground covered the surface but not the images underneath. When it dried though, I liked the misty images in the background and decided not to do another layer. Instead I proceeded to stamp again with the same inks (listed below) and this time blending the inks with water was more successful. To stamp on the uneven book pages I used acrylic blocks and the Wendy Vecchi ‘perfect stamp positioner’.

Once I finished stamping and painting the PB floral stamps ‘unfolding’ and ‘dainty whispers’ I stamped the delicate ‘a little secret’ stamp repeatedly in old paper distress ink to fill in some grass. I blended broken china ink directly onto the pages to fill the sky area and splattered water over it to break up the flat blue expanse.

Finally I chose the quote from a favourite author, C.S. Lewis and used the C&9 ‘simple serif’ alphabet stamps and some tiny stamps I bought long ago at Hanji gifts in Toronto. I’ve since found out C.S. Lewis did not say this; I guess I should have done a fact check before stamping it all in my journal.

I do like the effect of coloured images under a layer of white. I might do it on purpose next time!

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