Butterfly art journal page

My art journal is a place where I experiment with new techniques and mediums. It’s also a place for taking ideas further after making a card or creating a gel print. For this butterfly themed page I experimented with layering. I don’t find layering easy so it is a good technique to be playing with in my journal. You can’t see all the layers clearly on this page but there are layers of rice paper under gesso as well as on top of it.

Another technique which I am just beginning to play with is sewing on cards and mixed media pieces. Rachel Greig from Darkroom Door is a master at it and provided loads of inspiration during her recent Artful August challenge. I have tried sewing on paper with my precious Pfaff sewing machine but it didn’t like it so a few weeks ago I bought a second hand machine especially for sewing heavy and unusual materials. The machine is an old one but it is very sturdy and hums along beautifully.

I began by tearing up a large gel print done on rice paper. It featured diamonds on one side and stars on the other, both patterns made with large Darkroom Door stencils. The colour scheme was blues, reds and gold. I glued the torn pieces around the edges with gel medium then painted over them with diluted gesso. After the gesso dried I stamped a few butterflies then added more gesso over the top.

I spritzed over the pages with a faded jeans and broken china distress sprays, only enough to add a bit of speckle here and there, not so much as to cover the colour and pattern underneath. I stamped more butterflies from the DD butterflies set in colours similar to those in my gel print patches.

Once the stamping was done I sewed borders around two pieces of gel printed rice paper then glued them on the pages. I stamped, cut out and glued down sentiments from the DD wildflowers vol 1 stamp set.

Oh, and I stamped the DD French script stamp a couple of times on each page in gold to co-ordinate with the gold on the gel prints. Not a ton of layering or sewing but I am learning how to paint over background layers just enough to make them fade but not so much that they disappear. I realise looking at these photos that the gel print on the left looks like a pocket… it’s not but that’s an idea for another page.

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2021 BuJo – September theme

This was not the original plan I had for the September theme; I’d thought instead of doing apples. I sketched a few apples in preparation then realised I would want to have them on all my pages and that would take me half of September. I would then want to colour them in and that would take the other half of the month. I was already late on getting this done so….

…when short on time and want something pretty what do you do? You pull out one of your faves! ‘Nature Walk’ from Darkroom Door is definitely a fave and for a late summer theme it works beautifully.

I began each page design with a masked sun, blended in harvest gold ink. Next I masked either a straight or hilly base and blended fine linen for the background then stamped flowers and grasses in gold, kraft and chartreuse.

Life now includes a few more commitments so I decided to spread the month of September over a few pages with the middle one cut down narrower.

I also have a page for my work commitments, current projects, future projects, etc. The title is my attempt at a mixed up font. There are plenty of examples on the interwebs but I decided to make up this one out of my head. Not too bad for a first try. You would think it would be easy to do every letter a different way but even a mixed up font needs balance!

Hope you are feeling more balanced than mixed up! Have a great week.

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Artful August

During August Rachel Greig from Darkroom Door has been hosting a challenge with prompts everyday to be interpreted in any artsy way you like. I haven’t managed to participate regularly but I have enjoyed making a few simple cards along with some gel prints and a journal page.

The card above was made for the silhouette prompt. I painted a watercolour background, sprinkled salt and then drew the silhouette flowers after the watercolour dried.

This one was for the words prompt. I am such a reader these days I thought of books when I saw the prompt. Once again I did a watercolour background then add the Darkroom Door book stamp and drew a book at the bottom.

The next prompt I followed was birds. I cut body, wings and beak shapes from gel print pages then glued them over a pale watercoloured background

All these three cards began with the same masked and painted background. I found it was a simple way to start the projects and they are all one layer on hot pressed watercolour paper.

The prompts featured here are all from last week. I haven’t participated over the last few days but I plan to jump in again today with the butterflies prompt. If you are interested in seeing the wide range of projects hop over to instagram and check out the #artfulaugust and #rachelgreigartfulaugustchallenge

See you soon.

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Honeycomb & Checkered

New stencils from Darkroom Door means new gel prints in my stack! I used greens, teal, beige and gold paints to print with the new honeycomb and checkerboard stencils. For the second card I used a mix of blue, beige, gold and coral paint for a rich print.

I used the stencil printing method demonstrated in this video and worked on printer paper with a 6″x6″ gel press.

After completing a fresh stack of gel prints I chose these two because of the beautiful mix of colours and textures. I pulled out Darkroom Door feather and wildflower stamps and stamped them over the top of the prints. I decided to emboss using co-ordinating versafine inks to make the images stand up a little over the print.

I chose sentiments from the DD sentiment strip stamp and embossed them to pop up over the stamped and printed panels.

Ever since I started gel printing with stencils I can’t get enough of the intricate detailed ones. These two new ones from Darkroom Door are very cool and create such great backgrounds!

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Artful August Circle Journal Page

Rachel Greig from Darkroom Door is hosting ‘Artful August’, a challenge to make something arty each day in August. She has provided 31 prompts and I am going to play along as often as I can. Circles was the prompt yesterday so I cut circles from a just few of the many gel print panels I have piling up. I used only gelprints done on rice paper and they cut and adhered very easily.

Once I had cut circles in different sizes from different gel printed panels I stamped flower silhouettes from several Darkroom Door sets. Before gluing the circles to the pages I painted the pages with a base of gesso + light brown paint and added some scribbly circles by tracing inside circle dies.

I glued the printed, stamped circles with matte medium both on the back of the paper and over the top to seal it. To add a bit more interest around the circles I blended antique linen ink through a homemade paper stencil.

The prompts in the challenge are very open and participants are encouraged to interpret them in any way and with any medium. If you are on instagram you can view the submissions by searching for #artfulaugust or #rachelgreigartfulaugustchallenge

As I participate in the challenge I will have simple experiments along with some completed projects like this one. The fun is simply playing with the prompts. In making today’s journal pages I was very happy to use some pretty scraps, experiments and clean up pages from gel printing sessions. There are always too many to turn into cards but each one has a unique texture and colour mix.

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Fine Flowers watercolour video

This pretty outline flower is from the Darkroom Door set ‘fine flowers vol 2’. There are six flowers in the set and I am working my way through trying out each stamp. I began inking and stamping this zinnia/dahlia style flower and was so happy with the colour combination I stopped stamping and set myself up to film. You can see the process in the video below.

I’ve exclaimed about inks that colour separate before( and go into more detail in my online class Colour Clues ) but one of my favourites in this regard is chipped sapphire distress ink. You can see in the close up below grey blue, navy blue, pale blue and purply blue. Hardly any effort required!

All the stamps in the set have the same sketchy style and tiny dots so I did not add any further fanciness. It really was a minimal supplies card in the end even though I did not start with that plan in mind.

By the way Rachel Greig from Darkroom Door is running a challenge throughout August called #artfulaugust. If you check her instagram you can see a list of prompts. I am going to join in as often as possible as it is an open ended no pressure challenge. I have already missed one day but I am not going to dwell on that I will just dive in when I can. Kathy Racoosin is also running the Daily Marker colouring challenge during August, another low pressure, designed for fun and relaxation challenge. I hope to participate in that when I can too. Let me know if you are joining in.

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Vintage Style Bookshelf + Video

This isn’t my first time stamping books with Darkroom Door stamps. This time I filmed the process so you could see how I made them look all old and vintagey!

The fun thing about the Darkroom Door ‘bookshelf’ stamp is its length (just under 12″) so I decided to wrap it around my cards for maximum effect. I worked on two cards at the same time giving them slightly different paint jobs and background finishing touches. Watch the video to see my process.

Because I inked the bookshelf stamp randomly the colours moved where they willed and left me with a mix of blues and browns. This second card has some extra scratches from the DD stamp of the same name.

The insides of the cards have random paint splotches here and there so I added paper inserts for a clean place to write a note. Now that I have made a wraparound card with this border stamp I might have to try it with the other DD one I own, ‘butterfly garden‘.

Thank you so much for your interest and discussion about the gel printing I shared last week. I really enjoyed the gel printing session which resulted in my last two videos and turning a few of the prints into cards and a journal page was very satisfying. Several of you mentioned wanting to get your gel plate out to try the techniques; I hope you do. I also hope you try this brown and blue vintage style on some of your own stamped projects. If you do be sure to let me know.

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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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Gel Printing with recycled cardboard

I posted a video last week featuring gel prints with stencils. In today’s technique video I use cardboard found at home. One piece was the packaging for eggs and the other a piece of corrugated cardboard.

The huge snowballs falling in the card above were printed using the large circles on the egg carton. I could have done more on the gel plate with extra colour or texture but I kept it simple which works well behind the more intricate sleigh. You can see my process in the video below.

The card below also features a gel print background made with an egg carton but I pulled two prints on the one panel both with green and white paint and egg carton circles.

The card below also features a gel print background made with an egg carton but I pulled two prints on the one panel both with green and white paint and egg carton circles. I stamped leaves from the Darkroom Door stamp set, ‘carved leaves vol 1’ over the bokeh-like circle background. To get the right tones of green in the stamping I used both shady lane and rain forest versafine clair inks one over the top of the other. The sentiment is from the ‘happy birthday’ sentiment strip.

In the video I also made prints with a piece of corrugated cardboard pressing it down on the gel press once for a striped pattern and twice for a grid pattern. I’ve turned a couple of those prints into cards which will be on the blog tomorrow. I hope you try gel printing with some recycling you find at your place. See you soon.

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Fine Flowers

I put some new inks and stamps to work on this card. The flower is from the Darkroom Door set, Fine Flowers vol 2 designed by my friend Godelieve (Stamping Matilda). There are six flowers in the set so this is just the beginning of the fun.

The background colour is a newish ink, speckled egg distress. I splattered masking fluid on a piece of water colour paper, smooshed speckled egg on a glass mat then added water before pressing the watercolour panel into the ink to create soft blurry blue smudges. The flowers are stamped with another new distress ink, crackling campfire. It stamps as a warm red but dilutes to more of an orange as you can see on the petals. I stamped the flowers one at a time and blended the stamped ink to fill the petals. I inked the centres with a black soot marker which blurred into the orange. To make the centres more prominent I drew dots and squiggles with a black embossing pen then embossed in black powder.

Before adding the embossed sentiment from DD ‘you are everything’ set I splattered speckled egg ink and also some water. At the risk of over dotting I also added white and black with gel pens. The stamp has its own little dots around it so adding a few more seemed fitting.

This watercolour technique is one featured in my Floral Faves online class and the colour choice is covered in my Colour Clues class. Both classes are self paced and filled with instructional videos and photo inspiration.

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