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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Fields of Gold

This card was inspired by @jenny_illustrations a watercolour artist I follow on instagram. She painted her scene but I used a selection of Darkroom Door stamps and some wet into wet techniques.

I worked on a panel of hot pressed watercolour paper splattered with liquid frisket. I wasn’t necessarily wanting the look of snow, more the interest or vintage look of little dots over the panel. It could be snow, an early snow or a first snow but that is not something I am thinking about right now. Not for a minute am I wishing summer away, I would never do that. Summer is definitely my favourite season and it is still officially summer for another 18 days!

But back to the card. I taped it down to my glass mat which I also used as a palette where I squished my distress inks to provide me with ink to paint with. I spritzed the whole panel with water then painted weathered wood and faded jeans distress ink in the sky then tea dye and gathered twigs distress ink in the foreground. It was not meant to be gathered twigs; the lid said ‘fossilized amber’! The lid was wrong but the colour, surprisingly worked maybe even better than amber would have giving me a gradation from light to dark brown.

While the whole panel was wet I stamped the large mountain stamp from DD ‘majestic mountains’ in faded jeans ink then, after a pause, the small trees from the same set in ‘hickory smoke’ then. after a longer pause, in ‘black soot’ ink. I used a small floral stamp from DD ‘wildflowers vol 1’ to stamp and restamp flowers in the foreground, first in ‘tea dye’ then in ‘gathered twigs’. I dried the panel rather than wait and finished it off with tea dye and gathered twigs splatter.

I was pleased to see my taping sealed the edges well resulting in no leaks. I am trying a different painter’s tape so it scored points on this project. I’m not sure why but this panel needed to be a side fold card. It has a little sentiment from DD ‘nature walk’ that says ‘ walk through the wildflowers’; you might not be able to read it but the recipient will.

I’ve done very few scenic cards lately so I enjoyed the process and result. I am pondering my next online class… scenic cards or Christmas cards? Feel free to weigh in with your thoughts.

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Gel Print Leaves video

Last week I posted a card featuring gel printed leaves from herbs I grew. I tried to explain my process but a few of you wished for a video so I picked some more leaves and had some fun printing them.

I used two different methods in the video, the leaf printed in yellow at the top of the page uses a two step method. The blue + green leaf above uses three steps and has one technique layered over the other technique.

I think the part of gel printing that gives me most inconsistent results is the way I apply ink. I’m getting better but I still get unwanted lines from the edge of the brayer. That wasn’t so evident on these prints as I was working on little gel plates called ‘petites’ from Gel Press.

I did a bunch of prints for this video on the square and the circle ‘petite’ plates as shown on the top cards. For the ‘slimline’ card I used three of the square prints but die-cut them smaller so I could fit them side by side on a 8¾” x 3¾” card.

I hope you give this a try, it’s quite satisfying and addicting once you get going!

….And did I mention I now have an online class called COLOUR CLUES?…

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Old gel print, new card

I am getting closer to doing some satisfying gel printing but this card was made from a previous gel printing session. You can probably tell the texture on this panel was from a piece of corrugated cardboard. So simple and effective.

There is definitely some leftover paint printed on this panel. Leftovers are a feature of gel printing I really like. I usually print and print without cleaning the plate so the leftovers, often on edges or corners appear in subsequent prints.

I stamped the large and small cone flowers from the Darkroom Door ‘carved flowers’ set first in white ink then offset in black before embossing in clear powder. White ink is very sticky so when I stamped on top of it the stamp lifted some of the white ink off. It was necessary to wipe the stamp each time and restamp in black to build up a solid black layer. After embossing I used the large six square grid die from Waffle Flower’s color combo set to cut my panel into squares. I popped them up on foam on a 6″x4.25″ card base.

The sentiment is the DD ‘majestic mountains’ set and reminds me that not all adventures have to be in person or in the outdoors right now, although I am missing that. I am enjoying the adventure of creating with new and old friends through my online class. (yes maybe this is another shameless plug, but it’s true!) As I see what class members are creating I am inspired and encouraged to be ‘in class’ with friends even while I can’t be in class in person.

And I am sure new gel printing is imminent; I want to print fresh leaves and maybe petals from my garden so stay tuned.

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Painting atmosphere

I’ve done some more playing with watercolours and clingwrap. Quite a lot of playing actually; it’s addictive. I don’t even remember if the panel above was painted initially with brusho powders or pan watercolours or both. I do know I started with a large piece of cold pressed watercolour paper taped to a glass mat. I wet the panel then added the paint and let it move around and blend a little before I placed the cling wrap on top. I did remember to take a photo of the panel after it had dried and I’d removed the cling wrap. The card above which looks a bit like some hydrangea flowers was painted on the bottom right corner below.

The butterfly card below was made from the top left corner of the large panel and the flower card was made from the top right corner. I did work on the bottom left corner but didn’t end up liking what I’d made.

For the butterfly card I used a stamp from Darkroom Door ‘wings’ set and stamped it on the panel in blueprint sketch distress ink. After stamping I blended the ink plus some pearlescent paint from a finetec palette to fill the butterfly’s wings. It’s not obvious in the photo but the wings shimmer.

Once the butterfly was dry I did some water stamping using a fern stamp from the DD ‘leaves ‘ set.

The flowers are from the DD ‘tall flowers’ set and were stamped in festive berries, mowed lawn and wild honey distress inks. I also added gold paint to the flower centre. You can see some more water stamped ferns and some second generation stamping with the flowers also. The little circles on all three cards were made just by adding some droplets of water, letting them sit on the panel then dabbing them up with a paper towel.

The card above with the purple flowers doesn’t feature any stamping, the patterns made by the cling wrap made me think of a hydrangea flower head so I painted a bunch of little flowers using a purple watercolour pencil to draw centres then a paintbrush and water to blend the pencil into petals. While the petals were still wet I used the pencil again to add some darker areas in the centres.

The red shape on the left hand side looked a bit like a flower so again I used a watercolour pencil to add a bit more colour and followed the lines left by the cling wrap.

Whether painting or stamping over the panel, I love the patterns and play of light and dark in the background; I think it creates atmosphere. Have I finished with this technique now I hear you ask? No, definitely not. Have you tried it?

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Ferns & friendship

It is a long time since I had my gel plate out for monoprinting; I’m definitely keen, but for the last few months my time has been taken up by an exciting new project I’ll be sharing with you soon. I decided to go through prints from previous gel print adventures to make a few cards with Darkroom Door stamps.

Most often I use acrylic paints on my gel plate but to make this natural coloured background I used water colour powders. I can’t remember which paint colours I used, possibly only one like sandstone which can give a range of browny orange tones. To turn the monoprints into cards I used stamps from DD sets ‘leaves’, ‘butterflies’ and ‘global postmarks’. I also used the small ‘mesh’ texture stamp.

I stamped in ‘vintage sepia’ versafine ink, brushed corduroy and rusty hinge distress inks. Initially I stamped the sentiments from the ‘friendship’ sentiment strips on watercolour paper scraps but they looked too stark and clean so I splattered and swiped some ink on them so they blended into the background a bit more.

I also added some linen thread which worked with the natural tones and the postal images. I popped up the panels with a couple of cardstock layers on white luxe textured card bases.

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Warm wishes circle

I am hanging out on the Foiled Fox blog today sharing a Darkroom Door project. I’m pretty happy to tell you Foiled Fox is carrying some Darkroom Door stamps now. I’m always happy when my favourite products come to my favourite stores! Today’s card features the DD ‘warm wishes’ set with it’s pretty clover flowers and sweet sentiments.

Before stamping I traced a circle on a piece of hot pressed watercolour paper then painted masking fluid around the edge of the circle to mask off the area inside. I also splattered some dots of masking fluid inside the circle. I used two distress inks to paint the background starting by smooshing the inks on my glass mat and adding a little water so I had a diluted ink to pick up with my paintbrush. I painted broken china ink on the top section of the  circle and bundled sage on the bottom blending them together a little while keeping the centre of the circle lighter than the edges. Once the background was dry I placed the panel in my misti so I could stamp the flowers multiple times if necessary. The flower heads are a mix of worn lipstick and spiced marmalade distress inks and the stems are stamped in forest moss distress ink.

I splattered a few water droplets over the finished panel and dabbed them away with a paper towel to leave watermarks. With all the stamping and painting complete I removed the masking fluid (so satisfying) and popped up the panel on a piece of foam before attaching to a luxe white textured card base. Make sure you pop over to the Foiled Fox blog and store today to see the other Darkroom Door products in stock.

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Masked Wildflowers Video

I have a simple design for you today and I turned on the camera while I was doing it. It’s probably something you have tried before but might be new to a few readers. I used washi tape to mask off a frame on a one layer hot pressed watercolour card base then created a watercolour background with distress inks and salt.

The stamps are some of my favourite silhouette stamps from the Darkroom Door ‘wildflowers vol 1’ set with a sentiment from a recent set ‘warm wishes’.

It was fun creating a one layer card again; some of you will remember when I was part of the ‘One Layer Wednesday’ challenge and ‘One Layer Simplicity’ challenge a few years back.

Let me know if you try this technique, I’d love to hear or see what you came up with.

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Virtual Coffee

I posted a coffee themed card using the Darkroom Door ‘coffee time’ set recently which prompted a request for a pack of coffee themed cards. These ones are on their way to Australia, and were made with the addition of the word ‘virtual’ because, well, you know why. I rarely do multiples and when I do they are never exactly the same. This time I did four of one colour scheme with the cup and saucer stamp from Darkroom Door’s ‘coffee time’ set and then four more in a different colour scheme a little more like my original coffee card featuring the take out cup from the same set.

The nice thing about making multiples is starting with a large panel to create the background. I used hot pressed watercolour paper for both sets and splattered masking fluid over the panel first. I like the addition of some random white spots and shapes from a masking fluid splatter but often I wish I’d done more when I remove it from the finished project. To create the cards above I smooshed ground espresso, salty ocean and crushed olive distress inks on my glass mat. I spritzed water over the inks until they were spread over a large area then placed the watercolour panel over the top and moved it around to soak up random coloured patterns. When I turned the panel over there were blotches of each colour along with blends and blank areas. I did some further spritzing and picking up of colour until I was satisfied with the coverage. Once the panel was dry I cut it into four pieces and used both the DD handwritten script and brick wall stencils to add pattern in the same three distress inks. I used blending brushes to apply the ink which gave me soft blends that faded away into nothing at the edges.

Next I add coffee cups and coffee stains in ground espresso ink. I blended ink inside the cup on some panels but on others I added more ink outside the cup to darken the negative space. It is hard to describe my process with the cups as I did each one differently and kept playing with the three inks until I was happy with the results. On a couple of the panels I added a partial print of the world map stamp. With all the artsy stuff done I just needed to add the ‘virtual coffee’ label. The word ‘coffee’ is part of one of the word stamps from the set so I masked, stamped and embossed then wrote the word ‘virtual’ above and embossed that. I was interested to see I could write the words with a papermate flair pen and then if I covered it with clear embossing powder straight away I could get the shiny embossed effect. I do have clear embossing pens but it is impossible to see what I’ve written with a clear pen!

I also did four more cards with the takeaway cup stamp using much the same technique and a peeled paint/scattered straw/dusty concord colour scheme. I added a few stamped coffee beans to these ones; the ‘coffee time’ set is a very cool collection of stamps.

Thanks for joining me for ‘virtual coffee’ today. I hope your week is off to a good start.

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Coffee with a friend

Are you missing the coffee shops? I’m sure you are missing your friends and perhaps you are missing coffee with friends. This one is for a friend of mine who loves her coffee!

I began with a piece of hot pressed watercolour paper and splattered a few drops of masking fluid over the whole thing. Once the masking fluid was dry I sprinkled sandstone brusho on my glass mat, spritzed the brusho with water and swiped this panel through it. It took a few swipes before I had an orange and brown abstract background. I added some dark brown brusho on one side and spritzed that to make it blend and spread a bit. Once I’d dried that I blended through the new Darkroom Door ‘handwritten script’ stencil with rusty hinge oxide ink.

At this point the panel was very much just an abstract background so I stamped the cup from DD ‘coffee time’ in gathered twigs distress ink and blended the stamping with some water and extra ink. The set also has a coffee cup stain stamp so I added that here and there, spritzing it to make it blurry. I stamped some postmarks from the ‘global postmarks’ set because I can’t help myself.

Unfortunately the coffee cup did not stand out enough from the background and the background itself looked incomplete. DD world map stamp and blueprint sketch distress ink came to the rescue. I stamped the world map several times on the panel in gathered twigs ink and then, to break up the orange and brown monopoly, I added some blueprint sketch ink in just a few places. I found some blue cardstock that matched the blue and stamped ‘friendship’ and ‘you’re the best’ from the DD ‘friendship’ strip of sentiments to finish the card. Oh, and I added a thin strip of brown cardstock separating the blue from the patterned panel.

I’m glad I didn’t give up on this panel; it is just the thing for my friend who I will enjoy a coffee with again one day.

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