Poppy birthdays

 

When I pulled out the MFT ‘poppies background’ stamp my intention was to do some loose watercolour with splashes and dabs here and there. As you can see I didn’t manage that; I stayed inside the lines. It was not a fiddly job though, painting this panel. I was surprised at how quickly I was able to get it done. I put the stamp in the stamp positioner along with a piece of cold pressed watercolour paper. Using the papertrey ink cubes I was able to ink the flowers in ‘scarlet jewel’ and the buds, stems and pods in ‘ripe avocado’. If the inks ended up on the wrong section I either wiped it off or let it be because a little green in the flowers or red in the stems doesn’t matter.

I blended one petal at a time which sounds time consuming but they are large petals so it wasn’t bad. As I finished blending the ink into one petal I picked up a little bit of ‘blueberry sky’ ink and dropped it into the wet petal at the inner edge. When I came to the poppy centres I got mixed up and did the centres black and the surrounding dots in yellow so to fix it I went over the yellow with little black dots then went over the black center with a gold gel pen to turn it yellowish! Adding a sentiment took me an age, not because it was too fiddly but because I couldn’t decide how to arrange it and my embossing game was definitely off. I ended up with ‘you’ from Pink Fresh ‘phrase builder: you’ set overlaid with a sentiment from MFT ‘YAY for you’ set.

The second panel definitely involved more slap dash watercolouring but I still managed to stay inside the lines. I stamped the whole image in distress peeled paint which blends very easily with water. As I wanted some depth of colour in the centres of the flowers I smooshed faded jeans and chipped sapphire distress inks on my glass mat and picked up ink to paint shadows on the petals. I inked up the centres of the poppies with a chipped sapphire marker then chose a dark blue (not black) cardstock to die-cut the letters for the sentiment.

The die-cut letters got a little lost when placed straight on the busy background panel so I attached them to a piece of vellum first. To line them up I perfectly magnets held the vellum in place on my Wendy Vecchi magnetic board and, because it was vellum I was able to see a whole grid of lines to get them straight vertically and horizontally. I was pretty happy with this arrangement and might just have to do all my sentiments on vellum to experience the same satisfaction! I put ‘stick it’ adhesive on the back of the dark blue cardstock before I cut the letters so I would not have to deal with glue or tiny bits of tape for each letter. That would not have given me any satisfaction at all!

Even though green poppies are a bit of an oddity I think that one ended up being my favourite.

In other news make sure you pop over to the Penny Black blog to enter their giveaway; you have until March 1. I will be sharing plenty of new PB product in the weeks to come.

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Clover journal page

Are you wondering if I’m repeating myself? Didn’t I post this a few days ago? Indeed, I posted something similar on Monday, a card featuring the new ‘warm wishes’ set from Darkroom Door. At the end of the post I mentioned that I’d like to transform the design into a journal page…so I did!

I kept my colour scheme with the addition of more green and added a few extra stamp images and a bit of texture. I used a Fabriano ‘Venezia’ art journal, with drawing paper not watercolour paper. The weight of the paper is decent but if I’m going to be spritzing and adding water and ink I paint a layer of absorbant ground on both pages first.

I began by inking up the clover stamps with worn lipstick, aged mahogany and peeled paint markers, spritzed them so the ink started blending on the stamp then stamped randomly across the pages. I spritzed the images lightly so the ink moved and softened and also dabbed colour and water away with a paper towel. I inked the number/account book stamp from ‘number medley’ set with stormy sky distress stain and stamped it randomly around the pages. After stamping I spritzed the images so the ink spread, diluted and ran across the page. I dabbed some of it dry but left other bits to make watermarks. I also splattered the stain around with a paintbrush. Once the first layer of stamping was dry I switched to stormy sky distress ink and a blending brush to add colour to all the page edges. Also on the dry page I added a bit of texture by applying modeling paste through the DD stencil, ‘crackle’. The crackle was not very obvious but showed up a bit more after I added more stamping.

At this point I considered the background complete and started on the more distinct stamping. As I was working in the journal I couldn’t place it in the MISTI so I placed my ‘staytion’ magnetic board under the left hand page and added some acrylic blocks underneath the board to balance the left side of the journal with the right. I used an acrylic block to stamp all the clover and positioned a stampa-ma-jig against the block a couple of times just in case I didn’t have a complete image. I was able to do touch ups with a paintbrush and extra ink if the stamping was too pale.

I wanted some clover-ish leaves to stamp around the flowers so I grabbed a stamp from the DD ‘wildflowers vol 2’ and stamped foliage all around in peeled paint and forest moss inks. I added some green splatter too because journal pages always need splatter! At this point I was almost finished but I wanted a little more blue on the page. Rather than add more of the number stamp I used a very delicate floral stamp from ‘nature walk’ in faded jeans archival ink so I would have fine detailed lines that wouldn’t blend or blur. To balance mass of colour at the base of the pages I added more blue across the top edges. The blending brush was going to take too long so I swiped the ink pad over the edges and some water droplets also.

My journal is nowhere near full but it has become bulky with uneven pages because some have been glued to each other, others have been collaged. When I started the journal I glued pages together for sturdiness because that was what Vicky Papaioannou did and Vicky is an art journal wizard! She doesn’t always do that any more and neither do I because some of the pages just don’t want to be joined to each other, it makes it difficult to open them or flatten them. If you are an art journaller I would love to know if you prep your pages in some way so they can take a bit of water and liquid ink.

 

I hope you enjoyed seeing how a card inspired a double page spread; I definitely enjoyed working on the large scale with less pressure to keep things neat and contained!

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Sending Love

I posted a clean and simple two tone card last week featuring a new Darkroom Door set, ‘warm wishes’. The detail of the stamp was very apparent in my earlier card but this time I am showing it off with a watercolour look. The set includes five flowers ( I think they are clover) of different shapes and sizes. I have used a rounder flower on this card and stamped it several times to create a blurry background then twice with detail in the foreground.

I began by taping some hot pressed watercolour paper to my glass mat then spritzing it unevenly with water. When it was fairly wet I inked the flower stamp in worn lipstick, aged mahogany and peeled paint distress inks then stamped it repeatedly over the wet panel. I re-inked the stem to stamp several times in the bottom left hand corner.  To frame the design I painted some stormy sky distress stain around the edges. After the panel dried I transferred it to a stamp positioner so I could add a couple more flowers. I used the same three distress markers to ink the flower and stem then added darker green with a forest moss marker.

For some added interest I used a number stamp from another new Darkroom Door set, ‘number medley’. I know I am going to enjoy using this set to add texture and detail to a whole lot of projects. You probably wouldn’t have guessed the stamp is made up of numbers because I stamped with distress stain and did some spritzing to make the ink move a little.

To complete the card I added a sentiment from ‘warm wishes’ in faded jeans archival ink then popped up the whole panel with some white foam. I feel like transforming this design into an art journal page; what do you think?

For more inspiration with this new set head over to the Darkroom Door blog.

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Winsome wreath

You might not recognise this stamp straight away but it is the ‘winsome wreath’ I used on a black card earlier in the week. It looks a bit different on the more traditional white watercolour paper. It also looks different because I have only used half of the stamp. I stamped the wreath on the edge of a hot pressed watercolour paper panel and once I’d finished painting it I added a few leaves under the orange rose as that space seemed a little empty.

I did the initial stamping in distress antique linen ink which is great for no-line colouring. While the panel was still in the stamp positioner I stamped the centre of the big rose in spiced marmalade ink. I did this because I find it hard to paint all those tiny petals separately and even find it hard to see them all when they are stamped in antique linen. As I was planning to paint the rose in spiced marmalade anyway it was helpful to have the centre of the rose outlined in that ink to begin with.

I dropped some spiced marmalade, seedless preserves and mowed lawn distress stain on my glass mat to use as a palette. I painted one petal at a time except for some of those tiny ones in the centre. As I painted a petal I would blend to the edges then drop in a bit more colour with my brush usually on the sections of the petals that might be shadowed by the petal adjacent. It isnt’ an exact science when I do it but I end up with some variation which adds to the realism. I also added a tiny bit of seedless preserves to some of the petals which gave them a slightly aged looked. The leaves are a mix of mowed lawn and spiced marmalade so without intending to I did another of my ‘limited palette’ cards, just three colours in the end.

I splattered some gold paint from the gansai tambi starry set over the panel and added a sentiment in gold embossing powder to match. Rather than add a coloured mat I created a subtle ‘shadow mat’ by popping up the panel on a piece of foam. Thanks for dropping by today; let me know if you can see the mistake I made with the rose but decided to just ignore because I definitely did not want to start again!

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Wonderful

This lovely background stamp from MFT is brilliant for trapping colour. My first choice would be to colour it with paint powder like brusho or colourburst but a quicker and less messy technique is to rub distress ink cubes across the embossed panel randomly. I embossed ‘roses all over’ on hot pressed watercolour paper with silver embossing powder then randomly rubbed fossilized amber and candied apple distress inks over the panel. Because of the embossing the ink didn’t saturate the whole panel but it did leave some colour in all the sections.

Next I liberally spritzed the panel so the inks would dilute, blend and fill the petals. This technique is one a friend of mine affectionately calls ‘drowning’. The ink mixed pretty well by itself but I did use a paintbrush here and there to make sure the whole panel was coloured. I dried it, trimmed it and added a band of vellum so my sentiment strip and die-cut would not have to fight with the busy background.

I stamped part of a MFT ‘anything but basic’ sentiment on an Avery Elle simple sentiment strip. I use those sentiment strips all the time; I have a stash cut and ready on my desk for every third card! I cut the PB ‘wonderful’ twice from red cardstock (with ‘stick it double sided adhesive’ on the back) and stacked them on the vellum.

I enjoyed reading your comments about the black watercolour paper and I’m happy some of you are inspired to pull out your own to do a little experimenting. You’ll definitely be seeing it again here.

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Flower heart

I have seen this stamp on quite a few cards lately, just pop over to the Penny Black blog if you want to see some other colour schemes and techniques. I have surprised myself with this colour scheme and also by choosing a large heart motif in the first place. I don’t usually make Valentine’s day cards so when I decided to ink this stamp it was always going to be for a versatile friendship card.

I worked on hot pressed watercolour paper in the stamp positioner and inked one flower at a time. It is easier to ink a single flower with a marker but when I don’t have the colour marker I need I use an inkpad and just wipe excess ink off the stamp. Each time I stamped a flower or leafy section I blended the ink with a paintbrush and added extra ink if necessary by picking it up off my glass mat. On some of the flowers blending the colour resulted in loss of definition so I restamped after all the colouring was done. That’s the beauty of keeping it in the stamp positioner.

The distress inks I used were carved pumpkin, barn door, mermaid lagoon and peeled paint; I’m pretty sure I’ve never used that combo before. I added centres to the flowers with a black marker.

I chose a die-cut sentiment that spans the heart and chose orange cardstock to stand out against the background. Even though the sentiment was over the top of mainly red and turquoise flowers it got a little lost so I cut a black layer as well and stacked two orange over a slightly offset black.

On my last post ‘Creating in Colors’ commented, ‘...I love it when you design cards for which I have the stamps and/or stencils! I’m inspired to try these.‘ I was so pleased to read that. It makes me happy when that happens; its always good to get a fresh idea for supplies we already have.

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Stencils & watercolour

Some recent art from Kathy Racoosin inspired me to use my stencils a little differently. I used four stencils from Darkroom Door and my ever useful distress inks.

All these cards are one layer; I often attach a one layer panel to a card base and keep the layers minimal that way but this time I cut card bases from cold pressed watercolour paper and did all the stenciling and painting on directly on the card base. I taped the stencil to the card base using the grid on my glass mat to make sure the stencil sides and card sides were parallel. I used a large blending brush to transfer antique linen to the watercolour paper. Whatever ink you use through your stencil will lend some colour to the final images as it will mix with the ink painted on later.

On the twelve square background I painted peeled paint and pine needles ink using the blended antique linen as my guide. On the card below I used wilted violet, abandoned coral and blueprint sketch inks to fill the six blended squares.

After both cards had dried I used a stamp positioner to stamp the flowers in versafine clair nocturne ink. There is texture in the cold pressed watercolour bases so I stamped and restamped a few times. After stamping a couple of sentiments also from Darkroom Door I embossed all the stamping with clear powder. (I’ve listed and linked all the stamp sets and stencils at the end of this post.) I used one or two of the same distress inks  to stamp matching envelopes.

For the next two cards I used the same ‘blend then paint’ method. Once again I blended antique linen ink through the stencil then for the ferns painted a section at a time switching between cracked pistachio, peeled paint and pine needles inks.

I smooshed the ink pads on my glass mat and added a little gold shimmer with a few drops of Ken Oliver’s ‘yellow gold’ liquid metals. The shimmer isn’t very obvious in the photos but in real life it adds a little pizazz!

On the cone flowers I also added shimmer and used peeled paint for the stem, and fossilized amber with abandoned coral for the flower and petals.

Techniques like this make me take a second look at my stencils. I want to try it with a different base colour next time. Take a look at Kathy’s video to see her step by step technique.

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