Our weather here in Luxembourg this Summer has been a bit up and down to put it mildly. We’ve had stunning sunshine prompting pool parties in the back garden to heavy rain and flooding on a scale not seen for ages. I’ve even resorted to putting on the heating a couple of times! So we were pleased to spend some time away in Sicily. It was roastingly hot even for the locals but like all mad dogs and Englishmen it didn’t stop us from getting out and enjoying some sight seeing. It’s always lovely to recharge and get a new perspective on things by getting away. I think the different culture, food, scenery and colours have freshened up my crafting which lately had started to become a bit stale.
I couldn’t help but be inspired by the colours around me but even though I took my sketch book with good intentions, sadly it didn’t come out once.
Coming home again had me all fired up to stop procrastinating and get on with something productive. As I have a workshop coming up in the Autumn I need to make a mockup for, I thought I’d sieze the opportunity to get started on it.
Gel prints with leaves
The workshop is based around gel printing with botanicals so I thought I’d have another go at gel printing with leaves and ended up with this little lot. I’m much more confident with how they’re turning out, I think I seem to have mastered it at last. I actually like what I’m managing to print. The idea is to make a small journal out of them ending up with all of these colourful backgrounds.
While I was out with the dog I found this pretty feather on the path, so tiny but it gave me an idea for the cover of the journal.
A little collage of scraps from my bit box and the tiny feather looks lovely againsed the calico cover and the little bird rub-on was a lost treasure from an old pile of forgotten rub-ons. Does anyone use rub-ons anymore?
Enjoy the weather and the end of the Summer where you are and find some new inspiration in the changing of the seasons.
Hello from my studio. It’s Friday erm… now Monday (it’s been one of those weeks), outside is hot and sticky but my basement studio is cool so I’m staying here to create in the shade.
In my studio I’m lucky to have a long artists table. Looking down at it right now I find it interesting that the far end where I do my die cutting, putting cards together and generally anything which needs to be done in a clean, paint free environment, is pristine and the other is messy, chaotic and painty. It’s a bit like my garden, organized chaos I call it. I suppose that’s what comes of being able to leave everything out all the time. I find I work better if I leave the paint and gel plate out all the time as I tend to come and go when I have a few moments. The other end is where I cut my prints and mount them to create backgrounds for cards.
I love the clean look of crisp white card blanks and simple die cuts. From my basket of white card offcuts I cut delicate images which finish off these gel printed backgrounds nicely. They’re like little pieces of abstract art I think. The fun is in creating these printed backgrounds, never knowing quite what I’ll end up with, then cutting them up and layering them on a clean white card base. All they need now is a simple sentiment.
By contrast the other end of the table is where the messy stuff happens. Paint, gel plate and stencils, it’s generally a bit of a mess. Occasionally there’s a fight between the two spaces as I run out of drying room for my prints but so far it’s not been an issue.
These cards are the product of my two sides, the messy mixed media side and the clean, contemporary and simple card side.
The cool thing is though, my favourite backgrounds are the ones which are simply my gel plate clean off sheets.
I mean look at this…especially when I use metallic paint to clean off the plate.
Always looking for a new challenge and something to keep my journaling from becoming stale, I was super excited when Clare from Paper Pen and Plan sent me a couple of black journals to try out and see what I think.
Both are from Dylusions and have thick pages making them both great for any mixed media work.
The challenge is how to fill them and which mediums work best over the dark background paper. It’s surprisingly not as difficult as you might think and the black really does make most paints shine on top.
The smaller travelers notebook style journal I decided to use as a doodling notebook, experimenting with different pens on the black pages. The second and bigger of the journals I’m treating as any other journal and loving how it’s working out.
I thought adding a border would make it look neater but actually the page is too narrow for that and the artwork just looked a bit squashed. The only way to make the border work is by creating a double page spread, so that’s exactly what I did here. I have to admit though to going back around the edge with black gesso once I’d pulled off the tape. For some reason I want to keep the black journal clean. A double page spread is definitely the better way to go.
The little collage was pre sewn before being stuck down to the page and adding a bit of black washi tape is an unexpected addition. So far I’ve been using acrylic paints on the pages so I thought I’d try something else. Distress Oxide inks are a bit different and work well on dark backgrounds. I used both the reinkers and the ink pads but found the ink pads got a bit lost. The page needed lifting somewhat so I added some stenciling with white gesso which I also went back over with Stickles.
The doodling journal is much cleaner, fits nicely in my bag with a couple of pens and looks neat with stencils too. These are the stencils I designed for Paper Pen and Plan to go with the Sweet Treat boxes, I love them.
Gel pens, especially metallic ones look fab on a black background, and a white Posca pen goes brilliantly around the edges of the design.
I enjoy using the black journals for a change and discovering which mediums work best on the pages.
Normal can be a blessing after a period of upset and stress, however just doing one little thing out of the ordinary every now and then peps life up and keeps things from becoming stale. Well that’s my excuse for straying a bit away from the norm sometimes.
I’m back in the studio after a period away and very keen to get the paints and pens out again. I find comfort in these things and just having my supplies around me brings me joy. I also think that starting in a small way is easier than trying to complete a big project right from the get-go! This is why I was pleased to see a couple of tags in this month’s Sweet Treat Box from Paper Pen and Plan and a challenge to create a tag book with them.
Without a clear plan of what I would end up doing, I decided to start with a little abstract watercolour on the tags using a lovely gold watercolour paint I bought recently and hadn’t yet tried out.
A Prima text stamp added a bit of contrast and extra texture. The lines just happened naturally which I was surprised about to be honest as I usually go for circles, anyway it was quite appropriate that the text should also be placed that way on too.
Using the tag as a template I cut several more from odd bits of paper, brown paper, bags, book pages and gel prints.
I’ve seen this binding method in several places recently and it seemed like the most simple way to bind the pages together. Handily the box also came with the washi tape so of course it was obvious I’d use it here. I taped the pages together in pairs.
Then glued the pairs together back to back. A strip of fabric covered the spine and added a pretty bright splash of colour to the front too.
It just took a stitch stamp and a couple of stickers (also in the same box) to finish the front. I added a thin smear of gesso to the pages so I could add paint to them and tested out the first page with a few watersoluble crayons and more stickers. Anything but boring I think.
I hope you have a lovely weekend and I’d love to know what you’re up to as well.