Graduation

July 4, 2014 in Mixed Media Posts by Ursula Smith

Well it has been a looooooooog while since I have blogged. Life just seems ot get in the way sometimes ;). We just had a Senior in High School graduate, and that brings with it a myriad of emotion, as well as lots of stuff to do!

I admit, I did cry during graduation. It was so poignant to see the kids that my daughter grew up with, many of them that I have known since Kindergarten (or even before!), walking in that procession.  They are all amazing kids- bright, beautiful, young and about to venture off on their own. I just turned to mush!

Anyway, I played around with a frame for printing out pictures, and I have a web version available in my Shop. If you are an Acton Boxboro parent, then feel free to grab one for free!

Enjoy!

Graduation

Graduation

Gelli Arts Hand-y work

May 23, 2014 in Mixed Media Posts, Photoshop Posts by Ursula Smith

I know folks have used their Gelli Arts printing plate to print on a LOT of things, but after my last play session, I happened to glance down at my gloves. They were so cool looking! Here is what it looked like…

Gelli Arts Printed Hand start

Gelli Arts Printed Hand start

I decided to bring it into Photoshop and play around with it, until I arrived at something like this…

Gelli Arts Printed Hand

Gelli Arts Printed Hand

I liked it so much, I decided to add it in as design for a new set of Moo stickers that I use for the backs of my ATCs for a group I belong to…

Gelli Arts Printed Hand Sticker

Gelli Arts Printed Hand Sticker

I know, I know- it is bad enough that we won’t throw away scraps of paper, now we have to save gloves? Or you can just scan in your Hand-y work instead :).

Gelli Art Printing Plate and Charcoal

May 7, 2014 in Mixed Media Posts by Ursula Smith

A couple of weeks ago I was playing around with my Gelli Art Printing plate and I happened to look over and see some charcoal sticks that were sitting on my table. I thought to myself- “Hmmmmm, I wonder if charcoal would work with the Gelli plate?”. I love the look of charcoal, so I decided to try with the powdered form. I grabbed the powdered charcoal jar and started sprinkling it onto my gelli art plate on top of the wet paint and a paper stencil. I ran a couple of prints and loved the way the charcoal interacted with the paint! Sometimes it colored the paint by mixing in, and sometimes with made cool dots and holes in the paint.

Here are a couple of the prints I made with the paper stencil:

Gelli Art Charcoal Print 3

Gelli Art Charcoal Print 3

Gelli Art Charcoal Print 2

Gelli Art Charcoal Print 2

 

I really liked the backgrounds, but the paper stencil was falling apart and driving me crazy, so I just went ahead and printed some “plain” backgrounds. I think these will make great collage fodder and cool backgrounds for drawings!

Gelli Art Charcoal Print 4

Gelli Art Charcoal Print 4

Gelli Art Charcoal Print 1

Gelli Art Charcoal Print 1

 

At the end of my playtime I wiped the leftover charcoal off the plate with a baby wipe. I wasn’t sure if it would harm the plate and certainly did not want to take a chance!! If you have some charcoal or graphite powder give it a try!

Mixed Media May

May 4, 2014 in Mixed Media Posts by Ursula Smith

I am psyched to be part of Mixed Media May this year! This is a month long event so you have plenty of time to peruse my pieces, and all the others participating this year! You can find out more about me, and how I play at http://www.mixedmediamay.com/mixed-media-may-ursula-smith .

 

Another Gelli Art Print with Photoshop

April 23, 2014 in Mixed Media Posts, Photoshop Posts by Ursula Smith

Hello friends! I just designed a pile of stencils and stamps, and while I was waiting for the stencils to be made, I decided to cut a couple on my Black Cat Cougar cutting machine and test them out. I pulled out my trusty Gelli Arts Printing plate, and pulled some of the new Golden Inks that I had just ordered. I only had a few colors, and one of them was green which I usually am not a huge fan of. I didn’t even remember ordering that color, but it was only a small bottle so maybe I was trying to get myself to branch out?

Anyhow, I had a pretty successful session, and came away with quite a few prints. I really liked the Golden inks. They are VERY fluid!! The way I liked them best was mixed with some of the normal Golden paints. Maybe 1-2 colors of paint and 1-2 colors of the ink seemed to be about the right mix. The prints with all inks are very juicy as you will see in one of the examples below.

Here was one of the prints with mostly ink. You can see lines where the ink pooled around the stencil…

Gelli Art Photoshop First Print

Gelli Art Photoshop First Print

 

I then pulled a second print and liked the background a lot better, but the funky circles didn’t come out as detailed…

Gelli Art Photoshop Original

Gelli Art Photoshop Original

 

I liked the circles in the first but the background in the second. Not to worry- I could combine them in Photoshop, but the selection might be a bit difficult. I tried a trick and it worked to give me some help to isolate the circles for the mask. First of course, I lined the two prints up on different layers in Photoshop. Then I chose the blend mode of exclusion on one of the layers. This made the background more of a consistent color so I could use the quick selection tool to more easily grab the background. Here is what it looked like in Photoshop:

Gelli Art Photoshop Exclusion

Gelli Art Photoshop Exclusion

 

Once I made my selection, I changed the blend mode to multiply and hit the mask button on the bottom of the layers panel (it looks sort of like a camera- a rectangle with a circle in the middle). The mask was actually backwards from what I wanted, so I clicked on the mask in the layers panel and used Ctrl-I in order to invert the mask.

Gelli Art Print Spirals Final

Gelli Art Print Spirals Final

 

I played around with opacity and arrived at the final print…

Gelli Art Print Spirals Final

Gelli Art Print Spirals Final

The final print has the best of both original prints- the background I liked from the second with the more detailed circles from the first! Give it a shot yourself!

And now I really like that green color, so I am going to need to order a bigger bottle ;)

Imagemaker Stamp machine by Photocentric

March 14, 2014 in Mixed Media Posts by Ursula Smith

Got 5 minutes? Want to make a stamp? I know it sounds crazy, but I really was able to do it with the Photocentric personal stamp making machine called the ImagePac Stamp Maker.

If you know anything about me, you know I am crazy about rubber stamping. Take a look around my site, and it will be VERY obvious. I have had my designs made into stamps in order to sell them, but sometimes I want to make a stamp quickly for my own personal use. So I was intrigued by the idea of a machine that was easy to use, and would make a stamp quickly. The ImagePac Stamp Maker start up kit came with everything I needed to make 10 or so clear stamps (other than a printer of course). This system uses small packets of resin (called sachets) that are used with images printed onto transparencies, and then exposed in the stamp making machine. The areas covered in black do not harden and just rinse away with water. The areas covered in clear transparency get exposed to the lights in the machine and they harden into what ultimately becomes the stamp.

I watched the video, read the printed instructions and checked out the Photocentric web site to make sure I was making the print correctly. The basic idea is to take an image in your editor of choice- I used Photoshop- and re-size it to fit the stamp you are planning on making. The design must be in black and white. Once your design is finished, you must invert the image so that everything that is white goes to black, and everything that is black goes to white. I have a blog post on how to do that in Photoshop here. Then the design is printed onto a transparency. The start up kit comes with transparencies that work well in Ink Jet printers. I printed an entire sheet of designs so I wouldn’t waste it.

The hardest thing about the whole process was the printing! It must be printed in Black and White (actually the white just leaves the transparency clear), and the black must be very black. I did a search online to make sure that I was using the correct settings for B&W for my Epson printer. I noticed that my printout still had faint lines (called banding) in it. So I decided to play it safe, and I re-printed the page onto a sheet of ink jet  transparency that I had laying around, so again as not to waste the good stuff ;) . Then I placed the two sheets together, lined up the designs and stapled them together on the far edges of the transparencies. I cut the designs down into individual images and stapled those together, being VERY careful to line the images up exactly. After making a stamp from one particular design, I found that it was not lined up correctly, and the stamp did not come out that well. However, I tried my last sachet with the image using just the single layer of the Photocentric transparency, and even with the banding (it was extremely slight), the stamp came out great!

This image was the one I had difficulty with. I made it from a painting that my friend Lori made. Here was the original painting:

Bird Crown

Bird Crown

and here is an image I stamped with the fun new stamp!!

Lori Stamp

Lori Stamp

I missed the fact that the body of the bird was too thin, so I would re-do the image the next time.

In general, as long as the image had clear lines, even if they are extremely detailed, the stamps came out great!! Here are several stamped images from stamps that I made with the starter kit. As is always the case when I stamp with unmounted stamps,  I found that I liked the way they stamped better when I mounted them on the cling vinyl foam that I use for all of my unmounted stamps. There is information on what I use in the Help section of this site.

Brocade Stamp Photocentric ImagePac Stampmaker

Brocade Stamp Photocentric ImagePac Stampmaker

 

Brocade Stamp Photocentric ImagePac Stampmaker  2

Brocade Stamp Photocentric ImagePac Stampmaker 2

 

Script Stamp Photocentric ImagePac Stampmaker

Script Stamp Photocentric ImagePac Stampmaker

 

Fern Stamp Photocentric ImagePac Stampmaker

Fern Stamp Photocentric ImagePac Stampmaker

 

This stamp was actually a mistake!! I had already exposed the fern image above, and was planning on creating a different stamp with the script image also shown above. However, by mistake I placed the fern stamp in the machine with the transparency for the script design, and started to expose. I caught it after a few seconds, and decided to see how it came out. I really liked the end result!!

Fern Script Stamp Photocentric ImagePac Stampmaker

Fern Script Stamp Photocentric ImagePac Stampmaker

 

I have now used most of the sachets that came with the starter kit, but I have already ordered more. And while on the Photocentric site, I noticed they also have a kit to make embossing folders, so I can’t wait to try making those!!

The largest size stamps that this machine makes is 4 x 2.5 inches. There are 2 additional smaller sizes, and all 3 size sachets come in the starter kit. After that, you can order packages of each size separately. The smallest sizes would be great for words or phrases. Need a special greeting for a special card, and don’t have a stamp? Or need a phrase for a project or a logo for your business? Now you can make one!!

If you are keen on making your own rubber stamps for your own projects, (or even a few for some friends), then this is a great system. The other alternative is to carve your own stamps, and I do that sometimes, but if you need words or anything with detail, you would be hard pressed to get the same results with carving. This little system achieves much greater detail than I have ever been able to do with my carving tools!! And literally, once you have the image designed, you can go from print to stamp in around 5 minutes!!

Rubber Stamping and Masking Fluid

March 6, 2014 in Mixed Media Posts, Video Posts by Ursula Smith

Rubber Stamps and what? I know- it sounds crazy, but I had some Drawing Gum (aka Masking Fluid) laying around and I had never really used it because my drawing skills/watercolor painting skills are still in their infancy. So I thought, as I always do, hmmmmm I wonder if that would work with Rubber Stamps? Turns out, it does! Have a look-see at this video to see the process. I apologize in advance- it cuts off a few times since I was dealing with limited space on the video camera.

Here is the end result:

 

Rubber Stamps with Masking Fluid or Drawing Gum

Rubber Stamps with Masking Fluid or Drawing Gum

Enjoy!

Wool Felting and Walnut Ink

January 9, 2014 in Mixed Media Posts by Ursula Smith

This Holiday season, I learned how to felt. I watched a couple of youTube videos, bought myself some wool roving, wool felt, and some felting needles and had a go at it. Based on some wine toppers I bought (and which they ran out of, thus the quest for learning to felt!), I made these wine toppers:

 

Wool Felt Wine Toppers

Felted Wine Toppers

 

I bought some wool felt and decided to try to do some fun things with it. First, I coated it with Golden Digital Medium, let it dry and ran it through the printer. The hardest thing was getting it to actually run through the printer. I finally had to use the manual rear feed in order to get it to go through. But it looked kind of cool-

 

Printed Felt Digital MEdium

The stuff that looks like printer lines is actually tiny text. I would get rid of that next time I tried this technique.

The next thing I decided to try was to transfer onto it. Unfortunately, I didn’t take a picture of the background before I cut it up and turned it into an ATC. But the snowman pieces are wool felt that stick onto the background felt (green with blue snowflake background transferred onto it. All I had to do was use the felting needles to punch through and get the wool pieces to stick. No glue involved. BTW- these were all cut with my Accucut! It cuts wool felt beautifully!!

 

Wool Felt Transfer ATC

 

Finally, I decided to spray it with ink. I was going to use Dylusions, but the walnut ink was out so I used that instead. I sprayed through one of my stencils and viola! Fun patterned felt. Now, me thinks I need to gelli art on felt ;-)

Dylusions Spray on Wool Felt

Felt sprayed with ink through stencil
I love wool felt, and can’t wait to do more things with it!! Enjoy!
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