Thursday 28 October 2021

2021 Topic 13: Tiny (News) Print with LPC and ESN {by Leandra Franich}

    2021 Topic 13: Tiny (News) Print

Hi everyone, it's Leandra with you today, and I'm here to share with you some tiny print ideas with Lynne Perrella and Sara Naumann stamps. These cards were planned to be simple,it was the 'Absorbent Ground' (a Golden product) I was digging into testing for this post. If you are looking for fast Christmas cards, then these are definitely that. Even the process I have used can be simplified further without difficulty. 
When working directly onto vintage papers, or onto book pages, I like to knock back how bold the printed words look to make the substrate more usable. Generally I use paint thinned with Fresco Matte Glaze. This allows the image I stamp on top to be seen a bit more clearly. However, for this topic, Tiny Print, I really wanted the print to still be seen through all the layers, and with that in mind, and to stay true to the intention of the product I was testing, I opted for watercolours on top for a gentle tint.  Yes, I could have used Frescos, and those and infusions will be future experiments to explore over the 'ground' product.

OK so I am heading into a deep dive on how I found this tub of 'Absorbent Ground (white)', seen in the centre of the picture below. When I took this photo I didn't know realise where I was heading, but I adore gels, mediums etc so this was a chance to explore! The plan was to  find out if the 'ground' made it easier to create watercolour backgrounds on vintage papers. Answer: well, it kind of helps, but it still isn't anything like working directly on good watercolour paper...however, it served my purpose pretty well in the end as you will discover as i walk you through the process. I ended up very happy, but not for the reasons I originally expected. 

As an aside, both Absorbent Ground and Fibre Paste are Golden products that are supposed to help your paper behave more like watercolour paper. (they also have Qor branded versions of the same product) Qor are Golden's watercolours, a fairly new product for them that seems to be getting good reviews. They really do 'suck in' the colour into the paper, and the colours seem to dry quite nicely on top of it, but they actually don't let your 'wet in wet' watercolour techniques 'travel' anything like they do when you get those magical effects on watercolour paper, so don't get too excited....

However.... *drumroll*.... it creates a gorgeous 'toothy' surface to stamp onto, and that WAS AMAZING! Let me attempt to describe how this product feels: when you rub your fingers over the dry ground it's more gritty-chalky and much more finely textured than fresco paints, which feel silky-chalky by comparison. As a product it really seems to 'pull into' itself the product you apply on top. So, for example, take a look at just how black the inked images are in the samples I made. Usually you would expect a bit of texture, a bit of the image to be paler in some areas, but I must say, every print I made with archival ink directly onto the absorbent ground was perfect! So for that feature alone, it was a really good experiment to do! I LOVED how the rubber stamps with archival ink perform over the ground.

So let me back up a bit. It is good practice, when testing out theories, to use the same brand where possible in the layers, this was also the recommendation on the tub of ground. My vintage paper (a very old handwritten record of each French plot of land within an property purchase agreement) was particularly fragile, so I started by sealing it with matte medium to secure it to smoothy card and then applied gesso. I used a catalyst tool to get extremely thin layers. Matte medium (Golden) in the tall bottle, is a pourable, runny product, much thinner that a gel medium (see the videos below for info on these products).
Next I applied 2 coats of the Absorbent Ground. It doesn't say how much to apply, how thick, or how many coats on the tub instructions. For all of these layers (matte medium, gesso, ground) I really, really liked using the catalyst tool. It kept the layers thin and even while spreading only a small blob of product and I didn't get any bubbling or buckling, despite the paper being thin and fragile. The vintage paper certainly felt stronger/ fortified after these layers had been applied.

By the way, (another digression...) if you want to know more about gels, mediums, and so on, we did this as a blog topic in August 2015 (here is the link to the 'masterclass' blog post which is a really good resource - picture heavy with plenty of examples, a handy one to pin or save)
I filmed 2 videos at the same time explaining the basics, and looking at a few different brands and price points. If you don't understand what mediums or gels are for, what the differences are, and would like to have some ideas regarding use with paints and other colour products, or if you are not sure what to buy and why, then this is a good starting point to get your head around what is out there. (I love all texture products, so I collect and use loads! But it does require discernment. Note the difference between fine artist-grade and craft-grade products. Even within a brand, there can be artist grade and student grade. If the price is similar of an artist brand to a craft brand, then you may end up paying over the top for a product with no track record! eg a shiny, plastic gesso is really not what a gesso should be)
The first video is about Acrylic Mediums (in other words thicker viscosity products that we can use in mixed media for adding texture and much more)
This one is about Acrylic Pouring Mediums, in other words runny products. Golden still make glazing liquid (2 of the tinted glazing mediums I show are no longer available), but of course you can use the still available clear glazing liquid in matte, satin or gloss to make your own custom tint in the finish you prefer.

OK back to the topic at hand: Tiny Print. Here is how my paper looked after 2 coats of Absorbent Ground. I really wanted to be able to see the writing on the paper (that was the whole point), and that is why I chose to use watercolour on top, being translucent, I hoped even darker colours would not obliterate the writing.

I decided the next step was to apply the watercolour to the edges of my papers that had been pre-torn to match the size of the stamps I was going to use on top, while still leaving room for the LPC images to be added later.

What I found was that to get an even coverage, and no domineering 'tide' marks I needed a fair bit of of water, so a water mister was good to shift the colour around and still allow some contrast.

Next, while the papers were still wet, I also dropped in a few concentrated drops of colour in 2 different shades of colour. As soon as these hit the watery surface they did soften out a bit, but nowhere near as much as they would if I was working on good quality watercolour paper. However, I quite liked how they settled, so I left them to dry off naturally.
I was interested to see notice they certainly dried 'into' the ground, and the effect was almost soft and blurry - which I really liked!

You can  see how soft the background looks once dry. I did wonder if the ground actually hinders watercolours looking as vibrant compared to how they might if they were used the same way on watercolour paper. Anyhow, lucky I am not a watercolour expert, as I might be disappointed with this 'ground' product, however, for me, there were other exciting things about the Absorbent Ground that I was just about to discover....

Look at how beautifully it stamps up!! I could NOT believe this, the archival ink looked blacker and way less purple than it usually does, and the sharpness was spot on superb. I just LOVED how I had to really peel the paper off the stamp, it was like it sucked right onto the rubber and the stamp surrendered all its ink to the absorbent ground, with the paper piggy in the middle  - I guess they named the product perfectly, it absolutely IS absorbent!

These are the Sara Naumann Christmas themed stamp sets I used, we released these last year, and I really love them for making cards and tags for Christmas.
This was my second sheet stamped with Lynne Perrella 'head' images. I partially inked up some of the larger stamps as the intention was only to use the heads. There are so many LPC stamps to choose from. We all know how detailed these stamps are, and wow does Absorbent Ground pull out those intricacies beautifully! I was very tempted to start using the watercolours again to add shading to these stamps, even a touch of sepia on the faces would look good right ?? But my plan was for minimalist cards on this particular occasion, so I resisted the urge. I know I will do this again, I've barely started playing with this product. I will certainly run more tests, and create some collage elements. Then in future projects I can then add colour if required. I think it would be very handy to have some of these ready for immediate use in my 'bits and bobs' stash!

So the composition is pretty simple. The coloured Sara Naumann stamped layer gets stapled to another layer of lightly gessoed vintage paper. The LPC head gets stuck on with foam tape, and then I used the popular Sara Naumann stencil (those tiny dots) with Grunge Paste for a bit more interest. 
All of the layers sit atop Kraft card that has also been stamped in black (softly) with a Seth Apter eroded print stamp for texture.
These are the LPC stamps I used:

I occasionally added a bit more intense colour to the BG, (like on those postmarks)
And one sample was made from all the left over scraps, and some vintage tape ruler I found in my stash, that tied in perfectly with the Kraft paper background. 
I just love how you can still see the Tiny Print of the Vintage paper peeking through. Who was that person who hand wrote all that information out at the land office all those years ago!! Can you imagine !!!

I felt black stitching was needed as the final touch to frame each layout, and occasionally to secure embellishments. This is where you need to do your worst sewn wonky lines possible - almost impossible for me after quilting meticulous 1/4" seams for years!

A couple more close ups of the detail ....

You know, I think I could get away adding some sepia shading to those LPC faces...I might go and do a bit of subtle faffing/ tweaking!
I have inadvertently stretched a fast-card post out into a gels and mediums play-fest, but that is what floats my boat, I just LOVE experiments, and to find a product that improves your stamping - well that is VERY exciting for me!
 Let me know if you have played with that Golden product and what you have done with it!! 
Take care


Helen said...

What a fabulous post with some amazing samples - what a fun play you've had!

SewPaperPaint said...

Sigh... watercolor is my thing so I'm totally smitten by these gorgeous cards and enamored over that incredible ledger showing through subtly. What an incredible effect. I loved your enthusiasm shining through this post Leandra and it makes me want to have a play! Love the idea of scraping on the product too. I just got a handy dish scrubbing tool similar to this and will have to sneak the second one in the pack into my studio. He he! Thanks for the inspiration. xx, Autumn

Words and Pictures said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Words and Pictures said...

These are such wonderful cards - starting from that beautiful antique ledger, through lovely gentle colour tones and all those translucent layers, to the brilliant LP images. I use Ground quite a lot (have Golden, Qor, and I think some Daniel Smith somewhere!) but have always used it much more thickly for texture - and that seems to get good flow too. Interesting how well the images stamped on the thinned layers. Have to find some playtime some time... Inspirational post, thank you.
Alison x

Ellie Knol said...

I personally love when you do a blogpost once in a while... you had fun, I can tell, and that sparked throughout the post. Thanks for the tips on the ground from Golden. Will have to dust it off :)

Liesbeth Fidder said...

Wow, these cards are really AMAZING Leandra!😍

pearshapedcrafting said...

This looks like a very productive playtime. Your base paper is fabulous and good to see it took well to your layers. Love those subtle colours and the cards look so beautifully vintage! Chrisx