I'm travelling into a new way of working, a new country, a new language, and a new hobby which I'm passionate about. Come with me for some of the journey...

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Hats Off to Distress Oxides!

Hello all and a very happy March to you!

As promised, and squeezed in between lots of other stuff, here's the Distress Oxide tag I teased you with the other day.

In between watercolours and Infusions and Destination Inspirations (Destinations Inspiration?) and I don't know what all, I shared some results from my first Distress Oxide playtime in XOX Oxides.

There's no accident in that title... I do love them, and I'm really excited to keep exploring their possibilities.

And today's title is not just about that fabulous bowler hat, but a big, congratulatory "Hats Off!" (or "Chapeau!" as the French have it, or "Klobouk dolů!" from the Czechs) to Tim Holtz for this newly developed dye/pigment fusion.

For the central panel of this tag I used the middle background from the first photo in that post, and inked up some of the stamps I bought last year and never had time to play with during my year of many travellings.

The gears are clear embossed over Potting Soil Archival ink.

With a background like this, the clear embossing helps give the image extra definition against all the detail.

The inks in that background are a combination of Distress Oxides and Distress Stains, so that you get the opacity from the Oxides and the translucence of the Distress dye inks playing off each other.

The not-there-man is stamped in VersaMark and embossed in Bark powder by Wow.

If you get the angle right, he shimmers delightfully in the light (a real now-you-see-him, now-you-really-don't which I like a lot).

The text stamping is just plain Potting Soil - that's fine as it belongs in the background.

I love these stamps of vintage advertisements and bits of ephemera and always, of course, text and lettering and fonts.

The "Repairs Receive Constant Attention" along the bottom definitely tickles me!  

Once I had my panel done, I decided I wanted to set it on a tag, so I created the large tag also seen in XOX Oxides.  I deliberately kept a lot more white space so that there would be a contrast between the tag and the central panel.

Then I had a lovely time playing with arranging my cogs and gears to echo those in the stamped image.  Some of them are Idea-ology; some are from a cheap job lot from China.

I used alcohol inks and Distress Paints to alter some of them for a verdigris distressed look to echo the inky panel and tag.

I used a Small Talk sticker inside my Idea-ology Label Pull.  It's been slightly stained with Pumice Stone Distress Stain so that it wouldn't be too glaringly white inside there.

I enjoyed creating a little chainful of adornments to hang from the Hitch Fastener.

I usually use these as doorknobs or folder fasteners, so it's fun to do something different.

I love how it looks layered over the cog.

Again, the alcohol inks and Distress Paints came in handy to create the weathered metal look on the numbers, whether it's on the figure 3...

... or the smaller figure 2 (I mean it's smaller in size as well as in value - it's one of the Idea-ology Mini Numerals, as opposed to the larger Numerals which have those helpful holes pre-drilled).

So that's one of my first little plays with Distress Oxides turned into a tag.  And it was such fun playing with all those Tim Holtz stamps and bits and bobs.

Tim and his Distress Inks really were at the heart of the start of my crafty journey, so it's really exciting having new Distress ingredients to add to the mix.

There's a new and very special challenge due to start at A Vintage Journey on Friday, so I'll hope to see you again soon.  Happy crafting all!

There is an interest in that which is hidden and which the visible does not show us. This interest can take the form of a quite intense feeling, a sort of conflict, one might say, between the visible that is hidden and the visible that is present.
Rene Magritte (talking about his painting The Son of Man which features a man in a bowler hat with his face hidden by an apple)

Monday, 27 February 2017

Hessian Hearts

Hello all!  It's sneak peek time here amidst all the watercolour wanderings and oxide experimentation.  I'm hoping to tempt you over to Destination Inspiration at A Vintage Journey to see what I've made with this month's travel bag contents.

I felt pretty at home with most of the ingredients, but the designated colour for this month was way out of my comfort zone.  I hope you'll have time to hop over and see how I coped!  Have a great week, everyone.

If I create from the heart, nearly everything works; if from the head, almost nothing. 
Marc Chagall

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Two Tree Doodles

Watercolour time again...  After a little Infusions diversion and a quick outing for some Distress Oxide experiments, we've moved from Watery Florals to the first of quite a lot of trees coming your way.  These were doodles playing with colours and brushstrokes, just trying to stay loose and free and not think too much.  Oh, and the people are back!

The tree was the start of this little doodle, and then I thought I'd risk putting some more of my little figures into the landscape.  (If you missed the first little people, you'll find them amongst the Mixing and Daubing.)

I like the soft colour tones here - no surprise, I suppose, given it's a variation on blues and browns.  (Bah - I haven't written the colours down again - not good practice if I ever want to try this combination again.  I'll have to waste time trying to work out what they were.)

I was very happy with my accidental brook bubbling between the moorland hillocks and grasses.

And I am enjoying the tiny people - there's a delightful tightrope walk between control and chance in how they turn out.

It's good for me not to be completely in control!

So that's tree number one.

We're still on the large 9 x 12 Canson pad, and you've probably already caught a glimpse of the second tree I'm sharing today... it's on the same page.

This fir tree is rather large.  It takes up half the page in landscape, so it's nearly 9 inches tall.

I just had a lovely time playing with the brush strokes...

... trying to keep a fluidity and flow in the paint...

... but dropping in more colours in places to give variations in the light and shadows in the depth of the branches.

I'm pretty pleased with the trunk too, and I think I could do a similar thing again, which is after all the point of all this playing and practising.

Altogether, this was a happy page which left me in a very serene mood.  Thank you, watercolours.  Thank you, nature.

And thanks to you for dropping by again today.  I'm detouring on to A Vintage Journey next, in a couple of days, but there will be some more watercolouring and some more Distress Oxides along soon.  Happy crafting all!

In nature, nothing is perfect and everything is perfect. Trees can be contorted, bent in weird ways, and they're still beautiful.
Alice Walker

The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way.  Some see Nature all ridicule and deformity, and some scarce see Nature at all.  But to the eyes of the man of imagination, Nature is Imagination itself.
William Blake

I'd like to share this at Moo-Mania and More where they are asking to see something Handpainted

Friday, 24 February 2017

XOX Oxides

Hello all!  From yesterday's Infusions launch at PaperArtsy and before tomorrow's watercolours, I'm throwing in a quick peek at my first play with another colour medium - the new Distress Oxides.  If you're a Tim Holtz fan, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about.  If not, these are the new ink pads containing a pigment/dye fusion ink - creating a whole new ballgame of effects and possibilities.  I already love them!  

I'm only sharing a couple of backgrounds today - though I have already made something with most of these.  It's just a little teaser post for now!  And no prizes for guessing which colours I played with first...

If you want to see Tim in action with these, there are various videos on youtube of him demonstrating them at Creativation last month (here's one, for instance).

The "oxidisation" happens when you add water, and gives a fabulous opaque chalky bloom.

It's quite difficult to get the full effect with a photograph because half the delight is the feel of the chalky smoothness under the fingertips.  I can't really share that with you directly!

Here are some more blues and browns - this time with a touch of the Wilted Violet added to the mix.  (By the way, all the samples in this post are a combination of Distress Oxides and regular Distress Inks.)

It's another combination I've played with quite often in the past... now there's a slightly new flavour to it.

Because of the opaque pigment component of the ink, you can layer colours in ways that wouldn't be possible with pure dye inks.

I haven't tried stamping yet, but easily my favourite game so far (as I thought it would be) has been to play with a combination of Oxides and traditional Distress inks.

That way you get the joyous combination of opacity and translucence which has been an ongoing obsession here at Words and Pictures right from the very earliest days.

It also means you get some really cool patina effects as the inks combine and recombine on the craft mat and then smooshed onto the tag.

The coppery verdigris possibilities are going to be endless (especially if/when we get some more of the blues, greens and browns released in the future - sooner rather than later, I hope!).

This is all basically just wrinkle-free distress technique, a long-time favourite way to play of mine which now has new and exciting adventures in store.  Just look at those chalky splotches!

I'll finish with a quick sneak peek of one of the creations in store, but you'll have to be patient I'm afraid.

There's other stuff to get to first, but I hope your appetites are whetted.  Thanks so much for stopping by, and I'll see you again (very) soon.

A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.
Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Find the Infusions you seek!

Hello all!  It's the official Infusions launch night over at PaperArtsy.  You'll find lots of stunning inspiration there from the PaperArtsy designers, and this is my offering for the night.

I was lucky enough to play with some of the new colours for the Lynne Perrella release last month, so I knew that I'd be reaching for In The Navy and Sleight Blue.

And I've also used one of the new Lynne Perrella stamps which didn't actually get an outing amongst my own samples... so new Infusions and a newly-inked stamp - it's all brand shiny new round here today!

I know this is a rather sombre affair for a launch night celebration, but I love that you can get really atmospheric moody effects with the Infusions as well as the really bright and bold explosions of colour.

I started by putting some heavy gesso through one of my favourite stencils, and adding the tiniest sprinkle of Infusions powders once it was all dry.

I spritzed plenty of water onto this first sprinkling, allowing it all to spread and run amidst the texture.  When it dried, it had a soft cloudiness to it because of being quite a watery mix.

I was then able to add extra powder in certain places to create more depth and detail.

That way you can be really precise about where you want to create really dark accents and shadows.

I don't really know why I seem to end up using arches so often with the Lynne Perrella women... they just speak to me that way.

This one is stamped on a book page stuck on to cardboard and cut with one of the Mover and Shaper Sized Arches.  (The fabulous Brenda Brown is having a Giveaway for these over at Bumblebees and Butterflies if you're quick - deadline to join in is the 28th February.)

I'm not entirely sure that I was right to colour her in...  I think I may prefer the monastic simplicity of the "naked" version against the background.

But I do like the tinting in close-up (embracing the imperfection of the squiffy eyes).  I used the Infusions as well as a few touches of Fresco paint for the "colouring" - all done in watery washes with my watercolour brushes.

There had to be some words involved, of course.  So the Small Talk stickers got pressed into action yet again...

... and I also added my own handwriting (a vague echo of the script on the stamp) at various points around the panel.

In the hurly burly of the world today, it's pretty clear what she's seeking... 

I hope my sombre little panel has created a moment of peace in your day, and I hope you'll hop over to PaperArtsy to see the - mostly much more colourful! - samples from my fellow designers.  Infusions inspiration and temptation galore!

Thanks so much for stopping by, and I'll be back with some more watercolour wanderings soon.

Peace comes from within.  Do not seek it without.