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...

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Through the arched window...

Okay, that post title dates me... anyone for Play School?!  Welcome all.  I'm here with my second inspiration offering for this month's Country View Challenges theme to Use Something New To Me, and I've been working with the Wallflower Vellum again.

This time, rather than candle-light, I decided to work with natural light to illuminate my vellum.

One of the things which delights me about the vellum is how it changes according to the light, and that's what I wanted to take advantage of.

So I put it in an arched window.

It's really a very simple tag...

I cut the aperture using one of the Movers & Shapers Sized Arches, and added DecoArt Media Texture Sand Paste through a Prima brick stencil.

In places, I just smoothed the paste on directly, to give an impression of the stones being worn away with time.

I then used various Fresco paints to build up layers of colour.

There's some dry-brushing to highlight the texture, and some dark green for an aged mossy look.

The "window" was easy.  I just selected the part of the vellum page I wanted to use and cut it to fit the arch aperture.

I've gone for a window celebrating the beauty of the natural world... like Edmund in King Lear, my cry would be: Thou, Nature, art my goddess!

In further celebration of nature I added one of my favourite of her manifestations - some ivy - cut out of Kraft Core with the Spring Greenery Decorative Strip Die.

The ChitChat stickers add just a little thought to take with you on the journey.

And some simple undyed ribbon and twine make for a monastically austere topping.

I'm pretty pleased with how this changes according to the angle the light strikes it.  With the sunlight directly behind you get something very dramatic indeed!

I'm trying to be quick (with limited success) as you've only got two more days to come and play along. (Can you believe it's almost the end of January already?)  Use Something New To You, and you could be in with a chance at winning a voucher from our generous sponsor Country View Crafts.  And if you simply can't wait to go shopping, you'll find some product links below!

Thanks so much for stopping by today.  I'm flitting around the place for workshops for the next few days, but as long as I can get the hotel wifi to work on my various stopovers, I hope to be hopping around Craftyblogland to see what you've been up to... after all, what better way to while away an evening away from home?! See you soon.

Where there is much light, the shadows are deepest.

There are two kinds of light - the glow that illumines, and the glare that obscures.
James Thurber

Ingredients (or similar) available at Country View Crafts:
Tim Holtz Wallflower Vellum Stash
PaperArtsy Fresco Paints
Manila Tags
Tim Holtz Spring Greenery Decorative Strip Die
Tim Holtz Movers & Shapers Sized Arches
Brick Stencil similar to this one
Ranger Texture Paste
Palette Knife
Idea-ology ChitChat Stickers
Picket Fence Distress Paint

Monday, 26 January 2015

The hand of a master...

Hello all... I've been journalling a lot recently (a subconscious resolution which seems to have taken hold - I was at it again at The Artistic Stamper over the weekend!), and today I'm sharing another exploration.

It started as a first attempt for the Vintage Journey recent Use A Portrait challenge, but I couldn't quite get it to go anywhere satisfying at the time.  But I let it sit and simmer for a little longer and now I think it's found its way to where it wants to be (for now, at any rate).

I'd like to share it over at Art Journal Journey where the January prompt is Inspired by the Masters.

I think it's pretty clear which particular master is involved in my page ... Leonardo da Vinci's Head of a Woman, also known as La Scapigliata, takes centre stage (as well as hovering in the background), and the words are his too.

I wouldn't begin to claim to be working in his style - so I hope it still counts for the AJJ prompt - but I have always been inspired by his drawings.  In fact, I've used La Scapigliata before, very early in my crafting days.

Seeing his cartoon of The Virgin and Child with St Anne and John the Baptist on a school trip was the first time I experienced the profound effect a piece of art can have on you.  I stood in front of it for half the visit, and missed lots of the things we were supposed to be looking at as a result!

Although I'm not trying to "do a Leonardo", the colours remind me of the cartoons...

... and I've also tried to capture something of a Renaissance fresco look...

... with plenty of distressed crackle...

... and weathered texture.

I started with adding some structural texture in the pages of an altered book created on the France Papillon workshop I was lucky enough to attend late last year.

I hope to get around to showing you what we got up to on the workshop some time soon - at least before we get to 2016.  I think these pages are influenced by her art too.

Once the tissue tape, lace, papers, stamping and some Archival stencilling were in place, I added crackle texture through a stencil as well as just smearing it on in some areas freehand.

After that was crackled, it was out with the Distress Sprays... Vintage Photo, Walnut Stain and Stormy Sky to start with.

Then a round of slightly more vivid colours, adding in Rusty Hinge and Faded Jeans.

There may be some others too.

I love how the colours have interacted with the textures to create whole new shades!

Now on to the focal points... Leonardo da Vinci's words and pictures.

I printed La Scapigliata onto some regular paper, and then also printed the image in various sizes onto tissue paper so that I could play games with it amidst all that texture.

The small version hovers almost on the periphery of your awareness, softly contemplative, and with a touch of sorrow too - partly because of those tear-stained spatters.

And I love how the large version hovers protectively over the main portrait.

The words are attributed to Leonardo...

I think they are very beautiful...

And probably true...

I hope you like my Leonardo-inspired pages.  There'll be some more art journalling along soon!!  Happy crafting, all.

I'd like to enter this in Inspired by the Masters at Art Journal Journey
And at the Inspiration Journal I'd like to join in celebrating A Fresh Start with all this journalling energy

Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.
Leonardo da Vinci
How's that for Words and Pictures?!

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Photo Friendly

Hello all... I'm so glad you liked my vintage book board and enjoyed the story of the Russian bride and groom - though I fear it may not be a "happily ever after" ending.

I seem to be on a bit of a run of vintage photo-inspired creations.

I'm back today to tempt you over to The Artistic Stamper Creative Team Blog where I'm sharing an art journal page with another photo at its heart.

All the usual suspects are in place... blues, browns, crackle, book pages, butterflies, and some rusty accents - it's yet another variation on my favourite themes.

I hope you'll have time to hop over to The Artistic Stamper and check it out while I'm busy with my tax return.

And I also hope to be able to use my Sunday to return some of your generous visits... as long as it all goes smoothly!!

Everything has the potential to be extraordinary, whether an old photograph, a book, or a life.  If you find it ordinary, you simply need to take a closer look.
Claire Cameron

Friday, 23 January 2015

Love is in the air

... or is it?  Hello all and welcome.  It's challenge time.

The amazing Astrid is our host this fortnight at A Vintage Journey and, according to the challenge theme, Love Is In The Air!

As usual, my wonderful team-mates have come up with a wealth of inspiration for you, all with a Tim Holtz twist (we certainly all love Tim Holtz at any rate!), but before you hop off to check it out, here's my offering for you.

And love is in the air... but it's under considerable pressure, I'm afraid.

I thought I would use an old hardback book cover as my substrate.  I have a bunch of them, removed and preserved from disintegrating books during our big house move just over a year ago.

I happened to pull this one out of the shelf, and was delighted to find that, unusually, there was some ephemera on the inside leaf... and that inspired the direction I took with the piece.

The book was a copy of Six Months in Red Russia, by Louise Bryant, first published in 1918.  She was an American journalist who spent time in Russia before and during the revolution.  (If you've seen the film Reds, partly based on her writings, she's played by Diane Keaton.)

On the inside cover there's a Russian letter - a permit to travel, according to the blurb underneath - the perfect ephemera to provide a background for this pair from the Idea-ology Found Relatives (I've just re-appropriated it from Louise Bryant and re-written it in their names - in my head, that is, not actually!).

Suddenly they started to talk to me...

Here they are... a young Russian couple, caught up in the maelstrom of events.  The arranged marriage had to take place in a hurry to allow the two of them to travel together out of the country, to try to find a safe refuge from the turmoil.

The young man is filled with the excitement of the adventure, optimistic about the future and what it holds.  His slightly older bride looks considerably more wary, unsure about the wisdom of what they're doing.

The book page hearts echo the letters in the background, but the crackle and rusty wire perhaps show that all is not simple and straightforward between these two.

They have a long and dangerous journey ahead of them, even with the letters permitting them to travel through the country and across the border.

You have to wonder how much it cost their respective families to get those letters signed, and who they had to bribe for the travel tickets.

Although she has now committed her life to her new husband, and they must depend upon one another, obviously she still thinks about the family she has left behind.

Her thoughts are bound up in the letters she writes, never knowing if they will reach their destination.

She has brought mementos from home: a piece of her childhood bedroom wallpaper, snipped from behind the headboard of the bed, so nobody will notice it's gone; a portion of the lace her mother so carefully chose to adorn the wedding dress - already torn and stained with travel.

The dress itself had to be left behind - there's no room in the luggage they carry for anything but absolute necessities.

His constant urging is that she should look on the bright side, encourage her hopes not her fears.

He has promised to take care of her, to cherish her, and he will find a way to do that however far from home they have to travel.

I hope the distressed state of the book board is not a sign that their marriage is already fraying around the edges...

I hope that he is right to indulge in his high hopes for the days, months and years stretching out ahead of them...

I hope that love will strengthen them as they journey together through the world and through their lifetime together...

I hope...

(You may have noticed in the past that Valentine's Day is rarely pink and fluffy round here at Words and Pictures!!)

In any case, I do hope this hanging has offered you some inspiration for the challenge.  Do hop over to see what my team-mates have been creating for you, and we'd love to have you join us for this leg of the journey now that Love Is In The Air.

Check out all the challenge details as well as our Travelling Instructions to make sure you qualify for the prize voucher, generously sponsored by Country View Crafts.

Apologies that I'm somewhat missing in action again at the moment - it's a busy start to the year work-wise and crafting-wise, and there's the dreaded tax return still hovering.  I hope to be back visiting very soon.  Would so much rather come and see you all than do my tax return!!

We sometimes encounter people, even perfect strangers, who begin to interest us at first sight, somehow suddenly, all at once, before a word is spoken.
Fyodor Dostoevsky

Circumstances define us; they force us on to one road or another, and then they punish us for it.
Ivan Turgenev

All, everything that I understand, I understand only because I love.
Leo Tolstoy

I'm entering the lovely Choose Your Challenge at Craft Hoarders Anonymous - they have a chart and you need to include one ingredient from each list on your project. So I have Colouring Medium - Ink, Fibre - Lace, Technique - Die-cutting, Texture - Distressing and Wire, Embellishing - Eyelets and Ephemera
I'd also like to enter this at The Inspiration Journal where they are looking for A Fresh Start... a January anything goes, really.
And at Anything But A Card they are looking for New Beginnings, and since this Russian couple really are looking for a fresh start, it seems right!

Monday, 19 January 2015

A New Leaf

Hello all!

We're sharing a Tag Monday over at A Vintage Journey this week.  I love Tag Monday... an excuse to play with a tag, Tim-style, no pressure, no theme - just me, some inks and some stamping!

And given I'm in full-scale sample-creating mode at the moment it was lovely to take ten minutes out and just play.

Hop over to see what my lovely team-mates have shared, but before you go, here's my contribution.

This is not quite "a new leaf", though it sort of is.  Although I've used most of the stamps in the Daydream plate from last year's releases, I'd never inked up this lovely skeleton leaf before, so it needed to happen.

I started by blending ink directly onto a manila tag, then started layering in some detail with stencils.... first the Bubble and then my favourite Latticework.

I was using Broken China, Peeled Paint and Mowed Lawn... though in the end the greens rather took over from the turquoise (which is as it should be for leaves, I suppose).

I used DecoArt Chalk Paint to do my white stamping (a tip from Andy Skinner - if you haven't seen the things I made at his fabulous workshops, I'd love you to check them out).

You can't go wrong with the Papillon script...

I have lots of book page pieces left from carving out my Bell, Book and Candle niche.

They're handy to grab, so that's what I ran through the Trellis Frameworks and added as an extra layer.

Both the quote and the leaf are stamped in Potting Soil Archival.

I needed them to hold their own against the busy layered background, so I did my usual trick of clear embossing them.  It gives that lovely touch of gloss and dimension, as well as intensifying the colour because of the refraction of the light as it hits.

I used a blending tool to add some Rusty Hinge and Vintage Photo colour to the leaf very roughly.  I love that you can still see the layers even through the browns.

I added some golden pen nibs, arranging them in strong vertical lines to echo the quote and the leaf.

Well, what else are you going to use to write that gorgeous Papillon script?!

And the ribbons were actually dyed with Fresco paints for one of my samples (hmm... any guesses who the samples are being made for?!  Watch this space), but I ended up not using them for that.

But with a touch of Vintage Photo the ribbons were perfect here, tied with a bit of rustic twine.

I glued the whole tag onto some kraft card and trimmed it to size before attacking it with the distressing tool.

And we're all done.  I love how it warms up as the rays of winter sunshine (between snow showers) hit it.

Do hop over to A Vintage Journey to see the taggy delights created by my wonderful team-mates.  And you've still got time to play along with our current challenge to Use A Portrait on your Tim-style project.  Check out all the details and our Travelling Instructions - we'd love you to join us on the journey.

Thanks so much for stopping by and I'll see you again soon.  Now the samples are all done and ready for posting I might even get to come visiting...  Oops, no, tax return first!

I keep turning over new leaves, and spoiling them, as I used to spoil my copy-books; and I make so many beginnings there will never be an end.
Jo March in Louisa May Alcott's Little Women