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Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Doubly Challenging

Happy New Year!  A very warm welcome to Words and Pictures, with an especially big welcome to the newest followers - delighted to have you with us for 2014!!



I'm starting off the year with a double-duty project, inviting you to join not one but two challenges this month...

First up, there's the Artistic Stamper challenge for January which is Love Is In The Air, while over at Our Creative Corner we'd like you to reveal your Shopping Sins.  

You know the ones... those crafty purchases which then sit proudly in their packaging awaiting the right moment or the right project, and somehow never get to come out and play!  You'll find all the challenge details and rules by clicking on the appropriate links.

And if you haven't yet heard all the exciting Our Creative Corner news, you definitely need to check this out - in addition to our Top Talent and Top 3 picks, there's now a prize on offer each month too.

Anyway, enough of the business - on to the project!



One of my 2014 crafty resolutions is to do more exploring via art journalling, and that's what this started out as.  But once the twigs turned up, it was clear I'd never be able to close it in a book, so I ended up mounting it on a canvas instead... Ah well, it's art journalling Words-and-Pictures-style!!


I knew the shopping sin I wanted to expiate was the beeswax I'd bought ages ago and had always put off using - "too fiddly, too messy, maybe I'll get a cheap melting pot on ebay and that'll make it easier" - until I saw a youtube clip of someone melting it right on the project with a heat tool.  Okay, no more excuses!








I didn't really have much more in my head than that when I set off - "use beeswax"... but the Artistic Stamper prompt was really helpful, and suddenly I had butterfly hearts fluttering around in my head.













I started with a piece of A4 paper from Finnabair's Sunrise Sunset paper pad by Prima.  I've been watching lots of France Papillon's art journalling videos, so I was planning to create in landscape and then cut the paper in half to stick it into the journal.




I stuck down strips of book pages and handmade paper to vary the textures and used my fingers to add gesso to most of it.













Next step was to add some colour with washes of Distress Stain... it was no more precise than "sky" and "earth" at this point.













I had the start of the words hovering in my mind by this point, so I wanted the sense of lightness and being airborne - so bubbles were the natural way to go.











I had lots of fun creating my bubbles - first with the Artistic Stamper Large Sequin Waste mask, and then adding smaller bubbles with the Large Random Dots background stamp.

I stencilled and stamped with paint and added shading to the little bubbles with a PITT Big Brush Pen.








And I suppose the idea is that the hearts/butterflies are being wafted away amongst the bubbles...


I stamped one of the Calligraphic Mats onto some tissue paper (as well as adding it as texture stamping around the "earth") and cut out some hearts using Tim Holtz's Movers and Shapers die.






With no Melt Pot, I popped my wax pellets into a disposable little metal tart tin and used my heat tool to melt them (holding the tin with some plyers).

There was plenty of "melt time" to dip in a couple of butterflies and fish them out with tweezers, and perfectly easy to re-melt whenever necessary.











Not only does the wax give this fantastic parchment finish and wonderful sheen, but it strengthens the tissue paper as well as making it mould-able.

I also used a dab of melted wax to "glue" the tiny bits of twig body on (though the twig idea only came up as a side-effect of putting the twig trees on - so that came first!).










Somehow the shape of the paper strips in the bottom corner turned into trees in my head, so I added a bit of stronger colour and texture in the form of corrugated cardboard, leftover wax paper from some bread and the twigs that were lying around on my table.













Once they were in place, I just scattered some more wax over the earth and trees and used the heat tool to melt/glue them.  Again, I think the sheen is very cool - hard to capture in a photo, mind!










The words had, by now, formed themselves into the finished phrases, so I stamped them on some more of the handmade paper, inked them and distributed them around the sky and the earth: when love takes flight, open your heart and fly too.









Much as I love the twigs, they are the reason this page will never be part of my art journal.  At least that gave me the freedom to stick my butterflies wherever I like, rather than worrying about where I'd be cutting the page in half!

Instead, I grabbed an A4 canvas and gave it a rough coat of French Roast Fresco paint around the edges, topping that with some Sepia Archival ink, applied directly from the ink pad.












And once glued down, I had the chance to do lots of tattering of the page edges for extra texture and dimension!







So, I hope this will inspire you to join in with at least one of these two challenges, if not both!  Remember: at Our Creative Corner, we'll need to see and hear about the Shopping Sins you've used on your piece; or for the Artistic Stamper challenge, show us how Love Is In The Air for you (I don't think you have to take it quite as literally as I did!!).


I hope that 2014 brings you health, happiness and all good things.  I'm looking forward to whatever's next!

We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day.
Edith Lovejoy Pierce

55 comments:

Shilpa Nagaonkar said...

Happy New Year,Alison!!
This Art Journal is soooo soothing, love it:)
Twigs look so pretty on blue textured background, very creative!

brenda said...

Each time I come here Alison it's a wow moment and I am running out of superlatives for your work, so will simply say fabulous.

Happy New Year.

B x

Redanne said...

I just love the gorgeous background and the twigs give it so much dimension. The butterflies are delightful...their wings look almost gossamer. Happy New Year Alison! Hugs, Anne x

Sue C said...

Happy New Year Alison ! Your project is beautiful, the butterflies really add a sense of floating in the sky. Bees wax is something I too have put off with similar excuses to you, so maybe now is the time to take a deep breath and jump in ! Sue C x

Chris Warner said...

This is gorgeous Alison! Happy New Year! Chris xxx

Astrid Maclean said...

A wonderful creation Alison, journal or not, love the tactile elements and those gorgeous butterflies. Hapy New Year!!

Brenda Brown said...

Another of your most amazing projects to start off the new year Alison, full of gorgeous colour, texture and inspirational ideas. I just love those butterfly hearts.
I am looking forward to seeing more of your fabulous creations again this year.
Happy 2014 to you and your family.
hugs {brenda} x

Deborah said...

Those twigs make this absolute perfection, Alison. Too good to be hidden in a book. Many thanks for all your blog comments and ... Happy New Year!

die amelie said...

Happy New Year to you, Alison!

Oh my...you really made me think about buying some bees wax (which I haven't until now - mainly due to the same thoughts you had...*lol)... ;)

I look forward to seeing more of your art journal journey - yes, I do!
And for a short moment I was sure that it was real bark you used on your project - the corrugated card looks just awesome! Love your project!

Hugs,
Claudia x

Buttons said...

What a wonderful way to start 2014 and try out that beeswax. Love the effects you have created with it Alison. Wishing you another fantastic year ahead. Jenny x

hazel said...


Happy New Year Alison.
Your project is beautiful, I love the sentiment and the colours are lovely.
xxx Hazel.

Jennie Atkinson said...

Happy New Year Alison! This is such a stunning journal page and the techniques you have used are fabulous. The colours are so calming and the beeswax tissue butterflies so delicate. Thanks for so much wonderful inspiration and it is just day 1 of 365! Best wishes Jennie x

craftytrog said...

Love this beautiful canvas Alison!
Looking forward to seeing your 2014 creations.
Wishing you peace, happiness & creativity,
Alison xxx

Neet said...

Such creative journalling Alison. Love it! I got a book and brush (set) for Christmas from a friend so I might just do something whilst away - got my watercolours for the plane). Thanks so much for inspiring me,
Happy New Year, Hugs, Neet xx
ps sorry I have not been around due to ill health which zapped me - now am full of a cold and off on my trip shortly - oh dear!

Julia S-W said...

Happy New Year Alison! I love your take on Claudia's project. I have often been tempted by beeswax myself but always seem to stop short of making the purchase.
Your lovely canvas is full of light, motion from the floating butterflies and wonderful natural shades and textures. A real treat for the eyes! (always seems a clever idea to combine DT pieces in my opinion. . . ) Hugs, Juliaxxx

Princess Judy Palmer said...

Here's to a healthy new year! Now pass that cough syrup over here. Maybe all your art journal pages will turn into canvasses and people can come by and read your walls. I love this project with the twigs. I like seeing a bit of nature tossed into your nature themed works. I like the idea of getting people to admit and use their shopping sins. I know I have some, just lacking the oxygen to think of what they are now. Anyway I wanted to say I love how light and airy this piece is. Here's to a creative 2014!

Silvia(Barnie) said...

Wow, I'm missing words, such a wonderful piece of art. Love the color combination and the texture.
Wishing you a happy, healthy and creative year 2014.

Linda Coughlin, the funkie junkie said...

Amazing piece of mixed media art here, Alison. Love the twig bodies on the lovely heart butterflies. It looks like you had great fun playing with the beeswax! Thanks for the tip on melting it without a melt pot!

Wishing you all the best of the best in 2014!

Hugs,
Linda

isisimaginings.com said...

Happy New Year Alison! I've just been looking at this over on the AS blog. It is gorgeous, the beeswax looks wonderful.

Hettie said...

Gorgeous Alison. Love this piece and great way of not using the melt pot! Knowing me I would burn myself with it somewhere! LOL!
Hugs
xx

Sandy said...

I see you know the secret - it's all about your style. Nope - it can't belong to someone else - it has to be your own. And you have style in abundance!! Love your butterflies and your heart!!
Happy New Year Kid!!
sandy

Kasia said...

Beautiful creation, Alison! Love these cute hearts, they really look like butterflies. Cute! :)

Happy New Year, Alison! Wishing you all the best in 2014 :)

Julie Ann Lee said...

This is a wonderfully original creation! I think that journals don't necessarily have to be trapped within the pages of a conventional book so maybe this is still a journal after all. I so want to play with Beeswax in 2014. Thank you for inspiring me to do so. I am adding it my wish list right now! Thank you for starting off 2014 with such an inspiring piece of work! Julie Ann xx

joyce said...

Alison! Girl this is so awesome! The background is fabulous, love all the thought and creativity that went into this piece of art. Thanks for the inspiration.

Kim Price said...

Oh Alison I'm just LOVING the organic feel to this project. What an amazing piece of art this is - absolutely stunning!

Mona Pendleton said...

So beautiful and creative Alison! Love the gorgeous background and your attention to detail! Happy New Year!

Shirley Chillman said...

A true artist Alison who can change course mid stream when things aren't quite right and still finish up with a masterpiece.

Looking forward to your 2014 resolution to do more exploring via art journalling.

I hope 2014 brings you health, wealth and above all true happiness.

Warm crafty hugs from Shirl x x

Alie Hoogenboezem-de Vries said...

Stunning butterflies and a great start with this creation of a new creative year Alison :-)

Kind regards and all the best, Alie

Kelly Neis said...

I love this page! The butterflies are so beautiful and I will have to get beeswax now! lol The effect is awesome. I love the wash of blue with the earthy colors. So soft and also a romantic feel. Love your title, Opportunity!
Happy New Year!!
Hugs Kelly

Dorthe said...

Your journal canvas, is so very beautiful, dear Alison,-love the light and the blue sky of spring, and those heart butter flyes are adorable.
I also did not play with wax for long, and you inspired me, to melt a bit and go !!
I wish you a wonderful new year, and all the best to come...
Hugs,Dorthe

Anita Houston said...

The things you do with natural materials is amazing! Those butterflies are gorgeous! Wonderful scene, and inspiration in 2013! Thank you! I wish you many blessings this year my friend! Happy New Year!

Paper Profusion said...

Happy New Year Alison - may 2014 be your best year yet! Your journalling canvas is brilliant - love its tones and layers and those beautiful fluttering hearts. Must investigate beeswax! Looking forward to another creative year with you in blogland. Nicola x

Emma Dawson said...

Such a beautiful piece! I really love the subtle bubbles in the background and the translucence of the butterflies. Stunning!

Emma x

Paper Creations by Shirley said...

Gorgeous Art Journal pages, love the texture and mixed media. Just found your blog via Shirl's Cards, glad I did as your artwork is beautiful. Greetings, Shirleyx

Fliss said...

Happy New Year from me too Alison.
Got here at last and in time to gaze at your amazing creation. A beautiful depiction of nature and well done on your use of the beeswax (something I have yet to use too having had a pot of shavings for a while!)
Looking forward to more of your artwork in 2014.
Hugs, Fliss xx

May said...

Wishing you a blessed 2014 Alison... WOW what a project.. the detail is amazing...Love all the natural elements, the colours & texture is Beautiful... Thank you for wonderful inspiration... Hugs May x x x

Margaret said...

What a wonderful way to begin the new year! This is so wonderful with the butterflies and I adore the bubbles.

Cinderella Moments said...

It's so gorgeous!! I love the theme of using the stuff you have bought but never used. It's genius. You sure succeeded with your project. Happy New Year! I can't wait to see all your marvelous projects this year.
hugs♥,
Caroline

Helen said...

oh wow, this looks incredible! I love your butterflies... and the trees!
I too bought beeswax and never used it, so maybe this is the time to start...

Inkypinkycraft said...

Really gorgeous I....love allthe textures and those little hearts are fab! Hugs x trace x all the best for 2014 xx

Lisa M said...

I have this overwhelming desire to pee..LOL...I'm kidding..it's just all the bubbles and watery look and it's currently 5 degrees outside, so.... Hahaha...
But seriously...this is INCREDIBLE!! I could melt in the texture.
hugs to you and Happy New Year,
Lisa x

Terry said...

Beautiful, Alison! The colors are gorgeous and the twiggy butterflies, I so love! Happy New Year! Hugs!

Dianne said...

Hello Miss Alison, INSPIRATION OVERLOAD....I have been away, for a week, no computer, and my desk is all clean, ready for a good messing, what I need was to get my juices flowing, and visiting has done that. I just love how this creation came together, it's brilliant, the background is FANTASTIC, your butterfly's are GORGEOUS, I have a crook pot full of beeswax, I'll be plugging it in soon :O). I too plan to do some journal this year, so thanks for the link to France Papillion can't wait to watch the videos, it's been such a pleasure visiting, I'm flying off to do some more visiting, I'll be back soon, all the best to you my dear in the new year, thanks for making 2013 a wonderful creative art journey for me, ((( BIG HUGS )))..

Candy C said...

Alison...yet another gorgeous project, my friend. You are such a talent! Love your use of color and design. The wooden sticks, the butterflies...everything just is so beautifully put together. <3 Candy

cathylynn said...

Happy New Year Alison! Wow you have fireworks with this new canvas! Your creativity is beyond awesome! I love this piece and all of the elements that you put together. Gorgeous results!
Hugs, Cathy-Lynn

Lisa S. said...

Love your project Alison! The colors are great together and love the reference to new beginnings with the butterflies. :) Happy New Year to you too!

barbarayaya62 said...

Happy new year Alison!!!! Such a wonderful piece! your creativity is amazing, you're an incredible artist!!! barbarayaya

Ana K. said...

My dear Alison here you have another stunning project....I love texture and little “butterflies” are super cute...just fantastic!
Hugs

Von said...

Gorgeous so light and airy Alison :)
Von ♥

2amscrapper said...

fabulous creation!

Tracy said...

You sure started the New Year with a bang, wollop, whistle Alison....this is above and beyond stunning and so very very you...wow!!!
xoxoxox

Marjie Kemper said...

Happy New Year! What a gorgeous creation ~ you sure are starting the New Year off with a bang. Love your super canvas and the sweet delicate beeswax embellishments. Off to pin.

Cathy L. Calamas said...

Such a lovely background on this. Also, I use a small crock pot to heat my beeswax up. Very inexpensive.

Kezzy said...

Wowser truky super gorgeous awesome journal canvas lol. I think it looks fantastic as a canvas as the added twigs really make the piece. Wow I love it. Eeeek heating your bees wax in a pie tin, I tried that but with embossing powder and managed to melt my heat gun lol. The reflective nature and the fact embossing UTEE takes a while to heat I melted the plastic on my gun lol. Yep I now have a melt pot. Before the melt pot I did buy the project pan which did the trick by heating with my heat gun. I really shoul try bees wax I have had mine for years and seeing Hels on create and craft do some lovely things maybe I should go for it lol. Hugs :-) Kezzy xxxxx

Mary Elizabeth said...

I was really caught by the photo of your background (pre-twig). You really did a nice job framing the piece with the vertical and horizontal paper placement. Then the colors added another semi-blocking layer. Really, really nice. I love this piece Alison!!! -- Mary Elizabeth