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...

Friday 27 March 2015

Putting Pen to Paper

Hello all!  Thanks so much for stopping by.  I've something a little different today... I'm taking a deep breath and sharing some of my first experiments with dipping pen and ink drawings.

It's all very doodly at the moment - the start of a journey - and a long journey, I suspect, since I know daily practice is the key to developing new skills, and it's a good month and a half since I last managed to put pen to paper!  Must do better at carving out a few minutes each day despite busy rehearsal schedules.

So, here are some spring flower tags that came about as a result of my first playtime...

These were done way back in February (you can see the ivy's only just starting to get eaten - it's pretty much completely gone now, very sad).

The nib on the dipping pen I got is very fine so that you get a really delicate line.

I thought I'd try out some meadow grasses, since they're my favourite things amongst my stamps, and somehow that led to flowers (not botanically accurate, I hasten to add - just figments of my imagination!).

I used Distress Stains and Gelatos to add my colour.  That sheen on the red flowers is all Gelato!

With the pink flowers the colour came first and I added pen work afterwards.

For the golden ones, the pen work mostly came first and then the colour.

I tried to keep things loose and fluid - no colouring inside the lines here - in a deliberate attempt not to freeze up by trying to get things "right".

And it's all on watercolour paper tags (by Prima), so you get a lovely softness in the colours to balance the fine, scratchy lines.

I even tried out some green drawing ink for some of the stems and leaves - rather like that!

I've got quite a few drawing inks for messing around with in Mixed Media work, but I usually forget they're there.

Hopefully using them for this will move them nearer the front of my brain, and I'll remember to reach for them when I'm playing with other mediums too.

I was just experimenting, so I could have left off once I'd done the drawing and colouring, but I thought I'd be kinder to my first poor efforts.  So I added some background stamping, some spatter and hints of Treasure Gold, doodled some frames around the edges of the tags and mounted them on cardboard packaging (an Amazon envelope, if memory serves).

I dyed some crinkle ribbons to create co-ordinating toppings.

Got to have some words of course.  My own writing... eek!

I also added some Idea-ology Muse Tokens, attached with rusty wire, naturally.

And while we're on the pen and ink, here are just a few doodlings from my "pen and ink journal" - the place where I'm supposed to be doing at least something daily, though these are again from back in February.  I'm hoping that by sharing the intention of daily work here, I'll maybe actually put it into practice (like when you tell people your resolutions to try to encourage yourself to actually do them!).

It was hard to break the virgin beauty of the page, so I started with words - my comfort zone - "The tiniest steps in mark making," and a command: "Begin...", then literally some mark-making - cross-hatch work to stop the page being so bare.  Then I set off again with the meadow grasses, and a slightly fantastical woodland dwelling.

Trees, of course... (these were inspired by the ones outside my window at a song weekend I went on - which is how come I know when all this arrived on the pages).

This tree happened as a bit of an accident - too much ink on the nib blotting onto the paper, so I turned the nib over and used the back to start spreading it into a tree shape.  As so often with accidents, I think this might be my favourite little sketch.

And faces...  I've doodled faces like this in the margins of scripts for years, always in pencil though (and only while discussions turned to fight/dance considerations so that my attention wasn't required!).  Feels a lot more committed in ink...

So, just the tiniest steps in putting pen to paper, and it's bizarre how much scarier this feels than most of what I share on here. And even more scary because I'll be out of internet reach for much of the weekend, so I won't even know what you're making of it all.

But if I'm sticking to Words and Pictures as a record of this journey, then here is where they need to be.

Now all I have to do is convince my fingers to hit the Publish button!!

Have a lovely weekend, everyone.

The very first step towards success in any occupation is to become interested in it.
William Osler

The discipline of writing something down is the first step toward making it happen.
Lee Iacocca

He dares to be a fool, and that is the first step in the direction of wisdom.
James Huneker

I'd like to enter my floral tags into the Spring Blooms challenge at the Inspiration Journal, sponsored by the Inspiration Emporium
And as another entry in the Anything Goes theme at A Sprinkle of Imagination

Tuesday 24 March 2015

An Artistic (Stamper) Flourish!

Hello all!  So glad you've been enjoying the Harlequin tags, and thank you so much for your visits and lovely comments.  Hoping to get round to repay the generosity soon...

For now though, it's sneak peek time again here at Words and Pictures.  I'm over at The Artistic Stamper Creative Team Blog today with an altered jar... yes, it's time for more candlelight!

I hope you'll be tempted to hop over and take a proper look, and I hope you're all having a great week.

Poetry fettered, fetters the human race.  Nations are destroyed or flourish in proportion as their poetry, painting and music are destroyed or flourish.
William Blake

Saturday 21 March 2015

Harlequin's Other Half!

Hello all!  Thank you for all the lovely comments on the Harlequinade tag.  I'm back to share the tag which grew up alongside it... Harlequin's other half, as it were - so no, not Columbine!

This one was created with the extras and leftovers from Harlequinade, plus a little touch of something new.

As you can see, we're still very much in a springtime colour mode - despite the still somewhat grey March day outside as I write this - and you'll see all the echoes which make this a very close partner tag to the Harlequinade.

The background was created when I mopped up some of the spare ink from the watercolour page spritzing (the page used to cut the butterflies and the spare diamonds from last time).  I just grabbed a manila tag and splodged it around the base of the not-pizza box so that I didn't waste the lovely Distress Spray colours.

Obviously when I cut my coloured Harlequins for the first tag, the outer parts were left sitting waiting for something to do.

It didn't take long for me to try out how they looked sitting over my mop-up background... sold!  I'm having so much fun playing with these Mixed Media Thinlits.

Plus that spare butterfly was hovering...

First I added some extra layers to the background.

There's some stamping using the same tiny text from Stuff to Say as on the first tag.  The first layer was stamped in Antique Linen Distress Paint...

... and I added another layer of text stamped in Broken China Distress Ink.

There are also lots of splattered layers of both Antique Linen and Picket Fence building up a soft textured look.

I stuck down the two bits of spare Harlequin outers, and also echoed the idea from the Harlequinade of adding Glossy Accents to some random diamonds to give a touch of glossy dimension to catch the light.

The top half of the butterfly is cut from the same piece of spritzed watercolour paper (I cut four altogether so, yes, there's still one flitting around the craft table!), and has had a dusting of Ivory Frantage on the raised parts of the emboss.  It has a lovely delicate sparkle in the sunlight.

The lower layer is the butterfly which fluttered over from Harlequinade, Rock Candy crackle paint and all, having been surplus to requirements over there.

Double-layered butterflies have been around since very early in my crafting history - this new Butterfly Duo makes it such fun to create elaborate versions without much effort!

For the words, I cracked open my Handwritten Thoughts stamp set.  It's stamped in Cornflower Blue, believe it or not...

Something seems to happen when you clear-emboss the blue - probably to do with refraction of light - and you get this lovely ocean green effect.

I have had it happen to me before with the Cornflower Blue, but had forgotten until I was heating it, so it's a happy coincidence that the end result tones so well with the rest of the tag!

More splatter adds a little more textural detail.  Where it's splattered over the Glossy Accents it looks as though it's floating slightly above the rest of the paint - an unexpected bonus!

And of course we're all topped off with some dyed crinkle ribbon, fastened with Idea-ology Paper String which I curled around a slender paintbrush end.

And that's that for this one.  It's another tag which puts a smile on my face, especially since it came together without any effort from me at all - just mop-ups, extras and leftovers from the Harlequinade which all fell into place very happily.  As you can see, they are definitely related!

Thanks so much for stopping by today, and I hope you're all having a lovely weekend.  See you soon.

The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, not to worry about the future, or not to anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.

Nothing is more precious than being in the present moment.  Fully alive, fully aware.
Thích Nhất Hạnh

I'd like to enter this in the following:
Wings'n'Things at the That's Crafty Challenge Blog - making up my hatrick there!
And as another offering in the Anything Goes theme at A Sprinkle of Imagination

Wednesday 18 March 2015


Hello all!  It seems a while since I last made something just for fun... but here's a tag where that's exactly what happened.  I wanted to play with another of the Tim Holtz Mixed Media Thinlits (having had lots of fun with the Lattice over at Destination Inspiration), so I got out the Harlequins and off we went.

It changes in different lights, and I couldn't decide between these two photos, so you're getting both!

There's all sorts going on here... inks, paints, crackle, Glossy Accents, manila, kraft, embossing, even a touch of sparkle - anything missing from the wishlist?!

With all those media, I'd like to enter this at the inaugural Anything Goes theme at the Mixed Media World challenge (newly altered from the Speedcraft Challenge!).

I especially enjoyed creating the odd glossy Harlequin diamond to catch the light!

I used one of the spare backgrounds leftover after making my my March Tim tag - the Monet Butterfly (you can see all the backgrounds if you check out that post), and spritzed a piece of watercolour paper with co-ordinating Distress Sprays so that I could use it for cutting things out of.

The first step though was cutting the Mixed Media Harlequins out of some kraft card which I'd cut to tag size with the Bigz Die.

I stamped it with some of the tiny text from the Stuff to Say set and gave it a good splattering of Picket Fence Distress Paint as well as a dusting of Ivory Frantage around the edges.

I layered that over my Distress Paint background, and then began to layer up extra Harlequins cut out of my spritzed watercolour paper.

Next I added my Glossy Accents - some of it to highlight indented Harlequins and some of it on the top layer.

Using the same sheet of spritzed watercolour paper I cut the Bigz/Texture Fades Butterfly Duo and embossed them.

Initially I thought I might use both butterflies on the tag, but I ended up not wanting to cover up too many of my Harlequins, so Butterfly 2 has now made its way onto another tag (which you'll see soon!).

I couldn't resist adding some Rock Candy crackle paint to them, as you can see!

And once I'd decided which one was coming out to play, I added a little pointer for the body, attached with a mini-fastener.

This tied in with some of the other additions I was toying with for the rest of the tag.

I'd picked a WordBand (love these!), and was busy adding various cogs, gears and pointers to complement it... 

... so the pointer for the butterfly's body was an obvious next step to echo the pointers around and about.

I really enjoy the trompe l'oeil effect you get with these thinlits... sometimes when I'm looking at it, I can't tell what's going in and what's coming out!

And the layering of the text, the splatter and the Frantage on the kraft card layer really pleases me.

The Frantage gives a really lovely extra kick of texture.

Of course there's some dyed crinkle ribbon at the top - dyed with Distress Paints rather than inks for a slightly opaque look - and it's fastened with some more of my curly wire, rescued from old ring-bound notebooks.

More Harlequins - showing off the Distress Paint marble on the lower layer of diamonds and the spritz pattern on the top layer.

The sun deigned to put in an occasional appearance while I was photographing - really worth it when you capture that glistening Glossy Accents as well as the butterfly crackle.

So, that's my playtime and, as I said, there was a bonus tag which appeared just by using up the leftovers and extras from this tag... so that will be along in a couple of days!

For now, I'll love you and leave you and hope to be around to see what you've been getting up to with your playtimes very soon!  I start a new RSC rehearsal process tomorrow, so time will start to run away from me again I'm afraid, but it should be fun.  Hope everyone's having a great week!

Harlequinade - a pantomime, farce or similar play in which Harlequin plays the principal part
(or a tag in which the Harlequin diamonds play the principal part!)

Curiosity is the very basis of education, and if you tell me that curiosity killed the cat, I say only the cat died nobly.
Arnold Edinborough

I'd like to enter this in the following:
Anything Goes at Mixed Media World
Wings'n'Things at the That's Crafty Challenge Blog
Anything Goes at A Sprinkle of Imagination
Springtime at Artist Trading Post