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 17 February 2017

Wild Grasses

Hello all!  I'm going to try to get some more posts up over the next couple of weeks.  I'm feeling very neglectful of Words and Pictures and Craftyblogland generally.

It's partly being busy with work, and partly my usual January/February hibernation tendencies which, this year, are being exacerbated by an ominous sense of the world unravelling.

My solace has been some obsessive watercolour experimentation.  The learning curve is steep enough to absorb my whole attention and distract me for a while from an outlook which, to me, seems bleak.

You've seen a couple of dabblings already, and I plan to offer up a bit of a "watercolour intensive" next week, sharing my journey.  But first I'm going to leap ahead to the most recent bit of watercolour exploration.

So today I'm sharing a journalling page inspired by a pin I found of a piece by Mandy Pattullo.

Regulars will know I'm addicted to meadow grasses, and I've been doodling them for a while now so, when I saw her beautiful work, I immediately wanted to try my own version of it.

I've had a play with pen and ink a few times in the past (check out Putting Pen to Paper for instance), and over the last few days I've also been creating a pen and watercolour tree series (more of that very soon), so this was a sideways step to combine several past experiments in a new way.

I haven't used real ephemera for my version.  My embarkation card is created with a stamp, a pencil and some paint.  As you can see, I've got some more lined up for future pages...

I'm rather pleased with the effect and, of course, it means you don't lose the lovely watercolour paper texture for the rest of the inky drawing and painting.

Even though my ephemera isn't real, I do have some other papers involved.  There are some strips torn from preserved teabag papers.

I think they add extra interest and detail to the page (and the Chai Spice tea is delicious too!)

For the architecture of the grasses I used my dip pen with a bottle of Dr Ph Martins Bombay ink in Sepia.  It's waterproof, so once it's dry, you're good to go with the watercolours.

Initially all the stems were very spindly indeed, but then I clumsily allowed a big blot to form on one.

A happy accident, as it turned out, so I extended it to the other stems.  I ended up with much more interesting stems, knotty and sturdy enough to hold up the large flower heads.

I like using the dip pen.  It's pleasantly unpredictable, so you get less uniform results than with a highly controllable new-fangled fountain pen!

I used some Sennelier watercolours to add the tiny flower heads on all the stems.  There are various shades of brown and grey... fairly reflective of my general mood at present.

But I like the overall effect, especially with the tiny splatters added over the top at the end.

And watery washes around the page give depth and allow the imagination to fill in shadowy details.

Can't do without a WordBand, altered with some alcohol ink and paint and then glued down, but also "attached" with some fine twine.

And I mounted the page (torn out of the watercolour sketchbook) into my kraft nature journal with a framing wash of Vintage Photo Distress Stain just to help it pop a little more from the kraft background.

So there's where my watercolouring has arrived at so far.  Nature has been at the heart of much of this journey - another great solace in turbulent times.  Over the next few posts, I'll aim to take you through some of my steps along the way.

As always, it's mainly so I have my own record here on my virtual scrapbook.  That anyone is here to join me for the ride is a wonderful and uplifting bonus.  I hope you all have a wonderful weekend, and I'll see you out there very soon.

If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you, if the simple things of nature have a message that you understand, rejoice, for your soul is alive.
Eleanora Duse


Helen said...

I always love your wildflower stamping, and now we have pen and ink versions too - these are adorable! Imight have to have a go at this. Hope the spring weather they are (sort of) promising us, lifts your mood soon... can't do anything about the man across the pond, sadly!

Living to work - working to live said...

This is just stunning! Thank you.

Jane said...

Such a beautiful page Alison, I find it very calming and peaceful. Your pen and ink work is gorgeous...thanks for sharing.Take care xxx

Nikki Acton said...

Great pen and ink work and lovely background. Has the feel of an old nature journal on the stained Kraft backdrop. Looking forward to seeing more. Xx

chrissie said...

Interesting post Alison and great words today.

The page speaks of many things and of you I think. Just enough of the water colour and stamping to make it special.

Have a great day

Love Chrissie xx

Hazel Agnew said...

What glorious adventures, all held down with your "security blanket" word band!
Your drawings are beautiful, and their settings show off their delicacy.
Inspiring as always. Are you familiar with Angie Lewin's work....may have asked before.....I get lots of inspiration from her! xx

Marci said...

Lovely drawing and watercolor. So subtle. I love the quote, also. It is so very true.

froebelsternchen said...

This is a beautiful painting - just a winter poetry to me! Have a wonderful weekend Alison!

pearshapedcrafting said...

This has been such a pleasure to see your beautiful page evolve! This is such a beautiful ending! So looking forward to seeing more! Your quote today has such a positive message! Hugs, Chrisx

Flo Langley said...

Stunning project. Love it. Spring is not far off. Maybe that will help.
Sending hugs, Flo x

SewPaperPaint said...

Oh wow, your ephemera is amazing and I love the effect it gives. What a great way to use up some of these old stamps that never seem to get ink. Love the raw look of the inked drawings. Just beautiful! Hugs, Autumn

Shirley said...

Love this to bits Alison. I too have been dabbling in watercolours but haven't shown anything yet. You have inspired me to keep going. Gorgeous make.

Warm crafty hugs from Shirl x x x

Redanne said...

Your dip pen work is wonderful Alison, you have a very steady hand! The torn tea bag papers give some lovely texture and the splatters give a beautifully aged look to your page. I share your concern about a bleak outlook.... Anne xx

Meggymay said...

Nature at its beautiful best. Your watercolour looks gorgeous and wildness of the images looks so delicate against that super background.
I am with you in your thoughts about our current world situation, where and when will it end. This is going to last for many years.
Yvonne xx

experiments in paper said...

What a fabulous treat to see your process, and your final page - quite inspiring to mind, heart and soul. Absolutely lovely foray and much needed this Friday! xxx Lynn

Inky and Quirky Designs said...

Wow I absolutely love this Alison, really delicate and eretheral, really inspiring for all lovers of meadow grasses....I'm one too ;)
Donna xx

Inkypinkycraft said...

This is beautiful - soft and graceful and yet full of interest to engage the eye xx love it xx

Brenda Brown said...

Utterly gorgeous Alison, your pages are so beautiful and with my love of seed heads you've got my creative juices flowing, I so want to get my pen and ink out now xxx

maria's knutselplezier said...

This looks really amazing, so delicate , so beautiful , great ART!! I love it!!
Have fun!!

Lauren Hatwell said...

How beautiful this is! Lx

Jennie Atkinson said...

Oooh ! stunning !!!! x

Gaby Bee said...

Absolutely stunning, Alison! I wished I have the magical hands like you. You are so creative.
I don't always have time to comment, but I so enjoy your posts and never miss one.

Have a lovely weekend!

suzyb said...

I am so in love with this piece. I just love your taste in art. I have a few stamps of vines and flowers and so want to try a piece like this, just don't have the experience yet for layering but will never give up ;) Thank you so much for being you!

Jackie PN said...

Alison, what a serene piece. I loved reading how you came to the stronger stem from the ink blot- this was meant to be- What a gorgeous journal this is to show your journey through watercolor exploration!
Thank you so much for bringing us along dear friend!
Jackie xo

Dorthe said...

Oh, this is so beautiful Alison , I totally love it, the soft tones, and your magic water coloring, and drawing. Love the teabag pieces, and your paper used for the painting.
I have had my Mathilde visiting, so have been away for some time, :-)
Hugs, Dorthe

Sandy said...

Wonderful page Alison --
I have been in a funny mood lately and even wondered if I might be depressed. But I think you have named the problem. So much war - so much hatred and the US seems to be so full of anger.
I always enjoy seeing what you make and sharing how you did something.
Sandy xx

Sue said...

This is beautiful, everything about it is spot on, from the colours to the torn edges. Have a creative week xx

rachel said...

your pages are beautiful alison and I certainly don't blame you for feeling gloomy about the world. I tend to live with my head largely in the sand - its a coping mechanism that works most of the time but its not a good thing I know! Hugs rachel x

sarascloset said...

Lovely watercolor journal page! Your faux ephemera could pass for a real piece! And your pen and ink seed heads with look amazing! Love these "observations" and your final quote! Hugs!

craftytrog said...

A beautiful page Alison! You always inspire me!

Marjie Kemper said...

Absolutely gorgeous. I feel you on the unraveling... such troubling times... hang in there and make art!

Kasia said...

This is beautiful, Alison! Hugs! :)

Cocofolies said...

Truly beautiful Alison...
I can't stop looking at your wonderful meadow grasses (pinned this page of course on one of my imspirational boards!).
Love love this page and all your effects here. So fabulous. You rock now with your watercolours and your dip pen!!!!!!!!!
Coco xx

A Pink said...

Simply Stunning! Such delicate organic beauty captured on a page. x

Kirsten said...

A beautiful page.

Ruth said...

This is just wonderful, the dip pen work and accidental splashes... the colours...an absolutely delightful creation which ticks so many boxes for me. Wonderful! xx