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...

Saturday 28 April 2018

Wobbly Circles

Hello all!  This weekend I will mostly be singing, so in my absence I'm leaving you with a few more details about the first of the journalling pages I shared in my Birthday Blues (and Browns and Greens!).  It's as much for me as anything - so that I have a record of what I did in case I want to create similar effects in future.

It's the only completed page so far in my Dina Wakley journal - though some of them are growing on me, and I might just decide they are finished after all, and leave them alone. 

Since it's full of finger-painted circles and meadow grasses, I thought I'd squeeze this one in under the wire for the April themes at That's Crafty Challenges where they are Going Round in Circles, and at Stamps and Stencils where they are In the Meadow this month - I couldn't miss that one!

There are so many layers here, and it was all done some weeks ago while I was still in New York, so I'm not sure that I can remember exactly what I used for all of it, but there are a couple of progress photos which will guide us through at least some of the elements.

I know I started with some Idea-ology tissue wrap in the background, the Postale version, stuck on in scraps.  Over that, I added some torn book page scraps, gesso, and Distress Paints in (probably) Broken China/Tumbled Glass and Pumice Stone.

And I also remember very clearly deciding to do some finger painting.  That's how the gesso circles appeared... the larger ones swept around and the smaller ones simple dabbed on in one movement and lifted away to leave some dimension.

Next I added some teabag scraps and some charcoal pencil, smudged with my fingers...

... to add a touch of shading to the large circles and around some of the paper scraps.

Then my lovely walnut ink came into play - partly applied with the dipping pen, sometimes allowed to dribble and drip, and sometimes splattered on from the pen nib.

And I also used some of my much loved Indigo and Indanthrone Blue watercolours by Daniel Smith.  They are perfect for creating melancholy shadows.

I scribbled on some journalling with white pen - look closely, it's mostly over the teabag scraps - and then decided everything needed softening a little...

... so I applied Picket Fence Distress Crayon over all the texture, sometimes smudging it, and sometimes just leaving it in its natural state.

I love the combination of colour-softening and texture-highlighting that this achieved.

I couldn't resist adding some meadow grasses and flowers.  These are from Rubber Dance's Weed Love plate, and stamped in Archival ink.

They're such delightfully delicate and intricate images.

I wanted the Queen Anne's Lace to have a touch more presence...

... so I added first of all some dark pen work...

... and then some highlights with white pen to those flower heads.

Finally, I sought out some Clippings fragments which fitted the thoughts underlying the page.

The phrases are linked in some cases by words added with the dipping pen and walnut ink.

None of it is particularly neat and tidy, but then life isn't neat and tidy, is it?  I wanted a sense of spontaneity and freedom, so I tried really hard not to try really hard with the writing!

I love how the texture of the watercolour cotton paper shows through in places, even after all those layers.

And my finger-painted circles make me happy...

... as of course do the clambering vines and twining grasses.

I had a semi-gloss gel medium with me in my travelling stash, rather than a matte one, so in sunlight you also get this rather magical glimmer in places.

I was cross at the time that I had no matte gel to hand, but in the end I rather like the effect of the glossier medium.  As you know, I've always loved trying to capture light in my work as well as shadows.

Thank you for spending some time with me here at Words and Pictures this weekend.  I hope you've enjoyed getting a closer look at some of what is going on in this page, and I hope you're all enjoying some "me-time" doing whatever it is which brings you joy.

There are patterns which emerge in one's life, circling and returning anew, an endless variation of a theme.
Jacqueline Carey

Life is a full circle, widening until it joins the circle motions of the infinite.
Anaïs Nin

I'd like to enter this in Going Round in Circles at the That's Crafty Challenge Blog
And at Stamps and Stencils where they are In the Meadow this month

Tuesday 24 April 2018

Birthday Blues (and Browns and Greens!)

Hello all, and thank you for stopping by today.

There's been altogether too much pink around here lately, so I wanted to revert to some of my more favoured colour tones for my birthday (yes, today).

So here are some glimpses at work in progress inside the Dina Wakley Media Journal which I ordered at a bargain price from Joann's while I was in New York recently.

And since we're taking a bit of an art journal journey, I'd like to share the first and last pages at Art Journal Journey - somewhere I always mean to play along far more than I manage!

There's not much that is in any way "finished", except perhaps the first page, with its ripped teabag texture and finger-painted circles.  You can now see it in more detail here..

These are mostly just beginnings and backgrounds and works-in-progress.  But that's what an art journal is for, isn't it?  Exploring, and following your instinct, and not trying to force anything to be pretty or perfect or complete.

You can certainly see some of my art obsessions playing themselves out over these pages... the colours, the textures, the motifs.

I love working in the Media Journal - it's an inspiration in itself with all the different substrate surfaces.

And I will be back to add more to these pages in the future...

... but there are various "deadline projects" which need taking care of before I can have some more playtime to myself again.

These pages reflect how my New York crafting seemed to work - I would sit down to have a play, reach for something I loved, start something off, and then get completely stuck.

My creative attention was needed for my theatre work at the time, but I think these snatched moments of sticking and brushing and dripping helped to keep me sane in some pretty stressful circumstances...

.... even though they didn't necessarily lead anywhere at the time.  The burlap is so exciting to work on - a whole different way of thinking.

The blues and browns and greens are definitely part of my crafting happy place, as regulars here will be well aware.

And I'm never far from some texture paste or crackle paint, or some vintage script or ephemera, or from grasses and meadow flowers or other elements of nature.

My new and already much-loved Walnut Drawing Ink certainly got an outing amongst the finger-painted circles and splatters and splashes (aaaahhh, splatter!).

I love how the various pages in the Media Journal already have their own qualities - even the "plain paper" has a wonderful texture.

I've got plans for somehow incorporating these tags on the first of the canvas pages.  They're lightly taped in for now to keep them in place while my imagination comes to the boil.

Not quite sure how it'll go yet, but there'll be paint and mixed media and I think some interactive flaps or inserts.

And sometimes I just have to have almost all my favourite things in one go...

I've been enjoying incorporating my "proper" watercolour paints into the mixed media backgrounds, along with all the ephemera layers.

The colours make me so happy.  Who needs a focal point or a finished page?  With this one you just need to let the fingertips go wandering over the texture...

So, as I said, I hope I'll be back before long to share the first completed page in detail, and I also hope I'll be back to develop some of these backgrounds soon, or just start lots of new ones.  I'm not going to put any pressure on myself either way.

Thanks so much for stopping by today and indulging me in my birthday treat of some of my favourite things - even though most of the work is unfinished.  I hope the week is treating you well, and I'll see you all again soon.

Happiness is not a finished product, it is a work in progress.
Khang Kijarro Nguyen

With the ripped teabag papers providing texture and shadow in the first page here, as well as all the collaged ephemera in the final one including some old book pages somewhere under there, I'd like to share this at Art Journal Journey, where the fabulous Craftytrog - also Alison - is looking for pages which Recycle and Collage

Sunday 22 April 2018

Spring Blossom

Hello all!  I hope you're enjoying a gentle Sunday.  Now that we've finally had a taste of springtime here in the UK, I thought I should probably share a couple of the samples from the third of my recent PaperArtsy stamp releases, EAB06 The Spring Edition.  Well, it's not really that recent any longer, but you know what I mean.  And since today is Earth Day, it seems only right to head to the natural world for these...

It's another pair of tags (if you saw No Small Dreams or Lose Sight of the Shore, you'll know I often work in pairs or sets when I'm creating samples).  We're still in the official launch colour palette, and this time I was playing with some of the charming new stamps by Kay Carley.  These delightful springtime trees are from EKC16.

I love tree blossom.  We've got lots of May trees blooming already in our area, but most of the blossom is yet to come.  It may be my favourite form of flower, I think - and part of that beauty comes from its impermanence - it's always with us for far too short a time.

And although white blossom is my favourite, blossom-time is one of the times when pink is also very welcome in my world, so the launch palette worked really well in this case!

The backgrounds of these tags are done in my "soft crackle" technique.  The background layer of paint was one of Seth's new blues, over which I applied PaperArtsy Crackle Glaze as normal.

When the glaze is dry, I then use a natural sponge to apply my top coat - in this case Fresco Chalky Finish in Chalk, a lovely soft white - and let that dry too.  

Then I do another soft sponged coat of paint over the top of that.  This softens the look of the crackle and gives a subtle aged look to the background.

Once the soft crackle was done, I blended on watery washes of the blues to give me spring skies, and then stamped some of the grasses in Venice Blue and in Mushroom.

The trees themselves are stamped in Watering Can Archival and clear embossed, and then I used the Mulberry Fresco paint and a water brush to colour in the blossoms.

It's great to have the two sizes of tree on the one plate.  As you can see, the large on is perfect for a standard size 8 tag in portrait, and the smaller one works beautifully in landscape.

But you could also use them within one scene to create depth, by using the large one in the foreground and smaller ones "further off" in the background.  You could have a whole Chekhovian cherry orchard!

I tried out a few Archival ink colours for the Charles Lanman quote, and in the end I think it was a secondary stamping in Plum Archival which did the trick.

And for the long Mark Twain quote which is the main feature of the landscape tag, it's Vanilla White Wow embossing powder applied with Versamark ink over a Mulberry-painted background.

I've used the whole quote - it's long but so lovely, and oh, how I know the feeling! - but there are plenty of phrases and sections which you could use by themselves.

Some simple white doodled borders frame the tags, and they're finished off with some seam binding dyed with the same Mulberry paint and fastened with white twine.

I hope you're enjoying some spring sunshine and some spring blossom wherever you are today, at least if you're the right side of the planet for that.

And whatever season you're in, I wish you a very happy Earth Day.

It's still pretty quiet here on the blog, but I'm gearing up behind the scenes for a busier May on the crafting front.

I promise there are more good things coming your way in the not too distant future...  Thanks so much for dropping by and I'll see you again soon.

Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.
Marcel Proust