Friday, 4 May 2018

Under the Greenwood Tree

Hello all!  I'm delighted to be hosting the challenge this month at A Vintage Journey, and I'm looking for Words and Music.  For this challenge we would love to see projects that are inspired by your favourite song or that incorporate musical lyrics or sheet music in their design.

As always, my fellow Creative Guides have created wonders to inspire you, but before you hop over to check them out, let me invite you to come lie with me, under the greenwood tree, and gaze up through the branches at the sky above.  It's a long post, I'm afraid, but I want to remember how I did this!

I'll come clean... Under the Greenwood Tree isn't necessarily one of my favourite songs, but it is by my favourite writer, William Shakespeare.  It also formed one of my earliest encounters with performing Shakespeare.

At school, I was cast as Amiens, the balladeer/courtier in As You Like It, and this was one of the songs I had to sing to entertain the banished court in the Forest of Arden.  It was part of the beginning of a long relationship with Shakespeare, with singing, and with theatre.

I didn't start this page spread with the intention of it being my piece for this month's challenge theme.  I was just playing, starting another background in my Dina Wakley Media Journal.

(You can see some of the other backgrounds taking shape in the recent Birthday Blues and Browns and Greens post.)

I glued down torn paper napkin pieces, keeping a nice crinkled look for texture, and thinking that the daisies would continue to hover in the background (didn't really end up that way, but I don't mind).

I gesso'd over them, and then decided I wanted a bit more coverage so I added a slightly heavier coat of DecoArt paint in Buttermilk over the top.

This ended up being thick enough to do a bit of scratched scribbling in with a wooden skewer... more texture - always welcome here at Words and Pictures.

Next up I dribbled some watercolour inks from the edges inwards.  I used the Avery Elle Liquid Watercolours I picked up with a money-off voucher while I was in NYC.  (They're also in action on the flowery page in the Birthday Blues post.)

I used some of my Daniel Smith watercolours to add darker blue shading around the edges.

And then sprayed Tumbled Glass Distress Spray across the centre section.  I spritzed with water droplets to lift some of the colour for more interest.

Believe it or not, it wasn't until that gentle blue was there that I realised I was on the way to looking up at the sky through the tree branches!

As soon as I worked that out, I started working to intensify the effect.  I added more depth and shading to my branches using some more of the Daniel Smith watercolours.

I used very rough brush strokes, a sort of scumbling action (with one of my cheap Ikea brushes, not one of my expensive watercolour brushes!).  I love that you can still see all that texture, though the daisies are vanishing by this point.

Next up, some stamping using a rather lovely Memory Box stamp called Windswept.

I stamped in Leaf Green Archival (but of course) for that fresh, vibrant, spring green colour.

And, in what became one of my favourite steps, I used my Walnut Drawing Ink and dipping pen to add a little more weight to the branches.

It's a subtle shift, but it really made a difference.  And it was also really pleasurable to do, following the path of the stamped branches, but creating a little more personality with the point of the dipping pen.

By now I really didn't want to interfere too much with the pages.  I had originally had all sorts of plans to layer ephemera and a photo or Paper Doll at the heart of things, along with a sentiment of some kind, but now I just wanted to keep gazing at the sky.

And it may seem a bit slow of me, but it wasn't until now that Under the Greenwood Tree popped into my head, and I suddenly realised I could turn this page spread into my Vintage Journey inspiration piece!

Before I could change my mind, I grabbed my white pen and added the lyrics all the way around the edge of the pages.

And at some point I applied Picket Fence Distress Crayon softly over the textured background, which gave the whole thing a softer, dreamier look.

There was quite a lot of hesitation about the next steps because of not wanting to interfere with the look.  I played with adding the first line of the song to the centre of the page too, using acetate to see what it would look like.

I liked the acetate, but when I wrote it directly on the page it didn't really show so well against the pale blue sky.  Fortunately, I was able to wipe it away and re-spritz with Tumbled Glass, and go back to the drawing board.

Gluing the acetate down might have led to visible glue streaks, and I didn't want to risk that.

So next I tried a version using Dina Wakley's blank washi tape with the words written onto it.  I wanted the words to be there but not there - and I got that, but it didn't really work for me either.

Finally, I decided to take my cue from the words of the song, and add some birds high in the sky.  I was thinking of the Tim Holtz ones but happily came upon these even tinier silhouettes from a Visible Image stamp set called Free Your Imagination.

I didn't want them to be too present, so I stamped them in Pumice Stone and added some clear embossing powder for that shimmering now-you-see-them, now-you-don't effect.

I felt the urge for a few more words so I sought out some Clippings stickers which seemed to fit where my imagination was going, and added them in the corners of the spread.

I used a dark pencil and the white pen to frame and embed them into the pages.  The corners seemed the right place - the words are present, but they don't get in the way of the main gaze, which is skywards, through the branches.

I'm not going to lie... I really like looking at this page spread.  It has a sense of space and serenity about it which make it almost as good as actually lying on the ground beneath trees, gazing at the sky.

Given that it's pouring with rain again as I write this, it's probably a better alternative than doing it in real life!

I hope you'll have time to hop over to A Vintage Journey to see the Words and Music inspiration provided by my fellow Creative Guides and, most of all, I hope you'll be inspired to join us on the journey some time this month to share your own favourite song lyrics and musical delights.  Thanks so much for stopping by, and I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.

Under the greenwood tree
Who loves to lie with me,
And turn his merry note
Unto the sweet bird's throat,
Come hither, come hither, come hither:
            Here shall he see
            No enemy
But winter and rough weather.
From As You Like It by William Shakespeare

I'd like to share this with Art Journal Journey where they have the perfect theme this month: Flora and Fauna

I'd also like to play along at Scrapki Wyzwaniowo where the theme for the month is Blue Sky


  1. what a gorgeous execution of your vision Alison! How wonderful to see your trees appear around the edges and that gorgeous blue sky above them - lovely journaling around the edges of words to the song - a beautiful creation for your Words and Music challenge! Julia xx

  2. Lovely spread Alison, such a great challenge this month. I can just picture myself lying on my back looking up at those beautiful trees. Hugs, Sandy

  3. I always love reading your thought processes behind your pieces. This is gorgeous in it's simplicity. Hope you get to enjoy the weekend, especially as we are promised decent weather.

  4. Beautiful piece Alison! Enjoy your weekend, hugs, Valerie

  5. Oh my Alison, what a clever piece of artwork. I do actually feel as if I have lay down on the dewy grass this morn and caught a glimpse of the sun filtering through the trees. This truly is therapy in a journal. Amazing!
    Wishing you a wonderful weekend ahead Tracey xx

  6. Such a beautiful serene spread Alison, it really feels like looking up at the sky! Love the journalling around the edges and the birds are indeed much more subtle than the words would have been...

  7. What a work of beauty. I love how it turned out.

  8. I love the way this fabulous project came together Alison and how lovely to hear of your journey, earlier theatre days. Its so beautiful to be looking through the trees at that gorgeous blue sky x Here's hoping we get to do this regularly now warmer weather is on its way x

    Fabulous challenge theme and a great interpretation

    TFS and best wishes
    Annie xx

  9. Those dribbled green edges turned out to be the most amazing page border Alison. It makes a really gorgeous page. Nice! Hugs-Erika

  10. What beautiful pages! You captured the light beautifully through the trees and I loved following along to see how you created it too 😁. Thanks so much for joining us at Art Journal Journey! J 😊

  11. This came together beautifully and so sensitively and imaginatively Alison. I love the dreamy look and approach you took and the wonderful finish with the words to complete the impact of gazing through the trees at the beautiful blue sky. Love it xxx

  12. Absolutely no less than STUNNING!

  13. This is so beautiful! I love it. It's my favorite place to be in summer. You wil see it on my next page. We had the same 'under a tree and see the sky' idea Alison. So funny!

  14. What a beautiful place to lie at the end of an amazing creative journey!

  15. I am in love with the colours and layers and as always it is so much depth and so much LOVE on this spread. I so love that you showed us the progress and very interesting with the words. Often I have such similiar problems with my quotes I always want to You mastered it perfectly - I love this spread and I LOVE that you linked it to AJJ - thank you so much dear Alison. I will hop over to AVJ to see with what the team came up now and I hope I will find time this month to participate. We have my down syndrom brother with us as a visitor for two weeks, so my computer- and art time is very limited just now. But we will see!
    Happy weekend!
    You are such an multi talented artist! You always amaze me, when I see a new post of you at my dashboard it's always exciting! Hugs, Susi

  16. Dear Alison, such a stunning spread, you created.
    The layers of green tones and the stamping with the leaves, after defining them, with brown- really made this the most beautiful, view up through the branches in the trees, looking so very gorgeous with the blue sky, and birds, up there ,soaring in the sun. I so love it.
    Hugs, Dorthe, xo

  17. I don't care how long your posts are I enjoy them and find them so informative with all the photos of the step by step way you produce such beautiful work. I can almost hear you telling the reader how you did each step along the way.
    This is so pretty and so peaceful, I can just imagine lying on my back staring at the sky through the trees when I look at this. Love the layers you have built up.
    Stunning work as always.
    Hugs, Neet xx

  18. Very serene and calming pages Alison and I can just imagine looking up at the sky through your delicate branches.
    Have a wonderful weekend yourself.
    Fliss xx

  19. Oh Alison! As soon as I saw this spread I could see exactly what you described at the end! I loved seeing how you moved through each stage until you were staring up at the birds above your tree! Thank you for this lovely treat! Have a great weekend - sun is promised! Hugs,Chrisx

  20. Your posts could never be too long Alison, it is such a pleasure to see (and hear) how you create your beautiful art. You have represented the words so well and I can just imagine lying in a forest looking up at that glorious sky!

    Apologies for not being able to join in this month, life sometimes gets in the way.... Anne xx

  21. A stunning journal spread and I loved seeing how the pages evolved into this glorious spread. I can imagine looking at the the sky through the trees on a clear sunny day.
    Yvonne xx

  22. such a beautiful page Alison and what a lovely challenge - gorgeous!!! I loved seeing how you built it up and changed your mind at various stages - gorgeous effects! Hugs rachel x

  23. I always love to see how an artist creates a masterpiece, and I thoroughly believe this is one. From the very beginning I was mesmerized by the texture and details, as well as your descriptions of what you were doing.

    I also like how you shared the parts that didn't work. That's always a plus for me, because it helps me not make the same mistakes.

    This is a simply stunning journal spread and I am delighted you chose to share it with us at Art Journal Journey.

  24. Beautiful journal page, Alison!!! I can absolutely imagine that I'm in a forest and I'm looking up at the sky through the branches!!! I loved to read and see the process!!! Big hugs

  25. I have lain under trees and gazed up at a sky just like this. Unbelievably evocative. Thank you xx

  26. Absolutely stunning Alison!
    And to have you describe the steps is even better, I really felt like I was with you, and now on our beautiful sunny morn,should like to go out and lay under a tree as well!
    hugs,Jackie xx

  27. From napkins and paint to art girl!!! LOVE simple yet complex! I LOVE the branches, the wrinkles, the words!!!

  28. Wonderful journal spread, Alison! A really beautiful and delicate design.
    Hugs, Mar

  29. Like everyone else I love this journal page It is great that you share your process and thinking and very reassuring to see you make 'mistakes' and work through them to such a happy outcome.

  30. A poetic and beautiful page, fabulous colours, textures and angle.
    Thank you so much for your wonderful comment of PA blog and mine, it will be my encouragement for the future and my happiness. xxx

  31. A beautiful piece of art and beautiful prose. I can imagine being there, I loved reading this post and seeing your fabulous work.

  32. What a beautiful piece, and I've really loved seeing how it all came together and how you can't tell where the painting stopped and the stamping began. Have a very happy week, Sue xx

  33. Love love love this gorgeous project, Alison. The color and the texture are fantastic! Love the beautiful sentiment, too. :)

  34. A truly wonderful journal entry Alison so sensitively created with your use of delicate tones, texture and subtle marks. Your view skywards fills me with a real sense of calm and I would be very happy to absorb in its beauty and serenity each and every day.

    An ideal submission for your Challenge.
    Hope you are enjoying a lovely holiday weekend
    hugs x

  35. Definitely serene! I love the green and the white lettering.A beautiful layout.

  36. A beautiful spread, it really does give the impression of looking up at the sky.
    Avril xx

  37. It's lovely! It has a wonderful peaceful feeling. I especially like how you've depicted the trees.

  38. so beautiful, can just imagine laying there looking at the sky. Could do with this to look at when it's a cold, grey day x

  39. Great choice of theme and what a lovely page, I can picture the scene in my mind's eye with a hot sun streaming through the trees...

  40. Such a pretty page Alison! Love all the inky details and fun techniques! So creative and artistic! Thanks for the inspiration!

  41. Lovely pages, Alison! I spent many hours lying on my back looking up at the sky through a patch of birch trees, so this brings back memories. Love these soft blues and greens with the now-you-see-them-now-you-don't birds! And I enjoyed seeing how this came together, especially in the decision making process involving the words. Have a wonderful day! Hugs!

  42. For some reason, this post was in my spam? Happy to find it, as I too remember looking at the sky like this. You have definitely captured the feeling on your pages. Thanks for the step by step, including what didn't work. Lovely sky.

  43. Serene beautiful double spread - yes anything else added would spoil it YUMMY xx

  44. Beautiful spread! Thanks for joining us at Scrapki-wyzwaniowo.


Thank so much for taking the time to stop by. It's lovely to hear what you think - every comment is so much appreciated.