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 18 January 2019

Hoping for some light

Hello all, and welcome.  Well, the tax return is done, so I thought I'd celebrate with some time at the craft table, but with the shambolic chaos that's going on politically everywhere in the world at the moment I didn't feel very celebratory.  No prizes for guessing my state of mind from this sombre little pairing which turned up on the table in front of me!

They're done on two MDF tags, considerably smaller than the standard size #8.  They measure 12cm x 6cm (that's not quite 4.5 by not quite 2.5 in inches).  I like working on the MDF substrate - it has weight and substance, and it can take pretty much whatever you throw at it.  I had planned to get all mixed media and textural, but as it turned out they ended up in a very different, much simpler place.

There's some Tim Holtz design paper in the background - you can still just see the subtle harlequins under a chalky wash of white paint.

The paper already had some darker shading in places, but I intensified that with some watery washes of DecoArt Fluid Acrylic in Raw Umber. 

I sanded back around the edges after adding the paint, so that you get nice pale borders.

Then I fiddled around for a while with paper scraps (including some die-cut pine trees left over from the Winter Journalling) and photos and wire mesh, but I couldn't get happy with any of it.

So I reached for the meadow flowers... of course!

These exquisitely delicate stamps are by Carabelle.  I adore the thistle - just look at those tiny thorny hairs around the head.  It's stamped in Watering Can Archival.

And the grassy stem is equally detailed... the slightly smudgy bit is just from me wiping away some over-enthusiastic white spatter.

This one is stamped in Ground Espresso Archival.  (I got a Ground Espresso re-inker when those came out a couple of years ago, and a blank ink pad so I could make my own.)

The words, as I'm sure you've spotted, are from my own PaperArtsy quote sets.  This one is by Pythagoras (he did more than just triangular theorems!), from EAB02 Darkness & Light, and seems to come out when I'm in melancholy mood.

The second one, digging deep to find the resources to deal with all the nonsense, is from EAB03 Music & Silence, and is by Lao Tzu.  (I'm a bit cross that the black pen I used for some edging has gone slightly blue somehow, but I'm embracing imperfection.)

There's some leftover Raw Umber spattered around in the background, some white paint spattered around in the foreground, and the simplest of toppings in the form of some white twine finishes the pair off.

It's interesting that with both quotes I'm reaching back more than 2000 years for wisdom with which to survive the present day.

In fact, the two men seem to have been born very close together (close in time, not geography)...  Pythagoras in c.570 B.C. and Lao Tzu in 601 B.C.

I worked on these with the tags one way round (as in the photo at the top of the post), with the shadows crowding in from the edges.  I really love that sense of gathering darkness - it suits my mood perfectly.  But now they're done I also like them with all the plants in the centre, reaching outwards into the light.

I think it's just a little more positive that way round, so I thought I'd share that pairing with you too.  I don't want to depress you as well as me!  Thanks so much for stopping by today.  I hope the weekend has lovely things in store for you, whatever you're up to... and I'm looking forward to having some time to hop around and visit at least some of you.  Happy crafting all!

When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they can seem invincible, but, in the end, they always fall.  Think of it - always.
Mahatma Gandhi

I'd like to play along at Mixed Media and Art where they shared this lovely January moodboard celebrating Coolness.  I'm always inspired by meadow flowers, the moonlit spatter is right up my street, and I love those sombre neutrals, suitable for my chilly mood

At Try It On Tuesday they are looking for Something Old, Something New.  You can do either old or new, but again I've got both - the papers and paints are old, old, old, but the Carabelle stamps are new (or at least never-before-inked)

I'd also like to join in with the Simply Neutrals Tuesday party over at Apple Apricot - a lovely place to find like-minded lovers of the neutral tones


Valerie-Jael said...

Beautiful tags, wonderful colour scheme. We need light just now, that's for sure, and our politicians seem to need even more! Hugs, Valerie

chrissie said...

Great words by Gandhi Alison. Hope the political mess is sorted soon for people like you that travel far and wide. Not sure it will affect old folk like me who don't go far these days.

The tags certainly reflect this winter so far with the greyness and even a few snow flakes yesterday. They are both very beautiful I think.

Have a great day

Love Chrissie xx

A Pink said...

Another beautiful duo , Alison holding a delicate sense of movement and an emotive sense of light and shadow.
These two have a voice ....
hugs x

Lys said...

Great to gather these three wise men to support you in these grey days, Alison. Your tags have such an elegant feeling, and your favourite blue shows even when not expected... I wish you feel better soon.

Lenie said...

I'm a little bit in the same mood, so I love your tags. They are wonderful. Lenie x

craftytrog said...

Oh well done you! My tax return is still to be done for my meagre sales on etsy! And I'm feeling depressed over the state of the country too.
Great idea to cheer yourself up with the making of these lovely tags Alison.
Chin up!
Alison xx

Astrid Maclean said...

Really, really gorgeous!! The colours are perfect and I adore how you layered the stamps!!

Patty O'Malley said...

Love these tags, Alison! I also love the quotes you used as well as the Gandhi quote at the end of your post.

froebelsternchen said...

These tags are wonderful - the quotes are amazing -
I am sure all will be sorted soon.
Enjoy your weekend and don't worry too much! Take the "silent" quote and just let go and breath! Often the worst things turn into something very good. Thank you for joining Try It On Tuesday! We are so pleased every time you come along and play with us!

oxo Susi

Dorthe said...

Dear Alison,
I too have my hours , thinking black thoughts, with all the chaos and awfulness happening around us , near and far ,- what will happen, and for the coming generation ..
Then creating and watching other artists amazing pieces, is always a help, to get away, a little.
Your tags are so beautiful , so love the softness and low-colors. And the quotes are so great and also fitting !!
Hugs and happy weekend to you.
Dorthe, xo

experiments in paper said...

Shambolic nonsense on both sides of the pond, indeed.... but even in your melancholy, your art is hopeful and lovely, and very welcome this morning! It brings to mind one of my very favorite poets, Mary Oliver, who sadly passed away this week: "it is a serious thing /just to be alive / on this fresh morning / in this broken world.” And of course, thank you for ending with the Ghandi quote.... so very difficult at times to have perspective when daily political shenanigans occur, so this is a great reminder. xxx Lynn

Kate Yetter said...

Lovely tags, Alison. The words are very effective against that serene background. The news can be so depressing to listen to. But there is so much good going on in the world despite the evil. And I agree with the quote, silence can be strengthening and rejuvenating.
Enjoy your weekend,

Helen said...

your tags are quite, quite, beautiful. I hope you feel happier soon, but if you create beauty like this, it will happen!

WendyK said...

I think they are beautiful, not sombre. I love the soft colours and the white spatter.

Meggymay said...

The tags are beautiful and have a very calming and peaceful look. Your chosen words have stood the test of time and fit so well in today's world.
Thank you for linking with us at Try it on Tuesdays Alison, we are so pleased you share your art with us there.
Yvonne xx

Marci said...

Quintessential you! I think these tags are lovely and I want to save that Mahatma Gandhi quote for light at the end of the tunnel, if you know what I mean.

Cath Wilson said...

Stunning tags, Alison - and yes, I think we must all be able to identify with everything seeming grey and hopeless right now, lol. It's just a huge mess :-(

Those meadow flowers are so pretty and the background is wonderful.

Thanks for joining us at Try it on Tuesday again.

Cath x

My name is Erika. said...

Like a pretty winter field. Gorgeous Alison. Hugs-Erika

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

Two stunning tags, Alison. I am in complete awe of that thorny thistle stamp. Yes, it is gorgeous and has the perfect color, too.

As a math major in a previous life, I was drawn to the quote by Pythagoras. It's a lovely quote and it appears to be perfect for your mood as you created these two tags.

I've never worked with MDF tags before, but I suspect they would be perfect for mixed media. Both tags are amazing!

Rosie said...

Two absolutely gorgeous tags, Alison

Thank you so much for joining us at TRY IT ON TUESDAY.

Have a wonderful weekend

Brenda Brown said...

These are both beautiful Alison and create a wonderful pairing together. I love that you’ve photographed them with the natural elements facing both ways. In the first photo they seem to be growing towards each other for strength and support and in the second yes they’re looking and reaching out to lift the world and hold it safe. I love the neutrals, the layering and the finished effects. Have a wonderful weekend and well done on getting that tax form out of the way. Xxx

Jennie Atkinson said...

Perfect backgrounds for the lovely quote Alison. I always love neutrals so these really do appeal to me. In fact if i look outside at the moment, they are the colours I can see with our snowy weather. Have a lovely weekend and hopefully more crafting now the tax return is out of the way. Jennie x

Craftyfield said...

These are so beautiful and tranquil, Alison. Wild grasses are a personal favourite and the colours you've used are so subtle! xx

Neet said...

I just love your Meadowflowers, everything you do using them just melts my heart. These are both beautiful tags Alison, love the subtle colouring and imagery behind the main images.
Hugs, Neet xx

Mac Mable said...

So interesting how you displayed the two tags in your first photo and then reversed them in the second and as a result look completely different and the thoughts and meanings do change. Gorgeous tags, wonderful neutral and earthy colours, great quotes and splats and love the layering effect x. Yes politics around the world is very testing at the moment x.

Sue said...

These are really lovely tags Alison, very peaceful, and these wildflowers are so pretty. Hope you have a relaxing weekend, Sue xx

Redanne said...

The neutral tones on your wonderful tags really are beautiful Alison. I think I prefer the second pairing too although there are a few politicians I can think of that would be wise to heed the 'silence' quote... Anne xx

Paper Profusion said...

I certainly share your take on the aspects of life right now. Whilst generally the future seems to be about as clear as mud, I like that your mud has transparency. I can still clearly see your past steps and then the bright, perfect quotes topside lead to the way ahead. Let's live in hope. Well done on the tax return and hopefully the week ahead will see positive progressions. Nicola x

Mrs.B said...

I came for a catch up but see that you've entered these beautiful wintry tags at TioT. Love the muted tones of stamping creating a lovely isty depth.
Avril xx

Jutta.K. said...

It's a beautiful job.
I am enthusiastic about this fine work.
Very creative !

Tracey@Hotchpotchcreations said...

January I never find kind it always presents us with things we have the whole year to ponder over. Love how you have used this to laydown those thought's posing them in differing ways. It shows that there are two sides to every story. Beautiful stamps and thought provoking words Alison. I'm glad you have had a little more time to craft, i'm playing catch up having had an unsettled week with the flu and far too much time to think rather than do.
Hugs as I find my way round lost posts Tracey xx

Anke said...

WOW Alison your tags are so beautiful, I love your meadow flowers.


AppleApricot Wen said...

This is so gorgeous!! It really is what winter is about to me. The silence in nature, the muted and barren signs of life that once was and that will come back soon. And the darkness... I love that quote on silence! Hugs xx

sarascloset said...

the thistles look particularly lovely faded into the background, as if viewing them on a foggy morning. Gorgeous pair of tags, Alison. I'm afraid this is all I have time for here this morning, but looking forward to another Words and Pictures viewing spree in the near future! Wishing you a wonderful start to a new month!

pearshapedcrafting said...

These are beautiful Alison and definitely deserved their place in our Top 5 at TIOT! These neutral colours are wonderful! Hugs, Chrisx

Lace Age Girl said...

Hello Alison, I'm sorry you have been feeling 'grey', but your tags are so evocative with their muted tones and sweet simplicity. It is good to lose ourselves in making art, even for a short while, and these quotes are so inspiring I hope they filled you with peace. sorry to be so late visiting here! Love,
Jesse XX