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, 2 February 2019

Becoming More







Hello all.  After the wintry chill of Taking Flight, I've got a touch of springtime sunshine for you today... a jumbo tag using some of the newest Tim Holtz dies.

This is a large MDF tag, 4 x 8.25 inches in size.  I'll share some of the process with you, as it was quite interesting how it evolved.

There were several points where I was really happy, but then had to rethink and reluctantly make changes to something I loved, so that the next step would work.  And a couple of times I was quite sad to have lost what came before.

Some day, I'll set off in the same direction, but keep some of those earlier stages unaltered, and then work out where to go next.











Having said that, I'm so happy with the finished result - though it's probably wishful thinking to have been making something so summery while there was snow falling outside!












It all started with some crackle that went slightly wrong.  I was covering up an already slightly-crackled surface which I didn't like much but, as a result of whatever was underneath, the crackle started flaking away.

I decided I'd make a virtue out of the problem, and go for a really distressed look.











I used some Distress Crayons to add tints of colour around the flaky areas.   When I spritzed it with water and used my fingers to soften the look of it, even more crackle flaked off... very distressed!

But once I was happy with the colours I sealed it all with two coats of DecoArt Ultra Matte Varnish, and there's been no more flaking since that.










I played around with the idea of adding some Paper Dolls - and I quite liked this.  I've kept the frame and dolls aside, ready to go on a slightly larger tag in future.

The gorgeous straggling flowers and weeds are cut out of watercolour paper with Tim's new Organic die.  They already look good in white, but I wanted to watercolour them, and it was that which led to the first major alteration.











Once I had the foliage part-painted, I tried it over the background, and it was all far too full-on, so I had to give my grungy background a sponged coat of gesso to knock it back, allowing those leaves to really pop.

I'm in love with the new, paler, weathered background, but I will go back and recreate the grungier version one day.












The next adjustment was to discard the frame and the dolls... they were covering up far too much of the lovely foliage and flowers for my liking.  So I needed to find an alternative...











Tim's new Tattered Butterfly die was calling out to me, so I cut one of each size out of watercolour paper and had a lovely time tinting them with Distress Stains.

But now the bold leafy foliage was drawing the eye away from the subtler colours of the butterflies' wings, so it was time for another adjustment.













I got out the sponge and the gesso again and knocked back the Organic foliage so that it would settle further into the background.

I miss the vivid brightness of the original version (another thing to go back for another time), but I do love the soft mottled look I have now. 













It definitely helps to balance the colour tonality of the whole piece, and certainly gives the butterflies more of a chance to catch the eye.

(I have to confess I was tempted to leave the butterflies off altogether once I'd glued down the flowers.  I could go for this just as it is - or with the brighter version of the foliage... though there would need to be some words added, of course.  Another future possibility for another day!)












There's some pen-work on the butterflies over the watery Distress Stains...












... the detailing done with some Walnut Ink and my dip pen, as well as with some white pen doodling.

If you look closely, you'll see they have some very fine antennae made with copper wire.














Some Walnut Stain inking around the edges highlights some of that gorgeous crackling in the background.












The Small Talk sticker phrase seemed very appropriate for butterflies... and hopefully for the changes afoot in my own life this year too.













The flowers are still beautiful, even in their less prominent role in the background.

This is going to be a much-used die, I can see.  There's already an art journal spread waiting to be blogged which also uses it.














There's a touch of white pen doodling here too, just to give the flowers a little extra life and detail.












I think it was worth knocking them back with the gesso, though, to allow these butterflies to shine... I'm pretty happy with the paint and pen work on these!















Some simple rustic twine finishes everything off, and that's your lot for now.

I do hope you're all managing to keep warm, despite the weather (or keeping cool if you're in the heatwave hemisphere). 

I hope that's added a bit of gentle warmth to your weekend, and I hope you all have a happy one, whatever you're up to.

Thanks so much for stopping by.  Your company and comments on this crafty journey make me so happy.  See you again soon!

... and when all the wars are over, a butterfly will still be beautiful...
Ruskin Bond









I'd like to play along at the Creative Artiste Mixed Media Challenge, where they are having their usual Anything Mixed Media Goes theme
At Crafty Cardmakers they would like us to Add Some Texture - done!
With the Distress Stain watercolouring on the butterflies and flowers, I'd like to join in the February Watercolour Challenge at Happy Little Stampers

62 comments:

Anne (cornucopia) said...

Beautiful crackle effect.

Anke said...

WOW so beautiful, Alison.

Have a nice weekend
Hugs
Anke

Patty O'Malley said...

This tag is fabulous! Made my day!

Mrs.B said...

A beautiful tag Alison, love what you've done with the Organic die (mine's just arrived) Loved seeing the pics and all the changing directions this tag took.
Avril xx

Amanda said...

I didn’t think I needed the butterfly die and now I’m not so sure!!! It seems your arty journeys are the same as mine but the artistic journey of twists and turns and the odd dead end is what makes it fun, and your final destination is stunning. Now do I need those butterflies or not?
Love
Amanda x

Angela Radford said...

Oh Wow Alison! Fabulous tags. Gorgeous detail and texture. I fully understand your reluctancy to change things as the work develops as sometimes you have to cover up something that you would rather keep. But the tag turned out great and the ideas are still there ready for another project. Have a lovely creative weekend. Hugs, Angela xXx

Lenie said...

Wow Alison, this is so very, very beautiful. The butterflies and the colours are amazing! Enjoy your weekend. Lenie x

BożenA said...

a wonderful part of a summer meadow. Thank you for this journey in time and space :-)

Valerie-Jael said...

Gorgeous tag, love the colours, textures and spring touches. Hugs, Valerie

Glenda Atkins said...

A stunning tag, wow!! I love the texture, the colours and your detailed post. Thanks for sharing your creation with us at Crafty Cardmakers.
Glenda DT xx

froebelsternchen said...

This is wonderful - I like to read it's story!
Fantastic spring touches!
Happy weekend dear Alison!
Big hugs
Susi

Krisha said...

As the painter, Bob Ross, would say......."oh, look! a happy little mistake"(your background)
Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous tag!

Crafting Queen said...

/great textures and colours.

Helen said...

wowzers! gorgeous tag, love the butterflies in your gorgeous greeny yellow colours. I love the flaky crackle too. I look forward to seeing the next version!

My name is Erika. said...

This makes me think of spring. It is gorgeous Alison. Just a hint of yellow and of all the warmth to come-soon, I hope. Happy weekend. Hugs-Erika

Neet said...

I must say Alison that when I first saw Tim's new releases nothing floated my boat but you have just made a bit of a hole in my bank balance! I love this tag and all the pieces you have put on it. Those butterflies are gorgeous but i do suspect that what you have done to them (paintwise and penwise) might have rather a lot to do with it.
I am not a green fan either but this has really caught my eye and I just love the colours, especially on the flowers which gives them such a natural and yet ethereal look.
Beautiful!
Hugs, Neet xx

Meggymay said...

Absolutely gorgeous, I love the soft spring colours on your tag and the super crackle textured base layer . The new die cuts are beautiful. Oh dear I think I am adding more to my wish list after seeing the butterflies.
Have a good rest of the weekend.
Yvonne xx

pearshapedcrafting said...

This tag is beautiful - the background before you added anything reminds me of an old outhouse - way past it's usual purpose and use as a storage area - that we used to have! The colour and flakiness are so beautiful!
The butterflies are such beautiful creatures here on your wall!! They are on my wish list but decided I needed the lily in one of the flower sets more!! Snow has almost gone here with several hard icy patches around! Hope you are faring OK! Stay warm! Hugs,Chrisx

Andree said...

This is so pretty Alison. The soft colours of the foliage are in perfect balance and were well worth the gesso layers. The crackled (and crackled again) background look fabulous and those gorgeous butterflies are beautifully presented.
Thank you for joining in with our February challenge "Anything Mixed Media Goes" at Creative Artiste Mixed Media. Good luck x

Margaret Mifsud said...

This tag is so amazing Alison! I love the crackle in the background and I now have that gorgeous Organic die on my wish list. Your posts are always a fabulous read .. I love how you take us through each step, showing all the hits and misses, each twist and turn and revealing how, and why, it ends up the way it does .. and it ends up so beautifully! Love the colour choices and the butterflies are simply awesome!!
Thank you so much for your lovely comment on my blog and for following me .. you made my day!! hugs xx

Monika Gulyas said...

Dear Alison, this was a happy accident that happened to your tag and the crackle paste because I do love the result you achieved!!! I also love that you toned back the colours of the flowers and the tag with gesso!!! Your tag became so beautiful and so springlike!!! Have a wonderful Sunday!!! xx

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

Once again, I am in total AWE of your art. The way you started with the crackle reminded me of an old house that needed painting. Covering it with distress crayons made it look so different. I like how you allowed the flakes to stay, even as you covered them with the varnish.

I agree that the children and frame look out of place and too large for the background tag. I was happy to see you replaced them with the butterflies and the scaled back flowers. They actually made more sense, too.

You have a real gift. You know exactly what works and what doesn't. You certainly have inspired me. In fact you inspired me so much, I'm working on a piece right now that incorporates a trick/technique I picked up from you.

I keep forgetting to ask if I may add your blog to my left sidebar. I don't like being late visiting, because your art is so fabulous, I never want to miss it. However, I will only add it if you give me permission to do so.

Tracey@Hotchpotchcreations said...

You really have found that happy balance with this one Alison and I love how you questioned yourself along the way. Taking photographs really helps us make the final decision and can also help aid future creations.
Maybe if that crackle did not flake it would not have triggered those tinkerings and change?
It's a stunning outcome with a real zest for spring.
Sunday hugs with much creativity Tracey xx

Brenda Brown said...

There’s so much gorgeousness in this tag my friend, beautiful crackle, wonderful muted spring colours and those fabulous butterflies. I love seeing how you pull your designs together with focused twists and turns and the ways you alter direction to achieve your desired effects. Always fresh and incredibly inspiring xxx

maria's knutselplezier said...

Wow Alison these tags are really gorgeous!! I love the colours and the images!!
Sorry you couldn't put a comment on my blog but there were some comments that were not right , messenges in Arabic that I didn't trust , so we had to change something , but we changed too much so nobody could put a comment anymore, I hope the probleme is solved now!!
Have a nice time!!
Maria

PS Sorry for my bad English that is not always written correctly!!

Jennie Atkinson said...

A beautiful pair of tags Alison - I love the wonderful muted colours, such a wonderful combination. But wow the background is stunning - Queen of Crackle! Jennie x

chrissie said...

You can't beat distressing and crackling to catch the eye-well if it is done so beautifully. Add new amazing die cuts as well and you have the perfect combination I reckon. Beautiful work Alison.

Have a great day

Love Chrissie xx

Sherry Tipton said...

Love the "knocked back" softer colors of the end result. It all works so well together...

Astrid Maclean said...

Ah a bit of Springtime, don't we need that all....

Love the doubly distressed background, you certainly turned a mishap into a virtue and the final finishing is perfect too!! Love the really original use of the organic die, clever idea that!! A fabulous tag altogether!!
Happy Sunday xxx

Lucy Edmondson said...

This is gorgeous, Alison, i love the yellow and green together. I love the paper dolls version too

Lucy x

hazel said...

What a beautiful tag Alison, fabulous textures and colours.
xxx Hazel.

Cestina said...

Oh Butterfly! What can I say? The Bard said it first of course ...."so we'll live,
And pray, and sing, and tell old tales, and laugh
At gilded butterflies"

Though I'd have preferred "smile" :-)
xx

Merry Stamper said...

It was great to learn how your tag evolved with your explanations for doing what you did, and why. I love this color combo, also the softness of this project...it gives a dreamy feel. Lovely project, thank you!

Let's Art Journal said...

Amazing tag! The crackle effect in the background is stunning and it is way too nice to cover up so it turned out perfectly with the pretty foliage and butterflies that you added - I love it 😁. It's great that you have another idea from your first design too! Thanks for the inspiration and wishing you a happy weekend! J 😊 x

Marci said...

Ah, just what I needed after -6°F this past week with wind chills even colder. This tag hits the spot, I am craving Spring so much. The colors, the crackle, are just lovely. You, (and Tim Holtz) will never know how many dies I have due to your use of them in beautiful ways. 😉

Marci said...

I forgot to say, I love the quote you used at the end, it gives me hope.

butterfly said...

Glad you like the words, Marci - yes, they give me hope too - just a glimmer! Ax

Craftyfield said...

So interesting to read about the journey taken by the tag... I'm pretty much the same, not wanting to cover up or change a bit that was successful and I would surely have stopped well before you did... One has to be brave to be creative! The result is beautiful though, other path taken would have lead to equally good results, just different! x

Sue said...

This is such a beauty Alison! I've loved it at every stage and really enjoyed seeing your thought process at what to change. I love bold colours, but can see that keeping within the same colour palette makes for a more harmonious background, so thanks so much for that. The flaky crackly background is stunning as is the detailing on the butterflies. Have a very happy and creative week, Sue xx

Lys Scrap said...

Glad to see your journey through this gorgeous tag, Alison! Good choices and delicate colours, until the detail of the copper wire! A delightful tag!

craftytrog said...

It's really beautiful Alison! I love the distressed crackle, and the Spring feel to this tag.
Hope you had a lovely weekend,
Alison xx

rachel said...

Stunning Alison - and I love the developmental process - fabulous! Hugs Rachel x

Redanne said...

An absolutely stunning tag Alison, the crackle and muted background are gorgeous. I wasn't sure about the butterflies at first but I think I need them now, you have watercoloured them so beautifully and they look so pretty along with the foliage. I always enjoy reading your process too. Anne xx

Nan G said...

Wow! You’ve always amazed me Butterfly with how you can change stride in mid stream and hop over to another stream and come out someplace else all together with a fabulous piece at the end! Stay warm. We’re a bit chilly here FL but as bad as it is up north. Hoping for mid-70s by weeks end. Hugs, Nan G

Chrissy said...

Gorgoeus tag Alison..I love the crackle and distressed look, nicely saved and the butterfly is GORgeous, love the colours.

Luv CHRISSYxx

Little Artbee said...

A dream Tag, such nice soft colors and the butterflies look wonderful. I love it much.
Dear Greetings
Sabine

Angela Radford said...

Just popped back to thank you for sharing this with us at Crafty Cardmakers and good luck with the challenge, Angela X

Katie Lamb said...

This is gorgeous

Anita Houston The Artful Maven said...

So funny that you changed it up... I can relate! I love the end result and the colors over the Crackle and then the butterfly are perfect!!!

Dorthe said...

Love those butterflies, Alison, and your way of painting them, gives them so much life.
Your background failing with the crackle, have become something very gorgeous, now, and so unique .
Lovely spring feeling , which we need right now. Hugs, Dorthe

Suzette Hussey said...

This is simply gorgeous! Thank you for joining in with our February challenge "Anything Mixed Media Goes" at Creative Artiste Mixed Media. Good luck x

Judy McKay said...

Love the texture technique and the colours of your tag. Stunning. Thank you for joining us at Crafty Cardmakers this week. Hope to see you back here again soon. DT Judy

Mac Mable said...

So glad you kept going Alison...You are a mixed media genius!...
The colours, the cracks, the die cuts and layout are fabulous. The two butterflies are really fabulous and ever so special. Thank you for sharing the step by steps, as I love reading them x.

Amanda McKittrick said...

This is absolutely right! so many different choices and decisions but I am so glad you lost the paper dolls the butterflies are so beautifully coloured and the finished piece is so delicate and poetic. I love this gentle step into spring. Thank you for sharing all those shifts and possibilities that so much creativity hides beneath a finished piece. xox

Roosterhead Designs said...

Simply, amazingly gorgeous! I am appreciating the Spring-like tag; here where we are in a deep-freeze! (MT) And it was refreshing to read along and hear about your alterations and 'changes of <3' that led to this beautiful creation~ (You will save your other idea's for another time : ) [I'll watch for the girls by the window . . .]
The dies are beautiful, but what you have done with the inks and pens is art! I sincerely love your work Alison! Thks for sharing.

Annie said...

Love the textured background Alison and I agree those dies are simply stunning xx
TFS and hugs Annie x

Lace Age Girl said...

Hello Alison, your crackle art adventure ended up beautifully. I like both tags, and the Spring tones you've used. That is a wonderful die and you have used it well.
Hugs, Jesse X

Sara Barker said...

Woo HOOO! Would you look at those butterflies! My goodness, Alison, they look so delicate and papery! Gorgeous! I have my Tattered Butterfly still in the package sitting on my worktop, and after seeing these beauties, I'm not sure I want to even try to use them. It's all been said and done, right here! And the Organic flowers look so sweet and inviting--just like this entire tag. So fun to read (and watch a little) of your creative ebbs and flows. Looking forward to seeing some of these 'put aside' attempts come to fruition here at Words and Pictures. Sending (hot) hugs! We've had temps in the 80's this week, where I can remember several years having snow at Valentine's Day.

J said...

Thank you for joining in with my challenge at Crafty Cardmakers this time. I love, love, LOVE this tag! You have even inspired me to have another go at crackling (which I have always miserably failed at previously!)

Jackie x

Anneke said...

I enjoyed your creative journey! It turned out so beautiful!

Cocofolies said...

Wow and wow!!!!
Your balance of tones, colors, texture and your final choice of elements with these wonderful new butterflies is just FABULOUS.
Great tag, I adore it Alison!
Hugs again, Coco xxx

Lynne Joncas said...

This is so beautiful-I think the softened colours are perfect, and I enjoyed seeing the process and reading your thoughts as the project evolved! Thanks so much for joining the Creative Artiste Mixed Media challenge this month!