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...

Tuesday 30 April 2019

Having fun flying

Oops... almost didn't make it!  I promised myself I would try to join in at Art Journal Journey at least once a month this year.  One set of journal pages once a month... how hard could that be, right?  Well, I got the pages done a couple of weeks ago, but the blogpost almost didn't get written.  I just remembered in time, so here I am "Having Fun", as commanded by Wendy for this month's theme.

I simply had fun with some of my favourite things... crackle and book pages and leafy stems, some texture, some tissue tape and, of course, some words.

It's another spread in the hardback book I altered as part of a France Papillon workshop.  (You can check out all the spreads so far, as well as the book alteration itself, here.)

I spread some watercolour ground over the pages - gorgeous sandy texture - and then set to with some spritzing and spraying.  Your guess is as good as mine at this distance of exactly which colours are on the page.

I added the gorgeous new Gothic architecture stamp by Tim in Watering Can Archival, and added some strips of tissue and design tape for the Paper Doll to stand on while she tests her new wings.

She's the Paper Doll who usually holds a furled flag, but I've removed that with a quick snip of the scissors.

The quote is from my recent new EAB11 collection at PaperArtsy, Wings & Flight.  Definitely one for the dreamers.  I do think it would be fun to fly.

And you can see who the dreaming author of those words was, tucked down in the tissue tape strips near the Paper Doll's feet.

The wings themselves (from the new Idea-ology range) weren't showing up too well (they're clear acetate in their natural form), so I gave them a sweep of gesso on the back to make them a little more solid.

But they still have a magical sheen if you get the angle right!

Tim's star stencil is plastered across the sky, giving her a wonderful place to take flight into.  The crackle paint I used gives an extra touch of texture...

... particularly once I highlighted it with some Pewter Treasure Gold for a delicious gleam.

With the addition of a little metal tag, I was almost ready to stop there...

But coming back the next morning, it didn't seem quite done yet, so I reached for the leafy die-cuts.

I'd also been having some fun experimenting with a couple of the new Oxide sprays, just on a pair of tags.

They were sitting there patiently, so that's what I grabbed to go a-cutting with.

It took me a while to "grow" the stems and branches where I wanted them.

And it took the addition of another piece of Idea-ology metal and some more tape strips before I worked out what was going on on the left-hand page below the quote.

But once it was all tucked in for viewing, I liked the whole look of it much more, so I glued it all down in place.

And that's my fun for the month...  I'm also having fun with real life at the moment, which is how come I'm not much of a presence in Craftyblogland just now.  Normal service should be resumed some day soon... fingers crossed.

For now, I thank you for stopping by today - oh, and thank you so much for your birthday wishes and kind words about my watercolour dabblings too - and I'll hope to see you in May.  Happy crafting, all!

Flying might not be all plain sailing, but the fun of it is worth the price.
Amelia Earhart

I'd like to share this at Art Journal Journey where, this month, it's been all about Having Fun
At Try It On Tuesday they are looking for Things With Wings - it seems a little unfair to call her a "thing", but there you go!

Wednesday 24 April 2019

A Watercolour Birthday

Hello all, and welcome.  I'm celebrating my 50th birthday today - a watershed event for some, but I'd rather make it a watercolour one!  So while I'm enjoying cake and presents (hopefully!), here at Words & Pictures I'm offering up a taste of the many shades of watercolours that I've been enjoying playing with lately.

From lots of colour mixing - a great learning process, and a beautiful, meditative thing to do when inspiration is absent - to attempts to capture some of my much-loved wildflowers, via lots of florals and landscapes and leaves and trees, I've been having so much fun exploring and experimenting.

When I was working in New York recently, I found it easier to grab the watercolours for a quick half hour of play at the end of the day (sometimes midnight) than to dig into the complexities of mixed media and stamps and papers.  And on the single day off each week, that simple paint/water process was mostly what I found myself wanting to do too.

Since I got home, the urge has continued, so I've carried on - with a little bit of regular crafting in between.  Even what you see here is really just the tip of a larger iceberg!  (You can click on any of the photos for a closer look, of course - but remember some of them are very tiny to start with!)

In fact, it would end up being a very long post if I shared all of my experiments and discoveries at once, so I'm just sticking to a few peeks today.  Some time soon I hope to share them in more detail, maybe in a series of themed posts, but for now I hope you enjoy these tasters of what's been going on behind the scenes.

I've been enjoying both the lovely loose spontaneity of pigment and water playing on the paper, as well as discovering ways to control that flow, layering glazes and working in much finer detail with sometimes some white pen or dipping pen + walnut ink work over the top.

These are all shapes and sizes - there are doodlings and jottings; some paintings are whole sides of A4, and some are half that, or a quarter of A4 size, so four paintings to a sheet (one of which you saw at the end of the recent Need for Neutrals post). 

I hope that whets your appetite to see some more.  Explorations continue almost daily, so I'm learning lots as I go, and I can't think of a better way to spend the next fifty (?!) years than on a lovely steep creative learning curve... that's what makes life fun for me.

Saving the best (or at least some of my favourites) for last... and here we are back at the brown and blue, the meadow flowers and grasses.  It'll be no surprise to the regulars here that I definitely found my happy place with this trio.

I'm also celebrating my half century with a triple helping of quotes, just like in the early days here at Words & Pictures... including one from the man who is my other creative obsession.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.  Thanks so much for stopping by and I'll see you again soon.

There are two great days in a person's life - the day we are born and the day we discover why.
William Barclay

I decided if you're lucky enough to be alive, you should use each birthday to celebrate what your life is about.
Mary Steenburgen

With mirth and laughter, let old wrinkles come.
William Shakespeare

Saturday 20 April 2019

Encore - Destination Cabbage Roses

Hello all!  I'm having trouble settling back into the swing of things blogger-wise, and the craft table hasn't seen much action either, partly because I've been distracted by watercolours (which you'll see some of very soon), and partly because I've unexpectedly landed up with another theatre gig when I thought I was going to have some nice quiet recovery time.  But I get to play at Shakespeare's Globe, so that's nice!  While I'm trying to get my act together, here's an Encore post in the meantime (see the foot of the post if you've never met one of my Encore posts before).  This was made for Destination Inspiration at A Vintage Journey in June 2015, and here's what I wrote back then...

Hello all, Alison here from Words and Pictures, and I'm delighted to have arrived at Terminal 4 to share June's fourth and final Destination Inspiration project with you.

Packed in the travel bag this month we had:
Colour - Walnut Stain
Technique - texture paste through a stencil
Substrate - watercolour paper
Product - any Tattered die

Three of my fellow Creative Guides have already shared their inspiration with you, keeping us all fuelled for the journey (you can see their roadmaps of inspiration again at the end of the post), and now it's my turn.  Here's what I came up with...  (I had to make this some time ago before life got busy, but I'll do my best to remember how I put it together!)

I started by cutting a large tag out of a sheet of watercolour paper, and applied texture paste through the fabulous Typo stencil before spritzing with Walnut Stain Distress Spray.  I tried to keep some whiter spaces, and places where you can really see the delicate splatter pattern from the spray.

I decided I wanted the Typo lettering to pop a little more, so I did some dry-brushing with Picket Fence Distress Paint to highlight the texture.

I'm not much of a flower-maker in the general way of things, but I know where to go when I do want to do some... my fellow Creative Guide Jennie has some amazing tutorials over at her blog Live the Dream, and I almost always go there for help when I'm using the Tattered Florals die.

I followed her Cabbage Rose design for my large flower (I've enjoyed the results in the past, and it didn't fail me this time either) and a sort of half version of the same for the smaller ones.  I did less curling of the petals on the small roses as my book pages weren't really strong enough to take it.

So with all my luggage unpacked from the travel bag and in place, I now had the fun of adding collage elements and embellishments to finish the whole thing off.

I used one of the brilliant Photobooth photos, and layered up paper scraps and other ephemera to frame it.

I altered my metal embellishments with alcohol ink and some Treasure Gold.  I think the clock looks pretty good peeking out from behind the roses.

I particularly like the effect on the WordBand.  I thought about applying paint to accent the lettering, but decided I rather liked how subtle they are like this.

I like the dark Teakwood and Espresso alcohol ink contrasting with the bright gilding.

I needed something a little brighter to carry the eye on a longer journey and capture the light in places, so I grabbed some thick card off-cuts from the Frameworks Honeycomb die which were hanging around on my craft table and gave them a coat of Antique Linen Distress Paint and then one of Rock Candy Crackle Paint.

Once it was dry and cracked, I pressed the pad of my Walnut Stain Distress Stain down onto them to let the ink sink into the crackles to highlight them.

The seam binding at the top has had a close encounter with the Walnut Stain inkpad so that it tones in with the rest of the tag.

And I'm a real spatter fiend at the moment - can't resist it!  You can see the dry-brushing and a hint of Treasure Gold on my stencilled texture paste here too.

So there you have it... my roadmap of inspiration to re-charge your batteries for the next stage of the journey.  I hope you like it.

I love seeing how each Creative Guide uses the same luggage from the travel bag to create such different and individual projects.

So there you have it.  What will be packed in the travel bag next month?  And how will each Creative Guide use the components to fuel our onward Vintage Journey?  


Thank you so much for stopping by today.  I hope you're all enjoying a lovely long weekend.  The sun is blazing down from a blue sky here, and the birds are singing, so my guess is the craft table still won't see much of me!  Ah well, the cycle of creativity will swing round again at some point, I'm sure.  

Cestina's Dollshouses has been even quieter than Words & Pictures, but for those of you who like to follow what's going on at the Small Worlds dollshouse museum, you'll be happy to know there's finally a new post over there now.  Happy Easter or Passover or whatever you may be celebrating (we have a lot of family birthdays round about now) and see you soon!

An idealist is one who, on noticing that a rose smells better than a cabbage, concludes that it makes a better soup.
H.L. Mencken

Since there's not going to be another one for a while, I'd like to share this in the Simply Neutrals Party over at Apple Apricot.

Encore Posts
Projects which made their first appearances elsewhere for Design Team duties or Guest Designer opportunities, but which only had a sneak peek here, are being gathered together in the pages of my virtual scrapbook while I'm busy.
As always, the Encore Posts are formatted differently from the regular ones, so that you can easily spot them.  Please don't feel that you have to comment all over again!