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 5 April 2019

A Need for Neutrals

Hello all, and welcome.  It's time for the start of a new challenge over at A Vintage Journey and the fabulous Nikki is inviting us to enter The Neutral Zone.

Not much persuasion needed here at Words and Pictures, of course - I'm in the neutral zone as often as not!

But I've been playing with quite a lot of colour while away in NYC - watercolour that you'll get a glimpse of later in the post - so it was lovely to get back to my own craft table and play with all the neutral goodies waiting there for me.

This jumbo tag also fulfils a (nearly) year-old promise.  You may remember this Celebration of Friendship, created to celebrate the 60 years of friendship between my mother and her friend, Inge.

The lavender accordion card went to Inge, and I've been on a promise to create something similar for Cestina to keep.

I'm not very good at REmaking a project... once that initial inspiration has been played out, it always feels a little stale to make a direct copy.  Happily, Cestina loves this tag, a variation on the friendship theme, with lots of elements in common with that original accordion card.

And you'll see at the end of the post that I've made sure that she has some lavender too!

When I say there were neutral goodies "waiting for me", I really mean it.  These two girls and the frame almost made an appearance on my Becoming More tag.  You may remember I shared a photo of their brief stay on the half-made tag.

But back in February, I changed direction and went with the butterflies instead, so they were there on the craft table, ready and waiting.  I started by grabbing an MDF tag, 8.5 x 4 inches, and layering them onto it with some other unused/leftover bits and bobs which were lying around.

My first thought these days when I hear "neutrals" is probably grey - soft greys, warm greys, beige greys - and of course white, my favourite neutral of all.

For the background, I gave the tag the DecoArt chalky crackle treatment.  Artefact, the darkest of these three colours formed the base coat, and then I applied the lighter two (but mostly the white Everlasting) over the top of the Crackle Glaze.

I stamped the lovely Rubber Dance wildflower weeds over the resulting weathered crackle, and I love the look of it at this stage.

It's stamped in Potting Soil Archival (brown being the other neutral which obsesses me), and there's some inking around the sanded edges too.

In the end, I did add a wash of white paint over the whole thing to knock it back, as the background was in danger of upstaging the collaged elements.

When I made the Celebration of Friendship, I had to print out the quotes myself, but now of course I have many of them available as rubber stamps as part of my new PaperArtsy EAB10 collection Friends & Friendship.

This wonderful Kahlil Gibran quote appeared on the accordion.  Here it is stamped in Hickory Smoke, and layered up over some of my favourite wire mesh.

The die-cut wildflower didn't make it onto the recent Yellow Wallflowers journalling page spread, because I decided to go with all daisies for that one.

There's some very delicate Hickory Smoke shading done with Distress Stain, inking around the edges and lots of white splatter adding texture.

The frame and the panel have had some washes of white paint too, as well as getting in the splatter firing line.  And I added some tiny dandelion stamping to the frame, also from the Rubber Dance Weed Love set.

The large panel is "screwed down" with some of the useful flat-backed Idea-ology Hardware Heads.  A couple of drops of Mushroom alcohol ink soften the silvery finish to an aged rusty look.

The punched butterfly has some more of the Hickory Smoke Distress Stain shading, and some tiny wire antennae so he knows where he's going.

These two girls narrowly missed out on being one of the pairs on the Celebration of Friendship accordion, so I'm very happy they are now getting to be part of the fun, though in a larger size.

At the top of the tag, there's a file clip, weathered with some white acrylic paint.

And there's plenty of wild tangled thread adding a sense of movement to the whole thing.

I love how the Idea-ology Layers give everything so much dimension with their sturdy thickness, and they make it so easy to create a dynamic composition with lots of lovely vintage style.

Oops, I almost forgot... I was going to show you how Cestina is getting the lavender bit of her commemorative artwork, so that she matches Inge's collection - but we will have to step out of the Neutral Zone temporarily.

She'll get one of these small lavender field paintings (four pictures on a side of A4 paper) to frame.  I'll show them to you in more detail some time soon, along with some of the other (obsessive) watercolouring I've been doing.

But back to the neutrals now.  Thank you so much for stopping by today.  I hope you like this gentle tag as much as I do.

As always, there's lots of glorious inspiration from my fellow Creative Guides over at A Vintage Journey, so do check it all out.  And we do hope you'll come and join us in The Neutral Zone this month.  Happy neutral crafting everybody!

The fundamental grey, which differentiates the masters, expresses them, is the soul of all colour. 
Odilon Redon

If I see everything in grey, and in grey all the colours which I experience and which I would like to reproduce, then why should I use any other colour? I've tried doing so, for it was never my intention to paint only with grey. But in the course of my work I have eliminated one colour after another, and what has remained is grey, grey, grey!
Alberto Giacometti

The Simply Neutrals Tuesday party over at Apple Apricot is going to be taking a break, so I'm delighted that I just managed to squeeze something into this final month before the pause
I'd like to play along at the Bleeding Art Challenge where, this month, Anything Goes
Anything Mixed Media Goes too, as always, at the Creative Artiste Mixed Media Challenge


Rita said...

This creation is so pretty Alison. Love what you've done, so effective too. Hugs Rita xxx

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

Stunning art and great neutrals, which I have come to know you love so well. I was impressed with the crackle, the splats you create so well (I'd love to know your secret), the frame, and the clip. Such a nice entry and a beautiful tag!

Helen said...

As always, your tag is beautiful in it's "simplicity" so much to look at, an neutral is never boring in your eyes or interpretation!

Valerie-Jael said...

Fantastic tag, and love the theme. Have a great weekend, hugs, Valerie

Neet said...

I love your neutrals. Don't wish to upset anyone but I feel like saying 'nobody does neutrals like you do'. There, said it!
Alison, this tag is gorgeous, every step along the way is a delight to behold - you truly are one of my favourite artists.
Hugs, Neet xx

Lenie said...

BEAUTIFUL!And I'm so curious to see your paintings, they look great too, Alison!

Hazel Agnew said...

So yummy, wonderful textures and I certainly agree with Neet. Singing “Nobody does it better than you” do doo do doo! 🎡 🎢
Why do we go all gooey over some paint on a clip, which is scrumptious! Just fabulous darling! Xx

Amanda said...

Absolutely stunning tag!
Amanda x

Astrid Maclean said...

of course neutrals are right up your street as this fabulous tag demonstrates so well. I bet your mum is going to love it, always great to be able to fulfil a promise :o)

sarascloset said...

As always, I feel like I've just have a breath of fresh spring air as I wander through your wonderful words and pictures! Your hefty, yet airy tag is such a delight and all of your details take my breath away! I especially love the delicate shading of the Wildflower Stem and the detail of the tangle of thread. But the whole of this scene is eye candy from start to finish! And your water colored panels are amazing! Looking forward to see the details on these! You are an inspiring and very talented artist, Alison!

Helen said...

Just gorgeous! LOVE all the crackle texture and the neutral color!!!

Cestina said...

I am delighted with my fulfilled promise - and much looking forward to the lavender. Another frame to find!

Thank you so much xxx

Margaret Mifsud said...

Your tag is pure delight Alison! I love the neutrals .. don't use them often enough myself .. and your composition is perfection. Love the crackly and the layers and I really, really love the delicate wildflower weed stamp. This is stunning and, I too, am looking forward to seeing your watercolour panels. hugs x

froebelsternchen said...

A*M*A*Z*I*N*G !!!What a wonderful tag! Pure delight!
Happy weekend Alison!!

Susi xxx

Linda Simpson said...

This is gorgeous, thank you for joining us over at Bleeding Art for our challenge and hope to see you next time.
Linda xxx
DT Bleeding Art

S@ndy Diller said...

You have more than met the challenge with this lovely tag. So many layers and textures that are fabulous. Love it. Hugs, S@ndy

suzyb said...

Yet another favourite of mine! I do love your colour palette. Soft neutrals, love it. The story too about the accordion card and the friendship that has been on going for decades, very cool. Good friends are hard to find and once you do find one, it's magic. Lovely art with the lavender too Alison, beautiful.

craftytrog said...

Beautiful tag art Alison, and the lavender is so pretty! X

Roosterhead Designs said...

Hi Alison,
Once and again I don't know where to start my comment~
This tag is such a favorite with me! It is everything wonderful. Grey, white, vintage, layers, crackle, textures, OMW it is so lovely to look at!
I enjoy the dif degree's (?) of grey color and the distressing to help each layer and texture compliment and yet stand apart from the whole. Brilliant~ Truly love your work.
And since I have not been visiting your blog for too terribly long, I did not know you were a water-color artist to such a degree! (no flattery intended but) your lavender fields are gorgeous! Truly~
Thank you for a wonderful post! Smiles & hugs to you, karen o

Mac Mable said...

You are truly at home with your neutrals Alison and no one does them like you....absolutely fabulous. Great crackle, great stamping, splats, layering and as always your attention to detail is staggering. Your tag is the sum total of all the elements and I love it x The lavender water colours are beautiful too x.

Meggymay said...

A gorgeous project and a wonderful subject of friendship, it looks beautiful in the neutral shades you used.
Yvonne xx

My name is Erika. said...

I love the white Alison. It is gives the tag a delicate look, like antique china. ANd I can't wait to see what the lavender art comes out to be. Hugs-Erika

Craftyfield said...

It's a lovely tag, Alison, all delicate hues and interesting details. Handling such a neutral colour scheme require a deft hand, not easy!

Jennie Atkinson said...

Well I know that neutrals are at your heart, but this tag is just sublimely stunning Alison. It really does look so delicate with all that wonderful white chalky paint. And I can't wait to see more of the lavender watercolours - they look fabulous! xxx

A Pink said...

Such a beautiful tag that holds such a wonderful charm and sense of serenity thanks to those lovely neutral tones and your creative eye, Alison. Exquisite!

As for the lavender watercolours - your creative talented knows no bounds!
Hugs x

rachel said...

Stunning work in your neutrals Alison - neutrals really do suit your work - it always looks amazing - loving those lavendar watercolours too - they look amazing! Big hugs and thankyou so much for popping over to my blog...I am always very grateful for your kind words xx

Tracey@Hotchpotchcreations said...

As ever Alison is such a calming place to visit, just what I needed today. Your tag is a beautiful treat for us all even your splatter's are delicately placed. It's a wonderful theme which will evoke many a thought this month & a little crossing of fingers from me that I can join in. Thank you for sharing & welcome back. Creative Hugs Tracey xx
P.S Your watercolour lavender's are beautiful. I once used Lavender's as my wrap theme one year. Giving every gift wrapped in brown parcel paper using a hand painted lavender's on each tag and card. It gave me so much more time to focus on other things in life.. It may be just the right time to revisit this x

Nikki Acton said...

An absolutely delightful design Alison - the subtle tonal changes of your layers are exquisite - it may be a 'remake' but it is just perfect. Thanks for finding time to join in the challenge xxxx

Patty O'Malley said...

This tag is so beautiful, Alison!

Dorthe said...

I always love your neutrals , kind of never uses bright colors myself- so seeing this is pure joy, Alison . Love the quiet life on your tag with the beauty of the stamp and splashes , and your lavender watercolors are amazing, dear friend. Hugs, Dorthe

Tamara said...

What a very charming tag with so much inspiration! The crackling is a favorite. I have some but have yet to use it. I will try it now. There's so many lovely details. The Butterfly and the clip and small fibers. I am a new follower and am happy to have found you. Thank you for sharing and for visiting my blog and leaving your sweet comment. Have a wonderful Saturday.

Tamara X

Andree said...

A gorgeous tag Alison. The wonderfully distinctive layers, the fabulous range of neutrals, from warming browns to cool greys, the eye catching details and the subtle textures have all come together so beautifully.
Thank you for joining in with our April challenge "Anything Mixed Media Goes" at Creative Artiste Mixed Media. Good luck x
P.S. Your watercolour lavender paintings are a real treat x

Lys said...

No doubt your Mum loved it! This tag is wonderful and I always wonder how such a worked and complex background gives this (fausse) simplicity in the end... Not simplicity; subtle obviousness.

Anita Houston The Artful Maven said...

Pinned this exceptional beauty... Perfection!

Brenda Brown said...

A glorious project and post and made so special as it’s for your mum. You have neutralised everything so beautifully (as I re-read that I hope it doesn’t sound rude!) and created something so personal in your own wonderful inimitable style. The watercolour paintings look delightful and I can’t wait to see more. Xxx

Let's Art Journal said...

Stunning tag! I love the background that you create with the crackle effect and delicate stamping - beautiful 😁. I'm sure your mum will love it, it is such a lovely way to celebrate friendship! Sorry I'm so late visiting, it was my birthday on Wednesday and I've been celebrating with family and friends so I haven't had much time, just need to catch up with everybody now ...lol πŸ˜‰. Creative wishes! J 😊 x

Redanne said...

With apologies for my lateness, your tag is stunning Alison! Your neutral layers are so beautiful, I especially love the crackled background and the gentle stamping, they provide such a lovely base for the lovely girls. Cestina is one lucky lady to be receiving this along with your gorgeous watercoloured lavender. I have just put the friendship stamp set at the top of my wish list now, having now seen that beautiful friendship sentiment! Anne xxx

Lace Age Girl said...

Another late visitor here! I love your tags, all the iterations look great. You have such a knack of putting it all together and I like your step by step explanation of how to do it. I'd love to try stuff like this, and don't quite know where to start. Just looking at those paintb pots of neutrals makes me want to play! I've been painting my laundry steps this week - not so creative, but it looks much better! Have a creative and positive week.
Jesse XX

Mrs.B said...

A beautiful tag, love the crackle background, make the perfect base for your layered elements. A wonderful quote with these sweet girls.
Avril xx

AppleApricot Wen said...

Hello dear Alison, I always love to see how you make your gorgeous creations! I love how you make that background and the way you layer everything so beautifully on top of it. And those watercolour pieces, so gorgeous!! I'm very curious now to see more of your watercolours :)
Wishing you a beautiful day! xx

Julia Aston said...

So, so beautiful Alison! I love the way you layer your pastes, your images, your colors and textures. Wonderful splatter on this and sweet vintage friends! xx

Cathy F said...

Gorgeous creation! Thanks for joining us at Bleeding Art!

Marci said...

I love this these neutrals!

Dianne said...

This is gorgeous. You've given me some lovely inspiration--my best friend and I have been best friends for 44 years, and her birthday is the end of next month!

sarascloset said...

Congratulations on your well deserved win at Bleeding Art, Alison! Woo Hoo! You rocked it! Happy Easter!

pearshapedcrafting said...

I had no idea I had missed so much! Absolutely love this tag! Chrisx