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...

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


Helen said...

Happy happy 50th birthday (afraid mine in June is 60! How!!) I love your watercolour paintings - how gorgeous they are. Looking forward to seeing more of them later. Enjoy the cake!

Valerie-Jael said...

Have a wonderful birthday Alison, enjoy your day and may the new year be filled with health and happiness for you. Beautiful art, too. Hugs, Valerie

Cestina said...

Presents??? There are meant to be presents??? Oops...

Those feathers on the breath of god (wish I could remember how to post links in comments) are just perfect.

As is "my" forest. And of course the quotes...

I can't believe I have had the pleasure and privilege of your company for 50 years already. It's passed in a flash.
With all my love and wonderment for your next 50 years.

Lys said...

Joyeux Anniversaire Alison! Enjoy a beautiful day and cake and presents. Your watercolour exploration is a delight, I'm amazed by the feathers particularly. Yes please go on enchanting us the next 50 years!

A Pink said...

Happy Birthday! Alison . I hope you have the most wonderful day of celebration. Welcome to the 50's club :)

As its your birthday surely it should be us treating you not you treating us as you most certainly have done with all your stunning watercolours.
I couldn't help but click on everyone to delight in the detail and be overawed by your amazing control and considerate use of the medium - one that is renowned for being difficult to master .
Without doubt you have most definitely mastered the art of watercolour and in doing so have produced some exquisite works of art .

Big birthday hugs x

Astrid Maclean said...

Happiest of birthdays dear Alison, can't believe it's the big 50 already, - I had you pitched in your early 40s...
Stunning art, absolutely love the wildflowers!! Just shows what regular practice does, they definitely have the wow factor!! Love the quotes too, specially number one!
Hope there are going to be many presents and many very happy returns!! xxx

Marci said...

I hope your birthday is wonderful! You have come so far with the watercolors, I remember some of your first ones and when you bought those brushes in China. These are besutiful!

Patty O'Malley said...

Have a wonderful birthday, Alison! Love these creations you are sharing today--simply fantastic!

Katie said...

Stunning watercolour paintings

My name is Erika. said...

Happy happy birthday Alison. I hope it is/was a fantastic one. And I love your watercolors. You are very talented and so since it is your birthday, I wish you many more days of creating art. Hugs-Erika

Nan G said...

Happy birthday dear Butterfly! I’m loving your exploration of watercolor. A medium I have been playing with also this past year. May you have many years of adventures with it and in life. And I wish you good luck with the upcoming move. Happy birthday Alison! Here’s to the good life! Hugs, Nan

Amanda said...

Happy Happy Birthday Alison 50 is the new 30! Well that’s what I have been telling myself these last few years lol. Your watercolours are exquisite and I am in total admiration of your stunning results, I can feel your relaxation when I look at them all. Well done you in conquering another arty tributary. Have a fabulous birthday and I hope you got spoilt rotten.
Amanda x

suzyb said...

Happy happy happy 50th birthday! Yes it's a must to eat cake! Wishing you the best day ever.
Like Helen posted I will be turning 60 this year at the end of July! I found I really got to know myself in my 50's but it was also a decade of challenges. I wonder what the 60's will bring.
Blessings for your new year Alison and keep up the watercolour painting. They are just lovely!!!

Art By Wanda said...

Happy, Happy Birthday!!!!!!!!!!!!! Your watercolor play is wonderful!!!!!!

Jennie Atkinson said...

Wishing you a very very happy birthday Alison ! I hope you have been having a wonderful day. Yes it is just a number and I have a really big number coming up later this year which I am trying not to think about! but no reason not to celebrate!

The watercolours are exquisite - so many of them are breathtakingly beautiful and delicate. I would have any one of them hanging on my wall.

I'll raise a glass to you later! Jennie xxxx

Mrs.B said...

Happy Birthday Alison, hope you're having a wonderful day - with lots of mirth and laughter.
Beautiful watercolours, all so delicate - if these are the beginning of your journey I am in awe of what is to come!
Love the quotes and I'll certainly remember the last one as another birthday is looming for me.
Avril xx

Redanne said...

Alison, I had no idea it was such a special birthday, so I say happy birthday once again but this time happy 50th! I really do hope it has been a special day for you.

Your watercolours are incredible, I feel like I have visited an art gallery, they really are very beautiful, you are a wonderful artist! Like Jennie, I would have any of these hanging on my wall too! Anne xx

Sue said...

Happy birthday Alison, I hope you're having a fabulous day. Your watercolours are truely wonderful and should definitely be framed for all to see. I'm sorry I've not been around and visiting but real life's a little bit hectic at the moment. Take care, Sue x

Mac Mable said...

Many Happy Returns of The day and hope it's been a special one? x
Thank you for sharing these snapshots of wonderful water colouring. I am so looking forward to seeing more.
The meadow flowers sure are your happy place and you are one talented and creative lady....Sending hugs x

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

Happy birthday, dear Alison. I am thrilled for you and your use of watercolors. Not only do you blend well, you DRAW so well, too. You have such great control over your watercolors and they are absolutely incredible.

I also stopped by to let you know I now have regained control of my original blog and have even posted on it.


Meggymay said...

Happy Birthday Alison, I hope you have had a wonderful day.
All your watercolour painting are beautiful, I can see straight away how the last three found you in your Happy Place. I will look forward to seeing more of your pieces.
Yvonne xx

Lenie said...

Happy Birthday dear Alison! I hope you had a wonderful day. Your watercolour paintings are very very beautiful! I love the birch trees and the roses the most. Great!! I wish you a lot of fun with painting, you are so talented! Lenie xx

Neet said...

Happy Happy Birthday to you, dear Alison. Even though I am a day late. Congratulations on the half century too.
Well, it is you who has given us the gift - those lovely watercolours of yours are a feast for the eyes.
I can well imagine you unwinding with your paints after a day at the Theatre, what a wonderful way to relax and ponder upon the complexities of art.
It would be impossible for me to choose a favourite amongst so many beautiful works of art and I cannot believe that there are more to come.
Thank you Alison for sharing your work on such an auspicious occasion.
Sending love
Neet xxxxx

craftytrog said...

Many happy returns Alison! Hope you had lots of cake and pressies!
Your watercolour art is stunning, thank you for sharing it with us.
Alison xx

Dorthe said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, to a wonderful artist , I hope you had your cake, and was celebrated with love and laughter , dear Alison .
Your creativity is without limits, and you know I love your art,- and also this part of it. So many lovely drawings , the feathers and wild life flowers are simply stunning !!
Hugs Dorthe

DownTheLaneWithDaisy said...

Happy birthday to you. Love your blog.

Tracey@Hotchpotchcreations said...

Happy Belated Birthday Alison, I pipped you to the 50's post late last year it's just another shape with more curve to it hee hee!! Your watercolours are a delight to see all in a row like flipping through a sketch book. Landscapes were something I taught myself from an early age they always seem to take on the same shape with a template ingrained in my mind but watercolours really can make them evolve. Have fun on your watercolour adventure it's a wonderful and rewarding journey.
Creative Hugs Tracey xx
P.S Thank you for sharing your very special day with us last Wednesday x

Abbeybufo said...

Belated birthday wishes! I have been celebrating my 70th over the weekend - and intend to go on celebrating all year! - so am behind with checking through the blogs on my list. I hope your day was all you could wish for xxx

Sandy said...

Happy Birthday young lady -- too me you are still young - I have you by 25 years!
Is there anything you cannot do? Your watercolors are really quite pretty!
Sandy xx

Let's Art Journal said...

Happy Birthday wishes! I hope you had a wonderful day of celebrations 😁. Wow, your watercolour paitnings are breathtaking, I love how you applied the paints and your blending of the colours is amazing! They are all so inspiring! Happy Friday and Weekend! J 😊 x

Roosterhead Designs said...

Hello to you Alison and a Happy (belated) Birthday! And a very special one too~
I soo enjoyed perusing thru your 'gallery' ; ) here in blogland. Your art is seriously beautiful!! And all of it captures my attention, and leads me away to think and dream a little~ It's inspiring really! and encourages me to 'keep creating'! in whatever form I find feels right at the time. TFS and have a great week-end! Hugs to you, karen o

Anita Houston The Artful Maven said...

First of all...HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! So sorry I'm late! 50 is a fantastic milestone, AND your watercoloring is sublime...you've totally emerged yourself and it shows. These are all wonderful, but those roses really speak to me...so fabulous. I'm so glad NYC left you time to explore them.

Diana Taylor said...

Happy Belated Birthday Alison, I hope you had a wonderful day. Your watercolours are exquisite and I particularly love your delicate grasses and the Cow Parsley ones, it's one of my favourite wild flowers and you've captured it beautifully. They are all worthy of being framed and going on the wall and I am so looking forward to seeing more of this beautiful work.
Diana x

Brenda Brown said...

I’ve missed so many posts being away and am so happy to be here now to wish you a happy belated birthday. I hope you celebrated in style, had a wonderful day and enjoy the next new decade of your wonderfully creative and exciting life. It’s been lovely to scroll through your beautiful watercolours and look at the gorgeous designs and variations of content, your talent has no bounds. Huge hugs and lots of love xxx

Cocofolies said...

Absolutely amazing trials(hem... there are no more experiments and trials in my opinion, but perfect art!) and watercolor paintings, each as stunning as the next!!!!!
WOW... I adore this. You're an amazing artist.
And lokking at all your sea and nature backgrounds, I think you're ready for cardmaking haha :)
Hugs, Coco xx

pearshapedcrafting said...

Well I would say this is a Birthday treat for everyone! I love looking at your water colours, such a variety but all so beautiful! Yes, that last row has definitely got the Alison touch! I am such a numpty as I remembered your birthday was coming up but then forgot, and such a special one too - should have read your blog first instead of seeing your name and having a ping moment! Big Hugs, Chrisxx

Gio said...

Happy belated birthday, Alison!
Your watercolors are amazing, love them to bits :-)

Julia said...

Wishing you a very happy birthday Alison, I hope it was a good one.
I love your watercolours, this is your thing. From the colour swatches to the florals and the beautiful leaves, I am blown away by these. What amazing talent you have. x

sarascloset said...

Well, I'm late to this very special birthday party! I hope your day was as lovely as you are! Thank you for making MY day more special by sharing your magnificent artwork! You have really mastered the watercolors, Alison! I have so many favorites, but that birch tree stand is tops for me. May you have many, many more decades of art ahead! Hugs!