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 14 March 2020

Spring Greens

Hello all!  I hope you're enjoying some spring time weather (if you're in the northern hemisphere, of course... otherwise perhaps you're enjoying some cooler days after the summer heat).  Even if you haven't got actual spring, I've got some fresh spring greens and vivid light to share with you today in one of my art journals.  (It's one of those long posts about the twists and turns in the creative process, so make sure you have a refreshing beverage to hand.)

It's doubtful whether I'll ever actually complete a whole journal, since I have so many of different sizes, shapes and papers on the go at once, but this Dina Wakley Media Journal is starting to look pleasurably bulky, even though there's still a way to go before it's even half full.

This page was definitely triggered by the Green theme over at Art Journal Journey this month.  And there are a couple of other green-tinged challenges around at the moment, so it will fit in nicely with those too.

But mostly I was inspired by that breath of spring in the air that has been doing its best to break in despite the winds and rain.  Every now and then, one of those fresh spring mornings dawns clear and bright and blue-skied, and the air feels softer on the skin as you step outside.

The birds are full of song, and the trees have those vivid light green leaves and buds so particular to this time of year.  Spring flowers brighten garden beds, hedgerows and roundabouts, their delicate heads bobbing in the (still pretty stiff) breezes.

It's a magical time of year, and I hope some of that feeling has rubbed off on my art journalling spread.

I started with some Idea-ology tissue paper, torn and glued in place on the side I planned to use.

I then gesso'd over it all to soften the look.  As I was adding the white, some of it got on the facing page of burlap so I deliberately added more gesso to that scrumptious texture, thinking that it would be a good start for whatever eventually happened on that page.

Almost before I knew what I was doing, I'd torn some more of the tissue, glued it down and gesso'd that too.  Seems like we're doing a double-page spread after all!

Next step, stencilling...  And since this was happening quite early on, I wanted to make sure it would stay put as much as possible, so I used Archival inks in Olive and in Leaf.

I blended them on, alternating them to get the shifting tones of green, as though sunlight is dappling the leaves.

They make me very happy, just as dappled sunlit leaves do in real life!

It took a while to work out what I wanted to add next.  But after discarding a couple of half-made tags which I'd thought might work (they just didn't make me happy)...

... I decided I couldn't go wrong with adding some crackle texture while I was debating.  You can see the before and after on either side here.

It was a happy accident which led me to this glorious photo of the tiny spring seedlings sprouting up through some moss.  It was tucked in a pile of scraps and tags on my craft table.

I think it may have come from a Neal's Yard Remedies catalogue, or possibly a Woodland Trust magazine.  Either way, it was love at first sight.  I don't work with photos much (other than people - Photobooth pictures or Paper Dolls), but this one I snipped out and put aside for future use. 

It came to the surface at just the right moment... springtime serendipity.

I was still faffing over the idea of using my springtime tags as background layers.  Pure chance, but the colours worked brilliantly with the photo... but in the end I followed my gut instinct which wanted an altogether lighter, less blocky look.

Tim Holtz's lovely new ephemera, all nature expedition-based, arrived just in time to play a part in this page spread.

Anyone who's a regular here won't be surprised that I yielded to temptation on these designs.

They complement my crafting obsessions too well for me to resist.  Tucked in and around the photograph, they add a touch of the Victorian naturalist, collecting and labelling every specimen.

Over on the burlap side, they adorn a couple of simple die-cuts.  I really love the handwriting added to the specimen labels.

I did some inky outlining of the photo and the ephemera using my dip pen with some white ink, which feels like adding some of my very own "handwriting" or at least mark-making to the mix.

This little chap is amazing... not that I'd like to catch him feasting on any of my plants, of course.

Oh look, that's also given away the author of the quote over on the facing page...

It's one of the quotes from my PaperArtsy EAB06 Spring Edition collection, and it's one that definitely makes my heart quiver in response... 

It's one of those times when somebody has managed to sum up in a few poetic words a sensation I recognise completely.

You probably caught sight of some stamping layered under the quote strips there...  Yes, I also yielded to the complementary stamp set, Field Notes.

It's full of little labels and botanical illustrations and I can see it being in almost constant use.

(If you check back on those spring tags which didn't make the final cut, you'll see I'd already inked some of them up for those too.)

I used the Pumice Stone Distress Crayon to heighten the crackle detail across the pages.

I really wanted the page to stay fairly light and bright - that vivid spring air, you know - so I gave it a good spritz of water so that I could wipe away all the crayon from the surface, leaving it just in the cracks.

I love how natural it looks, maybe like silver birch bark, and it's great over the tissue paper designs in the background, as well as over the burlap texture on the right-hand-page.

I love the stencilled Archival inks over the burlap too.

I did try some burlap twine which I thought might create a nice echo tangled across the white page, but again I decided to prioritise my white space and that lighter-than-air springtime feeling.

You'll spot that the die-cuts got whiter and brighter in the end too, rather than pink and green.

I think it was the right choice - a better echo of the light white brightness over on the left.  And they also show up better against the burlap.

(By the by, I'm well aware of the pun in the post title... I've been eating lots of spring greens this week, so it was an obvious choice.)

This page spread really makes me very happy, just like the signs of springtime do in real life.  It's just as well given the difficult times we are clearly all going to be facing in the days, weeks and probably months to come.  We're going to need to remember to take delight in the spring breezes, in tree blossom and sprouting bulbs, in the trill of birdsong, and the ever bluer skies.

Of course, since there's no risk of infection in this online community, we can also take delight in the shared creativity here in Craftyblogland.  However isolated we may have to get physically, there's still warmth and communication and friendship galore right here.  Aren't we lucky?!

Thanks so much for stopping by today, and bearing with me through this mammoth post - virtual hugs all round!  I'll be by to catch up (again) on some visiting soon.  Wishing you all a creative weekend - stay safe, and I'll see you soon.

When you paint Spring, do not paint willows, plums, peaches, or apricots, but just paint Spring. To paint willows, plums, peaches, or apricots is to paint willows, plums, peaches, or apricots - it is not yet painting Spring.
Eihei Dogen

I'd like to share this at Art Journal Journey where the lovely Eileen would like us to play with Green
At the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge they are also looking for A Bit O' Green (there's a bit more on this than on my previous entry!)
The More Mixed Media Challenge are playing Anything Goes with an Optional Twist of Green
Oh, and I've just spotted Use Some Green is the theme at the Simon Says Stamp Wednesday Challenge too... done!


My name is Erika. said...

Those spring greens are amazing. I really crave green at this time of year living in a place that is still brown. I love how you worked the background to cover just a but over one page, and then added the flower and the little bug on the right hand side to tie it all together. That is brilliant. What a beautiful page for Eileen's green challenge at AJJ. Thanks for joining us. Happy weekend. Hugs-Erika

Valerie-Jael said...

I love spring greens - edible ones and on journal pages, and just had a plate of delicious buttery veggies with chicken, yummy. The times are difficult just now, we need to stay calm, enjoy spring, and carry on crafting. Have a great weekend, hugs, Valerie

froebelsternchen said...

The spread turned out so beautiful.. a genius spread in my mind and all works so well together... WOW. You have such a good taste , it's unbelievable! You never cease to amaze to find the perfect things and colours for your compositions...and the techniques are so well chosen! The crackle here makes it so special!
Oh yes... I am with you about our luck to have the online community!
Social life is nearly dead now here, so the social media may rescue our souls!
Happy weekend Alison!
Big hugs,


pearshapedcrafting said...

Those fabulous spring greens- we noticed lots on our way to shop this morning- really do lift the spirits! I have been trying to resist buying the Dina Wakley journal but I'm weakening, despite a whole load of journals of different sizes and papers! I love how this became a spread as much as taking in all the fabulous details and textures! Yes, we certainly are lucky to be part of this lovely crafty community! Have a great weekend, Hugs, Chrisx

Karen said...

This is so beautiful! I love all the green and soft colors and textures ~ thank you for the step by step because it really helps understand the creative process. You really took your time and thought through every detail. Stay well and enjoy your weekend!

Rika said...

Beautiful pages,
stunning art journal!

suzyb said...

Love these pages! the stamping and photo sure go together! I always love the colour choices and the crackle paste, lovely texture.
Stay safe in your part of the world during this crazy time. People are really going overboard on supplies and it is hurting things for people who really need to buy them. Who needs over 100 rolls of toilet paper to last let's say 3 weeks??? Geesh.
Thanks for making my little world a little bit brighter on this Saturday the 14th.

KarenR said...

This is so gorgeous! It caught my eye right away!

Helen said...

This is a beautiful spread - full of promise. I love the soft greens and promise of spring. I went to Kew today but was sad - so much new growth emerging all the time and beauty all around but it's likely to be a while before I can safely go again (if we are all confined to barracks!) I'll just have to craft my spring instead.

Elkes Lebensglück said...

there is a wonderful site, everything is so romantic, fantastic!
Greetings Elke

DVArtist said...

This really turned out beautifully.

aussie aNNie said...

Wow Alison, your journal is one I studied and gosh what a lovely designed one it is too...thanks for inspiration.xx

Margaret Mifsud said...

Oh my goodness! What an amazingly gorgeous double spread this is! You have certainly captured the essence of spring in your journal page Alison .. bright and sweet and so very beautiful! Blending the gesso and crackle over onto the hessian side was certainly inspired! It looks spectacular! You added just the right amount of the green stenciling and the picture was also a perfect choice! Absolutely exquisite!
The world is certainly going crazy at the moment. To a certain extent, it is understandable because of what's been happening with this virus but, too many are taking it way too far and making things even harder than they should be. Hope and pray they find a solution soon and praying for us all to stay safe! Take care my friend. hugs xx

Christine Alexander said...

Alison, the gesso is perfect for muting down the text and love the gree leafy stencilling :)

Aimeslee Winans said...

Alison, this is a delightful homage to Spring! I so second your words about the coming days. I feel more blessed than ever to have a hobby I am passionate about into which I can delve and lose myself. I am also feeling happier than ever abut where I live as they have said that the virus does not do well in areas of high humidity, heat and ultra-violet rays. If that doesn't describe the Texas Gulf Coast, nothing does! heehee I confess I have begun praying for an early Summer! XOXO

Craftyfield said...

Beautiful spread, Alison. The fresh greens are spring incarnate and I love a bit of burlap! Keep well. x

craftytrog said...

A beautiful Spring spread Alison! I love the textures, and the 'white space' on the burlap side. Those pieces of ephemera are wonderful too, and that's a great quote.
It certainly is good to have this marvellous online community to keep us all connected in these uncertain times.
Keep safe and well,
Alison xx

Meggymay said...

A gorgeous spring greens journal spread Alison. I enjoyed reading your post and looking at your wonderful photos of the stages and details.
It is good to have our online crafting community, a link to the world.
Stay safe
Yvonne xx

Sandy said...

You really do inspire me Alison - love to watch you - I might not always comment but I am always watching. I have to admit, right now I am hooked on playing Mah Jongg!
Sandy xx

Sue said...

This is so beautiful Alison, and full of the promise of Spring. Fabulous greens and crackle and they look wonderful in your Dina journal. Take care and have a very happy week, Sue xx

Felix the Crafty Cat said...

These pages are amazing. I had to smile when you said you thought you would never finish a journal, like you I have several and too often I start a page and then leave it for ages before going back to it. I think I have more half made pages than finished ones. This journal looks to have some very interesting pages to work on too. Have a great crafty week, Angela xXx

experiments in paper said...

Lovely, refreshing and inspirational post and spread. I enjoyed very much meandering with you through your process.... lots of wonderful options, but I glad you stuck with your instinct re white space. Birch bark, yes, and also puts me to mind of an old whitewashed brick garden wall, a cottage in the woods, let's say - far away from the quickened urban vibe, where one can breathe in, breathe out and be at peace. A delightful way to start my Sunday! stay well, friend. xxx Lynn

Redanne said...

You definitely achieved bright and light on your beautiful pages and you have managed to evoke feelings of a wonderful Spring day! The quote is just perfect and I just love the texture that the burlap page adds to the whole design. I hope you stay safe and well. Anne xx

Eileen Bergen said...

Absolutely stunning spread, Alison. I love every element and every decision you made for these pages - the crackle paste, keeping the spread more free (less cluttered) and the Tim Holtz's lovely new ephemera set.

It's very nice to meet you through the Art Journal Journey green challenge. Thank you for sharing this wonderful spring spread at AJJ.

We're lucky to love creating and have this wonderful online community to share our art with no risk of infection. I'm sure it boosts our immune systems too.

Eileen xx

nwilliams6 said...

I love your millions of pictures showing how you got the end. So beautiful and so well done! I learned a few things and I so appreciate your details!

Lagene said...

I love your spring greens double page, It is fun to seer the different things you auditioned which didn't make the cut this time. 'm sure we'll see them soon. Stay well and yes we are lucky to have such a wonderful crafting world available to us!

Chrissy said...

A gorgeous Spring green double page layout Alison..what a great joural page and I love the textures of the burlap and I love the gesso wash and just all the details are fabulous.


Diana Taylor said...

Beautiful, uplifting pages that just make the heart sing - you have captured the essence of spring so perfectly. I love the freshness of it all and your beautiful little details - utter perfection!

Meihsia Liu said...

These are such gorgeous journal pages, Alison. Love the beautiful texture on the background. The spring color scheme and embellishments are fantastic! :)

Let's Art Journal said...

Wow, your spring pages are stunning! The burlap with the gesso and papers in the background make a fabulous backdrop for those pretty green leaves and magical images - I love it 😁. As always the words are perfect too, you are such an inspiration Alison!
Take care and sending happy wishes! Hugs, Jo x

Cocofolies said...

What an exquisite spread, Alison!
I absolutely adore this double page... your love of nature is so strong that we can feel it and let us be inspired... Your makes are all meaningful and so beautiful, thank you very much. We need this and your beautiful photos and words so much at the moment!!!
Take care. Hugs, Coco xxx

Roosterhead Designs said...

Hello to you Alison~ (I've been away from blogworld for quite some time, but) I'm so glad to stop in and see your gorgeous pages! Your creativity is such a wonderful thing~ Loving how you share your processes so we can better understand where it all comes from : )
Beautiful, & beautifully done. Textural and interesting. Makes me smile and hope! Hugs, karen o

WendyK said...

A fabulous page, love all the different elements and colours. Wendy x

Mac Mable said...

So very pretty, so textural and absolutely beautiful. Spring has sprung on your fabulous pages and the green with the stencil ties it all together.....Gorgeous Alison. Stay safe my friend x.

Patty O'Malley said...

Beautiful journal pages, Alison. Reminds me of St. Patrick's Day a bit. Stay safe.

Tracey@Hotchpotchcreations said...

Happy Spring Alison. What a wonderful journal piece to see today as it officially starts for me. Love how you left more of the hessian background free, a wonderful texture that needs nothing more. To play around with those mediums and watch those crackle appear is like therapy itself. That found photo was just waiting for you to discover it.
Thank you for sharing such beauty, I know my visits have been random recently in these trying times i'm really doing my best. Please take care & Stay Safe Tracey xx

Mrs.B said...

A stunning spread Alison, love the spring greens against the white and how it has migrated onto the burlap page adding a wonderful texture to the whole spread. I'm glad you kept the die cut white.
Avril xx

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

I can't believe how far behind I am visiting. I apologize, even though I've been offline off and on for over six days because of my horrible internet.

You have truly captured spring in this beautiful spread. I love the way you used the two different substrates to your advantage. You have a definite command of your tools and products, especially the way you treated the burlap. The composition was perfect and the crackle was magic. It's also perfect that you shared this with us using Eileen;s theme at Art Journal Journey, too.

sarascloset said...

Your double page spread is indeed a breath of fresh spring air! I love how the crackle spills over to the burlap and oh, those bits of ephemera and the corresponding stamped labels are all layered so brilliantly! Gorgeous pages that truly inspire!

Fliss said...

Wow! Your pages are stunning Alison and it was lovely to see all your design thoughts along the way. The end result is amazing and I had no idea you could get a journal with burlap pages - what an amazing idea!
Fliss xx