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 29 May 2020

Happy in her Heart

Hello all, and welcome.  I hope you are all doing okay.  My mojo is still up and down - both creatively and for anything much really.

I've been pouring my creative energy into the Zoom sessions with actors from around the globe, and really enjoying sharing the virtual voicework, but that seems to leave me without much space for other things.

However, I'll always make an exception for a Tag Friday over at A Vintage Journey.  There are no rules... just to use a tag and follow your heart, and I suspect that I'm not the only one of the Creative Guides for whom it's a favourite task.

On this occasion, my heart seems to have been ahead of the game colour-wise.  The photos of the background are dated 13th May, a whole week before the brand new Distress Colour was revealed, but somehow I seem to have tuned in to the Speckled Egg vibe a bit early.  There's no actual Speckled Egg involved here... though I do have some on order - irresistible!!

As you'll see, the colours changed from their original look as I was working on the tag... it wasn't really Speckled Eggy to start with, but it all faded to this beautiful shade by the end.

There are plenty of layers to this background, starting with some Fresco chalk paints and Crackle Glaze.  There's Lawn and Beanstalk as the underlayer - here already coated with the Crackle Glaze which has dried, hence the slight sheen.

I painted a combination of Snowflake and Hint of Mint over the top, allowing them to mix on the brush and the tag...

... and let the crackle magic happen.  Somehow, I just never tire of it, whether it's a top glaze crackle or one of these between-paint-layers types.  It's just so satisfying.

Over that I did some dipping and smooshing with various Distress Inks and Oxides in blues and greens.

Tough to say which now - Stormy Sky is in there, and Bundled Sage, but beyond that... your guess is as good as mine!  Maybe Old Paper?

As I mentioned, you can see that the individual colours are quite distinct at this point but as they dried fully later, they ended up in paler tones.

I added some clear embossing powder in places, randomly allowing it to cling to any ink which was still wet enough.

And the last main background layer was a bit of stamping - some Field Notes labels and numbers stamped in Watering Can Archival.

I fell in love with this Paper Doll the moment I saw her, and I couldn't wait to give her a rope swing to sit on.

It's something I did a couple of years ago with one of my favourite tags - Secret Things  - and I was happy to have the chance to revisit the idea.

She's already got some flowers in the original photograph, but I decided to give her an even better bunch to hold - one of the Field Notes ephemera snippets.

There's lots more ephemera from the Field Notes packs layered up behind the girl...

... along with some of the delicate wooden grasses by Scrapiniec.

You'll notice there are some butterflies dotted around... three, to be precise.  The rule of three is a good one in visual design as well as verbal rhetoric.

Two of them are in her sketchbook notes, and one is perched in all its delicate beauty, ready to take flight.  (As I usually do, I put a light coat of gesso on the reverse to give it a bit more presence.)

You can be sure she's taking good note of the magic of nature.  Clearly it makes her so happy that she imagines she can hear music as she gazes around her.

All the word stickers are from the Idea-ology Clippings - somehow the right words always seem to bob to the surface just as you need them.

I love that in places you can still get a glimpse of all the scrumptious inky painty crackly layers in the background.

And yes, we're now fully in Speckled Egg territory - that delightful ambivalence between blue and green with a touch of grey to keep things gently wistful.

The twine which provides the girl with her seat is echoed up at the top of the tag for a simple rustic finish.

Distressed edges and some white card behind to create a frame and we're done.

Just look how the embossing on this tag captures the light... and you know that makes me happy in my heart!

Thank you so much for stopping by today.  I'm determined to repay some visits this coming weekend, and I'm looking forward to catching up with how you are all finding ways to be creative or simply stay sane at the moment.

One thing sure to inspire you would be a trip over to A Vintage Journey to see what the other Creative Guides have been making for their Tag Friday contributions. 

And if you've been making any tags this month, we'd love you to share them in our Tag Friday link party there too.

Stay safe, stay well, and I'll see you again soon, either here or elsewhere in Craftyblogland.

Nature's music is never over; her silences are pauses, not conclusions.
Mary Webb

At the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge this week, they are Going Around in Circles - they're subtle, but they're there... in the background stamping and echoed in the metal token
At Crafty Cardmakers they are looking for Butterflies
There's the tiniest delicate blush of pink on those flowers she's holding for the Anything Mixed Media Goes + Optional Pink theme at the More Mixed Media Challenge
At Tag Tuesday the theme is Animals - I'm never sure whether insects count as animals, but I'm sharing this trio of butterflies nonetheless

Saturday 23 May 2020

Bluesy Daisies

Hello all - hope you're doing okay.  Is anyone else experiencing the same time-slippage as I am?  Time feels expansive and plentiful, passing slowly, and then you look up and suddenly days have gone by in a flash.  It's weird!

I'd planned to be back with another post quite soon after my Skype's the limit page spread, but somehow here we are more than a week later.

Ah well, I'm here now with another flowery page - one that took well over a year to finish.  Not that I was working on it all that time of course!  I got part way and then other things took over and the page got shut away and forgotten about.

I work in lots of journals simultaneously, and I just happened not to open this one - the large Dylusions journal - for many months.  When I did, I found some half-finished possibilities that were finally ready to be completed.  You saw one with my hand-painted Daisy, daisy (daisy) page, and now I'm back with some Bluesy Daisies today.

This one is really best in close-up.

There are lovely textures...

... touches of shimmer, courtesy of the paint pigment, nothing added ... 

... and gorgeous, subtle pools of colour blending and moving across the texture.

This was where it had got to about a year ago - some texture paste through a Donna Downey stencil for the flowers, with additional tiny grungy square "pebbles" from a Crafter's Workshop stencil.

And all of that I'd given some soft tinting to with some Sennelier watercolour paints...

... on the petals and flowing across the page and around the texture.

When I came back to the page a couple of weeks ago, I needed to find something for the light area in the lower left-hand corner.  Maybe I'd originally had a plan, or maybe that's just the shape of the stencil.  I toyed with a couple of photos, but they weren't making me happy.

I was in the mood for something a bit more spare and spacious.  I didn't want to crowd the flowers or their leafy stems.  This simple looping of fine twine seemed to fit the bill.

I love how it casts shadows when the light hits it, so you get a bunch of extra loops!

I peeled some of the thick cardboard backing away from these Quote Chips so that they wouldn't be so bulky within the pages of the journal.

It probably doesn't matter really - there's a full thickness one on the Skype's the Limit page, and that's in the same book.

And that bark heart is pretty chunky, so there may be an impact on later pages if I'm working across the full spread.  Not to worry, it will all add to the artsy imperfection!

I must have been in a sombre bluesy mood with the original creation - all those misty greys - but now in spring I found myself reaching for some fresher greens to brighten the mood just a little.

I used some Fresco paints in watery washes, so that I could echo the "messy" colour application of the watercolours.

And I used them to add extra shading and highlighting to and around the flower heads as well as for the green leaves.

I have to confess that even with those brighter greens, most of my favourite bits of this spread are where the greys are strongest.

I even ended up softening the greens with more grey.  I guess the original impulses were making their way back to the surface!

There's some white spatter (of course) and then we're pretty much there.

How do I remember what I did a year ago, you may be wondering...

Well, at the time I was in the habit of scribbling down my processes/products on the facing page in this particular journal - so I added the new steps as I went too.

And from that I see the final layers of grey were done with Distress Crayons.  It was three weeks ago, so I'd forgotten that!

There's an airy lightness about the page which pleases me, but with a slightly wistful, melancholy atmosphere.  And that seems a pretty accurate reflection of this slightly strange limbo we're in at the moment.

Thanks so much for stopping by today.  I hope you're having a gentle weekend.  Stay safe, stay well and I'll see you again soon, either here or elsewhere in Craftyblogland. 

The night was so very still that one should have been able to hear the whisper of roses in blossom—the laughter of daisies—the piping of grasses—many sweet sounds, all tangled up together.
L.M. Montgomery

I'd like to share this at Art Journal Journey for Mia's lovely Flowers theme
I'd also like to join in with Anything Mixed Media Goes over at the Bleeding Art Challenge

Friday 15 May 2020

The Skype's the limit

Hello all, I hope you're all okay, and I'm very sorry I've been such a poor visitor lately...

I'm planning some catching up this weekend, and looking forward to seeing what creative journeys you've been taking during these strange times.

Like many of you, I've found my mojo is an elusive creature in these circumstances, flitting in and out of reach.

Last Sunday, Nikki, Brenda and I gathered for another Skype crafting session, and at the start I was drawing a complete blank on what to make.  (I was also in a bit of a grump that day... for no good reason, just moodiness.)

But by the end, I'd found my way to this collaged journal page which I have to say makes me deeply happy.  (We're in the large Dylusions journal again - last seen on my Daisy, daisy (daisy) painting.)

We've applied various route-maps or rules for our past Skype sessions (either following the same steps, taking it in turns to offer the next instruction; or working with limited selection of ingredients; or with a time-limit), but this time we played with no rules.

(Cards on table... I said I was feeling too grumpy to follow rules!)  It was really just a chat-with-crafting-friends-while-crafting affair.  The only limit was our imaginations (and mojo-cooperation).

As with my lavender Suffragette, I haven't really got any process photos to share.  At first, I wasn't taking pictures because I couldn't get into the swing and didn't really want to record what was happening.

And then all of a sudden it turned a corner, and then I was too much in the flow to be stopping and taking photos!

This was a topsy turvy process for me.  Usually I start with background layers, enjoying myself tremendously until it comes to trying to work out what's going on top of it all - when things generally slow down quite a lot.

This time, it all started with some of the uppermost layers... a simple collage of a trio of Idea-ology journalling cards, a strip of Photobooth photos and a Paper Doll, and the film strip ribbon (still determined to curl which is why I'm having to hold the whole lot down).

I only took this photo because I knew I'd have to remove them all to do whatever I was going to do in the background and I wanted a reminder of the positioning.

It's fairly easy to see what went on the background - as a whole, the page is not complicated.  I did some stencilling over the gesso'd page with a Finnabair script stencil and some Watering Can Archival ink.

There was some Pumice Stone Distress Ink on the sponge already which is why you get a slightly variegated tone.  (Oh, how I wish for Pumice Stone in Archival form!)

If you look through my recent creations, you would think I only own one stamp (not the case!).  These Rubber Dance tendrils from the Weed Love stamp plate have been twining their way over rather a lot of my work lately.

Here they are stamped in Olive Archival - best to use Archival, as I really didn't know what else might be going to happen at this point.

There are a couple of Crafter's Workshop stencils also in action, this time with some texture paste (probably my favourite way of using stencils).

I'm pretty sure I used the Finnabair artbasics Plaster Paste for this.  It has a nice rough-hewn look to it, and a soft white colour tone, rather than out and out bright white.

On a separate piece of cardstock I did some dipping and dabbing with Distress Inks and Oxides so that I could cut a few Wildflower Thinlits stems.

My guess is that Bundled Sage and Peeled Paint are in the mix, and maybe a touch of Old Paper.  I wasn't concentrating very hard, just reaching for what felt good.

The stems hopped around the layout for a while before I settled on their final positioning.

One of the delights of this page for me is that strip of Photobooth photos.  I very often use these little snapshots on tags and pages, but I think in the past I've always gone for just one at a time.

But this time the long vertical line of film strip (which I do use quite frequently - it was a vital ingredient in my Winter Journal pages a while back, and since then it puts in regular appearances) demanded another strong vertical element.

This trio of faces just seemed to be right for the purpose.

It's also rare that a whole strip appeals to me.  But here, every single one of the three faces seemed to be speaking to me.

Together the film strip and the photostrip give the whole page a really strong spine for everything else to hang off.

I love the filmstrip for its transparency - love to see what's behind - and of course for its light-capturing glossiness, but of course film is all about storytelling too, and that gives it such a strong connection to my day-job (more about that at the end of the post).

It's stapled in place.  I did that quite early on, as it was annoying how it kept rolling itself up, which meant I then had to slide everything else in and out from under it from then on, but it all worked out in the end.

Oh, I almost forgot the other person who was involved from the beginning - this fabulously intense Paper Doll.

She's actually from one of the Halloween collections, but I love her just as she is on this springtime page.  Such presence and force of character.

And she has a firm footing in the world too, courtesy of some tissue tape fragments.

I'm quite sure that she will keep on exploring, as the Quote Chip suggests...

... and that she will keep careful journal notes about all the curious things which attract her attention.

There's a butterfly perched ready for flight.  Yes, it's back again.

The butterflies are a definite motif at the moment, appearing all the time, like those tendrils seeking a place to put down roots... symbolic of where I'm at in my life's journey - about to take flight and create a new home (as soon as I'm allowed to leave, that is).

Funny how I've only just realised what those repeated vine-stampings and butterfly-embellishing are probably about.  That's the subconscious for you.

I suppose the tangled thread is maybe about the tangles and obstructions getting in the way at the moment... or maybe I just like how it looks!

Nearly there... I roughened up the edges of the journalling cards with the blade of my scissors before sticking them down.

And right towards the very end I added the delicate splodges (splodge isn't a very delicate word, is it) of ink around the edges.

It works nicely to highlight some of that texture as well as adding to the overall greenery.

So from a very grumpy start, this conversational Skype crafting turned around my day into something far lovelier... big thanks go to Nikki and Brenda for that, and to my mojo for turning up in time.

This flowery page can also serve as some extra inspiration to come and play along with the Beautiful Blooms challenge at A Vintage Journey this month.

I hope you'll be tempted over to see what the other two got up to during our limitation-free Skype session.  These two sneak peeks ought to whet your appetite.  You'll find Nikki's project here at Addicted to Art and Brenda's here at Bumblebees and Butterflies.

Well, that was another photo extravaganza!  But there aren't many words on today's project (if you discount all the vintage script, which you can't read so that doesn't really count) so I've got an alternative focus on words for you if you fancy it.

If you'd like to know a bit more about what's involved in my "day job" as a theatre text and voice coach (or if you're just curious about what I look and sound like!), then you'll find me in conversation here on youtube, talking about my passion for voice/breath/imagination and Shakespeare.  If you think I talk a lot here at Words and Pictures, just wait til you see this!!

Thank you as always for your company on the journey.  Now more than ever these online connections we share are such a force for good.  As I said at the start, I've set some time aside for some Craftyblogland visiting and I'm looking forward to catching up with you all over the next few days.  For now, stay safe, stay well and I'll see you soon.  Happy crafting all!

If you're not in the mood, you can't do that stuff right.
From The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

Creativity doesn't wait for that perfect moment. It fashions its own perfect moments out of ordinary ones.
Bruce Garrabrandt

To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow. So do it.
Kurt Vonnegut

I'd like to share this at Art Journal Journey where the subject for May is Flowers
I'd also like to play along with the 60th Anything Mixed Media Goes theme at the Creative Artiste Challenge Blog
Still no pink, I'm afraid, but it is optional at the More Mixed Media Challenge where this month Anything Mixed Media Goes + Optional Pink
I'd like to share this with the Anything Mixed Media Goes theme for May at the Bleeding Art Challenge