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...

Thursday 29 December 2022

Counting the Twelve Days...

Apologies all... the days before Christmas got away from me, with all the running around and preparations. I'm sure you know what I mean!  These quiet days after all the hustle and bustle are my favourites - curled up by the Christmas tree, with candlelight, music and good books - time for hibernation and reflection. 

But I did keep up my tag-making over the days of Advent, so I'm here to share those creations in a couple more batches.  Even though we're done counting down to Christmas, instead we're counting the twelve days of Christmas.  Today is the fifth day so, instead of five gold rings, here are some more tags!

The amazing Tim Holtz Layered Snowflake die, and some of my own PaperArtsy text stamps creating detail in the icy backgrounds:

Celebrating some classic Christmas films and film songs - hence the film strip ribbon.  The word stickers tell you what you need to know:

Another of my PaperArtsy EAB28 Juniper berry backgrounds, with some more festive collaging:

Lots of texture in that background, which includes Uncharted Mariner, and some of my favourite Holiday Greens dies in action:

I made several of these starry snowy backgrounds in some mixed media playtime.  Again, it's Uncharted Mariner for the most part (which was fast becoming my colour of the season by this point!)... that beautiful turquoise blue has a gorgeous wintry look when paired with white:

Fussy-cutting is not my strong point, but it's much easier when you leave a white frame - and that works so well for winter.  It was definitely worth the effort to get these sprigs of my PaperArtsy EAB29 Mistletoe layered in with the Tim Holtz greenery (over some more starry snowy backgrounds):

I had no idea where these two were going when I started, and at one point I thought I'd completely overdone it with the layered backgrounds, but it all started to work again as soon as I positioned the two Paper Dolls.  In fact they became some of my favourites of the whole countdown:

That's enough for one go... I'll be back with the rest of the collection before the 12 Days are up (6th January), I promise!

Hope you are all enjoying a peaceful, happy time - and that those of you affected by the winter storms are staying safe and warm.

Christmas is a season not only of rejoicing but of reflection.
Winston Churchill

Wednesday 7 December 2022

Advent Countdown (part 1)

Hello all!  I'm trying to create something daily during December so I'm here to share the first week's worth.  There are definitely some new wintry favourites among them for me...

I haven't always got as far as a finished tag - so some days are background-creating days, and some days have more than one tag.  Hopefully in the end it will all add up to 25!  Here's what we have so far...

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

Day 7

Those silvery blue crackled stencilled backgrounds appearing were actually made back in the summer during one of my first playtime sessions with the (then) new Uncharted Mariner colour.  It's taken until now for them to get their chance to shine!

There are some of my own PaperArtsy EAB28 Juniper Edition berries and text in a couple of the others.  And I think my favourite maybe the layered stamping backgrounds from Day 6.  I'm looking forward to finishing those off. 

I hope you are having a gentle run up to the festive season, and I hope to be back with some more Advent Countdown creativity soon.  Happy crafting, all!

I pray this winter be gentle and kind--
a season of rest from the wheel of the mind.
John Geddes

Wednesday 30 November 2022

Belated Inktober Page

Hello all!  Long time no blogging again... sorry.  I'm trying to shake off a horrid sore throat and chesty cough (tests say not Covid), and writing a blogpost is about all I'm up to at the moment, so here I am!  I've finally got an Inktober update for you, another page of botanical sketches done from life.

I didn't manage anywhere near the full 31 days... in fact, reverse those two digits and you'll have the actual total.  And the last of those was actually done yesterday morning - I needed it to fill the gap in this second page before I could share it. 

Anyway, here are a few photos (click for a larger view) to show you some of the leafy life models and the pen sketches which are the start of the process for these.  It was Inktober, after all, so I made myself start with pen rather than pencil.  I've been using a Staedtler Pigment Liner 0.3, Daniel Smith watercolours, and Silver Black Velvet brushes in a Moleskine A4 watercolour journal.

Sometimes there's a part way stage that seems worth sharing too, and sometimes not.  I was particularly pleased with how the shadows made these rosehip stems "lift off" the page...

As always, there were good days and bad days.  The trouble with doing them all on one page is that the risks feel greater... what if today's painting is so bad that it messes up the whole page?!

The Czechs are great fungi foragers - it's a national pastime - so there had to be at least one mushroom in the autumnal gatherings.

Another acorn (or two) made it on to the page... they are a real challenge to get the shaping right.  I'm still working on it!

The Echinacea or Coneflower has been a gorgeous addition to the garden this year (not sure whether it's going to make it through the winter, but we'll see).  Even in its decayed state it has such beauty...
And finally the little brown oak leaf from yesterday - and it definitely wasn't my finest hour.  As the annotations say: lesson learned... don't try to paint when you're not feeling well!

As well as garden gatherings (which was what was on the first page a few weeks ago), this second page has some things gathered on one of my walks.  Here's a glimpse of the treasures I came home with, and which I was planning to make the subject of other Inktober paintings.  Sadly, most of them didn't get painted in the end.

I think the first trio of leaves and the ragged rosehip stems are probably my favourites - how about you?

I'll leave you with both pages... 13 out of 31 - not brilliant, but not nothing either.  I'm pleased with the results of challenging myself to paint from life.

I'm aiming to continue the watercolour practice throughout the year rather than waiting for July (World Watercolour Month) and October (Inktober) again this time, so I may be back with more botanicals some time soon.  Hope you're all doing well, and I wish you all a wonderful December.

As long as autumn lasts, I shall not have hands, canvas and colours enough to paint the beautiful things I see.
Vincent van Gogh