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, 23 June 2017

PaperArtsy - New Scrapcosy Stamps

Hello all!  I'm delighted to be here this evening with a sneak peek of some of the newest stamps available from PaperArtsy.  The gorgeous vintage illustrations of these Scrapcosy designs are right up my alley, and I've been having a wonderful time playing with them.

I hope you'll have time to hop over to the PaperArtsy blog to catch all the details of my collection of "vintage" postcards.  There are some that are perfect for these summery days, and some looking ahead to the spookier times to come!

If you missed my birthday blog candy, just pop a comment here to be included in the draw - there are two prizes on offer this year so you've double the chance of winning.

And keep your eyes peeled in a few days time for one of my most exciting bits of crafting news ever!!  There's more than one reason it's been quiet around here lately...

The secret to so many artists living so long is that every painting is a new adventure. So, you see, they're always looking ahead to something new and exciting. The secret is not to look back.
Norman Rockwell

Monday, 19 June 2017

Five Year Anniversary Candy

Hello all!  Five years... five years?  Yes, Words and Pictures is five years old today.  I still can't quite believe it.  This utterly unexpected journey into the world of arts & crafts has been such an uplifting experience.  I've learned so much, not least about myself, and done things I had no idea I could do.  And there are exciting things in the offing...

All of that has been made more intense, more joyful and more extraordinary by the friends and travelling companions I've discovered in Craftyblogland.

The nourishment, inspiration and happiness you have all provided to me in those years is immeasurable - whether in your lovely comments here, or in my visits to your own blogs.

So, as is traditional, here is an offering of gratitude.  You all receive my thanks, with a full heart.

But there is also a blog candy to be won.

And, although I can't send each and every one of you the prize, this year I've decided to have both a winner and a runner up.  Well, it is five years!

The first name out of the hat will receive the treasure trove you can see here (not the little wooden tray, I'm afraid - that's just to make it easier to see everything).

There are laces, fabrics and papers, including some of the rice paper I brought back from China; tags, postcards and buttons of various sorts and sizes; wood and metal embellishments; some paper flowers and seashells; and, of course, the PaperArtsy Hot Picks stamps.

The second name out will receive a slightly smaller selection of almost exactly the same goodies, but without the stamps.  (And the runner up can't have the tray either, sorry!)

All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning is leave a comment below telling me that you'd like to be included in the draw.

If you would like to share the main photo and link in your sidebar, and/or join up as a follower if you aren't one already, then that would be lovely, but it's not compulsory in order to be a winner.

I'm going to give you a whole month to comment, since I'm not back in the UK to post it before then in any case!  So the deadline is 19th July, 23.59 British Summer Time.  And yes, I will post worldwide.

I know I've used it for Blogaversary posts before but I don't mind repeating things that matter so, once again, I return to the Shakespeare quote which is the only one which can do justice to the occasion...

I can no other answer make but thanks,
And thanks, and ever thanks.
From Twelfth Night, by William Shakespeare

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Breaking the silence...

Hello all!  I know, I'm sorry.  It's been vanishingly quiet here at Words and Pictures.  Three weeks without posting... unheard of!!

I'm afraid I've been thoroughly immersed in my other creative world, working on a production of Shakespeare's Measure for Measure here in New York, and that's been taking up my time and my energy.   (I'm writing this at midnight, having just got in from work, because I can't bear to leave it any longer.)

But there is a flurry of blog activity due shortly, starting with a celebratory post on Monday and getting more exciting from there on.  That's another reason it's been quiet here...  There's been lots in preparation which couldn't be revealed, but the time is coming soon!

I keep promising to catch you up on my watercolour journey so, for now, I'm going to share a few sneak peeks and tasters of some of where that's been taking me.  Shock, horror, I'm finding myself in florals quite often!!

The watercolouring really started to take hold earlier this year, partly because the equipment is relatively easy to travel with.

I've already shared some flowers, some fungi, wild meadow grasses, some trees, and some general messing about.  (There are more watercolour posts if you've missed them and are curious.)

And I've carried on with the nature theme quite often, unsurprisingly.

There's a sort of tree series, varying according to the season or my mood on any given day...

... and playing on different kinds of paper (sometimes with added white acrylic splatter).

It's still amazing to me how much difference the surface you're working on makes to the play of the paints.

Some of what I'm sharing today was done months ago, back at the beginning of the year, or through February and March.

I had a whimsical turn at one point...

... all very pastel and pink.  An interesting excursion but not very me, probably!

And I got obsessed with faces for a while...

... full of rainbow colours.

I'm still fascinated by how changing the colours will change the mood.

Some of them turned out to be whole figures.  I never in my life thought I'd end up with little girls appearing in front of me on the page.

There are also some sketchy figures in action.  I've doodled active figures for a while in the margins of my scripts (inspired by the stage action going on in front of me during technical rehearsals, when there are often long periods with not much happening that I have to pay close attention to).

I started with rough sketches in watercolour pencil, and used a water brush to add more shading.

I suppose it's no coincidence that I got hooked on faces and figures whilst I was in the midst of making my Elizabethan dollshouse dolls.

I even took a little sideways journey into some whimsical birds - this little chap is one of many.  I suppose they're still part of that exploration of expressive faces in a way.

I had a glorious time combining the watercolours with my much-loved mixed media texture during a brief window of time in my actual craft room.

As always, the exploring and the learning are the main excitements for me... 

... finding out what the paints will do, and trying to work out how they and I fit together best.

These pages feel like a really exciting part of the journey, and I know there's more to explore here.  Trees feature again, you'll notice.

Then there are these florals which keep cropping up.

I guess it's partly the wonderful Tim Holtz coneflower stamp which inspired me to head towards daisies.

But they're also a relatively simple thing to draw, and drawing is an area where I need lots of practice.

It's nice to start with something which gives you pleasing results fairly early on.

I really enjoyed this version done over some watercolour ground applied quite roughly to the page.  The scrumptious texture took all the pressure out of trying to get my drawing "right".

And the flowers have continued to come alive right here in New York.... some more daisies, in varying hues!

I got some fabulous decorative thistles to put in the large mason jars in my apartment...

... so I thought I'd have a go at trying to capture them on paper.

And then there's the relaxation of just mixing colours for fun...

I'm so glad I thought of bringing the wonderful colour wheel stamp from this fabulous stamp set by Andrea Ockey Parr with me.

It's great when you just want to clear your head by playing with colour.

And sometimes that inevitably leads on to yet more florals...!

I'm not going into details with any of this right now, partly because when I do have a spare hour I find I want to play with the watercolours rather than write a blogpost.  As you know, my blogposts tend to be rather lengthy, so they eat up time!

But it's also partly because I've got plans for some of these, and I'll share the work in more detail if and when I get the ball rolling with those plans later in the year.  In the meantime, I hope this post will have whetted your appetite for more.

And I do hope you'll be able to pop back and visit again between now and the end of June... I promise it will be worth your while.  For now - given that it's 1.30am, I'll just say thank you so much for stopping by, have a lovely day, and happy crafting, all.

You can't use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.
Maya Angelou
(Yes, thank you, Maya - but what about the time needed to play with it all?!)