Saturday, 15 May 2010

In a monastery garden (posted by Elaine)

Well just when everyone had given up hope that I would ever finish my April project, here it finally is!!
I have to say it was tricky getting a decent picture as it is quite long!

While everyone else was busy with cubes, I decided to try and use a piece of skirting board for a slightly different approach. As soon as I started thinking about doing a long panel design I though of using this gorgeous stamp from Beeswax Stamps in the US. BUT I don't have this stamp, my distant crafty friend Jo does though and she kindly agreed to lend it to me.
I thought that by stamping this image a few times I could make it into a cloister effect. I have always loved cloisters as they have such a peaceful atmosphere, often  enclosing beautiful gardens. They are little safe havens of tranquility.

I had seriously over-estimated the accuracy of my stamping!! One of the things I most admire about Helen Chilton, whose project inspired us this month, is the incredible accuracy of her stamp positioning - I think it is really awesome! Even with a stamp positioner, I couldn't do what I wanted and stamp it all in one line, so I stamped separate images to stick together. Then when I came to colour the images I just couldn't get the colour I wanted, so in the end I stamped the image onto Basic grey Wassail paper in a sludgey, olivey green-grey sort of colour, cut them out with my trusty decoupage scissors and stuck them all together.
The effect I wanted to create was the idea of the changing colours of light through the different times of the day, starting with dawn and going through to evening. I needed a landscape effect, so I used strips of torn Eclipse tape to create the effect I was looking for, sponging on my beloved Adirondack dye inks in five blending sets of colours. I used about 18 different colours all together I think, working hard to keep using the correct blending foam squares as I kept changing my colours!
On each panel I did four colours to look like sky and mountains.
Once I had done that I had my backgrounds and decided to use exactly the same stamps in the same position on each panel, otherwise I felt the overall effect would be far too hectic. I had hoped to use the Elusive Images Wild Meadow stamps, but they were too big for the scale of this project, so I used a Crafty Individuals set CI 207 - that I often think of as mini Wild Meadow!!
I positioned them all on a large block and repeat stamped the layout on all five panels. I edged the top corners with the Lavinia vine stamp that is so very useful. I finished off with the little grass stamp from Wild Meadow (I was determined to get it in there somewhere), and then shaded around the edge of each panel and over the whole image lightly with more dye ink to pull it all together. As a final touch I added some tiny butterflies and dragonflies and a bird in the sky on each colour.
Putting all the panels and layers together with the wood, it was clear I would have to do some serious paintwork to get the wood to match into my stamped panel.
So I covered my wood in gesso, painted it with some acrylic paint in a blending colour and then tried to match it to the colour of the arches by stippling very dark grey paint on with a shaving brush. I did manage to do a couple of horrible blotchy sections, just don't look too closely!! I was trying to get a stoney sort of effect so the moulding of the wood looked more like part of the surrounding architecture. I had to try and do justice to all the lovely moulding my OH did especially for me to fit the size of the panel.
I finally stuck the whole lot together with lots of extra strong DST and glue roller. And if you've managed to read through the end of this screed without dropping off you get extra bonus points and you can sit in my monastery garden for a little longer!!

Sorry I kept you all waiting so long girls. xx


Sally H said...

Wow! That's breathtakingly gorgeous! I love all the different colours and it does make it look like different times of the day. Well worth the wait!

judith@poppy cottage said...

Well Elaine, the colours are beautiful. The idea is lovely, very peaceful and tranquil. The idea of a progression through the day is inspired, and takes your eye across the piece perfectly. The stone effect on the moulding that Alan has created is just right. I love the serene aspect through each archway created by the flowers, birds and backgrounds. The whole effect is just stunning. It was definitely worth the wait, Judith x

Jo said...

Absolutely unique. So worth all the effort. I love it!

craftimamma said...

OMG Elaine, I'm totally speechless! This was definitely worth the wait and you are most certainly forgiven. Judith has said it all so I won't duplicate.

Just know that I'm very proud of you!

Lesley Xx

Janet said...

Excellent work! I love the cloister effect and your linear design is so attractive.

Janet xx

Aquarius said...

Don't worry about keeping us waiting this is awesome and well worth the wait. Clever to think of that long narrow format too I love it.

veronica said...

This is gorgeous Elaine - I love the colours progressing along, and the stamps are just right too - the cloisters look great, don't know why you were worried about them!

Val said...

Elaine - this is breathtakingly beautiful. I love the whole composition of this. Cloister are really good, and the way you describe them is exactly how I view them, and my memories of a garden in Arles, France, are very similar to that, - the cloisters surrounded a beautiful tranquil garden.

The colouring on this is amazing, and just looking at this in close-up shows the accuracy of everything you have done.

I think you should be very proud of this. Well done!

Christine B. said...

Elaine this is so beautiful and well worth the wait. The colours are so gorgous and it is such a peaceful,calming, amazing piece of art. Well done. X ChrisB

Cath Wilson said...

Absolutely wonderful - amazing work and I can't believe your tenacity! I'd have given in when the second lot of things went wrong, lol. Love your idea, too - what a lovely piece.

Caz said...

Well, what a surprise!! Couldn't have imagined this was how it was going to turn out - it's beautiful Elaine!!


WendyK said...

A fabulous piece of work, love the cloisters and the colourful scenes.

Sue's Crafty Corner said...

What a wonderful piece of artwork. you are a very talented lady Elaine. It is so peaceful looking.


Marja's Stamp Addiction en Marja's Creativity said...

This is really artwork Elaine. Fabulous, i love the whole composition and colours.
Gr. Marja