Sunday, 31 July 2016

A Day Out in a Walled Garden

Mixed media walled garden image

Here's my very last minute Clarity Challenge entry.

Mixed media walled garden image, mounted on 12x12 canvas

Edit: And here's the finished version, that didn't quite get done for the challenge deadline - see details at the end of the post.

I posted this with 6 minutes to spare - a record even for me! I had decided that I would miss this month, I just didn't have time, but at 5pm hubby says, if I take Bethany for three hours, why don't you do it? Three hours isn't enough for what I want to do say I. But I gave it a good shot anyway! Some speed crafting has occurred here tonight. I got most of it done, a few finishing touches missing, which I'll do and blog here anyway. You don't want to see the state of the dining room table now!

The theme is "A Day Out". This had me stumped, but the design team inspiration helped out, and then I was chatting to my mum about two days out she'd had, to Athelhampton and Mottisfont, which both had walled gardens. Bing! An idea! Using the brickwork stencil, which I got in June and has fast become a staple.

There are four elements to this piece.

The first is the wall. This is on stencil card. I brushed on antique linen distress ink, then masked the centre square with copy paper cut to size. Then I dragged grunge paste through the stencil - the first time I've used this outside a workshop! Once it had dried (if I'm honest, a little before!) I replaced the stencil (thoroughly cleaned) and brushed fired brick ink through it to stain the textured bricks.

The outside of the wall is meant to represent a wild meadow, and to contrast with the formal garden within.

I started by brushing over tumbled glass for the sky, with a touch of salty ocean, then crushed olive round the centre. The stamps used were the wee grasses, and some trees for the corners. I particularly like the tree from the Daydreamer stamp (top right) used without the bottom part of the image.

Instead of using ink pads, I tried the distress markers applied to the stamps, which worked brilliantly. It allowed me to mix up the colours really easily, rather than stamping a flat image. Definitely something I'll do again. I think I got a better stamp than with the pads as well - distress ink not being designed for stamping it doesn't always give a great result.

The third element is the "lawn" inside the wall. This was simply a square of stencil card brushed with mowed lawn distress ink. A nice dark edge built up as I brushed, which I like. I then stamped a swirl from the Japanese stamp set, eight times round the edge. I like the formal feel of this, I think it fits. I added a bit of vintage photo ink to the middle later, as it was a bit too bright behind the parchment when I tried it.

Finally there's a groovi section in the centre. I thought that the crisp lines and precision of groovi/parchment would work well to suggest a structured, clipped layout. The wishing well in the centre is perhaps less appropriate, but when I saw it while going through my plates, I couldn't resist, it's so cute. And I did want a focal point.

I used a mixture of nested plates to divide up the area, then picked out flowers for the corners, and used parts of flowers from the henna border. The piercing plates, used to emboss, are great for filling in space. And the shading under the well I'm particularly pleased with!

No time for white work, so I coloured with distress markers, picking up the same colours as the meadow.

Then I layered up! The dark green band on the parchment allowed me to use small pieces of super sticky tape, then I used a tape pen for the other layers.

To finish off, I'll trim it down and edge it, and I want to try adding some small dragonflies and butterflies to the meadow, cut from parchment using punches.

Edit: It took a few days but I have now finished this. I brought the blue sky closer into the "meadow", and added some birds in flight, and the dragonflies and butterflies. I embossed them on the soft side of the mat, punched out the shape, then coloured with distress markers on the back. I think they're very pretty. I attached them with foam pads for height.

I cut the whole back to 28cm square, and edged with a blue sharpie.

To mount, I painted the edge of a 12x12 canvas board with Hey Pesto paint, and attached the card to this.

Much more finished looking - and oops, haven't signed it yet! It's not perfect but I like this - something I'll enjoy having on my wall.


  1. A great concept for mixed media work, Lucinda. We have a couple of knot gardens in the vicinity of which your project reminds me. Thanks very much for sharing it and best wishes in this month's Clarity Challenge. ;~}

    1. Thanks Shelagh, and yes, a knot garden is exactly what I was going for although I hadn't remembered the term. So I'm very pleased you say that! Definitely liking mixing it up a bit at the moment.

  2. Love the concept Lucinda. I have always dreamed of having a walled vegetable garden and love visiting them in the grand houses. Good luck in the challenge x

    1. Thanks Lesley. They are very satisfying somehow, aren't they? Reminds me of "The Secret Garden" story too.

  3. A great concept Lucinda, and thanks for the detailed blog. Thanks for joining the Clarity challenge this month. Good luck! x

    1. Thanks Angela. Nearly didn't make it this month!

  4. Great idea Lucinda and a great blog too. Thanks for entering this months challenge
    Amanda xx

  5. Wow Lucinda - that was some feat to get all that done in the time you had. All those different elements bought together perfectly. Great artwork with all the layers.
    Wishing you luck & thanks for rushing to join in with us x

    1. Thank you. It was a bit frantic, I can tell you! Craft supplies everywhere by the end, tidying up took almost as long! But just goes to show what a bit of focus can achieve. I've had all day today and haven't managed to do the finishing touches!


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