Wednesday 1 April 2015

Animal Instincts

Hello and a warm welcome to Magpieheaven. Unruly Paper Arts are celebrating the Animal Kingdom today with a Readers' Art Quest entitled 'Animal Instincts'. Do take a look at what the DT have come up with here. When I put on my thinking cap to create some inspiration for this challenge, I discovered my stash was severely lacking in anything animal-themed. Then I found this little Retro Cafe Paper Cut depicting Alice through the Looking Glass. The illustrator has captured such a bond between Alice and her animal companion that I felt I really wanted to work with this image. I also had a little box with sections that once held Prima wooden embellishments. It had far too much potential to throw away and I had been wanting to use it for sometime. Could I present the animal world in Alice and create a version of Wonderland?

I gathered together these PaperArtsy stamps from the Hot Picks range and Darcy's Eclectica and played around with the idea of stamping onto a microscope slide with Stazon. I liked the effect of the birds on the grasses, but although I liked the birds in flight too, I wasn't so sure about so much on one slide and in the end I opted for a slide with just the birds in the grass.

I had gessoed my little box and painted it with PaperArtsy Little Black Dress, but I still wasn't quite sure how I was going to create Wonderland. I kept gathering bits and pieces from my stash: a tiny resin crown, my crafting friend Kerry once gave me, which I decorated with Treasure Gold and Pearlen Pen and some dried flowers, again from Kerry, which I painted and made into little trees. Suddenly ideas started to swarm like bees in my brain and off I went, working away and getting into such a painty and sticky mess that I couldn't stop to take step by step pictures! I have had to take detail images to make up for this and I will try to explain what I did to make up for this!

I painted each little section with graduated shades of PaperArtsy Fresco Finish Paints in Blue Oyster and Caribbean Sea to capture the blue skies of a sunny afternoon in Wonderland. The box was very rough and poor quality wood so the sanding and Gesso had been vital!

I was very pleased with the effect I got from adding some turquoise primary element to Prima Clear Crackle Texture Paste and painting over the Little Black Dress. I blended in some silver Crackle Paste and when this was all dry, accented with Treasure Gold in Green Amber, Sapphire and Aquamarine. 

I thought the exterior of the box was beginning to resemble gnarled old tree bark. Here is a photo to give some idea of the scale of the piece...

I wanted to create the impression of Alice and her animal companion stepping out of their wonderland into ours...

This was where the microscope slide came in handy. As well as the stamping, I painted a tree using translucent Frescos in Hey Pesto, Banana and a little Toffee with some Satin Glaze added to dilute it.

Charms, shrink plastic leaves - some stamped and one with my own artwork, stamp bord and resin flowers combined to create the impression of Alice's enchanted world in which animals could talk!

Alice encounters a variety of animals in both Carroll's books, many of them anthropomorphic, but the deer is so beautiful because he is just as he would be in the wild.

The birds, the butterflies, the vintage playing-card horse riding through the forest in the distance all remind us of how extraordinarily rich the natural world can be. It certainly contributes so much to Lewis Carroll's classic. I wish I could have added a tiny white rabbit scurrying away into the distance, but I didn't want to overcrowd the box. The leaves and butterflies were punched from card and then covered in Versamark, dipped in UTEE and heated. I know that many of my friends and followers have much-loved pets, and our world would be an empty place without the delight animals both wild and domesticated bring. Have a lovely day wherever you are and do please celebrate animals with our RAQ over at Unruly Paper Arts this month.


  1. Fabulous transformation Julie Ann, similar colours to your TIO Tag which i adore. You have made a truly inspirational project celebrating both wild and domestic animals. I think a small bobtail hiding behind one of your flowers would be a great surprise, what is the White Rabbit getting up to i would think lol.

    Thank you for some unruly inspiration:-) xxx

  2. This is so beautiful - it doesn't look crowded at all! Great idea to use the microscope slides.

  3. Aww, this is so adorable!! You have captured the essence of Wonderland here.
    Really clever way to use that box with sections. I love the crackle effect, btw!

  4. Love this, so dainty with so many beautiful elements to study x

  5. Julie Ann!! This is soooo delightful!! I love the magic of your tiny vignette- well done, my friend! xo

  6. This is adorable, Julie Ann! I love the crackle on the sides!

    Lucy x

  7. The more I look at this little box of delights the more I see, it's absolutely delightful.
    Julie x

  8. Wonderful Julie Ann, amazing texture on your box and what a magical setting for Alice and her animal friend!

  9. OH MY Julie Ann ♥ You certainly have created a most magical world for Alice with the animals. Absolutely charming and the crackle effect you've gotten is brilliant too!
    Such a wonderful creation from beginning to end!!!
    Happy April
    Happy Spring
    Happy Happy Everything to you and yours

  10. That's an amazing creation, love the Alice theme.

  11. Oh this is just stunning Julie! I find working in miniature very difficult and have a couple of those little sectioned boxes I can't bring myself to throw away but can't use them either, lol! You however, have worked your usual magic and created a miniature masterpiece!

    Lesley Xx

  12. That is utterly stunning Julie Ann & so very beautiful. Every detail is perfect & I love the crackle.

  13. What a gorgeous tiny Wonderland tray... beautiful crackle, fabulous details and yes, I've a few of those trays waiting around for inspiration to strike too... Throw them away? How could anyone possibly do that?!
    Alison xx


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