Here at Anything But Cute we love to see all the seasoned and expert mixed media artists, but we also want to encourage those who are just getting their feet wet. Our design team will always be on the lookout for these exceptional artists, and you just never know when we might be giving out something special to a talented mixed media newcomer.
Make sure to put 'newbie' after your name in the linky so we know who you are.
(new refers to 'new to mixed media' NOT 'new to our challenge')

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Spotlight Artist - Alison - Drink a Magic Potion

Hello Everyone!

I am really excited to be here today to introduce you to a very special guest, Alison Bomber. I have been following Alison's blog - Words and Pictures, for quite some time now and I am always blown away by the amazing and creative techniques that she uses in each and every project. I have so many of her posts bookmarked, I had to start a new folder just to keep track of them all! I am just so honoured to have her here with us today to teach us just a little of her expertise in the mixed media arts!

Now buckle up because this is going to blow your socks right off!!

Hello all!  I'm delighted to be here at Anything But Cute.  I was so excited when Pamellia invited me to be a guest, but also a little daunted since the amazing team here produce such outstanding creations.  Pamellia also said that I could make anything I liked - no limits - which is always slightly terrifying... but as soon as I saw the beautiful moodboard for this month's Making Magic theme, I knew that it would be inspiring my project.

So I offer you my mystical magic potion bottles - handed down from white witch to white witch along with the spells for making dreams come true and making time stand still.  (You might want some magic potion of your own to get you through the lengthy post!)

It was very hard to get a decent photograph of these, especially since we've had so much horrible weather here in the UK - with all the shimmer they change in every different light angle - but I hope you'll be able to get the idea as we go along.

I started with some vintage glass bottles.  I managed to get a job lot on Ebay for a good price, working out at just less than £1 a bottle (well, I thought it was good).  

The first task was to give them a couple of coats of gesso so that any media I applied would take on the surface.  (I had a few on the go at once - I like that as it takes the pressure off, and I now have a number of very different looks ready to share soon over at Words and Pictures!).

I then wanted some crackle, so I applied DecoArt Media Crackle Paint in various thicknesses over the bottles.  I got some great cracks and, to be sure they wouldn't start flaking off, I sealed the whole thing with the DecoArt Ultra Matte Varnish before continuing.

I stamped one of my favourite branches and then got busy with some spritzing.  I thought I'd start with a layer of the DecoArt Media Sprays - they give good coverage and are permanent once dry.

After that I gathered some of my Silks Acrylic Glazes - various blues and greens as well as the Emperor Gold - and started applying them over the spritzed crackled bottles.  At some point I also did some glazing with a Tattered Angels Glimmer Glaze.

I'm afraid I wasn't paying too much attention... I was just layering up shimmering colours adding depth and shading.

I also used Treasure Gold in Florentine to highlight some of the texture - both the crackle and, of course, the fabulous embossed writing on the sides and reverse of the bottles.

The photo in the moodboard which really captured my heart is the tiny golden droplets of dew on the leaf, so I wanted to try to echo that.  I had the branch stamped, still visible under all the layers, since the Silks are highly translucent, so I thought that might be the key.

I mixed up some of the Emperor Gold Silks paint with DecoArt Liquid Glass in a fine tip applicator bottle and tested out the results on a spare bit of card.  As you can see, there were various mixtures - some with Glossy Accents, some with Wild Honey Distress Reinker, and all sorts.  (If you look closely, you'll see that there was more than one application on the bottles themselves too, but that's the joy of mixed media experimentation.)

I started by following the stamp with the fine tip applicator to create the branches - a happy accident that it echoes the veins on the leaf in the moodboard photo...

And then I added "berries" where each of the flower heads had been, and sometimes several berries all in a cluster.  I'm sure they are also in the recipe for the magic potions!

I'm really happy with the dimension I ended up with, though I wish I'd managed to recapture the most translucent mixture - ah well, maybe next time.

The gold wire continues the look of the vines and branches, swirling up around the necks of the bottles and disappearing inside.

It's the last of my hoard of golden notebook rings, ripped out and preserved from some old reporters' notebooks.  I've only got plain metal and white ones left now...

I added the Remnant Rub-Ons words - can't have a project without words, can I now?

I washed over them with one of the lightest Silks colours so that they would blend into the background.  

A final dusting of Treasure Gold for extra gleam, and we're pretty much done.

I hope you've enjoyed seeing how my magic potion bottles came to life.

As you can see, there's plenty of experimenting, trial and error - it's always the great "what if?" for me... but when the sun finally came out to make those berries gleam, I thought it was worth it!

Thank you so much to Pamellia and the team for inviting me along this month.  I had so much fun with these, and thanks to the moodboard I went in lots of new directions I might otherwise never have travelled.

That's the whole fun of a challenge I suppose!  I hope you like them - it's always great to hear what you think - and if they've inspired you, you've still got nine more days to come and play here at Anything But Cute.

Alison xx

HOLY SMACKEROONIES!! I've been scrolling up and down for a coon's age!! These are just amazing aren't they!! Alison has really captured the colours, the textures and the spirit of Georgie's gorgeous mood board! Thank you so much Alison, you are truly an inspiration!! 

I do hope Alison has inspired you to head to your craft room and get messy!! You still have until September 4th at midnight to get your entries in! We can't wait to see what you come up with for our MAKING MAGIC CHALLENGE!

Happy Crafting from the Anything But Cute team :)


  1. My Goodness, Alison! You have outdone even yourself with these magical bottles! What amazing texture and color you have achieved; I am loving the amazing crackle and the way you have given the bottles such tremendous depth! And those branches and berries look so yummy you could eat them! Thank you so much for joining us this time at Anything But Cute and for your really sweet comments about the Design Team. It is such an honor to have you be with us today! Big hugs!

  2. Gorgeous pieces of art-and a fabulous tutorial too,thank you for sharing this awesome crafters work Pamellia :)
    Nessa xxx

  3. Love your potion bottles Alison, the colours are gorgeous and I love the veins you created that echo the veins in the lead on the mood board. Great texture too and I adore the touches of gold, gives it a real opulent, rich feel. Tracy x

  4. AWESOME...what a potion this is! Absolutely love it to bits Alison. As always your favorite color palette paid off here too and the shimmer and cracks add to the beauty. The addition of the gold wire on top is just brilliant...I may try this sometime soon! Hugs, Rupa

  5. Alison, your bottles are FAB-U-LOUS. Love the crackle and all the shimmer. Your take on the mood board is spot on. So glad you could join us to share your creative talent.

  6. Gorgeous bottles!!love the way you have created texture and that blend of colors is superb. Thanks for great tutorial, Alison

  7. Dear Alison, what amaxing work of art, creating these beautiful bottles, I am in awe over your golden plant ,the ribs and berries, so fantastic made, and your crackle looks just gorgeous , you are making your white witch making the spells for dreams to come true , wishing for more wonderful spell bottles !!
    Dorthe, xo

  8. Beautiful bottles Alison! love the color and all the beautiful layers - the stems look so pretty in the mix you created! Julia xx

  9. I am not getting far with my comment because I keep scrolling back again and again - wow Alison, your bottles are fabulous. I love the lustre you created with the layers and the stems are so shimmery and beautiful... and the berries really do have the wow factor. Your bottles are divine! Congratulations on your GD spot too. Anne xxx

  10. Oh Alison your bottles are fabulous, I have been up and down this post drooling over them and agree with what Anne says divine !
    Julie x

  11. Absolutely brilliant, Alison! I love how you've created those stems and berries..... I've not seen the liquid glass product, but will surely be looking as I love DecoArt products. You are such a master of these colors - always a joy to look at your work and your posts! xxx Lynn

  12. Halison I'm crazy about your altered bottles. They are so pretty and look terrific. You really made an awesome job on these. Thank you very much for the tutorial. Very exciting to follow the process all the way.
    Hugs from Monica... Spain

  13. Wow Alison, it doesn't matter how many times I see these beauties, I am still blown away! You put so much work into your bottles and into your step by step post, I am just tickled green!! Thank you again for joining us as our spotlight artist, it has been an honour to have you with us today! hugs :)

  14. Oh My!! These are truly stunning! Once again lost for words but thankfully everyone else has summed it up so well!! Chrisx

  15. Wow Alison - you are a SUPER DUPER Spotlight Artist..... in EVERY WAY. Your tutorial is INCREDIBLE. You CAPTURED the MOOD BOARD FABULOUSLY. And your bottle are TOTALLY EXQUISITE. Dear me.... you couldn't have done one bit better.... WOW. You know.... I have had Georgie's Mood Board printed and hung all month... wanting to replicate the dew drops and the leaves! Now the pressure is off - YOU DID IT!!! SUPER SUPER SUPER FINE work Alison... SUPER FINE! j.

  16. Hot diggity dang girl! These bottles are ssstttunning!!! Aren't silks great? Loves em! You have created a fantabulous work of art with Georgie's mood board and have captured the overall feel stupendiously! Love the raised veins and leaves. Oodles of awesome sauce reign supreme in these altered bottles! Wowzers! Thanks so much for being our Spotlight Artist this month. I would drink these potions in a heartbeat! Hugz! ~Niki

  17. Wonderful work! I love the richness of the colours and their depth. The gold detailing is exquisite and I love how the gold wire around the necks of the bottles echoes the swirls.

  18. Your bottles are magically STUNNING, Alison! I enjoyed reading your wonderful post with such a detailed step by step! Love your rich colours and spectacular textures! Your raised veins and leaves are just perfect! I am really impressed by these pieces of art! Thank you so much for joining us as our spotlight artist! It is such an honor to have you with us today! Hugs! Branka xxx

  19. Beautiful Alison! Love the colours and the touch of gold is perfect! Sue C x

  20. Wow what an incredible transformation. Blown away by the hues and shimmers and textures. A rockin' guest design tour de force Alison. Nicola x

  21. What a lovely bottles Alison!! Great crackled and beautiful shimmer layers, especially I love the tiny golden magic berries and the vines and branches. These are wonderful dimension too. I love the your bottles works and these are one of the favorite things. xxx

  22. One word Alison, WOW! Incredible depth of colour and the shimmer and shine is, well, magical! Thanks so much for sharing your process and your amazing bottles! Deb xo

  23. Amazing duo of altered bottles ! Alison. You really have given them a real magical feel. Thanks too for sharing the transformation with us . Congrats on your GD spot x

  24. Absolutely stunning Alison! Lots of amazing techniques included here and the effects on your vintage bottles is wonderful.

    Lesley Xx

  25. Thanks for sharing all your steps and the products you used! Very helpful. I especially like what you did with the branches and the berries. Really nice work and I bet they are ever better in person. :)

  26. Alison - so sorry I'm late in commenting on your post - this is just truly magnificent and completely what the mood board was all about! Your magic bottles are so captivating, I could stare and drool forever -hugs hun xx