Friday, 28 August 2015

Show Your Face on Friday - Inspired by Hazel!

Hello and welcome to Magpieheaven, where we all seem to be recovering from our Summer coughs and colds and my Mum is more or less back to her old self! Life still continues busy, as our daughter has now moved out of her student house and returned to live with us full-time along with all her possessions! It's lovely to have her officially permanent, but we are probably breaking all records for the most crowded of nests! I did find time in amongst all the the packing, unpacking, sorting and travelling to be inspired by Kim Dellow's fantastic 'Show Your Face on Friday'. If you haven't done so before, please do head over to Kim's blog, where you'll find out all about 'Show Your Face' and how to link up your art. You will be inspired by Kim's art and that of all the contributors exploring creating faces in so many different ways. Throughout August Kim has encouraged us to be inspired by our fellow artists, and this week I've chosen Hazel Agnew. I've been inspired by Hazel's enthusiasm and imagination since I first encountered her blog, and last week I was captivated by her fantastic monochrome portrait of a young woman here. There was so much life and movement in Hazel's work, and I loved the depth and detail she had created with bold strokes. I was also impressed with how Hazel sketched the model's body as well as her face. I took out my vintage library book about Mexico and sketched this fantasy lady!




I wasn't as brave as Hazel, as mine is only a 'head and shoulders' portrait, but I'm hoping to work next week on arms and hands again - something I haven't done for a while, so thank you, Hazel for reminding me of this too! I used a 6B pencil, tortillians and a fine marker to create this young lady. The tiny houses in her hair were inspired by a beautiful picture in a book with which Hazel is also familiar! It's a wonderful collection of artwork with quotations - a fantastic inspiration for journalling called 'Inspirational Quotes Illustrated'. It's been filling my days with colour and sparking lots of new ideas! It was a most welcome gift at a time when I really needed it from a dear crafting friend. I hope she is reading this and knows how much I loved it. This Summer I've been doing a wonderful class at Artful Gathering with Mary Jane Chadbourne. We have been creating tiny houses, and gradually the students have formed little towns where imagination peers around the doors and dreams are reflected in the windows! It has been a delight to see everyone's work and to wander the streets of Tinytopia!


My portrait is, I think, the spirit of Tinytopia. She is dreaming of a land where magic is behind every door; where the witches create 'Good Neighbour' potions; the cobblers fashion magic shoes for dancing princesses; the cooks create pies with blackbirds that fly free and singing from the golden crust; the wizards turn noisy neighbours into toads and where Snow White offers cleaning services for dwarfs busy in the mines all day. As you can see I couldn't resist creating a colour version to see what she would like as the dawn comes up over the little town of Tinytopia. I hope you will have a magical, creative week wherever you live and that all the witches on your street are good ones!

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Paper Artsy Poppies!

Hello and Welcome to Magpieheaven! I'm very happy to be over at PaperArtsy tonight, celebrating circles!



Please do pop over here and see what I've been making and join in the fun by linking up your own circle project.

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Show Your Face on Friday - Inspired by June Walker.

Hello and welcome to Magpieheaven! Oh, my goodness! I am so honoured! I just saw that Kim at 'Show Your Face' has been inspired by me this week, along with three other artists whose work I love - Lee, Susi and Valerie Jael! And here am I sounding like the student who arrives at school not having done her homework on time, but with an abundant supply of excuses! I am really behind with linking up; commenting on friends' blogs and in writing blogs myself at the moment! Our family - including our dear old cat, Daisy - have not enjoyed a healthy summer! First my mum came down with a throat infection and flu, then my son and finally myself! Daisy is an elderly lady and she is poorly from time to time. She chose the day before my daughter's return from holiday not to get to the litter tray on time and soiled the beautiful, freshly laundered duvet cover I had just placed lovingly on Matilda's bed to welcome her home! The laundry had to be done again immediately - at 1.00 am when I had just returned from seeing an old friend who looks after his elderly mum!
Anyway, enough complaining! This summer I also discovered Kim Dellow's wonderful blog where we are invited to 'Show Your Face on Friday'. This has been a great place for a whole group of people interested in 'making faces' to hone their skills, experiment and just have fun! Please click here if you want to find out more, be inspired and link up yourself! Last summer I joined a fantastic class called 'The Imaginarium'. This was where I rediscovered that I love to draw faces and that it doesn't matter if they are not perfect - they just have to be fun. I've been participating in Mary Jane's excellent Tinytopia class this summer and now I've discovered the joys of Pyrography! So...this week I'm inspired by Mary Jane's class and also the art of June Walker. I love the way June places her portraits in a fantasy land and also the bright, dream-like colours she uses. I wanted to translate some of the dreamy quality to the little wood-burned houses I've been creating.


Because this is work in miniature, I couldn't manage so much colour on the faces, but I hope this little clown's hat made up for it!


In this fantasy land even the trees and the sun have faces!


I love how June's colours are always so vivid and spring-like. I wanted to evoke that same quality, but with translucent PaperArtsy Fresco Finish paints and charred wood.


A little while back a friend asked if I would create her a tiny house/wardrobe inspired by C. S. Lewis' 'The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe'. I have now made this for her and I also created a second one. I want to give my friend who is caring for his mum a little gift and I'm not sure yet whether he would like the miniature house above, or the recent Narnia 'wardrobe'.


It's very wintry so I might save it to give for Christmas.


 In my version of the land of Narnia, all of Nature has a face to show!


I will never forget the magic of being read this story when I was at primary school and that sense of following Lucy into the snowy land beyond the fur coats!


Thank you so much for stopping by Magpieheaven today. I do hope that I will be able to visit more blogs in the coming week and see all the exciting projects my crafty friends have been creating! I do hope the coming week will be a creative and a healthy one for you! And thank you Kim for 'Show Your Face on Friday'!

Monday, 17 August 2015

Show your Face on Friday - Sorry I'm Late!

Hello and welcome to Magpieheaven! I'm sorry, but rather like the White Rabbit in Alice, I'm late! Kim Dellow's 'Show Your Face' on Friday blog goes live at 10.00 am on Fridays and here am I typing this up on a Sunday afternoon - and I don't think I'm going to be able to publish until Monday! Life has been hectic, but I didn't want to miss joining in with what is my favourite challenge at the moment, to create a face or faces; link up and share the fun! If you would like to find out more about this opportunity to try your hand at drawing your own faces in any media you like, please visit Kim here to find out all the details! For the month of August we're visiting one another's blogs to gain inspiration. I've not had a chance to do that this time, but I will be having a good look at my fellow contributors' blogs for inspiration next week. For now I had to create a face for a project. I've been taking an Artful Gathering class with the very talented and inspiring, Mary Jane Chadbourne called 'Tinytopia and the Magic of Little Things'. It was due to a wonderful class I took with Mary Jane last Summer called 'The Imaginarium' that I first decided to try to incorporate my own faces into my projects.


Yesterday in a few free moments, I created this gypsy lady on the page of a book about Mexico, sketching her first with graphite pencil and black pen; colouring with Inktense and then blending with some Pan Pastels. I then sprayed her with fixative before scanning her into the computer, re-sizing her in Word and, when she was shrunk to the size of a tiny pierrot, inviting her to stay in the land of Tinytopia.


Can you spot her  house and the houses of some of the other faces I've created in the little town of Fortune? What secrets live behind the doors? The faces won't reveal anything. We have to step inside to find out our...


I've also been having lots of fun creating little houses on canvas, using some of the faces I've been creating.



Dreams, I feel, are like little houses with open doors just waiting for us to explore: we step inside, walk around the rooms and - if we are open to the secrets dreams hold - discover all sorts of potential we never knew we had! 


Thank you so much for stopping by today and taking a look. I will try to get round to viewing as many blogs as I can in the coming week. Meanwhile, I wish my friends and followers a happy and creative week.

Friday, 14 August 2015

Sneak Peek - Chip Off the Old Block!

Hello Everyone and welcome to Magpieheaven. Today I have a project over at Unruly Paper Arts, where our theme this month is 'A Chip off the Old Block'. The creative contributors have been exploring what can be done with chipboard and similar substrates. Please do hop across and see what we've been creating!



In the background of my picture you can see the new tiles in my kitchen. If you started following my blog back in April two years ago, you will know that my kitchen has been undergoing renovation virtually all the time I've been blogging! We are now entering our third year and - please don't get too excited - it still isn't finished! I promise I will tell you when it is all done and the invitation to the Kitchen Party still stands! Have a lovely creative day!

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Show Your Face, Sirens! Inspired by Deborah Wainwright.

Hello and welcome to Magpieheaven! Today I'm linking up with Kim Dellow's fabulous 'Show Your Face' blog challenge. I'm a little bit late, as the blog where artists 'show their faces' went live at 10.00 am yesterday, but life has been a bit hectic and this has been the first few minutes I've had to blog in a little while. I just couldn't let a week go by without a visit to Kim's place, where we can get together to share the faces we've drawn. You can find out all about it here - and Kim's challenge to us to be inspired by one another during the month of August! I think this is a wonderful idea and I'm sure when you see the great work Kim has been doing and the fabulous contributions by the other artists, you'll be inspired too! This week my inspiration has been Deborah Wainwright and a portrait blog she did last time. Now a really spooky thing has happened and I think I'm going to have to contact Debs about this!!! I decided to be inspired by the way that faces appear out of the background, asking to be created in Deb's work. Usually I begin a face and then add my layers. With Deb's technique I would have to let the shapes and textures speak and a face or faces to be born out of them. Imagine my surprise when I went to make a link to Deb's blog and discovered she had been inspired by me! We didn't get together on this one - honestly! Anyway, here is what I created inspired by letting the girls grow out of the medium.


I took a watercolour paper post-card and sprinkled it with a little Primary Elements and then spritzed. This was at about midnight last night, so I'm sorry I wasn't able to photograph the initial shape on the page. I took a heat-gun and dried it, allowing the watery patterns to marble their way across the paper. Then I took a fine black pen and started to doodle faces. I had intended there to be one face only, but these girls started to appear! I think they are sirens, the sea nymphs whose lovely singing lured sailors to destruction on the rocks around their island. I had never thought about them as individuals before, but as I drew, each siren seemed to form with her own character. Not one of them looks entirely comfortable with her role, I think! The one in the front looks to me as if she is about to sing, but she's looking to her companions for assurance. They seem determined to avoid her gaze and the one at the very top seems to be turning her head away and gazing with concern at - what - the impending doom of the sailors? So were the sirens unable to help themselves? Had they no choice but to sing, sorrowful in the knowledge that their magical music, beautiful as it was, would mean death for the mortal sailors?


I added some details with Inktense pencils and went over some of my ink doodling with a little water to soften the lines. At this point I just had to get to bed! I had really enjoyed creating the sirens and using the Primary Elements with watercolour paper - something I've never done before. It was really exciting too, to let the patterns on the paper tell their story to me and to allow the sirens to grow out of the page. So thank you Debs, for luring me out of my comfort zone!


You might remember that last week I created a five minute portrait of Frida Kahlo? I needed to send a card to a friend to thank her for her kindness and I know she is a fan of Frida, so - with a little collage added, some heavy outlining with 6B pencil and black marker and some stencilling I turned the portrait into a card. Thank you so much for stopping by Magpieheaven today! I hope you will have some time to create a face or faces this weekend and link your work to Kim's 'Show Your Face' too.

Friday, 31 July 2015

Show Your Face - Five Minute Frida!

Hello and Welcome to Magpieheaven! I didn't know if I was going to make it to Kim Dellow's Friday 'get-together' this week! If you would like to know what I'm talking about just click here to find out more about Kim's inspirational blog where people who like to draw faces any time, anywhere, anyway show what they've been creating! This time I had literally five minutes to create a face, as we were getting ready to leave for a little village near Dover to collect my Mum. She had been staying with a friend for a few days. I grabbed a box of Inktense pencils; a piece of card from a master-board I'd created some months ago and the first image I found lying around and challenged myself to sketch a face while my husband finished his shower! Here is what I came up with!


Minutes afterwards, we had a call from Mum's friend! 'The traffic is terrible, It's taking three hours to make a one hour journey and the police have blocked all the roads from the villages into Dover. You might want to postpone collecting Mum. She's fine here for now.' Now there was time to add a little water to the Inktense! Do you think it's made any difference?


 Do you recognize her? I would quite understand if you didn't, as I'm not totally happy with the likeness. I just launched in with a black Pilot pen - no time for pencil lines and erasing! I'm not sure what I'll do with her, but I do think I'll try drawing faces on Master-board again, as I like that effect.


 I've also been having so much fun with an on line course I've been participating in at The Artful Gathering, with the incredible Mary Jane Chadbourne. It's called Tinytopia, the Magic of Little Things. It was Mary Jane's Imaginarium course last Summer that first re-kindled my interest in drawing faces. Then along came Kim's Blog and I was hooked even more. I can't share with you the techniques and processes involved in creating the little houses, as I'm sure you will appreciate, but I thought I would just share a finished face-house with you today! If you ever have the opportunity to join one of Mary Jane's classes, I would strongly recommend them. I have no idea when the roads will be clear enough for us to make our journey so I'm heading off to create some more! I wish you a happy and creative weekend!