Saturday, 28 November 2015

Show Your Face on Friday - Inspired by Kay Nielsen.

Hello and Welcome to Magpiehaven, Followers and Friends. Life is getting busy in the Magpies' Nest as I try not to let Christmas sneak up on me this year. It's still November, but I know that once we hit December, the days are going to fly by and it will be Christmas before we know where we are - with me feeling completely unprepared! I'm not ready this week to link up with Kim Dellow's great 'Show Your Face on Friday' blog when it actually goes live; but we do have the week to be inspired and to link up our faces so I hope by Saturday my WIP will be at a stage when I photograph it! For the whole of November Kim has been introducing us to artists who inspire her and providing links to where we can see their beautiful work and, of course, we can share artists who have inspired us too. 
If you haven't taken a look at Kim's inspiring blog, please click here and learn all about this great way to practise drawing faces and link up with other artists.
This week I was asked to make a brooch with a face, a bird and the word 'Heart' on it. I ended up making two! As I worked on these miniatures, I had Kay Nielson's incredible illustration for Scheherazade at the back of my mind so it is his work that has inspired me this week. If you click here you will find the Wikipedia entry for Nielson and the image that inspired me is here. Placing the two brooches side by side...
on this blue fabric, I was reminded of journeys through mysterious lands under starry skies. I wanted to create a canvas now with 3 little 'face' houses, each with a story to tell.
This is as far as I've got this morning! I have my 3 Scheherazades each with a bird of freedom and peace to release into the world. I now need to embellish their head-dresses a little, put them aside and start to create a world for them in the background. At the moment I'm not sure whether to place them in a desert oasis under diamond stars or on the shore of a turbulent sea or among the marble, mosaics and fountains of a grand palace.
I also created three more little brooches this week, which I will probably put in my Etsy shop over the weekend. I have so much fun creating these little characters who I can imagine inviting us in through the tiny doors of their miniature houses. They make quite a crowd when I put them all together!
Then I placed this little person here and another idea for Christmas tree decorations formed! The question is, will I ever find those tiny wings to add and will I have the time before Christmas to bring all these ideas to fruition?
If you have the time this week, do pop over to Kim's 'Show Your Face on Friday' and add a face maybe inspired by an artist who fires your imagination.

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Show Your Face on Friday - In the Style of Elena Polenova

Hello and Welcome to Magpieheaven! I'm a little late linking to my favourite 'Show Your Face on Friday' blog this week. By the time I'm ready to publish this it will be Saturday! I try not to miss, as since discovering Kim Dellow's wonderful blog I've become totally addicted to drawing faces. If you haven't done so already, please do check out 'Show Your Face' and - if you can - add a link to any face or faces you might have created this week. Last week I was unwell, so I don't think I got round to visiting many of the wonderful artists linked up, so this week I will try to remedy this. It's still November so the theme is to share established artists who have inspired us, but any portrait art you would like to share is fine. Please check on how to participate here.
I'm still very much in the illustration zone. Last week I mentioned the fairy tale illustration of Elena Polenova and I think her very Russian style of illustration really seeped into my imagination after seeing her work for the first time last winter. Although I did not consciously aim to copy her style, some brooches I wood burned this week seem to me to have been influenced by the colours from her art and the style of her illuminated pages.
What I love about illustration is that it gives you the freedom to give a face to anything you want to!
Do you - like me - often see faces in trees?
Looking at these again I'm beginning to think that a collection of Christmas tree ornaments on the theme of trees with faces might be quite effective - a whole talking forest!
I wonder what these little characters are saying to each other as the snow falls gently onto their branches?
I have also been creating a Christmas ornament that features a face as its focal point.  I wanted to create something a little different on this resin heart from Sandra Evertson's Relics and Artifacts range.
From about the age of seven to eleven, my Christmas stocking always contained a ballet book of some kind and one year, as a very special treat, my mother bought us tickets for the ballet. My mother's cousin who lived with us for a while and who I loved because she told me such beautiful stories bought me a vinyl record of Moira Shearer telling the story of Swan Lake to the accompaniment of Tchaikovsky's ballet score. The milk white tutus like swans' down and all the glitter and glamour of the Dance became synonymous with Christmas for me from then on!
In the ballet, based on Russian folk tale a young maiden, Odette is under the spell of an evil magician and doomed to live as a swan by day and a maiden by night. I painted Odette's portrait straight onto the heart at the centre of this ex voto heart, using PaperArtsy Fresco paints in Nougat with a touch of London Bus, which I quickly wiped away around the cheeks. The  surface was really great for painting on and I added definition with a fine, black pen. The swans are a painted charm defined with a little Treasure Gold.
I painted the edge of the heart with Little Black Dress, then added a layer of Crackle Glaze and , when this was dry, I painted over with Antarctic, Blue Oyster and Teresa Green Frescos. I added some glitter and some Shaved Ice mica flakes along with these leaves from a broken brooch, painted and gilded and some painted resin roses. I created Odette's feathery head-dress using PaperArtsy Metallic Glaze mixed with Snowflake with a tiny piece of Indian mirror at the centre, which I hope will reflect the tree lights.

Thank you so much for stopping by today. The tree brooches are on sale in my Etsy shop, but each year I like to  have at least one new Christmas ornament. This year it is going to be some of my own art work on my Swan Lake Relics and Artifacts heart.

Friday, 13 November 2015

Show a Snowy Face on Friday - Inspired by Elena Polenova and Vladislav Erko

Hello and Welcome to Magpieheaven. The week has once again flown by and here I am linking up with the wonderful 'Show Your Face on Friday' hosted by Kim Dellow. You can find out about Kim's great challenge to show your face here. For the month of November Kim is inviting us to share those established artists who have inspired us. As my followers probably know, I love stories, so it's probably logical that I should also be very interested in fairy tale illustration. Last winter I went along to the Watts Gallery near Guildford to see an exhibition of the work of a Russian illustrator and folk artist called Elena Polenova. You can find out all about it here. I love her illustrations to Father Frost and War of the Mushrooms. The exhibition I went to see was the first major retrospective of this artist who seems little known outside Russia. As I researched her work, looking for faces I might be inspired by, I came across the work of another highly talented artist, the Ukrainian illustrator Vladislav Erko. I was completely captivated by his wonderful illustrations to the Snow Queen, which you can see here, so this week my face is really inspired by the work of both these artists and the fairy tale worlds they create.
I wanted to create an image, not of the icily cruel Snow Queen of Hans Christian Anderson's tale, so brilliantly captured by Erko's illustrations, but the Snow Child of Russian fairy tale who is created by Father Frost as a child for an elderly wood-cutter and his wife. She longs for a human heart so that she might know love, but once in possession of it all she can do is to melt back into the snow that gave her birth.
I wanted to create face that could have been created from ice, but to suggest a longing for warmth, love and humanity, so I began by painting my sketch pad with a blend of PaperArtsy acrylics in Blue Oyster, Antarctic and Teresa Green. I then sketched on my Snow Maiden's face with 6B pencil, adding that touch of warmth that suffuses her before she melts, with a Pan Pastel.
I decided to turn this illustration into a Christmas card with some Jofy snowflake stamps and some distress glitter.
I think I may experiment some more with this image on Kraft cards and create myself a little collection of Christmas cards. Thank you so much for dropping by today and looking at my snowy face on Friday. I do hope your weekend will be a cosy and a creative one!

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Show Your Face on Friday - Still in the Style of!

Hello Everyone and Welcome to Magpieheaven. I'm linking to Kim Dellow's blog Show Your Face on Friday again today. I'm sure that you know by now that Kim's blog is a great place to have a go at drawing your own faces and be inspired by all the other contributors. This month Kim has suggested we might like to share how established artists have inspired us to step outside our comfort zones. Please do click here to find out more about the link up and to see a beautiful portrait by Kim in the style of Marie Laurencin!
I already shared how Botticelli has inspired me this time, but last month I jumped ahead a bit and set myself the challenge of drawing in a completely different way - in the style of Tim Burton! I found that I really loved the possibilities of this style and a new journey began! These drawings re-awakened my interest in illustration and I've been gathering lots of beautiful images by illustrators on Pinterest, which will hopefully inspire some work next week! Meanwhile I revisited my last month's drawings and very quickly transformed them into Christmas tags!
I used some tiny Kraft card tags from Tiger, which measure 3" x 2.5" approximately. I printed out my images onto quality presentation paper and enhanced them with some Fresco paints and stamps by PaperArtsy! On this one I've just used a lovely little PaperArtsy mini of a snowflake by Jofy; some dabs of Oyster Blue and Snowflake and a tiny word from a Sara Nauman stamp plate, There's a sprinkling of Distress Glitter and some snowflakes created by dipping the end of a paint brush in a puddle of Snowflake Fresco.
Even Matilda, my daughter found herself caught out in the snow! This little Jofy stamp is probably the one I've used most of all my stamps to embellish winter projects! It's just brilliant because it's so adaptable! On this one I gave the snowflakes metallic centres.
Fairy Debs is still trying to be 'Merry' although there's now a snowstorm in her painty forest of hair!
And Kevin has become a Christmas elf, although the sudden snow does seem to have taken him by surprise!
I've been adding other faces to tags too and working on new brooches to give as Christmas gifts. There's a whole week to be inspired by an established artist or artists so please, if you have time, it would be lovely if you could join in and link up with Kim here. Some of the images on these tags are available in my Etsy shop as a download, if you would like to adapt them to make your own Christmas tags or Christmas themed ATCs. You can get to the shop by simply clicking on the Etsy badge at the top of the blog. Thank you so much for stopping by Magpiehaven today. Have a great and a creative week.

Friday, 6 November 2015

Show Your Face on Friday - In the Style of...

Hello and welcome to Magpiehaven. I've been busily preparing for Christmas this week - not because I'm super well organized; but because I want to create gifts to sell in the gallery of a local garden centre run by a friend, and to give to my friends and family. I've cut lots of little MDF house shapes ready to transform into brooches or Christmas ornaments and I've been using scans I created to give them faces and characters. 
This week, over at Kim Dellow's wonderful 'Show Your Face' here, Kim is encouraging us to share those established artists who have inspired us and to provide a link to their work. Kim has been thinking about female artists, which has set me off on an exciting trail for next time, but this week I've been exploring the work of an artist I've always associated with Christmas! I've been looking at the work of Sandro Botticelli - The National Gallery has some beautiful images of his work, including this portrait of a young man here. Botticelli (1445-1510) was such a remarkable, early Renaissance painter. I love the faces he created,  strange and other worldly yet so vital and alive they seem to beckon us into the mythological or mystical realms they inhabit. I always felt with Botticelli that a story was unfolding and that he had stopped time for just a moment so that we might step in and walk around in a magical narrative, especially in paintings like The Mystic Nativity or The Birth of Venus. What I wanted this week was to immerse myself in his work and then create some faces that I could scan, reduce in size and then feature on my gifts. Obviously I don't possess the artistic genius of Botticelli, but I wanted to somehow capture that magical world in miniature, to create the sense that his work has of us stumbling for a moment across a magical story in the making.
I used Pan Pastels, 6B pencil and just a touch of Inktense to create these two characters. The face on the right is based on a young Italian man, but he is not a copy. I wanted to create the impression of him turning for a moment to see who has tapped his shoulder in the crowd. Whoever it was has vanished, dissolved into the blue Italian afternoon and he is slightly confused as he gazes back over his shoulder. Could it possibly be a ghost from the future, if such a being exists?
The second picture is based on Botticelli Madonnas. Here I used Pan Pastels again, but I used a tip from Christy Harris to fix the pigment by applying Gesso over the pastels.
And here is my Renaissance inspired brooch, trimmed with Lynne Perrella stamping, which could be a steeple or a hat! The floral paper from a Graphic 45 pad reminded me of Botticelli's Primavera. In the coming days I'm going to be working on more brooches, adding embellishments and playing around with different Renaissance inspired faces - I have not had time yet to create one using the young man's face. Thank you so much for stopping by today and taking a look at my work in progress, inspired by the incredible Sandro Botticelli and - of course - Kim Dellow's great idea to Show Your Face on Friday and share art inspiration! 

Friday, 30 October 2015

Triptychs and Faces!

Welcome to Magpieheaven, Followers and Friends. Although I have been lucky enough to have a GD spot from time to time, it's been a little while since I added my link to the PaperArtsy blog and I've really had fun doing this after a little break. There is some amazing inspiration on the PaperArtsy blog here and so far Alison Bomber and Florence Adam have created two highly individual and inspiring triptychs for this fortnight's challenge that have fired me with enthusiasm! It's also Kim Dellow's 'Show Your Face on Friday' today, which is one of my favourite blogs so I'm adding this little face project to both PaperArtsy and Show Your Face. 
I loved the antique triptychs, some of them beautifully carved devotional pieces with a figure of a face as a focal feature, that Leandra included in her introduction to this fortnight's PaperArtsy Challenge, so the idea of a miniature creation with a hint of the Old Masters and maybe a festive feel, began to form in my mind. I began by drawing a face. I looked at work by artists like Raphael, Giotto and Leonardo; but obviously I'm not an accomplished enough artist to recreate their work: I just wanted to give the impression of something old and mysterious. This is what I came up with:

I didn't want to add hair. I just wanted to keep the portrait simple. I scanned my sketch, which I did in Pan Pastels, soft pencil and fine liner into my computer.
Here you can see the portrait reduced in Word to fit onto a little MDF house shape of approximately 2" x 1.5" and form the centre of these three pieces. I used the top layer of some paper napkins with birds on them to create the wings; some hands drawn by myself and some stamping from a Lynne Perrella set of stamps for the Latin inscriptions (008). I stamped these onto PaperArtsy Chatsworth paper. The roofs are copper foil sheets, embossed by hand and painted with Turquoise Fresco. In this picture I was just playing around with ideas, so not everything is glued into place.
Here the triptych has been given little windows cut from Lynne Perrella 033. I clear embossed black Archival over card, painted with Yellow Submarine, Tangerine Twist and Tango. The snow is Snowflake Fresco applied with the tip of a cocktail stick. I liked the idea of this mysterious angel landing somewhere on Earth in the midst of winter and hearing the sound of singing and the 'merry organ' from behind those lighted church windows. A celestial creature, hovering between heaven and earth, does this messenger from 'on high' feel just a little excluded from the festivities?
008 for the roof work with some more 033 for contrast...
Then - if we flip the triptych...
I wanted to create the impression on the reverse of an illuminated manuscript in miniature. The letters are from a Tim Holtz alphabet and they are stamped in white Fresco and clear embossed: the MDF pieces have been painted with Little Black Dress Fresco. Once again, I've combined collage from tissue napkins and stamping from LPC 008 and 033 on Chatsworth. Thank you so much for dropping by Magpieheaven today and taking a look at what I've been up to. I'm really looking forward to seeing the other triptychs this fortnight at PA. Have a lovely week, whether you're busy creating triptychs or practising creating portraits - or both!

Friday, 23 October 2015

Show Your Face on Friday, Pierrot

Hello Followers and Friends, welcome to Magpieheaven! I can't believe how quickly the days have flown by and it's time once again for Kim Dellow's fabulous 'Show Your Face on Friday'. This is the blog spot that has really kept me hooked on faces since I first linked up what seems like ages ago. Do please check it out here, if you want to be inspired by Kim and all the fantastic artists who join her each week; and why not create a face yourself, link up and join in the fun? I was going to create something completely different this week, but for a reason that will - I hope - become clear later today, I created two more little sketches in a similar style to last week.This is where I began!
I blended washes of PaperArtsy paints in Teresa Green, Blue Oyster and Nougat in my mixed media sketch book. I then took my 6B pencil, tortillian and Graphik marker and started to create a portrait of a pierrot. I really like to use the soft 6B pencil with the tortillian to create shadow around the eyes with a little fine lining for definition. Coincidentally, Kim has been sharing some shading tips this week and talking about light and shade. I was reading an artist talking about this very thing last week, as she discussed exploring the dark and the light spaces between what we think we see!
I love images of pierrots on ATCs and many of the first rubber stamps I bought when I began crafting featured pierrot images. It might have been seeing pierrot prints in my great grandma's house as a small child that sparked this fascination with the white-faced, tender-hearted zany. I wanted to see if I could transfer the vintage pierrot look to Tim Burton's style.
I enjoyed drawing over the painted background and using some Inktense pencils to create a touch of extra colour. I finished off with a layer of white Pan Pastel, which I sprayed with fixative. I wanted to suggest the chalky, translucence of the pierrot make-up. 

Although Tim Burton's style has been the starting point with these recent sketches, I have been trying to use him as an inspiration for stylised drawings, which are not - I hope - just Tim copies but a way of helping me to step outside my comfort zone and try expressing character in a new way. This next fantasy is something of a combination of my take on Tim Burton and Frida Kahlo's deer transformed into a centaur - without the wounding!
 She bears a passing resemblance to my daughter, Matilda looking a tad uneasy to have woken in an enchanted forest, metamorphosed into this creature. Now I think there's another story waiting to be told!

 Last week I experimented with placing my portrait of 'Fairy Debs' on an ATB, which I sent the real life Debs!
It was fun to have the back and sides of the block to play with and co-ordinate with the portrait. The scan was on a plain white background, but  I coloured this, again with Inktense.
I think it looks very different with the coloured background and the textures and the text on the sides and back. 
The image below gives some idea of the size of the ATB with a magpie feather for scale. An image can look so different when it is reduced or increased in size.

Embossed copper foil sides, painted and then sanded and edges lightly touched with Treasure Gold added a little bit of fairy dust!
And then stamping over a background with a little stencilling and shaded PaperArtsy Fresco blues: Antarctic, Smurf and Inky Pool seemed to finish off the project nicely.
Thank you so much for stopping by Magpieheaven today. I hope you have a wonderful creative week and that you will create a face or faces and link up to Kim's blog. It doesn't matter what style you choose, or what media as long as the face you create is drawn by you.