Friday, 5 February 2016

Show Your Face on Friday - Keeping a Journal

Hello and Welcome to Magpieheaven. Today I'm linking to Kim Dellow's Show Your Face on Friday. We're into February now so the focus is no longer on eyes primarily. This month we are free to link with any face art we like - as long as the face is one drawn by us. There is no compulsion to play along with the themes, of course, it's just a focus and a challenge. There are some really stimulating prompts coming up from talented 'facers' like June Walker, Gibby Frogett and Hazel Agnew Take a look a Kim's blog here if you would like to find out more. Kim has a link to some great face tutorials from herself, Clare Lloyd, Trish Latimer and Tracy Scott so do please check out this week's blog - it's fantastic!
I've been working in a new journal this week in preparation for a course I will begin in March about Art and Story-telling with Robin Laws. As you know, I love stories as much as Art and Crafting so this will be a great opportunity for me to learn more about both. I've altered an old book on perspective and composition. Drawing faces has become very important to me over the last two years, so the faces of characters, human and animal are going to feature in the pages of this journal.
I've used a mix of different media on this first spread: Gesso; PaperArtsy Fresco Paints both opaque and translucent in every shade from Smurf to Granny Smith; Inktense water colour blocks and collage of napkins, paper, book text and tea-bags! Everything stuck onto the spread is either re-cycled or scraps.
 I used mark-making with lids dipped into paint and some stamping as well as brayering - sometimes over scraps of lace. The magpie perched on the lady's finger was drawn on a Shakespeare sonnet and then cut out and added, while the lady listening intently to the story he has to tell was drawn straight onto the background.
That Magpie has quite a few tales to tell so he will be appearing throughout the journal. Here he has led the lady into an enchanted wood where Magpie sisters tell stories in the tree tops! Perhaps they should be named Magpie Sonnet Sisters, as each one wears a coat fashioned from a Shakespeare sonnet!
You might recognise the Magpie Sisters' faces as re-sized and slightly altered faces from my store of face scans.
It's probably not possible to see, but as well as the fragments of Shakespeare's sonnets on the Magpie Sister's coats, I've added some of  the narrative that will thread through this journal! I've often thought there must exist somewhere a wood like this one where all the precious objects and memories we think we lost can be found, nestling among the ferns; hidden under mossy stones or stored away for safe-keeping in a hollow tree stump. I hope your Friday is a really creative one and that the weekend will bring you refreshment and relaxation! Happy February Everyone!

Friday, 29 January 2016

A Last Look at Eyes for Kim Dellow's Show Your Face on Friday!

Hello and Welcome to Magpieheaven. I can't believe that we are approaching the end of January 2016 already. The 31st is a very happy day for me because that's the day Mr Magpie and I were married back in 1987! Also the end of January marks the end of the very first theme of 2016 on Kim's blog 'Show Your Face on Friday'. If you haven't done so already do hop across to Kim Dellow's blog here and 'Show Your Face'. You'll be able to find out all about this great space in which to share all things to do with creating face art. All this month she's been focusing on eyes and there has been some great inspiration from Kim and all those who have linked up their art. I've found it a wonderful opportunity to think about the symbolism of eyes and look at some different ways of drawing the eye and using eyes as part of a project or design. You might remember that last time I doodled some rather surreal eyes? Here is the one that I named The Mermaid's Eye!
This week I've been having fun reducing my drawing after scanning it into my computer and now I've collaged it into a composition on these little brooches, which I'll be listing in my Etsy shop today.
I've collaged the eyes onto old map paper on these little MDF hearts. which measure just a little over 1" x 1". There is a tiny, clear imitation gem at the centre of each heart and they have pins on the back so that they can be worn as brooches. The tiny text is from a Sara Nauman stamp set for PaperArtsy.
 I hope to create more of these. Maybe I'll create enough to tell a whole story through eyes, text and hearts! I've also been working on a brooch especially for a customer who requested a little house featuring a particular face, the sun and the moon.
Now, even smaller, the eye is looking down from a cloud mapping the world, and the moon casts its silvery beams over a tiny door always open to adventure and bliss as long as we remain hopeful,
And the eye makes its final appearance this week on a little work in progress for my friend Lizzie whose son, Theo has just moved to Canada to live and work for a while as a chef. These little wooden houses are part of a house-warming gift for Theo and Eden as they move into their first home together. This is just the early stages and I hope to be able to show you more soon. I am hugely indebted to Mary Jane Chadbourne for the little house ideas, which I learned on her Tinytopia course last summer. Thank you for stopping by today and to Kim for continuing to host this great face making blog! In March I'm embarking on a course in painting and storytelling called The Storyteller's Art with Robin Laws and all this practice experimenting with drawing eyes is going to prove invaluable, I'm sure. Have a lovely creative week everyone.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Kim Dellow's Show Your Face on Friday - Eyes, Tears and Smiles!

Hello and Welcome to Magpieheaven! I am a bit late linking up with Kim Dellow's 'Show Your Face on Friday' blog (here) this week. I'm still occupied with thinking about and creating this and that and I've just signed up for an online class with the very talented Robin
 Laws. This course is titled 'The Storyteller's Art', so as I love stories and art I just couldn't pass that opportunity to learn more about both! 

As it's still January, Kim's blog is focusing on eyes. Now, I promise there is a connection here - trust me! As I went through the little biographies of my fellow students, it struck me how our life stories are all a blend of sorrows and joys and moments that could only be described as magical! I wanted to create a little project that echoed this thought as I started out on the course. So often it is in a person's eyes that we see a story of mingled comedy and tragedy. Here's the link then with Kim's theme this week - I wanted to create eyes that would look both happy and sad! I don't know if I'm skilled enough to manage this yet, but I did use some symbolic embellishments as well! I began with this little crackled MDF heart. I'm still really enjoying painting on a crackled surface and for this project I think the worn look added to the sense of a face that has seen life!


The heart was quite small to work on - approximately 2" x 2". I used Fresco Finish Nougat over Little Black Dress and Crackle Glaze and added detail with Micron pens and touches of Inktense blocks. When I was happy with the effect I sprayed the heart with fixative to avoid smudging. What I was aiming for was a woman smiling through tears.


There is a dark cloud in her life: perhaps she has experienced disappointment of some kind - the discovery that our dreams cannot always come true in exactly the way we had hoped maybe?

I used PaperArtsy Antarctic over the crackle on the cloud and gave it a silver lining with a touch of Treasure Gold. The little wooden moon painted with Teresa Green and Granny Smith and again touched with Treasure Gold suggests magic and enchantment on the horizon,so hopefully the tear in her eye will soon be drying. My next step is to turn her into a brooch and maybe add a little text - just one word will probably do. Thank you so much for stopping by Magpieheaven today. It's always such a pleasure to share with followers and friends. And I do hope you'll link up to Kim's blog, as there is still time to add your own 'eye art' before Friday.

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Love is in the Air!

Hello and welcome to Magpieheaven! With Valentine's Day just a little under a month away hearts seem to be everywhere! PaperArtsy feature them as their theme this fortnight - you can see some beautiful examples on the blog here - and over at Relics and Artifacts, Sandra Evertson and her team are running a 'Be My Valentine' competition!
For many years hearts were bottom of my list of shapes. The garish pink satin and purple Valentines with overly sentimental messages on offer during my youth rather put me off. That was until I discovered the amazing art the heart shape can inspire. I love the vibrant Mexican folk hearts; the incredible riveted steam-punk hearts; extraordinarily original mixed media hearts and the way the heart adapts so well to stencils and stamps. I had been busy with all kinds of projects - arty and otherwise, so I decided to just get out my Relics and Artifacts hearts and some PaperArtsy paints and glazes and see where my heart led me! I didn't take photos as I went along, as I just became so involved in experimenting with effects on the resin blanks.
I wanted to experiment with drawing over PaperArtsy Crackle glaze because on my research into unusual heart shapes in folk art I also discovered some incredible Santos dolls with faces so old they had cracked with time. On the little heart-shaped area in the centre I painted first with Little Black Dress, then - when this was dry - added a thin layer of Crackle glaze and finally painted with thick, single strokes of Nougat before adding a face drawn with pigment pens and coloured with Inktense. The Latin motto under the lady's chin reads 'Amor Vincit Omnia' - 'Love Conquers All'. I first came across these words when I was studying Chaucer's Prioress's Tale. The worldly Prioress owned a brooch with the motto emblazoned on it, hinting that the kind of love she was concerned with might not have been entirely religious. The Relics and Artifacts wings remind me of cupid in this painting by Caravaggio also titled 'Amor Vincit Omnia' https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amor_Vincit_Omnia_(Caravaggio))
He might be a small boy with a mischievous grin, but those wings are pretty powerful! My lady at the centre of the brooch is Venus, I've decided. And I've featured one of her doves hovering above her head, symbolic of gentle, constant love.
I wanted to hint at Venus' birth too. As the goddess was supposed to have stepped from a sea shell, a fully  grown woman, I thought the tiny painted jewellery finding studded with pearl dots might suggest her origins. For a sense of age and mystery, I rusted the wings and added some rusted seam binding. I can imagine that this creation might have started life as a clasp on an Italian wedding chest. I hope the couple's love remained faithful, tender and constant as Venus doves!
With this heart, as well as rusting and crackling, I sprayed the tiny crackled heart at the centre with some diluted Jade Fresco paint to create the impression of egg shell. Once again I've used shrink plastic to create a tiny motto. It's a stamped one this time from a Sara Nauman plate and reads 'My Heart'. This little heart I can imagine among the treasures collected by an Edwardian lady while the heart in the image above suggests an earlier age - maybe Elizabethan or before! I wonder what manner of long forgotten beau might have shyly placed a heart like this in his beloved's hand at the end of a golden afternoon picnicking by the river with the sound of the birds to accompany his vows of love?
I've had so much fun playing with these heart shapes and just allowing my imagination to roam where it will. I'm linking 'My Heart' to PaperArtsy this fortnight and the 'Amor Vincit Omnia' to the Relics and Artifacts 'Be My Valentine' challenge. Thank You so much for taking the time to stop by my blog today and see what I've been creating and dreaming about. 

Saturday, 16 January 2016

A Mermaid's Eye Doodle - Kim Dellow's Show your Face on Friday, Focus on Eyes

Hello and Welcome to Magpieheaven! I've been busily working on various projects, too secret to show at the moment or not yet finished! I really wanted to find some time to join in with Kim's 'Show Your Face' blog here, which has inspired me to create all kinds of faces I 
would never have attempted otherwise. All this month she is focusing on eyes and encouraging us to leave our comfort zones and try out new creations that centre on those 'windows of the soul'. Kim herself has created a great Manga style face this week with unmistakable Manga eyes! Please do link up and see her work and that of the other artists and maybe have a go at some eye art of your own! Kim has all the information you need for taking part over at her blog.

 I stayed on the theme of eyes, but instead of creating something for a project, or a finished piece of art, I grabbed my sketch book and just had some fun doodling!
Using pencil, fine liner and Inktense, I just started to doodle a large eye shape - it's A4 size - and let my imagination take me on its own journey - far out to sea, it would seem! This was drawing purely for relaxation. I might use the design on a project in the future, or it might not lead anywhere in particular. It was just a little exploration. I've called my doodle 'The Mermaid's Eye' because I would love to return to this idea and maybe scale it down to become part of a mermaid or siren's face when I have more time.

For this eye I just played with doodled shapes and reflections. I wonder who the owner of this one might be? If I were to come back to it and build a face around it, would it be a goddess or a mysterious Venetian lady regarding the world from behind her elaborate mask? Thank you so much for joining me to take a peek at my eye doodles. In the coming weeks I will have lots more projects to share, I hope. Meanwhile have a great, creative week.



Saturday, 9 January 2016

Hearts and Eyes - Focus on Eyes in Show Your Face on Friday with Kim Dellow.

Hello and Welcome to Magpieheaven. I do hope you're finding lots of time to create now that the Christmas and New Year festivities are far behind and the last bauble is safely stowed away until next year!

 Last Friday I linked up with Kim Dellow's inspiring blog 'Show Your Face on Friday', where Kim is challenging us this month to explore how we draw eyes. This week Kim has created a stylised portrait in which she focuses on a pair of large sparkling eyes. I've taken a slightly different path to Kim. I've used the surreal eye that I created last week to make some wearable art that plays with the idea of what hearts and eyes can symbolise. These lines from John Donne's poem 'The Good Morrow' really inspired me to think about the connection between hearts and eyes too:


My face in thine eye, thine in mine appeares,
And true plaine hearts doe in the faces rest

 I scanned my drawing, re-sized it to fit an MDF heart of around 2.5 x 2.5" and changed the colour to emerald green. It's a little deeper than it appears in the image above.
It was fun to create several of these 'heart and eye landscapes' and combine them with different elements. For this pendant I took the beautiful resin flame from Sandra Evertson's Relics and Artifacts collection, coloured it with green Fresco paints from PaperArtsy and touched it with Treasure Gold. The slightly larger heart has been Crackled Glazed - Teresa Green Fresco over Little Black Dress with some Sara Nauman script added and edged with French Roast and Treasure Gold.
Combined, the elements seemed to call for a little something more! I chose a single word in the end for this one: joy! That's a word that really conveys the link between hearts and eyes to me. What a precious sense sight is. How many times have I been tired or low spirited and then felt my heart soar as I looked up at birds in flight. They are always the perfect symbol of hope, life and freedom among the bare winter branches. And all we have to do is look above our heads to see their exuberance and love of being alive!
The symbol of birds soaring in freedom just captured my imagination as I thought about this and I created more brooches and a pendant using my artwork and little resin birds given to me by my crafting friend Lucy. I used rusting powder on the charms to give a sense of age and some purple gems from a broken necklace. For my text, keeping to the theme of freedom in every sense of the word, I just typed words I associated with hearts, freedom and flight and then combined them to create a very simple 'found poetry' on the pieces.
I experimented with Professor Plum Crackle over Little Black Dress and this time gold embossed the Sara Nauman text.
 I wanted to give the impression of the little bird flying out of the piece to remind us of the beauty there is in wild nature and how free we feel just walking in the natural world and taking in all its treasures. 
Finally, I created something different! I took this Sandra Evertson heart and drew the eye straight onto a wash of Nougat Fresco paint - quite nerve-racking - but I told myself that if it went horribly wrong I could always paint it out! Using pencil, marker and Inktense with dots of Snowflake Fresco, I wanted to create the effect of the bright, exhilarating colours of Mexican Folk Art. This is inspired by Mexican folk art pieces I saw just before Christmas at a fascinating little shop called Milagros in London's Columbia Road.
Thank You so much for taking a peep through my eyes this week! Do pop over to Kim's blog here to see what she and the other artists have created on the theme of eyes. I hope you will be able to have a play at 'making eyes' of your own this week and link them up! Have a happy and creative time until we meet again.

Saturday, 2 January 2016

In the Blink of an Eye! Show Your Face on Friday with Kim Dellow

Hello and Welcome to Magpiehaven! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and that 2016 will be a Happy, Healthy and Creative Year! I can hardly believe that January is here and it's once again time to show our faces over on Kim's fabulous link-up. I don't have a great deal to show this week, as it was difficult shoving aside all those mince pies and Christmas cake to squeeze a little space to create on the dining table over the Festive Season! However, I did make a little brooch for my friend Laural to give as a gift.
Her best friend is focusing on the word, 'Joy' this year. My little princess with the feather in her cap invites her through the tiny copper door, into to a year where true joy can be found in something as simple as a single rose - maybe the first one that appears with the spring!
One of my New Year's Resolutions is to step out of my comfort zone as much as I can creatively and to challenge myself in as many areas of life as possible. 
It's great that this month Kim is suggesting we focus (sorry!) on eyes and maybe challenge ourselves to create in a different style. For my first drawing of the New Year (almost) - the other is a secret, which I will reveal maybe some time later in the year - I was inspired by an eye I saw on Pinterest. I used this sketch as a basis for a study in pencil, fine liner and Inktense, which I hope to use on future projects. My eye is reflecting on a winter landscape with part of a tiny ruined abbey. It suggests to me the wonder of how Spring returns to the dark and barren places each year: wild flowers appear between the roots of the gnarled trees and fresh young leaves curl into life on the boughs we thought were dead. Meanwhile there is something beautiful in the silhouettes of bare branches and the rooks' wings against the winter sky.
Over the month, I plan to create a collection of eyes, which I hope to use with different papers and stamps on a new range of projects inspired by Milagros and Mexican folk art, which often feature eyes at their centre. I hope to link up more eyes and maybe even a project next week! Thank you so much for stopping by today. I do hope you'll have some time to explore different ways of drawing eyes and link them up to Kim's blog. There aren't lots of rules, it's such fun to join in and you can find out all about it here. A Happy and Creative 2016 everyone!