Monday, 20 June 2016

My Muse at Calico Craft Parts

Hello and Welcome to Magpieheaven! Just a sneak peek today of my project over at Calico Craft Parts here. I'm down in the forest in search of my muse!

I do hope you'll be able to hop across and see what I've been up to. Every good wish for a really creative week!

Friday, 17 June 2016

Showing Some Faces!

Hello and Welcome to Magpieheaven! It's been a long time, but I have made the effort and I'm linking to Kim Dellow's great 'Show Your Face on Friday' blog here. I've been really neglecting my blog of late and missing out on commenting on my friends' and followers beautiful work too! This is partly due to a new Work in Progress:

This was once the Magpie bathroom! If you've been a follower for the last 3 years, you might recall that just after I started blogging, our friend Kevin embarked on a kitchen re-fit for us. In case you're wondering why I've never posted pics of that, it's still not finished! We didn't relish the idea of starting the bathroom before the kitchen was done, but in the end it had to be! We've been spending lots of our time organising where we can take showers - thank goodness for kind friends and family! Our bathroom is in the hands of a different plumber so hopefully we won't be without a shower for 3 years - much as we love Kevin that has been quite a long time to wait for a kitchen! We've been dashing out into the garden for a bit of peace and quiet between the showers (the rainy variety, that is) and I've been keeping the faces very miniature indeed -having the tiniest of spaces now to craft in!

I've been quite productive, making earrings and brooches - which I'm planning to put in my Etsy shop - as well as other mini projects, that I'll be showing here soon, I hope. Maybe it's because even if I enjoyed doing it, housework would be a bit pointless amid all the plaster dust and piles of bathroom clutter! You might notice the tea-cup has some Relics and Artifacts wings - another project I'm working on in my imagination. Watch out for flying tea-cups coming this way!

I've been having so much fun collaging my own art work onto earrings, using my new Dremel like tool to drill tiny holes. I've also created this 'art doll' type brooch, painting a face onto Crackle Glaze for a vintage effect and painting a little pair of charms to add as hands.

Although everything is quite higgledy-piggledy, we have so much to be grateful for! Simon, our bathroom fitter is kind and enthusiastic and we know that some day we'll have a beautiful new bathroom we can relax in - although I can imagine our daughter is going to lock herself in and spend days in there, once we do eventually get the dream bathroom we've all been planning together!

As we step over boxes; desperately search for tooth-brushes, soap, towels and medicines and plan for our next shower, I take a few moments to feel grateful. We have a home that we know will be a haven again very soon - and there's still space to create - just about. There are so many people in this world who have lost everything, even precious loved ones to war or senseless acts of violence. In the light of that, what's a little domestic upheaval? Have a lovely, peaceful week with time to create and to be with those who you love.

Monday, 6 June 2016

My Reality - My First Blog as Designer at Calico Craft Parts

Hello and Welcome to Magpieheaven. I'm so excited! Today sees my first blog as part of the Design Team over at Calico Craft Parts. If you would like to see in more detail what I created from these lovely art parts by Calico, please take a look here.

Best Wishes for a lovely Creative Week from Julie Ann x.

Friday, 27 May 2016

Doodling at PaperArtsy

Hello and welcome to Magpieheaven! This evening I'm lucky enough to be over at PaperArtsy where the theme is 'Doodling'! I don't often make greetings cards these days, but for tonight's post I created three.

My starting point was a sketch, which I had scanned and then printed out, featuring Florence, who longs for Peace in this troubled world of ours.

I added some touches with Inktense water-colour pencil so that she stood out a little more from her Craft Card background, stuck her to the card with some Matte Medium and stamped with some text and circles from Sara Nauman's PaperArtsy stamp ESN10.

Florence appears to be glancing up at the circles, so I doodled freely inside them, creating little characters suggested to me by the shapes. Where one circle intersected another at the top of the card, I was reminded of the droopy moustaches sported by the trendiest young men in the early 'seventies!

White dots applied by cocktail sticks dipped into Snowflake Fresco provided highlights and I stamped part of the sentiment from ESN10 onto master-boards to reassure Florence that we should never give up hoping for the best, however bad things may seem!

For a more colourful variation, I used masking tape to ensure a straight edge...

and then brayered and spattered with Snowflake, Smurf and Inky Pool.

I used this technique on a card for a crafting friend, featuring another little painting based on a pre-school photo of my daughter.

Back with Florence, I enjoyed experimenting with gold embossed circles...

and the white embossed circles created a fairy tale, wintry impression, I felt.

Doodling is such a great way to unwind. I hope you'll pop over to PaperArtsy's blog and take a look at what the other contributors have been creating on this theme too - there have been some really original projects! Then, why not play along yourself and link up your take on doodling - you could win some PaperArtsy goodies! Have a lovely, creative week!

Friday, 20 May 2016

Show Your Face on Friday - Head Positions and Earrings!

Hello and Welcome to Magpieheaven. This week has been busy, but I was determined to link up with Kim Dellow's 'Show Your Face on Friday' blogspot here, where the theme for May, chosen by June Walker is 'Head Positions'. I love June's work, always so vibrant and imaginative and I think this is a great idea for a theme. Kim has done some great head studies, which are really impressive. I would like to try some different sketched heads myself soon, but I've been busy making earrings featuring faces and it has been fun deciding on positions for the collaged heads!

 As my followers and friends probably know, my first jewellery project was to create little house-shaped brooches, inspired by a workshop I took with Mary Jane Chadbourne last summer.

The earrings have been a challenge, but after working out how to make them hang successfully, I've really enjoyed creating them.

Here are some of the designs at various stages: most of them need drilling at this point.

Positioning the lute-playing tigers' heads just right was important, as I wanted them to appear to be playing the music with feeling and to be engaging with the onlooker.

 I always like my pieces to tell a story. These twin Queens of Hearts are almost, but not quite, identical. I wonder what their story might be and what lies behind the little blue doors they point towards?

These two have had a busy day practising circus skills and they can't wait to head back to their caravan for a quiet cuppa!

Another circus themed pair invite us to view the show...

and these two sisters have travelled the world. It was fun trying out the earrings to see how they would look as wearable art.

Thank You so much for stopping by my blog today. I really appreciate your visits and I'm sorry that I don't blog as much as I used to. I hope you have a wonderful and creative weekend and that you have some time to create some kind of face art and maybe even link up to Kim's blog. Meanwhile if you want to view my work on Etsy, there is a link at the top of the blog on the right hand side.

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Show Your Face on Friday - #30Faces30Days

Hello and Welcome to Magpieheaven. It's a little while since I blogged - I don't know where the time goes. I've missed linking up with Kim Dellow's Show Your Face on Friday blog here so I'm back again, sharing a collection of faces I created for a really challenging but incredibly enjoyable discovery I made during April - Annie Hamman and Galia Elena's #30Faces30Days Challenge. I had been watching in awe as the really talented artists involved in this challenge posted on Facebook then Annie very kindly said that I could join in and pick up where everyone had got to. I hope that Kim Dellow and all my fellow face artists at Show Your Face on Friday won't mind me sharing some of the faces I created in response to the prompts. I only started on #18 - Performer, so I haven't been able to respond to all 30 prompts!
 I still feel that meeting the challenge of creating a face a day has been an enriching experience, leading my imagination along paths it might never have followed otherwise! How - for example - does one meet the challenge of creating a portrait with the prompt 'Faceless'? Nameless, with her face partially covered by a papier-mache mask, this mysterious lady makes her way over the bridges of Venice.
What would  a 'Surreal' face look like? I created a bird lady in a land of floating trees.
For 'Floral' I created Ophelia, dreaming in her vintage flowery dress and reciting Shakespeare!
For 'The Blues' I discovered Ophelia's younger sibling, Arabella...
These portraits gave me the idea for a possible story or series of stories involving three sisters: Arabella; Ophelia and the youngest member of the family, Angelina who takes her ginger kitten everywhere with her.
I made the acquaintance of an Earth Goddess...
a goddess of reflections 
and a living tree...
Tribal was not the easiest prompt for me to work with, until my muse led me to Florence whose style is distinctly 'Retro' and who longs for us to 'Give Peace a Chance'. 

I was able to include some of my little face houses too! This one was for the prompt Door...
And this one for Collage...
The final prompt was Bird and I took a few process pictures for this one. I began by collaging tissue and napkins onto a canvas panel with Matt Medium. Beforehand I roughed out in water-colour pencil a sketch of where I would be placing my face.
I then worked by adding layers of PaperArtsy Frescos, made more translucent with Satin Acrylic Glazing Liquid.
Finally a slightly older version of Angelina appeared. She is doing baby-sitting duties for this little bird, guarding her eggs in their cosy nest. She has to walk very carefully and hold her head straight for this task: she has found it's done wonders for her deportment!
Thank you so much for stopping by today and looking at these faces I created for Annie and Galia's #30Faces30Days. I'm so grateful to them for giving me this opportunity to grow and also to Kim Dellow whose Show Your Face blog continues to be an inspiration!

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Show Your Face on Friday - A Gift for Corrine!

Hello and Welcome to Magpieheaven. Last week I was unable to link up with Kim Dellow's Friday blog, 'Show Your Face on Friday', but today I'd like to do so with a little face brooch I've made for Corrine Gilman. Corrine's left a comment on my 3rd blog anniversary and her name was selected from the hat, so I've been creating a piece of wearable art for her. If you would like to share any face art at all that you've been creating, please do link up with Kim's inspiring blog here. The brooches I create are collages using my own hand-drawn faces. I begin by sketching a face with pencils, pigment pens and some acrylic paint, some water-colour. Often I'll take an old book page, cover it with an acrylic wash in a neutral shade and draw over the text; other times I'll draw a simple face on cartridge paper.
As I draw, a story or a character usually comes to me and I begin to imagine the kind of house my little character might invite us into. Once my drawing or drawings are complete, I scan them into the computer and create a sheet of faces on Word. Once my faces are printed out I can enhance them with a little more acrylic paint - PaperArtsy Fresco Snowflake for the white highlights and Inktense for shadows and touches of subtle colour. The faces above are a larger print-out. I printed a smaller sheet for the little MDF house, which is only 2" tall. Saving the original scan in Word means you can play around easily with re-sizing.
Here is the face I selected. As you can see, I added shadow using a soft pencil and Micron pen. Before I stick anything down I play around with different elements, positioning them and listening to the story they have to tell. This little character invites us into her cottage, reminding us that love can turn the humblest of homes into a castle. Her roof/hat is a tiny scrap from a vintage playing card.
Here I am, still playing around with adding different elements to my design. I use a liquid Matt Medium to stick my papers to the MDF. The little door is painted copper foil. I stamp a design of a door - there is a lovely PaperArtsy Hotpicks stamp featuring little doors - onto the back of the foil and draw over it carefully with a pencil. I use a mouse-mat to rest on, so that the springy surface will enable the etching to stand out. So much I've learned about making these little houses has been due to the workshops I've done with Mary Jane Chadbourne over the last 2 years, at The Artful Gathering.
Once I'm happy with everything, I stick down the non-shiny elements. I leave the details like the door, the bead door handle and embellishments like the sequin to add at the very end because I like to spray the brooch with a wood finishing lacquer and this dulls the effect of anything iridescent or shiny - and Magpies like their shiny things really shiny!
Finally, this little character made it clear that she couldn't live in a house of wishes and love without a companion to care for. This tiny wooden wren is from Calico Craft Parts and he is about the size of my little finger nail.
I do hope that Corrine will like her gift. Thank You for watching as I put it together. And Thank You to Corrine and to all of you who have become my friends through this blog. I've learned so much from all of you. Have a lovely, creative week.