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.

Monday, 11 April 2016

3 is the Number - Winner!

Hello and Welcome to Magpieheaven! Last Monday you may recall that I celebrated my 3rd Blog Birthday! To thank those followers and friends I've made in Blogland, I offered a prize of a piece of wearable art to the person who had commented on that post and whose name was pulled from the hat! I'm going to try to create a piece of miniature art especially for the Winner, but here are some examples of what I've been creating lately that are, or have been, on sale in my Etsy shop so you have some idea of the kind of thing you might expect. There is a link to my shop on the right hand bar so you can hop along and see what is currently on offer too, if you would like to. I also do commissions, so if there is anything you would like me to try to create just contact me on Etsy and I'll have a go!
It might be a little house brooch with a message just for you...
or a Queen of Hearts...
...or an all-seeing eye...
...or the house that tells the story of your life! The prize will be a brand new piece, made just for you: these are examples only.
Now, to announce the Winner - drum roll while my lovely assistant chooses a name from the hat...
The Winner is...

Corrine Gilman - I will PM you on Facebook and you can send me your address so that I can send your gift when it is finished.
Have a great week everyone, full of sunshine and creativity!

Monday, 4 April 2016

3 is the Number!

Hello and Welcome to Magpieheaven! On the 4th April 2013 I wrote my very first blog post! I remember how nervous I felt and how I was unsure that anyone out there in Blogland would read what I had written or look at my craft projects!
 I've learned so much in these last 3 years and made so many wonderful crafting friends! I should like to share 3 projects that represent for me some of those techniques I've learned; the style I've developed and the direction my creativity has taken and say Thank You to those who have followed me or left comments. You've taught me so much - not just in the kind remarks; but also through all you share in your own blogs. Crafty Blogland, I've discovered, is a caring and supportive community! Sharing here has enabled me to grow. Through taking on line courses with teachers like Mary Jane Chadbourne, I've learned the delights of working in miniature and gained the confidence to feature my own art on  my projects -
Gradually I've acquired new techniques and incorporated them so that a project can be interesting from every angle - front and back - I hope!
I've explored ways of making canvases tell a three-dimensional story with paints, collage, tissue, teabags and embellishments -
It's part of the fun to decorate the sides too!
I've played with rusting, embossing, gilding and adding water-colours and my own art to craft blanks -
It's been 3 years of adventure and so much fun sharing with my Followers and Friends. To say a special Thank You to those who have dropped by my blog over the last 3 years, I should like to offer a small gift. If you leave a comment below with your name, on the 11th April (you don't have to be a follower) I will put the names in a hat and the first one to be picked will receive a little piece of wearable art made just for them! Have a lovely week full of creativity and Happy Blogging!

Friday, 1 April 2016

Show Your Face on Friday - Timeless Story

Hello and Welcome to Magpieheaven! This week I'm linking up with Kim Dellow's wonderful 'Show Your Face on Friday' blog. For the whole of this month the theme is 'Different Head Positions' and this great topic was suggested by June Walker. I'm beginning with two faces looking straight out from a tiny diptych I created. I wanted them to look intent on telling a timeless story, leading us into the house of Imagination.
 I had 2 houses, which I had cut from pine, measuring 4" x 2.5". June asked me a while back if I ever tried joining houses with hinges and for this project I set myself the task of doing just that. I bought some tiny dolls' house hinges on Ebay, stuck them in position and then drilled little holes for the screws to hold them firmly in place.
I collaged the two heads, which are my own art work onto the bodies from French Vintage playing cards. Both heads look straight at the viewer, but the one on the left appears, to me, to be turning to look in our direction, while the Queen of Hearts on the right offers us a rose. They invite us in to listen to fairy tales of timeless magic.
What I love about collage is that I can position my own hand-drawn heads on bodies posed at various angles to create a slightly different effect. When I did the Imaginarium doll making class with Mary Jane Chadbourne a couple of summers ago, we learned that tilting a collaged head can create a completely different look for a character to positioning it straight.
I've also been playing around with ways of creating tiny doors. I recently bought  a sheet of PaperArtsy Hotpicks Stamps with 3 beautiful little doors. I stamped these onto the back of some copper foil, placed this on a mouse-mat and then went over the design with a pencil to give a 3D effect. I then painted the foil, allowed it to dry a little and used a nail file to scrape away some of the paint; buff and polish the doors. A jewellery finding and a fragment of wood for a step were the finishing touches.
The peacock tissue on the interior was given to me in a napkin swap from Dee Ryder Meade. Perhaps the 'Timeless Story' the 2 little characters with their steady gaze have to share is one from Scheherazade's '1,001 Arabian Nights'. Who knows, maybe the beautiful peacock is an enchanted princess who was so proud she offended a wizard and was put under a spell, only assuming her human shape at night. What happened to her eventually only the storytellers, or our own imaginations can reveal.
 Turning the Diptych around we see a galleon on a story-telling voyage of discovery. This is a scan of a map from the British Library's collection. I bought a pack of these maps last Christmas. They are marketed as wrapping paper, but the quality of the printing and paper make them far superior to ordinary wrap. The map paper at the foot of the Diptych is from a paper napkin and the tiny robins and their branches are from Calico Craft Parts.
If we focus on a detail, we can see that the galleon has a guardian angel leading the ship safely through stormy seas.
And here is a close-up of the little copper foil roof. It was so much fun creating this tiny hinged house/diptych. It was not too difficult fixing the miniature dolls' house hinge and I really would like to experiment some more with different head positions on the figures for future projects. Thank You so much for stopping by today to look at my Timeless Storytellers. Have a lovely creative weekend.

Monday, 28 March 2016

Fantasy ATC Triptych at Calico Craft Parts

Hello and Welcome to Magpieheaven. Once again I'm delighted to be sharing a project with you at Calico Craft Parts Blog. Many Thanks to ZuZu and Calico Craft Parts for giving me this opportunity to use their beautifully detailed craft parts!
Today I've joined three Calico ATCs to create a fantasy triptych. Please flutter across to the blog here if you would like to discover how I made my Calico Bird Lady! I hope you have a chance to spread your creative wings this week too!

Friday, 25 March 2016

Show Your Face on Friday- Lydia's Story.

Hello and welcome to Magpieheaven. On Fridays I like to link up to Kim Dellow's inspiring 'Show Your Face on Friday' blog. Linking up with Kim and seeing all the great portrait work on her blog inspired me to get started on exploring faces in different media, different styles and for all kinds of projects. Through her blog I've been introduced to different artists and different techniques and I've felt able to branch out in different directions. For the last couple of weeks life has been so busy and I've been suffering with a re-current back problem, so I've not been able to join in with Kim's current theme, which is to be inspired by the other contributors to the blog, or other artists. Although I've not felt entirely well, I have been inspired because I've been part of Robin Laws' on line class The Storyteller's Art. For this week I'd like to share with you some of the work I've being doing inspired by Robin and the other story tellers on the course. I've been inspired by Robin to create a series of canvasses and to stick to a specific colour palette.
Many of us have been working in journals before committing paint to canvas. I altered a book I no longer use on Composition and Perspective.
This is how I developed one of my characters, Lydia. She followed the Magpie on the right-hand page to a circus camped near the idyllic water-mill where she spent her childhood. Now she circles the sawdust ring every night on a white pony, seeking the father who left when she was a baby and whom she never knew. I gessoed the pages, adding scraps of book text, tissue and so on, before using a combination of Fresco Finish paints and water colour pencils and Inktense blocks. I wanted to show Lydia's questing spirit and her mixture of longing and hope as she toured the world.
I wanted to create a character who was ethereal, but strong and determined at the same time.
Here she is, translated onto her canvas panel. The background is book text and Tim Holtz tissue painted over with PaperArtsy Frescos diluted with Acrylic Glazing Fluid. This is one of a series featuring a group of circus folk. I keep to the same collection of Fresco colours: Yellow Submarine, China, Snowflake, Buff, London Bus, Winter Green, Chocolate Pudding and Little Black Dress. I've found that by mixing these I can get quite a variety of colour but keep a sense of continuity. Here is a portrait of Gypsy, the female clown who cares for the circus folk and tries to make their dreams come true.
 I experimented with ideas for her in my journal too...
I don't think I would have had the courage to embark on this course if it had not been for all the fun I've had learning about faces here at 'Show Your Face'. I've been inspired by so many of the contributors here and Kim too, to spread my wings and try out something new. I hope that everyone who contributes to the blog and my followers and friends will have a peaceful and enjoyable Easter and that this will be a creative springtime for you all. 

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

The Artist's Refuge at PaperArtsy!

Hello Followers and Friends and welcome to Magpieheaven! This is just a quick post, as I'm very fortunate to be a guest designer with the lovely PaperArtsy People tonight. If you would like to see how I created the little scene below, using Fresco Paints and Plaster Wrap, please hop across to the PaperArtsy blog here for step by step photos! The current topic is 'Fabric Stiffeners' and there is - as always - fantastic inspiration from all the designers this fortnight.

 Thank You so much for stopping by Magpieheaven. Have a wonderful creative week!