Sunday, 7 December 2014

A Ballet Russe Backdrop.

Hello and welcome to Magpieheaven, where I'm gradually decorating for Christmas. I like to have a theme to my decorations each year and this time it's Russian Fairy-tales. I've created a little canvas hanging to display above my Frost Maiden doll and my Matryoshka tree. She could perhaps have been inspired by one of the costumes from the Ballets Russe! The human face is a key component of my project so I'm linking it to 'That's Crafty's'  All About Face Challenge  here. I'm also linking up to the Unruly Paper Arts 12 Days of Christmas Party, where I've been having so much fun - you can find out about here.
When I was a little girl I was a huge ballet fan, obsessed with Ballet Russe star, Anna Pavlova, pictured here. Her high cheekbones and strong features have always seemed to me an ideal of beauty. That head-dress could have been taken straight from an icon! First things first, though.
To begin my theatrical backdrop, I took a mini canvas and punched two holes at the top to hang it by. I happened to have some Irish Cream Fresco Paint left over from another project so I slapped that on as a base coat.
Next I added some Grunge Paste through a Prima stencil. These flourishes were ultimately rather lost under all my layers, but you win some, you lose some when it comes to backgrounds!
I had a plan of what I wanted for my focal image. Rather than draw a completely new face, I went to one I had created for my Queen of Hearts Art Doll and scanned into the computer. She was originally designed for a wooden profile head, but she had the kind of strong features I felt I would be able to adapt for my project.
Using Pan Pastels, Inktense pencils and Pitt Artist Pens, I transformed her into a rather theatrical moon, which I cut out carefully and positioned on my canvas. I didn't stick her down until I had decorated that background, though.
First I gave parts of the canvas a generous coat of  Prima Crackle and left it  to dry for a day. I then painted it with Fresco Finish colours by PaperArtsy: Antarctic, Inky Pool and Hey Pesto.
To create the Ballet Russe magic, I used some Shaved Ice Frantage, fixed on with Glossy Accents. I added white Posca Pen  highlights and accented the eyes and lips with Glossy Accents too. Sapphire, Indigo, White Fire and Green Amber Treasure Gold also helped to create some more glitz, and I painted the face with Pearl Glaze to give it a moonlight sheen.
Jofy snowflakes stamped in Snowflake Fresco Finish by PaperArtsy and a little bird with snow-tipped wings - maybe the swallow from The Happy Prince - help create the feel of a tale told on a cold Russian winter's evening.
The diamonds on the head-dress were created with a harlequin stencil, edged with white Posca pen. I shall try to photograph the final tableau of decorations in a few days' time. For now, thank you for dropping by Magpieheaven today. I am having so much fun linking Christmas posts to the Unruly Paper Arts 12 Days of Christmas link-up here. Please do pop over if you can and join! 

19 comments:

  1. What a gorgeous canvas, Julie Ann! I so totally get the Russian winter feel. What amazing layering you've done. Love this! xxD

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  2. well this is truly beautiful and inspiring! i saw the striking image over at unruly paper arts and i had to stop by. i love your theme and wish you the happiest of holiday! xo

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  3. This is wonderful Julie Ann,the depth to it is amazing:)

    Big hugs
    Donna xxx

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  4. Fabulous Julie Ann ! Love what you have done with that face

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  5. This is wonderful julie Ann, so original!

    Lucy x

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  6. Julie Ann- what a wonderful, magical canvas! I love how you created her!! I could hear the nutcracker playing in the background while imaging the ballet dancers~
    thank you for sharing your beautiful piece of art! Your home must feel magical with your Russian theme pieces! xo

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  7. This looks great. you are very talented!

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  8. Another wonderful decoration, I love this one Julie Ann!

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  9. A magical canvas - so much to look at. Love the shaved ice. Thank you for entering in the About Face challenge - and good luck in the draw.

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  10. Fascinating canvas and procedure...love the look!

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  11. Wow! This is wonderful! Your decorations must look amazing all together! Hugs, Chrisx

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  12. Wow what a wonderful theme for your Christmas Decorating Julie Ann and I just love your canvas piece shared today, the soft colors, the crackle and all those wonderful layers of fresco and stamping truly are magical. xx

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  13. WOW Miss Julie Ann, that face was really intended for the moon, she is so magical, the background is simply spectacular,you make me believe in MAGIC, looooooooooooooooove this, thanks for sharing your magic.....

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  14. What a clever piece Julie Ann. She really is quite magical. The many layers give such depth to your piece too!

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  15. Your stunning choice of colours and sparkle reminds me of Opals which i happen to adore and am lucky enough to own a necklace and earrings set. Am LOVING your face and theme for your Christmas decorations. I do hope that this adorns your house for many years not just during the festive season. I will be back to sit and gaze upon your amazing ArT :-) xxx

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  16. Magnificent, Julie Ann - and I love the tale of your inspiration too. As another childhood ballet fanatic, with the love of all things Eastern European too, this speaks so strongly to me.
    Alison xx

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  17. This looks amazing Julie Ann, and wonderful to see how it evolved!
    Alison xxx

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  18. Wow what an amazing creation! Visiting for the Unruly Paperarts 12 Days of Xmas Linky Party!

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  19. Wow wow wow I absolutely love love love this canvas, and the way you changed the face wow wow wow your art is truly amazing. I don't know how I missed the Unruly Paperarts party, it could be that during the time it was on we had a family emergency that really knocked us down, and I didn't do much creating. I so love the background, so much texture and sparkle. Totally in love. Kezzy :-) xxx

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