Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Making a Portrait Journey!

Welcome to Magpieheaven - Followers and Friends. The other day I popped over to my crafty friend, Mo's blog to discover that she had been having fun making faces - if you know what I mean! She was linking up to Kim Dellow's Art it Friday who has been 'bitten by the Portrait Bug'. Both Kim and Mo had discovered how liberating it is, and how wonderfully you can express yourself by creating portraits! I drew faces all the time I was at school, doodling weird and crazy characters all over my notebooks when I should have been taking notes on crop rotation! I didn't worry too much about how technically 'right' those faces were, I just loved letting my pen move across the paper creating characters. Last summer I took a class in doll making with Mary Jane Chadbourne and that inspired me  to draw again and to use my hand-drawn faces on mixed media creations. I love stories and story-telling and I've found creating my own faces has stimulated my imagination afresh and sent it off in all kinds of new directions.

What kind of journey has my portrait odyssey been? Things happen rather like this. I draw a face either that captures my imagination in a book, or that seems to be hiding in my imagination. I don't agonize too much over it, just let it come. I like to work with a soft sketching pencil and build up layers with Inktense water-colour pencils, sometimes Pan Pastels and then add definition and some doodling with a very fine black pen. My friend, Lyn Tivenan recently gave me the lovely gift of some of her art and an extra fine Pilot pen, which I used on this sketch.

I then scan my sketches into the computer. I am building up a collection of faces, which I can re-size and then print out and use on different projects. Like an actor, one face can play many roles and tell many different stories. This most recent sketch suggests an eco-warrior to me; but some day she might be re-cast as a Nature Spirit; a princess from another planet or even a carnival reveller!

I'm thinking of using her on one of my peg dolls! But she might find her way onto a card like this little character has done more than once. Here she is working as a clown/magician conjuring a lively spring-time rabbit!

I love to try image transfer with my sketches too. I was recently gifted this beautiful Sandra Evertson heart, which I've photographed with some of the masterboards I've been creating for birthday cards.

I wanted to use it to celebrate the Spring and to have a spring-time goddess at its centre. Now that I look at her, I imagine she might be a young nobleman's bride and the heart a gift from her to him on their betrothal. I printed out a tiny image and covered it with a layer of PaperArtsy Satin Glaze. I then placed it face down on some cream coloured linen and painted over the back with more of the Glaze, making sure to avoid air bubbles. When it was quite dry, I gently rubbed away the paper on the back of the image with a damp cloth to reveal a little fabric image.

 I was then able to fix my sketch with some more of the Satin Glaze and seal it with this too. Before adding my image, I covered the heart with  some torn tissue with Grunge Paste stencilling on it to create texture and when this was dry, sprayed with diluted, very watery Fresco Acrylic paints in Wisteria,  Blue China, Hey Pesto and Smurf. I also painted some areas with Prima soft gel medium and pressed tiny beads in. The leaf is a painted charm with a little Treasure Gold gilding paste on it and there are two painted resin flowers and a pearl.

 You can see a little more of the texture created using gilding, gels and Prima Copper Crackle Paste. I liked the texture that the fabric gave, as if the little face were made of canvas. It reminds me of Renaissance artefacts and I now want to experiment more: I should like to decorate more and possibly attach them to boxes or place them within niches.

Thank You so much for dropping by Magpieheaven today to watch me make faces! Enjoy your week and try to go on a portrait journey yourself. You still have time to join Kim here


  1. Wow! I hardly know where to start. All brilliant. I can't wait to see what you do with your first face (she looks like a sprite or fairy; so beautiful). The heart is GORGEOUS. I say again, WOW! Lx

  2. Oh Oh Oh...such much gorgeous art to admire dear Julie Ann.
    Your sacred heart is so stunning I am at a loss for words
    your faces are fabulous as well.
    Your spirit face spoke to me immediately bringing to mind "Green Man"...Now I will always think of your "Green Woman"!
    Such a delight to visit with you always...

  3. I am starting to hate all you people who can "do" faces so brilliantly!! great idea to scan them and resize etc. Love the outcomes.

  4. Oh my, that heart is so beautiful x

  5. What an amaIng journey you are on with your faces Julie Ann. It's wonderful that you have rediscovered your desire to create them! Copying them is a great idea! Your heart looks perfect, and your creation looks so at home nestled there! You didn't take the easy route transferring her, you created the best scenario for her which is so you! I love it and look forward to more!xx

  6. WOW Julie Ann i love how you have taken Kim's inspiration and showed us how wonderfully talented at drawing faces you are. I am in awe as mine are quite basic lol. Thank you for the mention, i am really looking forward to sharing my faces on a Friday. I photograph them and am in the process of seeing if a photo copy image will work with a transfer medium or if i have to definitely use a laser printer for the better transfer. Hoping to get them by next week.

    So glad you are linking up, i always look forward to your posts and now i have even more to look forward to :-) xxx

  7. Oh My Julie Ann!!! I absolutely love that you scan your images- what a clever idea!!
    And that sketch with the flora is just incredible!! I love her!
    Your heart piece is incredible simply stunning!! As always,you are such an inspiration my dear friend! xoxo

  8. Oh Julie Ann I am gasping, for this truly has taken my breath away! Like you, I used to doodle all the time and pretend I could be fashion designer - I am getting back to drawing more myself, but I will never, ever, be able to draw faces as lovely as yours! This time you have made the most wonderful work of art with your nobleman's bride! Hugs, Chrisx

  9. Wonderful, Julie! I really like your "eco-worrior" and look forward to seeing what you will make with her. Love the heart, too! And I enjoy reading your posts. Sentences like, "I imagine she might be a young nobleman's bride and the heart a gift from her to him on their betrothal." - awww, that's just.... aww! LOL! I may not be as eloquent as you, but I think "aww" pretty much covers it ;-)

  10. Oh! Julie, this is so lovely and fantasy world. The beautiful your fairy face and great textures around the face. I know you made really enjoying this sweet heart. I love it! xxx

  11. Totally wonderful! I love your faces and what a fabulous idea for using and reusing. The story telling and the worlds around the faces just add so much and bring them to life, I totally love it!
    Thank you so much for linking up such fab inspiration and for the blog shout out too!
    So glad you popped along via Mo's kind mention and I do hope you will link up again to share with us your gorgeous work.

  12. WOW!!!! Julie what a talent you are..... your faces are amazing and I adore the heart such attention to detail xx

  13. Wonderful art Julie Ann, inspirational! Your faces are beautiful!

  14. OMg, Stunning work ... Julie! Love your post as much as your work on Artifacts. Thanks for sharing

  15. wow what a gorgeous piece and clever you! love this piece x

  16. I love this, she is just beautiful - she makes me think of a tropical forest imp! X

  17. Oh this is wonderful, love the library of faces and the image transfer onto the heart is magical,

    Lucy x

  18. A stunning work of art, Julie Ann, I love it. And all your faces are fantastic.

  19. Such an inspiring post, Julie Ann. You already know I think your faces are beautiful - so delicate and expressive - and it's wonderful seeing them all collected, printed and ready for action. The new dryad is beautiful, and I just love the tiny heart ornament... superb work.
    Alison xx


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