Friday, 13 November 2015

Show a Snowy Face on Friday - Inspired by Elena Polenova and Vladislav Erko

Hello and Welcome to Magpieheaven. The week has once again flown by and here I am linking up with the wonderful 'Show Your Face on Friday' hosted by Kim Dellow. You can find out about Kim's great challenge to show your face here. For the month of November Kim is inviting us to share those established artists who have inspired us. As my followers probably know, I love stories, so it's probably logical that I should also be very interested in fairy tale illustration. Last winter I went along to the Watts Gallery near Guildford to see an exhibition of the work of a Russian illustrator and folk artist called Elena Polenova. You can find out all about it here. I love her illustrations to Father Frost and War of the Mushrooms. The exhibition I went to see was the first major retrospective of this artist who seems little known outside Russia. As I researched her work, looking for faces I might be inspired by, I came across the work of another highly talented artist, the Ukrainian illustrator Vladislav Erko. I was completely captivated by his wonderful illustrations to the Snow Queen, which you can see here, so this week my face is really inspired by the work of both these artists and the fairy tale worlds they create.
I wanted to create an image, not of the icily cruel Snow Queen of Hans Christian Anderson's tale, so brilliantly captured by Erko's illustrations, but the Snow Child of Russian fairy tale who is created by Father Frost as a child for an elderly wood-cutter and his wife. She longs for a human heart so that she might know love, but once in possession of it all she can do is to melt back into the snow that gave her birth.
I wanted to create face that could have been created from ice, but to suggest a longing for warmth, love and humanity, so I began by painting my sketch pad with a blend of PaperArtsy acrylics in Blue Oyster, Antarctic and Teresa Green. I then sketched on my Snow Maiden's face with 6B pencil, adding that touch of warmth that suffuses her before she melts, with a Pan Pastel.
I decided to turn this illustration into a Christmas card with some Jofy snowflake stamps and some distress glitter.
I think I may experiment some more with this image on Kraft cards and create myself a little collection of Christmas cards. Thank you so much for dropping by today and looking at my snowy face on Friday. I do hope your weekend will be a cosy and a creative one!


  1. Absolutely gorgeous, love her! Happy weekend, hugs, Valerie

    1. Just read your comment on my blog - sorry you are feeling bad, hope you soon feel better Sweetie, look after yourself!

  2. oooh my,amazing sketches,she looks so friendly,sorry you feeleing bad,hope you soon feel better.
    hugs jenny

  3. Wow! I remember those stories with so much affection and I love how you've brought them to life with your beautiful drawing. The paler colours really pop when you team them with kraft card. It's a lovely combination. Thank you for the links too; I really enjoyed them. Lx

  4. Wonderful ! I love what you made here...
    Happy weekend Julie Ann! Feel better soon!

  5. Julie Ann, your snow queen is simply beautiful and I truly hope that she does not melt into the snow!
    I do remember your pieces inspired last winter- beautiful and I do believe you should be writing and illustrating your own fairy tales! I mean that! I will buy it when it is finished!!
    I see others have mentioned your health, please fell better soon- if we lived closer, I would make you my homemade chicken soup- a sure cure for whatever ails you!
    sending love& hugs,Jackie
    ps I am a bit under the weather myself- so I know how you feel!

  6. your snow queen is SO beautiful, and I love the card you created with her too!

  7. What a gorgeous, snowy, icy portrait. Simply wonderful.
    Happy PPF

  8. She is stunning! Hope you feel better soon.

  9. This face really is beautiful! Your Christmas card looks really special! Have a lovely weekend! Chrisx

  10. She is beautiful Julie Ann, and looks perfect against the kraft card! I do love a fairy story! :-)
    Alison xxx

  11. She is beautiful - and a wonderful rendering of the character from the story - so sad and lovely (and so Russian!). I think the Christmas card looks stunning with those simple white stars on the kraft as the background.

    Elena Polenova's illustrations look very familiar to me - I can't work out whether that's because I've come across her, or whether it's just very much in the style of the middle-European fairytale illustrations which of course I know well. Have also just had fun Googling Erko - wow! - but it's the simplicity of the Polenova that I think I prefer.

    Thank you for another enlightening and thought-provoking post.
    Alison xx


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