Monday 28 December 2015

PaperArtsy - Deconstruction, Miniature Art and Altered Grunge Paste

Hello and Welcome! It's great that you could drop by when the Season is probably still so very busy! I've been having a wonderful time looking back over the year's beautiful projects at PaperArtsy. The lovely folk at PaperArtsy have given me the opportunity to curate a little collection of my favourite projects on the themes of Deconstruction, Miniature Art and Grunge Paste from their blog, which was the very first craft blog I ever saw and remains my favourite source of inspiration in Blogland. It wasn't easy to select from all the amazing work over the year and I would love to have included every one of 2015's fabulous projects. If you would like to see my choices, please do hop across to PaperArtsy's blog.
I was also challenged to create a project of my own, combining the 3 themes and you can see this over at PaperArtsy too. I've reversed a box canvas and de-constructed it using liberal amounts of Grunge Paste blended around the edges of Rigid Plaster Wrap for the waves; PaperArtsy Crackle Glaze and Rusting Powder. I used Fresco Finish Paints in Captain Peacock, Granny Smith, Teresa Green, Hey Pesto, Limelight, Snowflake and Inky Pool. For 3D effect, I just had to add one of the little MDF houses I've become addicted to creating this year!
I like to de-construct and mix stamp sets with my own art work too, so there is a combination of Sara Nauman; Lynne Perrella; PaperArtsy Mini and a little face of my own here. The Lynne Perrella town in the background was stamped onto painted tissue and fixed to the canvas with Satin Glaze.
I am truly indebted to Mary Jane Chadbourne of Desert Dream Studios who taught me so much about creating miniature art last summer. PaperArtsy paints, stamps and Grunge Paste worked so well together with all that I learned on her Artful Gathering course. I used Grunge Paste here to blend with moss for the grass and Treasure Gold gives an aged look to the edges of the canvas. Once again Thank You for taking a peek into Magpieheaven today, and for all your support over the past year. May I take this opportunity to wish all my dear, inspiring friends and followers in Blogland a Happy, Healthy and Creative 2016!

Friday 18 December 2015

Show Your Face on Friday with Kim Dellow - A Last Few Faces!

Hello and Welcome to Magpieheaven! I think this is going to be my last link up with Kim Dellow's fabulous Show Your Face here! This is such a busy time, but Kim has created a great, last face for 2015, full of texture with a touch of gold, so please do take a look, even if you don't have time to create a face yourself. She's keeping the link open for the rest of this month, so if you do have time over the Holidays, why not pop across and add a face of your own? I've working on lots of projects - some completed and some still WIP, but all of them feature hand-drawn faces. If you have a moment to take a break for maybe a cuppa or a glass of mulled wine and a mince pie, I'll show you what I've been busy with!
Please meet The Owl Princess! She is a mixture of my own artwork and collage with wood, sequin and copper foil embellishment. She is part of a commission to create a brooch especially for a lady's niece who lives in Bogotá and who will be with her for Christmas.
And this Tiger Woman is for the lady herself. The brooches are now on their way. I added a little gilding around the edges with Treasure Gold to complete them. If - after the Holiday Season - you feel you would like to commission a brooch, ornament or canvas on a theme or story that means something special to you, please convo me at my Etsy shop, Magpiehaven. There's a link at the top of this blog. I've also been making some brooches for gifts, to list in the shop, or just because I really love creating these little face houses!
These 2 are wood-burned works in progress, waiting to be completed and then sent to a friend in Kenya and one in the US.
A little minstrel work in progress, which I hope to list in the New Year.
A young wizard is almost ready to ride to new and undiscovered lands!
This Christmas I've thought a great deal about all those who set out in search of peace, freedom from persecution or the right to life itself. I'm keeping this face to remind me to spare a thought and a gift for the homeless - those who are cold and hungry this winter - and those who have lost all that they had.
I hope that this Christmas will provide the 'Happy Ever After' for young and old who might have felt lost, frightened and alone in 2015 and that the doors of new homes and new opportunities will be opened to them...
Thank you so much if you've stayed with this post when you have so much to prepare! This will probably be my last 'link up' to Show Your Face on Friday until January 2016! It comes with Every Good Wish to you for a wonderful Christmas with - I hope - some time to create!

Saturday 12 December 2015

Show Your Face on Friday - Christmas - it can't be!

Hello and Welcome to Magpieheaven! I'm arriving a little bit out of breath and dishevelled to Kim Dellow's 'Show Your Face on Friday'! Please click here if you would like to find out all about Kim's great rendezvous for anyone who wants to try their hand at drawing, painting or making a face in any medium! I knew it would happen - Christmas has caught me out again! Never mind, I'm telling myself not to panic and all will be well because, after all, Christmas will happen whether I think I'm ready or not! I have a little gift to share with you this week. It's a tiny wooden house I've made for a very old friend of mine. It features faces burned into the pine wood and then coloured with PaperArtsy paints diluted with Satin Glaze. On this side my portrait is of one of my friendly trees!
The house itself is about 2 inches high and stands on tiny blue bead feet. My friend loves robins, so I've given my tree with a face a robin companion who might just have warned him about that very slithery icicle melting close by!
Whatever the weather the companions are determined to be merry because there is nothing more cheering in a sometimes chilly world than friendship!
Santa has made an appearance around the back of the house. He's looking decidedly flushed and cross-eyed - probably from delivering all those presents - and he isn't getting any younger! After burning his features onto the house, I thought he looked a little like Albert Einstein! And what could we need more for Christmas cheer than Energy! Perhaps I should have written 'Merry E = MC2' over the door and described it as a portrait of Einstein in a Santa costume!
The roof is bead gel with a good slathering of Snowflake Fresco and Distress Glitter. I do hope this little ornament will make my friend smile this Christmas.
I also just had time to make another little angel brooch with a heart-shaped face for the tree. Which reminds me - I have to start decorating our tree right now! We have a tradition in our family that the tree is dressed on the Saturday before Mr Magpie's birthday on the 15th December! Thank you so much for stopping by today. I do hope your preparations are all going well and that you will find some time in your busy schedules to show a face of your own on Kim's blog! Enjoy the coming week everyone!

Friday 4 December 2015

Show Your Face on Friday - A Finished Canvas?

Hello Followers and Friends and welcome to Magpieheaven! I'm not finding a great deal of time to blog at the moment, but today I wanted to link to Kim Dellow's 'Show Your Face on Friday' and give you a bit of an update on a canvas with three little faces/houses I began last week. If you haven't done so already, please do link up to Kim's blog. You'll find all the info and guidelines here along with Kim's great inspiration for this week and some inspiring work from the other artists too. Last week, you might remember, I had the idea to put these 3 little houses onto a canvas.
 I just wasn't sure about the best background for them. I was thinking in terms of Scheherazade and Kay Nielson's beautiful, midnight blue background. I could imagine them under starry skies and then a change of direction happened! Maybe it was because there are three of them, I started to think of the story of sages come from the East to visit a new Messiah, bringing symbolic gifts. I was reminded of T. S. Eliot's poem 'Journey of the Magi', which you can read here.
 My canvas now began to represent 3 Wise Women bringing gifts in the form of silver birds  symbolising peace and freedom - the best gifts we could receive at Christmas. I couldn't help thinking about all the refugees undertaking hard journeys 'at the worse time of the year', looking for a new start. Eventually, I made the sky the colour of early evening with a single, cheesecloth cloud. The background was created with torn Christmas napkins to suggest faint writing in the sky. The land itself is composed of napkins inspired by old maps and fragments of tea-bag paper.
Often the journeys we take, whether they be physical or metaphorical ones, start out full of hope, which is severely tested along the way. Few of us will know in our life-journeys the pain and anguish of those forced to flee their homes through fear. I was so moved the other day by an account of one Syrian family who had kept up a correspondence with a young journalist as they attempted to make their way to a new life in Germany. The ordeal of that journey was almost unbearable to hear as the family encountered appalling conditions in the camps and sometimes brutal, inhumane treatment. But then - arrival in Hamburg and a welcome from the German people. I have never heard anything quite like the joy in the wife's voice as she was re-united with the young journalist who had told the World the story of this one family among many. Here at last was a place to settle, to be at peace and see their children educated, warm and fed - basic human rights we all take so much for granted.
This woman's joy in the midst of so much suffering made me think! The run up to Christmas is such a busy time, often with trivial frustrations, but I'm going to try to stop this holiday and think about the joy there is hope, peace and freedom and not take those precious gifts for granted.
This was a chunky canvas, so I was able to extend the tea-bags and napkin paper right over the sides.
I also highlighted the edges with a little Treasure Gold. I do hope that you will be able to stop, re-charge your batteries and gain a little art time over the Holiday Period and that this will be a time of hope, peace and joy for us all.
I also set myself the task of creating some little angels for the Christmas tree last week and here they are - the first 2.
Their faces are my own art work, collaged onto little masonite hearts and the tiny pine cones were gathered on a walk last winter. Have a great week everyone! 

Saturday 28 November 2015

Show Your Face on Friday - Inspired by Kay Nielsen.

Hello and Welcome to Magpiehaven, Followers and Friends. Life is getting busy in the Magpies' Nest as I try not to let Christmas sneak up on me this year. It's still November, but I know that once we hit December, the days are going to fly by and it will be Christmas before we know where we are - with me feeling completely unprepared! I'm not ready this week to link up with Kim Dellow's great 'Show Your Face on Friday' blog when it actually goes live; but we do have the week to be inspired and to link up our faces so I hope by Saturday my WIP will be at a stage when I photograph it! For the whole of November Kim has been introducing us to artists who inspire her and providing links to where we can see their beautiful work and, of course, we can share artists who have inspired us too. 
If you haven't taken a look at Kim's inspiring blog, please click here and learn all about this great way to practise drawing faces and link up with other artists.
This week I was asked to make a brooch with a face, a bird and the word 'Heart' on it. I ended up making two! As I worked on these miniatures, I had Kay Nielson's incredible illustration for Scheherazade at the back of my mind so it is his work that has inspired me this week. If you click here you will find the Wikipedia entry for Nielson and the image that inspired me is here. Placing the two brooches side by side...
on this blue fabric, I was reminded of journeys through mysterious lands under starry skies. I wanted to create a canvas now with 3 little 'face' houses, each with a story to tell.
This is as far as I've got this morning! I have my 3 Scheherazades each with a bird of freedom and peace to release into the world. I now need to embellish their head-dresses a little, put them aside and start to create a world for them in the background. At the moment I'm not sure whether to place them in a desert oasis under diamond stars or on the shore of a turbulent sea or among the marble, mosaics and fountains of a grand palace.
I also created three more little brooches this week, which I will probably put in my Etsy shop over the weekend. I have so much fun creating these little characters who I can imagine inviting us in through the tiny doors of their miniature houses. They make quite a crowd when I put them all together!
Then I placed this little person here and another idea for Christmas tree decorations formed! The question is, will I ever find those tiny wings to add and will I have the time before Christmas to bring all these ideas to fruition?
If you have the time this week, do pop over to Kim's 'Show Your Face on Friday' and add a face maybe inspired by an artist who fires your imagination.

Saturday 21 November 2015

Show Your Face on Friday - In the Style of Elena Polenova

Hello and Welcome to Magpieheaven! I'm a little late linking to my favourite 'Show Your Face on Friday' blog this week. By the time I'm ready to publish this it will be Saturday! I try not to miss, as since discovering Kim Dellow's wonderful blog I've become totally addicted to drawing faces. If you haven't done so already, please do check out 'Show Your Face' and - if you can - add a link to any face or faces you might have created this week. Last week I was unwell, so I don't think I got round to visiting many of the wonderful artists linked up, so this week I will try to remedy this. It's still November so the theme is to share established artists who have inspired us, but any portrait art you would like to share is fine. Please check on how to participate here.
I'm still very much in the illustration zone. Last week I mentioned the fairy tale illustration of Elena Polenova and I think her very Russian style of illustration really seeped into my imagination after seeing her work for the first time last winter. Although I did not consciously aim to copy her style, some brooches I wood burned this week seem to me to have been influenced by the colours from her art and the style of her illuminated pages.
What I love about illustration is that it gives you the freedom to give a face to anything you want to!
Do you - like me - often see faces in trees?
Looking at these again I'm beginning to think that a collection of Christmas tree ornaments on the theme of trees with faces might be quite effective - a whole talking forest!
I wonder what these little characters are saying to each other as the snow falls gently onto their branches?
I have also been creating a Christmas ornament that features a face as its focal point.  I wanted to create something a little different on this resin heart from Sandra Evertson's Relics and Artifacts range.
From about the age of seven to eleven, my Christmas stocking always contained a ballet book of some kind and one year, as a very special treat, my mother bought us tickets for the ballet. My mother's cousin who lived with us for a while and who I loved because she told me such beautiful stories bought me a vinyl record of Moira Shearer telling the story of Swan Lake to the accompaniment of Tchaikovsky's ballet score. The milk white tutus like swans' down and all the glitter and glamour of the Dance became synonymous with Christmas for me from then on!
In the ballet, based on Russian folk tale a young maiden, Odette is under the spell of an evil magician and doomed to live as a swan by day and a maiden by night. I painted Odette's portrait straight onto the heart at the centre of this ex voto heart, using PaperArtsy Fresco paints in Nougat with a touch of London Bus, which I quickly wiped away around the cheeks. The  surface was really great for painting on and I added definition with a fine, black pen. The swans are a painted charm defined with a little Treasure Gold.
I painted the edge of the heart with Little Black Dress, then added a layer of Crackle Glaze and , when this was dry, I painted over with Antarctic, Blue Oyster and Teresa Green Frescos. I added some glitter and some Shaved Ice mica flakes along with these leaves from a broken brooch, painted and gilded and some painted resin roses. I created Odette's feathery head-dress using PaperArtsy Metallic Glaze mixed with Snowflake with a tiny piece of Indian mirror at the centre, which I hope will reflect the tree lights.

Thank you so much for stopping by today. The tree brooches are on sale in my Etsy shop, but each year I like to  have at least one new Christmas ornament. This year it is going to be some of my own art work on my Swan Lake Relics and Artifacts heart.

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!

Sunday 8 November 2015

Show Your Face on Friday - Still in the Style of!

Hello Everyone and Welcome to Magpieheaven. I'm linking to Kim Dellow's blog Show Your Face on Friday again today. I'm sure that you know by now that Kim's blog is a great place to have a go at drawing your own faces and be inspired by all the other contributors. This month Kim has suggested we might like to share how established artists have inspired us to step outside our comfort zones. Please do click here to find out more about the link up and to see a beautiful portrait by Kim in the style of Marie Laurencin!
I already shared how Botticelli has inspired me this time, but last month I jumped ahead a bit and set myself the challenge of drawing in a completely different way - in the style of Tim Burton! I found that I really loved the possibilities of this style and a new journey began! These drawings re-awakened my interest in illustration and I've been gathering lots of beautiful images by illustrators on Pinterest, which will hopefully inspire some work next week! Meanwhile I revisited my last month's drawings and very quickly transformed them into Christmas tags!
I used some tiny Kraft card tags from Tiger, which measure 3" x 2.5" approximately. I printed out my images onto quality presentation paper and enhanced them with some Fresco paints and stamps by PaperArtsy! On this one I've just used a lovely little PaperArtsy mini of a snowflake by Jofy; some dabs of Oyster Blue and Snowflake and a tiny word from a Sara Nauman stamp plate, There's a sprinkling of Distress Glitter and some snowflakes created by dipping the end of a paint brush in a puddle of Snowflake Fresco.
Even Matilda, my daughter found herself caught out in the snow! This little Jofy stamp is probably the one I've used most of all my stamps to embellish winter projects! It's just brilliant because it's so adaptable! On this one I gave the snowflakes metallic centres.
Fairy Debs is still trying to be 'Merry' although there's now a snowstorm in her painty forest of hair!
And Kevin has become a Christmas elf, although the sudden snow does seem to have taken him by surprise!
I've been adding other faces to tags too and working on new brooches to give as Christmas gifts. There's a whole week to be inspired by an established artist or artists so please, if you have time, it would be lovely if you could join in and link up with Kim here. Some of the images on these tags are available in my Etsy shop as a download, if you would like to adapt them to make your own Christmas tags or Christmas themed ATCs. You can get to the shop by simply clicking on the Etsy badge at the top of the blog. Thank you so much for stopping by Magpiehaven today. Have a great and a creative week.

Friday 6 November 2015

Show Your Face on Friday - In the Style of...

Hello and welcome to Magpiehaven. I've been busily preparing for Christmas this week - not because I'm super well organized; but because I want to create gifts to sell in the gallery of a local garden centre run by a friend, and to give to my friends and family. I've cut lots of little MDF house shapes ready to transform into brooches or Christmas ornaments and I've been using scans I created to give them faces and characters. 
This week, over at Kim Dellow's wonderful 'Show Your Face' here, Kim is encouraging us to share those established artists who have inspired us and to provide a link to their work. Kim has been thinking about female artists, which has set me off on an exciting trail for next time, but this week I've been exploring the work of an artist I've always associated with Christmas! I've been looking at the work of Sandro Botticelli - The National Gallery has some beautiful images of his work, including this portrait of a young man here. Botticelli (1445-1510) was such a remarkable, early Renaissance painter. I love the faces he created,  strange and other worldly yet so vital and alive they seem to beckon us into the mythological or mystical realms they inhabit. I always felt with Botticelli that a story was unfolding and that he had stopped time for just a moment so that we might step in and walk around in a magical narrative, especially in paintings like The Mystic Nativity or The Birth of Venus. What I wanted this week was to immerse myself in his work and then create some faces that I could scan, reduce in size and then feature on my gifts. Obviously I don't possess the artistic genius of Botticelli, but I wanted to somehow capture that magical world in miniature, to create the sense that his work has of us stumbling for a moment across a magical story in the making.
I used Pan Pastels, 6B pencil and just a touch of Inktense to create these two characters. The face on the right is based on a young Italian man, but he is not a copy. I wanted to create the impression of him turning for a moment to see who has tapped his shoulder in the crowd. Whoever it was has vanished, dissolved into the blue Italian afternoon and he is slightly confused as he gazes back over his shoulder. Could it possibly be a ghost from the future, if such a being exists?
The second picture is based on Botticelli Madonnas. Here I used Pan Pastels again, but I used a tip from Christy Harris to fix the pigment by applying Gesso over the pastels.
And here is my Renaissance inspired brooch, trimmed with Lynne Perrella stamping, which could be a steeple or a hat! The floral paper from a Graphic 45 pad reminded me of Botticelli's Primavera. In the coming days I'm going to be working on more brooches, adding embellishments and playing around with different Renaissance inspired faces - I have not had time yet to create one using the young man's face. Thank you so much for stopping by today and taking a look at my work in progress, inspired by the incredible Sandro Botticelli and - of course - Kim Dellow's great idea to Show Your Face on Friday and share art inspiration! 

Friday 30 October 2015

Triptychs and Faces!

Welcome to Magpieheaven, Followers and Friends. Although I have been lucky enough to have a GD spot from time to time, it's been a little while since I added my link to the PaperArtsy blog and I've really had fun doing this after a little break. There is some amazing inspiration on the PaperArtsy blog here and so far Alison Bomber and Florence Adam have created two highly individual and inspiring triptychs for this fortnight's challenge that have fired me with enthusiasm! It's also Kim Dellow's 'Show Your Face on Friday' today, which is one of my favourite blogs so I'm adding this little face project to both PaperArtsy and Show Your Face. 
I loved the antique triptychs, some of them beautifully carved devotional pieces with a figure of a face as a focal feature, that Leandra included in her introduction to this fortnight's PaperArtsy Challenge, so the idea of a miniature creation with a hint of the Old Masters and maybe a festive feel, began to form in my mind. I began by drawing a face. I looked at work by artists like Raphael, Giotto and Leonardo; but obviously I'm not an accomplished enough artist to recreate their work: I just wanted to give the impression of something old and mysterious. This is what I came up with:

I didn't want to add hair. I just wanted to keep the portrait simple. I scanned my sketch, which I did in Pan Pastels, soft pencil and fine liner into my computer.
Here you can see the portrait reduced in Word to fit onto a little MDF house shape of approximately 2" x 1.5" and form the centre of these three pieces. I used the top layer of some paper napkins with birds on them to create the wings; some hands drawn by myself and some stamping from a Lynne Perrella set of stamps for the Latin inscriptions (008). I stamped these onto PaperArtsy Chatsworth paper. The roofs are copper foil sheets, embossed by hand and painted with Turquoise Fresco. In this picture I was just playing around with ideas, so not everything is glued into place.
Here the triptych has been given little windows cut from Lynne Perrella 033. I clear embossed black Archival over card, painted with Yellow Submarine, Tangerine Twist and Tango. The snow is Snowflake Fresco applied with the tip of a cocktail stick. I liked the idea of this mysterious angel landing somewhere on Earth in the midst of winter and hearing the sound of singing and the 'merry organ' from behind those lighted church windows. A celestial creature, hovering between heaven and earth, does this messenger from 'on high' feel just a little excluded from the festivities?
008 for the roof work with some more 033 for contrast...
Then - if we flip the triptych...
I wanted to create the impression on the reverse of an illuminated manuscript in miniature. The letters are from a Tim Holtz alphabet and they are stamped in white Fresco and clear embossed: the MDF pieces have been painted with Little Black Dress Fresco. Once again, I've combined collage from tissue napkins and stamping from LPC 008 and 033 on Chatsworth. Thank you so much for dropping by Magpieheaven today and taking a look at what I've been up to. I'm really looking forward to seeing the other triptychs this fortnight at PA. Have a lovely week, whether you're busy creating triptychs or practising creating portraits - or both!