Saturday 31 January 2015

Inspire Your Heart with Art Day!

Welcome to Magpieheaven. When Danielle May of Unruly Paper Arts invited me to join in an Inspire Your Heart with Art link up, I was really excited! January 31st is the celebration of inspiring our hearts with art - as well as being my wedding anniversary! All we have to do is share a piece of work that gives us pleasure - no rules, no restrictions - today it's creativity for its own sake and it's all about having fun and creating from the heart! Once we've linked up, we can visit at least three other participants and enjoy what they have been creating and leave them a heartfelt comment. I do hope you will join in too, link up a project that has given you pleasure, or take a look at what the other 'Unrulies' have been up to here.

Recently I was invited to take part in a Facebook Artist Chain and in looking back over past work, I realized how much I used to enjoy art journaling. It is ages since I took down a journal from my shelf so I decided to remedy that! My dear crafting friend Lucy had created a beautiful journal for me as a gift.

I took the cover as my inspiration and decided to step away from the cold winter into a flourishing Secret Garden of my own!

I was really indulgent, using layers of my favourite paint colours: PaperArtsy Frescos in Hey Pesto and Beach Hut, Cherry Red and Yellow Submarine and my favourite stamps and stencils!

A while ago I created a journal page with scenes from Pre-Raphelite paintings behind little doors. I really wanted to re-visit this, but this time I used a shuttered window stamp by Crafty Individuals, stamped onto masterboard. You can probably see that I had lots of fun stencilling and stamping onto the card, using PaperArtsy Mini and Darcy leaf stamps. Who is that peeping between the shutters? The poppy is cut from the top layer of a paper napkin and fixed with PaperArtsy Satin Glaze.

On this window, napkin ivy swirls around the window. I had so much fun with all these layers of stamping, painting and stencils. I can see a Tim Holtz diamond stamp there; some Gothic script from a PaperArtsy Mini and the hint of a butterfly from a wood mounted stamp my son bought me when I first started to craft!

Because this project is just for me, I used a little face I'd created the other evening and scanned into my computer to print out for projects. Here she is an image transfer over book text.

Inside the shutters there's a sentiment from a Darcy Wilkinson stamp plate...

'Turn your face to the sun and the shadows will fall behind you.'

Here is the face peeping through the other window.

My favourite childhood book was 'The Secret Garden', which I read again and again. I so enjoyed watching Mary Lennox change from a sour and unhappy orphan, lost and alone in the cold and uninviting Misselthwaite Manor to a happy child with glowing cheeks able to love and be loved by those around her. It's a little bit old-fashioned now, but this story still presents us with a believable heroine and shows how contact with the Natural World can transform us.

 Mary's self-taught gardening skills give her a purpose and open up a magical world of friendship and hope. I was quite a lonely little girl myself so bad-tempered Mary; Dickon always surrounded by wild creatures; Colin the querulous invalid who, like Mary learns to love and hope and Martha the little housemaid - even the grumpy old gardener Ben Witherspoon who mellows as the story progresses - became my friends. I dreamed of finding that tiny brass key, half hidden by leaves and opening a creaking wooden door to enchantment. Thank you so much for stopping by Magpieheaven today. I'm really looking forward to seeing what others have created for this Inspire Your Heart with Art Day.

Monday 26 January 2015

Releasing the Inner Magpie - Inspired by Alison and Sue!

Welcome to Magpieheaven, where all things shiny are definitely given a good home! You can imagine how excited I was to discover that over at PaperArtsy the theme is 'Shiny Things'! The Guest Designers have been dazzling us with a wonderful array of shimmering projects, using everything from Plumber's Tape like the very enterprising and talented Keren Baker to exploring the fabulous effects we can achieve with those little pots of delight Treasure Gold! Once I've laid my hands on some tape, I'd love to have a go at Keren's project, but another post that caught my eye was that of the very gifted, Sue Carrington here. I loved how beautifully her metal flower went with the Medieval Stained glass effect of the new Lynne Perrella stamps, which we've been getting a sneak peek at lately. I'd also - like everyone else lucky enough to feast their eyes on the blog that evening - fallen in love with Alison Bomber's beautiful candlelit creation for the previous Fragile Papers theme. My inspiration from PaperArtsy is a response to both Alison and Sue's beautiful creations and I should like to link up my project to PaperArtsy's Shiny Things theme here.

What I loved about Alison's project was that she altered a book, transforming it into a glimmering tea-light holder. I am very partial to altering books and I have towers of old volumes waiting to be altered. The cutting and sculpting involved is great fun, but I recently bought a little wooden box shaped like a box and I was keen to give it the Fresco treatment!

Here are all the bits and pieces gathered together. You might be able to see that I've given the box a coat of Little Black Dress Fresco and then a thin coat of Crackle Glaze in this picture. I've also rusted some corners with rusting powder and cut some flower and leaf shapes with PaperArtsy dies. Lin Brown's tutorial, which Sue provides a link to is excellent. I had some of the PaperArtsy metal card sheets and some embossing folders, but none of the tools that Lin uses. I really love the effect she achieves with these, so I'm planning on getting some, but meanwhile I improvised, using painted and Treasure Golded pearls for the flower centres.

I aged the flowers by painting them with Black Gesso and then, when they were dry, adding Indigo, Florentine, Rose Quartz and Classic Treasure Gold.

The box came with an acetate panel, intended, I think, to protect a photograph. I stamped the Lynne Perrella image on the acetate with Stazon. Normally I would stamp Lynne Perrella images with Archival or Versafine, as these inks have lots of body and stamp the fine detail really well. Stazon, however, works best on shiny surfaces and I also used it to stamp some Mini Gothic text on the flowers too. After stamping my image onto the acetate I painted some tissue with PaperArtsy translucents: Hey Pesto, Beach Hut, Cherry Red and Yellow Submarine. So as to place the colours I wanted in more or less the right places I stamped the image onto a plain sheet of white paper and placed the tissue over it, using the stamped image to guide me.

A Prima embellishment, painted and then rubbed with a little Sapphire Treasure Gold adds the final touch. That word 'art' set me thinking. I have often wondered if the rich and glorious manuscripts and illuminated books in places like The British Museum and The British Library were ever illustrated by women artists. At school we were always given the impression that these were created by monks in chilly cells, shivering in the light of one candle, but nobody ever mentioned nuns in draughty convents with the ability to create the colourful and lively worlds that danced down the margins of illuminated books. I was at university in the seventies and I don't remember this being mentioned then either! I was really excited then, when I found the information on the Internet that nuns did in fact illustrate books and that they often presented them as gifts to rich city officials or other religious houses in Medieval times!  Apparently they decorated crosses and cards and baked cakes as gifts too! This little box is not anywhere near as beautiful as what these anonymous women produced, but it is to remind me of those early women artists. Thank you to Sue and Alison for bringing so much inspiration in their fantastic projects for PaperArtsy and Thank You for stopping by.Magpieheaven today.

Saturday 24 January 2015

A New Beginning!

Hello and welcome to Magpieheaven. I can hardly believe that we're nearing the end of January! It's certainly been a cold one and sometimes in January it can feel as if the winter will never end. However, January is a time for new beginnings and over at The Artistic Stamper here New Beginnings is the theme for this month. I would like to join in with a card I made for a friend who has her birthday in January.

 As all of my friends and followers no doubt know, back in the summer, I took an online course with the wonderful artist and teacher Mary Jane Chadbourne. She generously shared her detailed knowledge with us and inspired the group to create beautiful art dolls and ATBs. This class reminded me of how much I loved drawing faces when I was younger and I tentatively created different paintings, which I scanned into my computer to keep for adapting, not just for future doll projects, but for art projects of other kinds too. I enjoyed reducing the size of my artwork and adding it in miniature to projects, so - for the first time - I decided to adapt one of my faces to a design for a card.

I started off with some stamping! this was going to be the background for my card. I chose a piece of PaperArtsy Chatsworth paper, which is a lovely silvery grey with a watermark on it. I tore this along the bottom. The building, which reminds me of the Doge's Palace in Venice is a Lynne Perrella stamp. I stamped this onto my Chatsworth in Versamark and then embossed it with white Wow embossing powder. The arches are what was left after I had cut out two arched windows from a Crafty Individuals stamp on card painted with PaperArtsy Frescos in Hey Pesto and Beach Hut. I shall be using the shuttered windows on another project. You can see some other stamped layers there - a Darcy Wilkinson leaf, some PaperArtsy Mini script and the hint of a Tim Holtz diamond pattern.

Now it was time to create a little character using my artwork. I painted some book text with translucent paint - Yellow Submarine Fresco - and then stamped the hat from a PaperArtsy Ink and the Dog plate featuring pierrots. For the body I just stamped with the Tim Holtz diamond stamp in Red Geranium by Wendy Vecchi. The lacy collar is a scrap from a Tim Holtz lacy die. I made sure this face was pale when I created it using Inktense pencils, as I wanted to be able to adapt it with different colours for different projects. Because my little character was beginning to take on the look of a white-faced clown, I decided not to add any extra colour to the face at all.

I wanted contrast with the pallor of my little pierette and the Italian palace behind her so I created some Washi Tape from masking tape. I painted it with Tango Fresco and stencilled with Cherry Red and then added some more stamped hats. The ivy leaf is cut from a paper napkin fixed with PaperArtsy Satin Glaze.

And here are all the elements brought together with a sentiment from a Sara Nauman PaperArtsy plate stamped onto painted card. Is the pierette giving one glance over her shoulder before she enters that gleaming white palace? Maybe tonight the owners are throwing a masquerade party where she hopes to meet a new lover and start a new beginning? I was not consciously thinking of Venice Carnival when I started to fashion this card, but January/February is traditionally the time when Venetians dress in colourful costumes and elaborate masks and fill the dark and misty night with magic and mystery

I do hope my crafting friend will like her card and that it will bring some colour and warmth to the cold days of January for her. I should like to link it to the Artistic Stamper, New Beginnings Challenge. I do hope that January has been a happy month for all my friends and followers and that you have made some new, creative discoveries and experienced some New Beginnings too.

Wednesday 21 January 2015

Dragons' Dream - Red and a Flower

Hello and Welcome to Magpieheaven. Today I'm dreaming with the Dragons again. Thank you so much for starting January with such beautiful tags for Elizabeth's Turquoise and Bling Challenge. The Top 3 and Guest Designer will be announced soon. This fortnight it's the lovely Helen who has chosen the challenge of Red and a Flower. If you hop over to the Dragons' Dream TIO here, you will see the fabulous inspiration from the team. We'd love you to dream with us. All you need is to create a tag featuring red and a flower and at least one real stamp. Well , it's been so cold outside the Magpie's Nest that I thought using red - a colour I've been trying to craft with more lately - would be a wonderful way to warm up these winter days!

For my background I gessoed a jumbo tag with some book text randomly stuck over it.

 I then gave it a wash of Yellow Submarine PaperArtsy Fresco and went to town with some stencils in Cherry Red and Blood Orange.

I found one Peterloo flower in my stash and painted this with the same colour combo, curling the leaves around a pencil.

My technique was to keep layering stencils in these translucents, adding some stamping and circles created by dipping lids into little puddles of paint. I liked the way that my text still showed through. Adding Aged Green Frantage and some Copper Crackle Paste by Prima gave an aged feel. I was liking my warm background, but what could I add as my central image?

Something about the colours on the tag suggested vintage panto. I wanted to dig deep into my collection of rubber stamps to find an image I hadn't used for ages and I came upon this Lynne Perrella stamp, which I stamped onto a little MDF heart painted with Brown Shed, Tango, Yellow Submarine and Blood Orange Frescos. It's a phrenology head, but that ruff always makes it look like a sad clown to me! Although I found circus clowns frightening as a child, I was drawn to beautiful posters for Pierrot shows and Harlequinades I saw in books. In the bitter cold winter months nineteenth century audiences would enter the brightly coloured world of panto to watch the antics of Harlequin and Columbine and Columbine's greedy and miserly old father Pantaloon. I wished I could step back in time and watch the spectacle in the glimmering lights amid all that rich gilt and heavy red velvet drapery!

The sad clown tradition from the 'wise fools' of Shakespeare, through to Charlie Chaplin's little tramp presenting a flower to a beautiful girl implies that the best humour is mixed with pathos and there is a profound insight behind the folly of the clown. I love this Sara Nauman sentiment, which I selected to go with my phrenology clown!

Thank you so much for stopping by Magpieheaven today. Please do join with The Dragons and create a red flower tag. May your winter days be filled with warmth and love and humour!

Saturday 17 January 2015

Fragile Papers - Inspired by Lucy!

Thank you so much for stopping by Magpieheaven in the depths of winter! Life has been busy here with lots of secret creating going on that I will reveal next month. In fact I thought I might not have time to play along with the wonderful new PaperArtsy Challenge here! If you haven't done so already, please do catch up with the amazing projects the design team have created using 'Fragile Papers'. They've all been incredibly inspiring from Lucy's delicate tissue flowers that got the theme off to a fabulous start to Alison's stunning altered book that literally radiated light from within! Last night Helen Chilton treated us to a great tutorial on using Portfolios with tissue too. I've been dreaming of fragile papers for the last two weeks, but I thought dreaming was all I was going to do until Corinne Rollet encouraged me to join in with a lovely French saying " Plus on est de fous plus on rit ! " The more the merriest!

I loved the flowers that Lucy created from PaperArtsy damask tissue and I think her idea to reinforce them with packaging material was an excellent one. My box was so tiny, though - only 4.5 centimeters! I decided to create a mini  vintage trinket box and here it is, photographed with a book and liqueur bottle to give some idea of scale...

I kept with the idea of paper flowers, but I created one big rose from drawing-book paper coloured with Frescos in Irish Cream, Chalk and a touch of Toffee!

I decided to add interest to my lid with a tiny damask butterfly, using Lucy's great tip to reinforce his wings. His antennae are little flower centres cut to size. I took the lid apart and stenciled it with some Chalk on Irish Cream and a Rebeccah Meier doily stencil. I just swirled some Florentine Treasure Gold around the edge with my finger.

To give a vintage look to the lower part of the box, I first took some masking tape and stuck this lightly around the lower part of this section before painting over with Concrete Fresco. When the tape was removed, I had a box that was half coloured and half natural card. I sponged Potting Soil Archival by Wendy Vecchi over the natural card and then took tiny torn fragments of Damask tissue and adhered them on the reverse side with Satin Glaze. On one I stamped this lovely Lin Brown sentiment 'There are always flowers for those who want to see them'. I made sure that this was heat-set before fixing it carefully to the box. To add to the 'shabby' effect, I stamped some text from a PaperArtsy mini without a block in Potting Soil Archival. Another swirl of Florentine around the rim finished off this this part of the box, but I was not going to throw away my masking tape!

I painted it with Toffee Fresco, stenciling with a Lin Brown stencil of tiny circles in Cinnamon and Chalk. I then stamped over the tape with a stamp from LPC004 - the first Lynne Perrella stamp plate I ever bought!

Thank you to Lucy for the inspiration and PaperArtsy for a fabulous theme to start the New Year! I had so much fun just spending an afternoon playing with papers and creating this little box! Thank You for taking a look. Have a lovely weekend - you might just have time to create something with fragile papers too and link it before 5.00pm tomorrow!

Sunday 11 January 2015

Let's Face It - Sneak Peek!

Hello and Welcome to Magpieheaven! Thank you so much for your visit. This is just a short post because today I am delighted to have an article over at Unruly Paper Arts here. The theme this month is 'Let's Face It' and I've had the opportunity to play with creating faces - something which I've wanted to do for ages. If you would like to find out more about two of my little friends below please hop across to Unruly Paper Arts.
Have a great day wherever you are and whatever you're doing.

Wednesday 7 January 2015

A Dream of Turquoise and Bling!

Hello and welcome to Magpieheaven! I can't believe that it's taken me this long to create my first blog post of 2015! We just seem to have been so busy in the Magpies' Nest! Over at The Dragons' Dream we have a new challenge for 2015! We would like you to make a tag - of course - this time it's a new colour each fortnight and a little extra! The lovely Elizabeth gets the ball rolling with her choice of Turquoise and Bling! Do take a look at what the talented team have come up with here! Just as we did last year, we would like to see at least one real stamp on your tag and we simply ask that it should be a tag of some kind and that you interpret our fortnightly 'recipe' in some way and then link up your creativity.
I was really eager to start creating after Christmas and to 'break into' some of the 'goodies' I had been given by my family and friends! Eventually I was able to grab some time and use materials that were completely new to me! This tag is a birthday card for an old school friend  who has her birthday on Epiphany, January 6th and it's also an experiment with brand new media, so I would like to enter it for The Country View Challenge 'Use Something New to You' here, where this month the team would like us to use something we have never created with before!
I've been dying to explore new ways of creating colour and texture, so for Christmas, I asked for some Prima Basics gels and some Luminarte Primary Elements. I began by painting a jumbo tag in a blend of different PaperArtsy Fresco Finish blues as a foundation: Antarctic, Lake Wanaka and Turquoise. I then stamped Lynne Perrella feathers in Wendy Vecchi Cobalt Blue, Forget-me-not and then Versamark with white Wow embossing powder. Now it was time to try something new. I took a little Primary Element in Guatemalan Green and a little in Dutch Iris and blended them in some Prima Transparent 3D gel until I had gleaming dimensional paste, which I pushed through a Prima flourish stencil. I painted the little resin rose and then added Treasure Gold in Sapphire and a sprinkling of Charcoal Art Sugar, which is also 'new to me'.
I then added painted tissue leaves stamped from a Darcy plate for PaperArtsy, using the same archival inks. To create even more 'bling', I sprinkled some of the Charcoal Art Sugar over thin layers of gel medium. It is difficult to convey in a photo but the tag does glitter and gleam in the light! I loved using the gel and creating my own colours with the Primary Elements and I will definitely be playing a lot more with these in the coming months.
The image at the centre of the tag is from the Lynne Perrella Collection 028. I stamped it onto tissue painted with Fresco Finish Nougat with some Inktense highlights on the face and the background. Tiny Pearlen Pen pearls provide just a little more 'bling' in the form of  a frame for this lady who always seems to be peeping from behind exotic, embroidered curtains. I hope that the colours and this lady who resembles a Moroccan princess to me will  transport my old friend from the chilly Midlands to blue skies and exotic destinations. Thank you so much for dropping by for this first post of the New Year - may 2015 be filled with creative joy!