Friday 19 June 2015

Show Your Face, Emily!

Welcome to Magpieheaven, where it's time to show another face - well, quite a few faces - for the wonderful Kim Dellow's Show Your Face, Art it Friday. Kim's blog has been such a source of inspiration for me since I linked up nervously with my first face. Now I so look forward to Fridays when anyone interested in creating a portrait can browse all the wonderful art, courtesy of Kim and the other contributors and share any faces that they might have been working on. Today I have another journal spread. Because it's particularly on a feminine theme, I'd also like to link to my other favourite blog spot at the moment, Art Journal Journey, where they are looking at the theme of Masculine and Feminine all this month.

Last week Kim had this brilliant idea for a warm up. You paint squares of colour on a journal page and then doodle a different little face in each square. I couldn't wait to have a go and this is what I came up with. I love doodling, so I ended up not with just a different face in each square; but faces all around too!

I thought how each of these faces, sketched onto Inktense water-colour pencil 'windows' in a fine-liner might have a story to tell. I was reminded of a book I read back in the 'eighties called 'The Mad Woman in the Attic', the two authors explored the idea that women in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries often felt their stories were just not important enough to tell, that their lives would not interest readers or that for them to write about violence or passion would be just too shocking for audiences to take! Women writers would often keep their identities secret, assume male names or names that did not particularly give a clue to any gender. It is sad not to be able to be open about who or what you are, but writing under another name or staying anonymous could be liberating too! This reminded me of a poem by Emily Dickinson that made me think about identity and how it can restrict you. I began to scribble it around my little pictures.

I'm nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody too?
Then there's a pair of us,
Don't tell.
They'd banish us, you know.

How dreary to be somebody
How public,
Like a frog,
To tell your name the livelong day
To an admiring bog!
 Emily Dickinson with her reclusive life wrote some very beautiful and penetrating poetry even though she would have hated to have to be in the public eye and there will always be a sense of mystery around her.

For the facing page I decided to attempt a portrait of Emily Dickinson herself, using a base of PaperArtsy Frescos in Blush and Nougat with a layer of Inktense and some collaged lace.

I wanted the page to have an ethereal quality, so I used some Chalk Fresco over the lace and stamped the feathers from a Lynne Perrella stamp set in white, Taupe and Smurf.

I gave the Belle of Amherst a little white embossed crown and stamped lightly with Chalk Fresco using a Sara Nauman stamp with the word 'Images' on it.

I liked the way that the white paint on the stamp made the blue Inktense seem like a ghostly writing over the dress. In Emily's portrait photo there is a kind of intense yet unworldly vivacity about her and I wanted the colours and images to evoke this. There is a quality in her poetry that is hard to define - simplicity of diction coupled with complexity of thought, everyday imagery that makes us see the world around us with sharper vision.

Hope is the thing with feathers -
That perches in the soul -
And sings the tune without the words -
And never stops at all -

And - sweetest in the Gale - is heard
And sore must be the Storm -
That could abash the little bird -
That kept so many warm -

I've heard it in the chillest land -
And on the strangest Sea -
Yet - never in Extremity -
It asked a crumb - of me.

Thank you so much for stopping by today and pausing for a moment to look at portraits of women. I hope that you will have a wonderful weekend with lots of opportunities for creative self-expression.


  1. Wow, fantastic work. Love the page with the faces and Emily Dickinson quotes, and the page with ED is just wonderful - you have made me really happy with your lovely work today. Thanks for linking to us again at Art Journal Journey, always good to see you there. Hugs, Valerie

  2. Beautiful art work and beautiful post Julie and I so enjoyed both!

    Lesley Xx

  3. You and your doodling are fabulous dear Julie Ann ~♥~
    so much eye candy here and poetry too!
    Happy beginning of the weekend to you and yours.

  4. Love your post and your work here, Julie! She is fabulous and I always look forward to your posts and seeing your beautiful work! Happy and creative weekend to you, too!

  5. fantastic art and post!! LOVE your take on the practice page of sketches and your Emily portrait is just beautiful. Thanks for sharing the poetry too:)

  6. You've done it again Julie Ann! This post is just bursting with glorious things to see and to read. What a joy! Lx

  7. Wonderful faces in boxes, each so different. I adore the one with a star shape around the head. Lovely Emily in her powder blue dress. xox

    Fabulous with all this little faces--this is gorgeous ... loved the idea as well as I saw it at Kim's blog ... super that you brought it a step further by putting faces over faces... looks fab! Your Emily Dickinson Page is just AWESOME .. I am thrilled about it!
    Fab poetry to this post as well!!!
    Thank you so much for linking your work to Art Journal Journey!
    Happy weekend

  9. I adore your doodlings with the fabulous faces. And your Emily is a masterpiece. Love, love it♥It was quite an experence to visit here. Thank you for your fascinating art and Emily Dickinson's lovely poem.
    Wishing you a wonderful weekend♥♥

  10. Love your page with all the faces love the Emily page as well

  11. Love your beautiful art work, Julie Ann. :)

  12. LOVE all those doodled faces - each one different and facing different directions too - that is a hard technique to master - great job!

  13. This is such a powerful post of how suppressed woman felt and the root of why many still have no confidence! Beautiful work, I see your compilation of faces as a quilt for a's so cool... and I love all the background details and words... Your lady is so lovely too! Wonderful post I love it!

    Hugs Giggles

  14. You are so brilliant, Julie Ann! Everything about this post is wonderful. I love the portrait of Emily Dickinson and I love the idea of the women writers who had to use male pseudonyms,

    Lucy x

  15. What a super post Julie Ann!! I love your page of faces and am particularly drawn to the lil clown man! The book you refer to sounds rather interesting-I'll have to see if I can locate it!
    Thank goodness for Miss Emily to be as brave and forward thinking as she was!! I adore your page of her!!
    hugs to you my beautiful,creative friend! xoxo

  16. Wow, you used Kim's idea and made it completely your own! Love the doodled faces in between the squares too, and the poetry you added. Great work!

  17. Love the first faces page, each faces lines really great and wonderful doodling. And wonderful process of considering next her portrait. Your imaginations always stunning this is too. xxx

  18. Wonderful, wonderful post - your faces, as always, capture the eye and the imagination - and I love how the words started doodling themselves around the page too. I remember the Mad Woman in the Attic - it played a major part in the Gender and Writing paper I took at university - it gave me complete flashbacks when you mentioned it! And I'm a big Emily Dickinson fan too - not least of her dashes - as you'll know... I get very cross when she's dismissed as a hysterical female. Your portrait of her is wonderful - I love the ghostly writing and the soft lacy effects and the feathers - definitely ethereal.

    Hope you're enjoying a lovely Sunday.
    Alison xx

  19. great pages ..your faces are wonderful x

  20. Wow, stunning art work, you always give me new ideas :)

    Love and hugs

  21. These are wonderful Julie Ann! xxx

  22. Oh my goodness, I can not express how much I LOVE this! Wonderful. Adore how you have run with the warm-up exercise and totally rocked it! I love all the faces in-between. Emily is gorgeous as well. So glad you linked up to Show Your Face with all the inspiration you offer and thank you, as always, for the lovely shout out! Kx


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