Wednesday 30 September 2015

Dragons Dream TIO

Hello Followers and Friends. This week it's time to dream with the Dragons once more and it's my turn to choose a number for our current Numbers Challenge. Please click here to see the great tags our team and our lovely Guest Designer, Rein have come up with for inspiration this fortnight.

As you can see, the number I've chosen is 4. My background is created by blending the new PaperArtsy colours of Teresa Green and Captain Peacock diluted with some Satin Glaze, over Guacamole with a little Smurf and Chalk around the edges. I stamped the music score from RubberDance onto the background in Professor Plum. The tiny wooden bird and the feather are both painted with Smurf and edged with Classic Treasure Gold. The rider, off to seek her four - tune - so sorry for the bad pun - is a collage of my own artwork and vintage playing card with curled and Treasure Gold edges. The letters on my tiles were stamped with an alphabet stamp set from the gift shop, Tiger! When our children were young we were always reading them fairy tales in which heroes and heroines went out to see their fortune, usually with nothing but a red spotted handkerchief tied to a stick across their shoulders. Our son even went through a phase of ending all his stories - usually involving animals rather than human princes and princesses with '...and they all went off to seek their fortune and lived happily ever after.' If only life were that simple! 
Every new day is, I suppose, an opportunity to seek that elusive 'Fortune'. It might not be a chest of treasure or a pile of banknotes fluttering toward us on a magical breeze! What we're seeking is probably something far more precious: peace, contentment, fulfilment or love fill the treasure chest most of us long to discover. I hope that your week is filled with these and a big heap of time and energy to create too. 

Friday 25 September 2015

Show Your Face on Friday - Matilda as Tim Burton might see her!

Hello and Welcome to Magpieheaven, followers and friends. Once again it's Friday, my favourite day of the week and time for one of my favourite blogs, 'Show Your Face on Friday' with Kim Dellow. Just in case you don't already know, Kim hosts this 'link-up' where she invites anyone who wants to try their hand at creating portraits of any kind to share what they have been creating. It doesn't matter what style; what medium or what shape or size - all you have to do is make sure that the face is your own work and not created by a template or special stamp. Please click here to find out more about Kim's blog, which is a really great place to be inspired. In November the theme is to be 'in the style of', but I'm sorry, I couldn't wait until then. I had an urge to leave my comfort zone this week - in more ways than one - and try something really new for me! I love the films and animations of Tim Burton. His work embodies the essence of modern Gothic to me and, with Halloween coming up at the end of next month, I've been thinking about the creepy charm of creations like 'The Nightmare Before Christmas' and 'Corpse Bride'. I don't like the typical supermarket Halloween offerings of plastic witches' hats, fangs and monsters' heads dripping with fake blood, but I do love the excitement of glowing pumpkin faces in the windows on our little crescent and the giggles of the children trick-or-treating. Tim Burton really explores that need we all have to engage with our fears and dance among the shadows. 'Edward Scissorhands' really captured my imagination, and 'Ed Wood' has to be one of my all-time favourite quirky films! I challenged myself to create a portrait of my daughter Matilda in the style of Tim Burton!

This is the photo I used of Matilda on her way to work last February with a big red, London bus in the background. She is twenty-one now, but she still loves Halloween and dressing up and this year she and her friends are going to a Halloween themed evening at Dickens' World in Rochester, so I'm hoping she won't be too cross with this caricature in the style of Tim! Maybe it will even give her some ideas for her costume.

I think Matilda would agree that one of her best friends is our cat, Daisy, so she has been given the Tim treatment too! I used a 6B pencil, Graphik fine line, Inktense and Pan Pastels to turn my daughter into this spooky creation! I'm now beginning to imagine all kinds of stories around this young lady and her cat. I have scanned the image into my computer so it might possibly appear on a little wooden Halloween house, peeping through a tiny window. I'll let you know what I eventually decide to create using it! Have a great weekend and a lovely creative week and thank you for stopping by Magpieheaven today. I really appreciate your continued support and your company.

Friday 18 September 2015

Show Your Face on Friday!

Hello and Welcome, Friends and Followers - and Facers, of course! Over the last few days I've been drawing faces in my little ex-library book again and it has been wonderfully therapeutic! I feel so much better than earlier in the week, so art is the best medicine! I should like to link up again to Kim Dellow's 'Show Your Face on Friday' blog. This is such a great place to experiment with drawing faces any way you choose. Please click here to find out more.

I wanted to create a character like a Russian ballerina, as I was a huge ballet fan when I was a little girl - probably due to reading Noel Streatfeild's 'Ballet Shoes' numerous times and wishing that I could be on the stage like one of the Fossil sisters! Although Noel Streatfeild was not the greatest of writers she captured the magic - and also the shabbier side of stage children's lives. The Fossil sisters were always on the edge of poverty and it was their hard work that kept the family going. This portrait could be of Petrova, the one sister who actually didn't choose  a stage career, but dreamed of becoming a pilot - pretty daring for a girl in 1936.  I used a 6B pencil, just a touch of Inktense and very fine liner before covering the portrait with a layer of Pan Pastel in white. I have sprayed her with fixative and put her aside to scan and use in some way on projects in the future.

This second portrait was intended to have the look of an Indian fairy-tale or the '1001 Arabian Nights'.

I scanned her into the computer, reduced the size and found her a home on a little MDF house brooch, one of those I've been playing with on Mary Jane Chadbourne's Tinytopia course. I bought a set of these brooch pins long ago and I had not created anything on which to use them.

Now they have really come into their own. Thank you so much for stopping by today. May you have a happy, healthy and creative weekend.

Wednesday 16 September 2015

Dragons Dream TIO - Number 9 and Show Your Face on Friday!

Hello and welcome to Magpieheaven, Followers and Friends. Last week I had a marvellous time staying with friends in Devon; but sadly they all had very bad colds and I have returned with a sore throat and snuffles! I haven't felt like creating until today when I was determined to join in with the Dragons again this week, where the amazing Gabrielle has chosen the Number 9. I also wanted to link up a face to Kim's blog before Friday comes round again! Please do take a look at The Dragons Dream TIO Design Team's great inspiration here and link up a tag featuring the number 9 and at least one real stamp. They why not take a peek at the wonderful Kim Dellow's Show your Face on Friday blog too?
 I've been working with 6cm x 12cm tags lately and decided that this time I wanted my tag to Crackle!

I just adore the look of Crackle on projects. I've tried the various Prima Crackles, which are very good, especially if you want lots of tiny cracks and kind of broken china appearance. Golden Crackle Paste is also a favourite of mine, although you do have to be patient and wait for it to dry and cure for several days. I must admit to being very disappointed with a recent purchase of DecoArt 2-Step Crackle. Friends have suggested that recent high-humidity might be behind my not achieving a single crack with this product, despite following the directions to the letter! For this tag, I used good old PaperArtsy Crackle Glaze. It's so simple and you can get brilliant effects with it.

I painted a tag with Little Black Dress before applying a thin layer of CG with a palette knife. When this was dry I took some Fresco in Honey Dew and applied a single coat of this with single strokes. I then added some Guacamole to the Honey Dew in my palette and applied a band of the barely mixed Honey Dew and Guacamole and then did the same with some Caribbean Blue. What I like about this is that strands of the different colours mix and mingle. I added a little Sara Nauman text stamped in Green Olives and dry brushed the edge of the tag with Green Olives too.

I've been having so much fun collaging my own art work onto little houses for Mary Jane Chadbourne's Tinytopia workshop - sadly now finished - that I wanted to play with collage on this tag too. You can probably see that I have created my Queen of Hearts by placing my own drawn head onto a vintage playing card. I used a 6B pencil, Inktense and a Graphik marker to enhance and change the expression of a face I had scanned into my computer and copied. I think she looks a little uneasy at wearing the crown! Her beautiful, golden crown is a Lynne Perrella PaperArtsy stamp, embossed with some detail gold. I created my own sentiment using Sara Nauman and Red Lead stamps - sorry about the awful pun! Well, maybe my Queen of Hearts is George Bernard Shaw's creation Eliza Doolittle! She was a bit challenged with where to place those aitches in the early days of studying with Professor Higgins! The musical version of Shaw's play Pygmalion, 'My Fair Lady' with its wonderful Lerner and Loewe lyrics and music and the fabulous Audrey Hepburn in the title role is a real favourite of mine. I don't mind too much that Audrey didn't sing really, although I do think it's sad that Marnie Nixon, the accomplished singer, who provided her voice talent for so many Hollywood stars isn't widely known for her contribution. She had such a knack for listening to the speaking voices of the stars and then creating that illusion of them bursting effortlessly into song. I hope that you are all free of coughs and colds and that you're enjoying this beautiful, Autumn season, if it's that time of the year in your part of the world.

Tuesday 8 September 2015

Show Your Face on Friday - The Many Faces of Destiny!

Hello and welcome to Magpieheaven, friends and followers. Once again there don't seem enough hours in the day! I wanted to link up to Kim Dellow's great blog 'Show Your Face on Friday' last Friday and it's already Tuesday! If you don't already know Kim offers us the chance each week to share portraits we have been creating. They can be faces from the past or the present and in any media, just as long as the face itself is our creation and not made from a stencil or template. Do please take a look at Kim's great inspiration and that of the contributors and join in the fun! Last month we were encouraged to 'be inspired' by each other and this was such a great opportunity to try something new with our faces and to look in detail at what others are doing. It also helped me to feel I was getting to know some of my fellow bloggers a little better. This week I've been finishing off three projects inspired by Mary Jane's wonderful on line Tinytopia class at The Artful Gathering. I have really become immersed in incorporating faces I have created into little towns over the past few days. What I have tried to do is to create towns in which each house has a character. Here is my table covered in Tinytopians looking for a place to live!

I had such a lot of fun mixing and matching the faces I had drawn; dressing them in new clothes; changing their features a little here and there with the odd make-over and adding images from vintage playing cards.

I could imagine all the voices whispering, softly calling to me to open the tiny doors and explore the rooms beyond! I have really found that using faces in this way brings what I have created to life for me.

Welcome to the town of...

...where anything can happen! You might like to spend some time in the quaint little town so often the destination of dreamers...

The perfect holiday destination...

Open the door of one of these little houses...

And you discover your...

I have made so many discoveries through this class. Mary Jane is the most generous of teachers, sharing her expertise and talent and always inspiring and encouraging us. And we have learned from each other within the class. Kim's blog too has been a rich source of inspiration for me, so now I can't stop creating more and more towns, peopled by the characters that previously hid themselves in my imagination. As I mentioned Mary Jane has shared so much with us. Out of respect for her as an artist and teacher, I'm sure you will understand that I can't give you step by steps on how I created these houses, but I hope that you won't mind me just sharing them with you here, as they have been such a fun way for me to use the faces I've been creating. I'm off for a few days' break soon with friends in Devon, so I wish you a happy and creative week.

Wednesday 2 September 2015

Dragons Dream - Number 3

Welcome to Magpieheaven. I'm sorry that I have missed making a contribution to the Dragons Dream inspiration for the last couple of times; but now I'm back, as life calms down in the Magpies' Nest! This fortnight the highly talented Catherine has chosen our theme, and we're asking you to create tags, which feature the number 3. As always we simply ask that you work on a tag of some kind and that you include at least one real stamp on your project. Please take a look here at what the number 3 inspired our team to create.
I began with a smallish tag - a size 5, I think it was. I have a huge collection of different tea-bags, collected for me by a friend's daughter. I love working with them, so I decided to create a tea-bag background.

I attached the tea-bags using Matt Medium and then added colour by mixing PaperArtsy Jade Fresco with a liberal amount of Satin Glaze for a translucent effect.

I then added an edging of Treasure Gold in Aquamarine and some stamped script, using Fresco China and a PaperArtsy mini script stamp. Now it was time to create a collage fantasy on my tea-bag background.

It's a long time since I created one of my 'bird-ladies' and I think I was having withdrawal! For this lady, I used one of my own faces with a paper-cut butterfly headdress. Her body is one of Lin Brown's Wicked Chickens, decorated with one of Lin's beautiful stencils. You can see the same stencil over to the side. On the body I used London Bus and Snowflake for the stencilling with Tangerine Twist and Tango for main colours, while the foliage at the side is Sage over Evergreen, using the 'bumping' technique. For my text, I used Red Lead sentiments. This bird lady is competing in a fantasy dance competition, so she wears her competitor number proudly around her neck as she awaits her turn to perform! And her number is a Tim Holtz rub-on. I drew on her legs using a black Graphik pen by Derwent and then covered them with some Glossy Accents. I'm so happy to back at the Dragons Dream TIO again. I do hope you will find some time to link up with a tag on the theme of 3 too. I'm really looking forward to seeing what you come up with!