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!

Friday 23 October 2015

Show Your Face on Friday, Pierrot

Hello Followers and Friends, welcome to Magpieheaven! I can't believe how quickly the days have flown by and it's time once again for Kim Dellow's fabulous 'Show Your Face on Friday'. This is the blog spot that has really kept me hooked on faces since I first linked up what seems like ages ago. Do please check it out here, if you want to be inspired by Kim and all the fantastic artists who join her each week; and why not create a face yourself, link up and join in the fun? I was going to create something completely different this week, but for a reason that will - I hope - become clear later today, I created two more little sketches in a similar style to last week.This is where I began!
I blended washes of PaperArtsy paints in Teresa Green, Blue Oyster and Nougat in my mixed media sketch book. I then took my 6B pencil, tortillian and Graphik marker and started to create a portrait of a pierrot. I really like to use the soft 6B pencil with the tortillian to create shadow around the eyes with a little fine lining for definition. Coincidentally, Kim has been sharing some shading tips this week and talking about light and shade. I was reading an artist talking about this very thing last week, as she discussed exploring the dark and the light spaces between what we think we see!
I love images of pierrots on ATCs and many of the first rubber stamps I bought when I began crafting featured pierrot images. It might have been seeing pierrot prints in my great grandma's house as a small child that sparked this fascination with the white-faced, tender-hearted zany. I wanted to see if I could transfer the vintage pierrot look to Tim Burton's style.
I enjoyed drawing over the painted background and using some Inktense pencils to create a touch of extra colour. I finished off with a layer of white Pan Pastel, which I sprayed with fixative. I wanted to suggest the chalky, translucence of the pierrot make-up. 

Although Tim Burton's style has been the starting point with these recent sketches, I have been trying to use him as an inspiration for stylised drawings, which are not - I hope - just Tim copies but a way of helping me to step outside my comfort zone and try expressing character in a new way. This next fantasy is something of a combination of my take on Tim Burton and Frida Kahlo's deer transformed into a centaur - without the wounding!
 She bears a passing resemblance to my daughter, Matilda looking a tad uneasy to have woken in an enchanted forest, metamorphosed into this creature. Now I think there's another story waiting to be told!

 Last week I experimented with placing my portrait of 'Fairy Debs' on an ATB, which I sent the real life Debs!
It was fun to have the back and sides of the block to play with and co-ordinate with the portrait. The scan was on a plain white background, but  I coloured this, again with Inktense.
I think it looks very different with the coloured background and the textures and the text on the sides and back. 
The image below gives some idea of the size of the ATB with a magpie feather for scale. An image can look so different when it is reduced or increased in size.

Embossed copper foil sides, painted and then sanded and edges lightly touched with Treasure Gold added a little bit of fairy dust!
And then stamping over a background with a little stencilling and shaded PaperArtsy Fresco blues: Antarctic, Smurf and Inky Pool seemed to finish off the project nicely.
Thank you so much for stopping by Magpieheaven today. I hope you have a wonderful creative week and that you will create a face or faces and link up to Kim's blog. It doesn't matter what style you choose, or what media as long as the face you create is drawn by you.

Friday 16 October 2015

Show Your Face - Good Fairy Debs!

Hello and Welcome to Magpieheaven for a second time today! Thank you so much if you're returning. I'm linking this post to Kim Dellow's 'Show Your Face on Friday' because this is where the story began a few weeks ago, when I decided to step outside my comfort zone and create a portrait of my daughter, Matilda in the style of Tim Burton! (You can find out all about Kim's Friday portrait link-up here.)
 Today I decided to bring this spooky tale of magic and mayhem to a close! If you have been following the blog, you will know that the mischievous Magpie had stolen a magic ring for my daughter, Matilda's birthday. The trouble is, he wasn't too particular who he stole it from and he incurred the rage of the infamous Baba Yaga who is now well and truly on the warpath!
 Isaac the young magician (aka Matilda's older brother) had tried in vain to work a spell to turn aside the witch's wrath, but he only succeeded in making time speed up!

 Even Kevin, the Kitchen Elf was awakened by Baba Yaga's rage...
We always suspected that Isaac's pet owl might be able to lend a helping claw in the situation and today I'm delighted to tell you that, just as Baba Yaga was growing fit to burst out of her Tinytopia house, he grabbed the magic ring from the Magpie's beak and flung it into the air. It shimmered and spun for a moment or two, before the amazing lady below materialized!
There she was standing to attention, with her paintbrush behind her ear, ready to save the day with colour and texture! Everything that Fairy Debs paints magically comes into being, so not only has she been getting paint in her hair, she's been creating a real fairy tale forest. With a few swishes of a brush, Debs shrunk Baba Yaga down to size, slipped her into that cosy little cottage nestling in her parting and caught the golden ring before it reached the ground! With a nod to the owl she was away on her tiny wings, off to start some more mixed media projects and rescue any mortals who needed her! Do any of you recognize Fairy Debs? She grew out of a request for a caricature from Deborah Wainwright who has created so many inspiring face projects and beautiful mixed media work on her blog. You never know - some of my other crafting friends may find their way onto the pages of my sketch book in a few weeks' time - when I've had a little bit of a break from this kind of sketching.
 Thank you so much for having stayed with this story that really grew out of nowhere, I've had lots of fun creating these portraits and I think they might find their way onto some projects in the future! Meanwhile have a great week and - if you can - link a face of your own to 'Show Your Face on Friday'!

The Dream Angel Shows her Face on Friday!

Hello and welcome to Magpieheaven, Followers and Friends. I'm linking two blog posts to Kim Dellow's great link-up 'Show Your Face on Friday' today. Please do click here to find out all about the opportunity Kim gives those of us on a 'Portrait journey' to be inspired and to share our discoveries along the way. I have two projects to share, as I've been working on a canvas featuring one of my faces, but I also started a story featuring caricatures in the style of Tim Burton a few Fridays ago and I didn't want to leave the ending hanging in the air! 
This post features a new canvas. I had some of Sandra Evertson's beautiful Relics and Artifacts from Prima and I wanted to use them. Here is where the story begins - on my messy table!
I had been working on a brooch for my friend, Lizzy. The Relics and Artifacts were lying around and I experimented with painting them with some of the left over PaperArtsy Fresco paint from the brooch project (Granny Smith and Captain Peacock). I've cracked open the Treasure Gold too and played around with painting some vintage lace. It occurred to me that Sandra's heart relic would make a fabulous body and I wondered about a house-shaped head. I might come back to this idea when I have some more shapes cut out, but I decided against that plan for now and sought out a heart-shape. Meanwhile I grabbed a little box-canvas and set to work on it!
This is a background of Christmas paper napkins; white tissue with tiny glints and a very light wash of PaperArtsy Antarctic, Smurf and Inky Pool plus some Snowflake Fresco snowflakes made by dipping a cocktail stick in paint.
Now the next stage! I had so much fun combining the elements. It's often that in this stage of a process a story will come to me. A winter bird lady was forming out of the feathery snow and the blue twilight, but she needed to be in a little more than her underwear! I didn't stick anything down - I just had fun arranging and planning.
And here she is, arriving amid the snow, in a flurry of feathers - complete with lacy skirt! That magpie feather is a clue she has paid a visit to remind us at the Magpie's Nest that, although we dread the winter, it can be a beautiful season, one for stories and dreams, magic and fairy tales.
The feathers are from a Lynne Perrella PaperArtsy stamp used with Snowflake Fresco rather than ink. I wanted to give the impression of them seeming to dissolve into the snow.
I really like how, with a box-canvas, you can carry the background over the sides. My angel spreads her wings and her arms to embrace us and to give us the warmth of stories told by firelight. Thank you so much for stopping by Magpieheaven today and Thank You to Kim whose Show Your Face on Friday has introduced me to so many wonderful artists and helped me to spread my wings and fly into the world of faces!

Wednesday 14 October 2015

PaperArtsy - Faces!

Hello Followers and Friends and welcome to Magpieheaven. I was really thrilled to be a part of the PaperArtsy theme this time because I just love drawing faces! If you would like to see more of my project, please just hop across to the fantastic PaperArtsy blog here.,,
I can't wait to see everybody's projects using faces! Some wonderful work has already been linked. Please do check out the PA blog to be inspired and maybe to win a great prize!

Friday 9 October 2015

Show Your Face on Friday - The Plot Thickens!

Hello Followers and Friends and welcome to Magpieheaven. It's Friday and that means a visit to my favourite blog - Kim Dellow's wonderful 'Show Your Face on Friday'. If you don't already know, Kim hosts this great venue where anyone who wants to have a go at creating faces in any media, any style can link up and gain inspiration from other artists. All the details are here, so please do hop across and find out more! A few weeks ago I challenged myself to step outside my comfort zone and create a portrait of my daughter, Matilda in the style of Tim Burton. Our cat Daisy wanted to be in the picture too and somehow a cheeky magpie fluttered into view!
This picture just asked me to tell a story, which involved my family as Tim Burton might have created them. I have a son Isaac, who joined the cast of characters as a troubled magician with a pet owl who knows a thing or two...
Visitors to Magpieheaven wanted to know more about the unfolding story, so this week I've been piecing it together a little more and I've created a couple more faces to add to this gallery of characters! If you look in the first picture, you will see that the mischievous magpie has a ring in his beak. He had the best of intentions when he 'borrowed' this shiny trinket. He so wanted to give Matilda a birthday gift. He just saw it gleaming there on the table in Baba Yaga's tiny house and he really planned to return with some shiny things from his stash in return: somehow he never got round to it and now Baba Yaga, the witch is furious and growing too big for the miniature house I created for her in Tinytopia!
Isaac's shrinking spell has only made time race round so that the moon has gone from a full beaming face to a crescent in one night and Baba Yaga is increasing in size even faster! She is threatening to put that Magpie in a golden pastry coffin when she gets her hands on him! By the way I don't think any member of our family looks quite as gruesome as this - except perhaps me when I've been woken up too early!
All this noise has woken Kevin, the Kitchen Elf who sleeps in the Magpieheaven cupboards and creates the kitchen all around him (readers will know that Kevin has been working on our kitchen for over two years now and he hasn't quite finished it yet! Now you can see what he looks like!) He'd like to help, but he only has kitchen fitting spells and they only work on certain days and that screw-driver he's wielding will be no use against Baba Yaga's magic . I think Isaac's owl has a plan, but to find out what it is and if it works, you will have to give me another week to sketch some more because I think it involves one last Tim Burton style portrait! Thank you so much for stopping by today. Have a great week and I do hope you can find the time to draw a face and link up to Show Your Face on Friday!

Saturday 3 October 2015

Show Your Face on Friday - The Story Continues!

Hello and Welcome to Magpieheaven, Followers and Friends. It's Saturday here as I write up this blog post for Kim Dellow's wonderful 'Show Your Face on Friday' blog! It's been another busy week and Friday flew by without me having time to show my face! If you're wondering what I'm on about, please click here to discover Kim's great blog where she challenges us to show the faces we've been working on each week. There are some great artists and some wonderful inspiration, so please do pop across and maybe you'll feel inspired to link up a face yourself. You might remember that last week I challenged myself to draw my daughter Matilda as if she were a Tim Burton character? Here she is, with a magpie friend added to the drawing.

What kind of magic is going on in Magpieheaven? The full moon is keeping a watchful eye on the house, but Matilda is looking worried! What has her older brother been up to?
 One or two people have now asked me if I could add my son Isaac to the story, and, after taking a photo of him in his room...

and basing this sketch on it...

the story seems to be telling itself! Isaac is looking even more worried than his sister! Time is behaving strangely, as the full moon has changed to a slender crescent! Isaac doesn't actually have a pet owl. Somehow I found myself giving him one in this picture, and I can imagine him sharing his room with the rather wise and slightly anxious creature, who is a little concerned about the magic his master has been poring over in some of those dusty tomes! Maybe it will be the wise old owl who will ultimately find an answer to whatever is making Isaac and Matilda so perplexed and maybe he will put everything right! Could it be something to do with that magical ring that Matilda's magpie has filched from somewhere or someone? Whether or not I come up with the full story behind these portraits I had lots of fun creating them and experimenting with caricature. I do hope you will have a creative week and that you'll feel able to have some fun with faces and link up to Show Your Face too!