Friday 26 February 2016

Kim Dellow's Show Your Face on Friday - An Owl Lady!

Hello Followers and Friends and welcome to Magpiehaven. This Friday I'm linking to Kim Dellow's inspiring blog 'Show Your Face on Friday' here with a fantasy face. I'm sharing a journal page which is part of my preparation for a class I'm taking with Robin Laws called 'The Storyteller's Art' that begins on March 4th. Robin recommended a book to us called 'Wild Mind' by Natalie Goldberg. It contains lots of exercises designed to encourage the reader to write. It's a very stimulating read and especially liberating if you're new to writing; if you're suffering from writer's block, or if you simply want to bring back a freshness and spontaneity to your work. A few years ago I wrote short stories, some of which found their way into publication and some of which did not. One of Natalie's exercises is to write with the prompt 'I remember...' and this memory took the form of a journal page for me and a memory of a story that was short-listed but didn't actually make it into print!
My story was about a woman, a jewellery maker, who lived in a remote cottage. Her children who were once her life had all flown the nest; her husband lived in his own world and seemed to have forgotten her existence and her mother-in-law was a frequent visitor, critical and cranky! Then, one morning, while plucking her eyebrows in front of the bathroom mirror, the woman discovered a tiny, snowy feather growing just above her right eye. She plucked it out and forgot about it!
It was winter and the trees were bare, but she was warm and content in her studio. Day by day the woman worked on a beautiful necklace, a commission for a mysterious client, and day by day the feathers appeared - everywhere on her body. Her husband complained about them tickling his nose in bed. Her mother-in-law criticised her appalling house-keeping skills! Feathers under the rugs!
She tried to pluck them from her eyebrows, her chin - everywhere; but they always returned, growing ever more vigorously. All the time the necklace was almost creating itself. She knew it was going to be the most beautiful thing she would ever create: she was discovering that she knew far more than she had ever realized.
As the Spring took hold of the woods around her home and the necklace was nearing completion there was no longer any fighting it - she was morphing into an owl! She knew that her husband and her mother-in-law were plotting against her, planning to convert her studio into an apartment for her mother-in-law; but that no longer seemed important to her. She added the last turquoise nugget to the necklace, left it in the silvery beams of the new moon as her client had instructed her and took flight into the moonlight...
a wise owl, queen of the wood!

I used PaperArtsy Frescos, Sara Nauman stamps, Inktense blocks and Micron pens with the addition of some tea-bag papers to create this page. It was fun to re-visit the story and to express it visually after all these years! Thank You so much for stopping by today. I do hope you will link to KIm's blog with a face that you have created. Have a happy and creative weekend, wherever you are!

Friday 19 February 2016

Liz Borer's New Stamps for PaperArtsy!

Hello and Welcome to Magpieheaven. I was delighted when Liz Borer asked me if I could create some samples using her beautiful new flowers and flourishes designed for PaperArtsy stamps! If you pop over to PaperArtsy's blog here, you will see what I and my fellow designers created by way of samples with these gorgeous new designs by Liz along with a brilliant Periscope video from Leandra tonight, and work using the designs from both Leandra and Liz herself.

 I began by creating a master-board with Plum, Very Berry, Blush and the new PaperArtsy paint shade Winter Green. I stamped with paint; created marks using circular lids; melted gold UTEE onto my background and then added a flourish in black Archival, which I coloured with Inktense blocks.

 I loved the rich vintage effect, which I hope complemented Liz's Art Nouveau style.

Another flourish balanced the composition, and then I cut out some of Liz's beautiful flowers, which I stamped onto Smoothy Card painted with Very Berry and Blush. Liz's work reflects the fluid lines and natural swirls and sweeps found in nature. I wanted to create the impression of those little blossoms growing on the card as they would in a garden!

Here they are entwining this sentiment that echoes Liz's free-flowing style. I added some bead gel to create the impression of glittering petals, touched by a sprinkling of dew.

These glorious blooms just ask to be cut out and layered, and on this card I used some book text from an old collection of Shakespeare sonnets for the centre.There is a little painted resin flower to add further dimension and more golden embossing. I liked the contrast of the detailed flowers against the simple Kraft card blanks and once again I wanted to create the impression of flowers growing around the sentiment.

I had some small wooden MDF hearts so I decided to create some little hangings. This one I painted with Little Black Dress before adding a layer of Crackle Glaze and then some Nougat. I drilled a couple of holes for some hemp cord and then played with creating faces in 6B pencil, Micron Pen and Inktense on my Crackle background.

I stamped out one of Liz's exquisite flowers, covering it with Versamark and clear UTEE to give it a glossy sheen for my flower girl wall hanging.

These little flowers stamped onto Shrink Plastic painted with a thin layer of Blush made spring-like embellishments.

Rather than flatten the Shrink Plastic completely, I allowed it to curl just a little to echo the shape of the petals.

I stamped the sentiment from EEB onto Blush painted Shrink Plastic too.

And what better to accompany the swirls of vines than a tiny songbird and a rose?

Thank you so much for stopping by Magpieheaven today. I do hope that if you haven't done so already, you'll pop over to PaperArtsy and discover just how versatile these new stamps are by taking a peek at Liz, Leandra, Lesley and Lauren's original and evocative takes on these lovely and timeless designs. 

Show Your Face on Friday with Kim Dellow.

Hello and Welcome to Magpieheaven, followers and friends. I'm going to be posting twice in one day today! This morning it's Kim Dellow's wonderful link up 'Show Your Face on Friday' and this evening is a secret! 
If you haven't done so yet, please do take a look at Kim's 'Show Your Face' blog here. If you're an experienced face artist, or if you just want to give faces a try, Kim is there to provide encouragement and inspiration. 'The Show Your Face'' community is a great place to share any faces you've been sketching, and there are some themes coming up in the next few months, which should encourage you to grab a pencil and paper and start making faces!
This week I have a journal spread to share. As you probably know, I'm about to start a class with the very talented and imaginative Robin Laws called 'The Storyteller's Art'. As preparation for the class, I've been exploring different ideas in an altered art book I'm using as a journal. Sometimes I have a basic idea of what I want to create and - although the piece may go through many changes during the process of creation - I do have a vague notion of where I think I'm headed. This time I just allowed a story and faces to come out of the gessoed pages. I had no idea at all of where my magpie imagination would take me; but as I played around with paint, ideas came to me!
It's difficult to see now, but I began with a gessoed page, which I covered with strips of Tim Holtz tissue with dictionary text, butterfly wings and musical notes along with some pages torn from a book of Shakespeare sonnets. Most of this has disappeared under layers and layers of paint, stamping, brayering and stencils. It was a cold day, but bright and sunny and the winter colours were ethereal as the day slipped into evening. I think somehow those colours found their way onto the page. When my background was ready, I splodged what was roughly a head and shoulders on each page - one profile and one full face.
As I worked within and around these shapes with a large, stiff brush and different coloured acrylics, pencils and water colours, a face emerged from the winter twilight.
 Once the girl emerging from these pages was sure of her dreams, but somewhere along the way she mislaid them. This is the story of how she went out on a winter's evening to find those lost dreams. It was cold and difficult to spy her dreams, which were so well camouflaged they seemed to dissolve into the evening mist. My magpie friend tried to help her find them reflected in dew drops or tangled with skeleton leaves and roots in the twilight.
If you click on the pictures, you might be able to see some of the background and the texture on the pages. I realized as I worked that I have been thinking a great deal about my daughter lately. Layers of paint became thoughts and hopes for her future.
The tangle of the forest and the misty world beyond the curtains seems to be creeping inside until it's difficult to distinguish which is which!
By the time this page was finished, something in the expression of the face I had created changed from bewildered to determined. Maybe some of the old dreams were becoming clearer, or perhaps she had made a decision to pursue new ones. I didn't know this at the time I was creating these pages, but my daughter told me the day after they were finished of her plans for a new direction. Rather like the girl on my journal pages. I think that she might just be stepping out of the twilight into a brighter, clearer morning. As the Winter comes nearer to an end and we all look forward to Spring, I wish you all warm, bright and creative days in the months ahead. Thank You so much for stopping by today.

Saturday 13 February 2016

Show Your Face on Friday - Daisy's Story.

Hello and welcome to Magpieheaven with Valentine's Day just around the corner! Once again I'm a little late to the party over at Kim Dellow's 'Show Your Face on Friday' blog; but if you look here you will see that you can link up portrait art to Kim's blog all week, even though she goes live on a Friday at 10.00 am. I've learned so much from Kim's blog and the contributors over the months that I've been linking up and I'd like to say a big Thank You to her for sharing her faces with us each week and making it possible for us to share and learn from each other too. If you haven't done so already, please do take a look at Kim's blog and find out more.
This week I've been working in my story journal again. I'm due to begin a story-telling and art course with the amazing Robin Laws at the beginning of March, so I've been flexing my story-telling muscles a bit before we begin. I was asked by an artist whose work I really admire, if I would create a miniature triptych for her which included at least one animal's face.
And Alphonse, the lute playing Tiger was born! He is much in demand at the court for his sweet and haunting compositions: love songs that transport the listeners to fairy kingdoms! This commission set me thinking that I don't look at animal faces nearly enough, so I made myself a Pinterest board of arty studies of cats' faces and I began to look closely at our cat, Daisy! This made her a little uncomfortable and she gave me some rather grumpy glances! Usually, though, Daisy has a gentle, faraway look in her eyes that suggests she might be meditating on days gone by and this plus a conversation with my son about Daisy's possible past lives inspired my journal spread.
I slapped lots of Gesso onto these pages in my old art book on Composition and Perspective, before stencilling and stamping and brayering. I then drew this portrait of Daisy in my little Shakespeare sonnet book before collaging her - and her rather special locket onto the page! The bodice of her dress has embroidered on it the galleon her beloved ship's cat sailed away in and depicts his guardian angel leading the way!
Daisy has had so many lives - way more than nine - so she has difficulty remembering them all. She needed the Magpie to lead her into the forest and help her to find that locket she lost nearly 500 years ago!
Remembering her lost love and his musical skills gives Daisy's spirit wings to fly back in time! I collaged a tiny copy of her face, scanned into the computer, onto a Tim Holtz tissue butterfly.
I've been thinking about Renaissance faces as well as exploring the world of miniature art at the Victoria and Albert on Friday. I'm still enjoying drawing on Crackle.
 And here are some portrait sketches I did in my little, altered book of sonnets.
This book is small enough to carry in my bag, so I can sketch anywhere with Inktense pencils and work on these quick and scrappy sketches some more when I return home.
Thank You so much for stopping by my blog today. I have been getting really behind with following and commenting on friend's blogs of late. I will try hard to get round to visiting and being inspired by you all soon, I hope. Have a lovely, creative weekend.

Friday 5 February 2016

Show Your Face on Friday - Keeping a Journal

Hello and Welcome to Magpieheaven. Today I'm linking to Kim Dellow's Show Your Face on Friday. We're into February now so the focus is no longer on eyes primarily. This month we are free to link with any face art we like - as long as the face is one drawn by us. There is no compulsion to play along with the themes, of course, it's just a focus and a challenge. There are some really stimulating prompts coming up from talented 'facers' like June Walker, Gibby Frogett and Hazel Agnew Take a look a Kim's blog here if you would like to find out more. Kim has a link to some great face tutorials from herself, Clare Lloyd, Trish Latimer and Tracy Scott so do please check out this week's blog - it's fantastic!
I've been working in a new journal this week in preparation for a course I will begin in March about Art and Story-telling with Robin Laws. As you know, I love stories as much as Art and Crafting so this will be a great opportunity for me to learn more about both. I've altered an old book on perspective and composition. Drawing faces has become very important to me over the last two years, so the faces of characters, human and animal are going to feature in the pages of this journal.
I've used a mix of different media on this first spread: Gesso; PaperArtsy Fresco Paints both opaque and translucent in every shade from Smurf to Granny Smith; Inktense water colour blocks and collage of napkins, paper, book text and tea-bags! Everything stuck onto the spread is either re-cycled or scraps.
 I used mark-making with lids dipped into paint and some stamping as well as brayering - sometimes over scraps of lace. The magpie perched on the lady's finger was drawn on a Shakespeare sonnet and then cut out and added, while the lady listening intently to the story he has to tell was drawn straight onto the background.
That Magpie has quite a few tales to tell so he will be appearing throughout the journal. Here he has led the lady into an enchanted wood where Magpie sisters tell stories in the tree tops! Perhaps they should be named Magpie Sonnet Sisters, as each one wears a coat fashioned from a Shakespeare sonnet!
You might recognise the Magpie Sisters' faces as re-sized and slightly altered faces from my store of face scans.
It's probably not possible to see, but as well as the fragments of Shakespeare's sonnets on the Magpie Sister's coats, I've added some of  the narrative that will thread through this journal! I've often thought there must exist somewhere a wood like this one where all the precious objects and memories we think we lost can be found, nestling among the ferns; hidden under mossy stones or stored away for safe-keeping in a hollow tree stump. I hope your Friday is a really creative one and that the weekend will bring you refreshment and relaxation! Happy February Everyone!