Monday 28 March 2016

Fantasy ATC Triptych at Calico Craft Parts

Hello and Welcome to Magpieheaven. Once again I'm delighted to be sharing a project with you at Calico Craft Parts Blog. Many Thanks to ZuZu and Calico Craft Parts for giving me this opportunity to use their beautifully detailed craft parts!
Today I've joined three Calico ATCs to create a fantasy triptych. Please flutter across to the blog here if you would like to discover how I made my Calico Bird Lady! I hope you have a chance to spread your creative wings this week too!

Friday 25 March 2016

Show Your Face on Friday- Lydia's Story.

Hello and welcome to Magpieheaven. On Fridays I like to link up to Kim Dellow's inspiring 'Show Your Face on Friday' blog. Linking up with Kim and seeing all the great portrait work on her blog inspired me to get started on exploring faces in different media, different styles and for all kinds of projects. Through her blog I've been introduced to different artists and different techniques and I've felt able to branch out in different directions. For the last couple of weeks life has been so busy and I've been suffering with a re-current back problem, so I've not been able to join in with Kim's current theme, which is to be inspired by the other contributors to the blog, or other artists. Although I've not felt entirely well, I have been inspired because I've been part of Robin Laws' on line class The Storyteller's Art. For this week I'd like to share with you some of the work I've being doing inspired by Robin and the other story tellers on the course. I've been inspired by Robin to create a series of canvasses and to stick to a specific colour palette.
Many of us have been working in journals before committing paint to canvas. I altered a book I no longer use on Composition and Perspective.
This is how I developed one of my characters, Lydia. She followed the Magpie on the right-hand page to a circus camped near the idyllic water-mill where she spent her childhood. Now she circles the sawdust ring every night on a white pony, seeking the father who left when she was a baby and whom she never knew. I gessoed the pages, adding scraps of book text, tissue and so on, before using a combination of Fresco Finish paints and water colour pencils and Inktense blocks. I wanted to show Lydia's questing spirit and her mixture of longing and hope as she toured the world.
I wanted to create a character who was ethereal, but strong and determined at the same time.
Here she is, translated onto her canvas panel. The background is book text and Tim Holtz tissue painted over with PaperArtsy Frescos diluted with Acrylic Glazing Fluid. This is one of a series featuring a group of circus folk. I keep to the same collection of Fresco colours: Yellow Submarine, China, Snowflake, Buff, London Bus, Winter Green, Chocolate Pudding and Little Black Dress. I've found that by mixing these I can get quite a variety of colour but keep a sense of continuity. Here is a portrait of Gypsy, the female clown who cares for the circus folk and tries to make their dreams come true.
 I experimented with ideas for her in my journal too...
I don't think I would have had the courage to embark on this course if it had not been for all the fun I've had learning about faces here at 'Show Your Face'. I've been inspired by so many of the contributors here and Kim too, to spread my wings and try out something new. I hope that everyone who contributes to the blog and my followers and friends will have a peaceful and enjoyable Easter and that this will be a creative springtime for you all. 

Wednesday 23 March 2016

The Artist's Refuge at PaperArtsy!

Hello Followers and Friends and welcome to Magpieheaven! This is just a quick post, as I'm very fortunate to be a guest designer with the lovely PaperArtsy People tonight. If you would like to see how I created the little scene below, using Fresco Paints and Plaster Wrap, please hop across to the PaperArtsy blog here for step by step photos! The current topic is 'Fabric Stiffeners' and there is - as always - fantastic inspiration from all the designers this fortnight.

 Thank You so much for stopping by Magpieheaven. Have a wonderful creative week!

Monday 14 March 2016

All The World's a Stage - Guest Designing for Calico Crafts

Hello and Welcome to Magpieheaven. This is a very brief post, as today I'm thrilled to be guest designing over at Calico Craft Parts. Thank You so much to ZuZu for giving me this opportunity to play with these beautifully crafted shapes. If you would like to find out how I created this reverse canvas, please hop over to Calico here to see step by step pictures.
Have a wonderful, creative day and thank you so much for stopping by today!

Saturday 5 March 2016

Show Your Face on Friday - Infusions!

Hello Followers and Friends and Welcome to Magpieheaven. All this month at the fabulous Show Your Face on Friday blogspot with Kim Dellow here we're being inspired. I'm repeatedly inspired by all the beautiful work that the other participants in the link up share and I will be responding to the work that most speaks to me this week and learning from it for next time. This week, though, I am including some faces I did in my journal using a new product I saw demo'd by Leandra Franich and Linda Brown last Sunday at Stevenage Stamperama - Infusions! Linda's blog can be found here. She always inspires me when I see her demonstrate her incredible skills, especially with paints and fabrics.
Because this was an experimental venture in my journal I took no step out photos of how I created the background and how the faces emerged from the colours and textures within it. I just had so much fun playing with using the new powders with different glazes - Satin and Metallic mainly - Treasure Gold and Grunge Paste.
Infusions are made by PaperArtsy and they are tiny bottles of coloured dies and walnut crystals, which you can activate with water and fix with glazes or a fixative spray. The tiny granules go into so many different colours as they are activated, but over-working will bring the walnut crystals to the fore, so if you don't want brown to pre-dominate you have to fix the effect as soon as you are pleased with it. It was so exciting to watch Lin Brown and Leandra experiment with something so new and to make discoveries about the effect of using it on and with different materials like Fresco Paints, Grunge Paste, Treasure Gold and so on.
When I looked at the experiments on my pages, I was reminded of moths' wings and how I once wrote a story of a girl who longed for a moth-wing dress stitched with spider thread. I liked the effect of the Hot Picks moth stamped in black Archival and highlighted with white pen against the background.
I experimented with Grunge Paste through a couple of stencils, mixing the paste first with Infusions and then, when it was dry, sprinkling more powder on and spritzing. I begin the Robin Laws Storyteller's Art course today, so these 'moth ladies' may make an appearance in a story in the coming days.
My magpie guide had to make an appearance, of course, chattering away and helping me to remember characters that seemed to have dissolved long ago. I wanted to create the effect of the ladies with their delicate moth wing dresses appearing out of the twilight in the garden.
Thank you so much for stopping by Magpieheaven today. I do hope you'll have time to link up a face to Kim's blog this week and to be inspired by her art and that of the other contributors. 

Wednesday 2 March 2016

Loving Hearts!

Hello and Welcome to Magpieheaven, Followers and Friends. Back in January, I think, I saw a beautiful post on Facebook showing a swap that had taken place between some artists I admired. The Christmas ornaments they had exchanged were so beautiful and original that I had to comment. Imagine my delight, when the talented Vickie Kammerer who had been part of the swap asked me if I would be interested in joining in with a Valentine Heart Swap in February! I just couldn't wait to begin creating a heart or heart-shaped gift for each of the participants: Vickie, of course; the incredible Lynne Moncrieff; the lovely Kristen Robinson; uber-talented Kim Collister and the unbelievable Sherry Westfall-Matthews. It was so exciting to think that after exclaiming with delight at their beautiful and original work on their blogs and on Facebook, I was actually going to be able to own something created by these super talented ladies. My work was also going to be travelling all the way to Scotland and America in return. I hoped that my creations would be a worthy exchange for such skilled and imaginative artists. Here are some of the pieces I created.
This little traveller set off with hope in her heart and arrived safe and sound with Kim Collister.
This Relics and Artifacts heart was decorated with Frescos, Treasure Gold and Inktense blocks and finished off with a rusty fleur de lis and a little black lace and found a home with Vickie.
This little bird had a long way to fly! I used collage of my own art work for this brooch destined for Kristen.
Another world traveller - this time bound for Scotland and the inimitable, Lynne Moncrieff!
Finally from left to right: the wonderful Sherry's ornament; Vickie's and an extra piece made for my dear friend, Lucy's birthday.
And here are the beautiful ornaments I received in return. I actually remembered to  photograph Lynne's before I unwrapped it! I'm so glad I did and I was able to share this delightful unopened package with you! I'm only sorry I didn't have the restraint to do the same with all the others!
There was so much attention to detail both in Lynne's packaging and in her ornament. Lynne's pieces always have that fairy-tale quality I love. As with everyone's, photographs just don't do them justice!
There were beautiful hand-stitched pieces from Sherry and Kristen. I so love the felting on this one!
And I just love that eye that now watches over us! The stitched text on Kristen's and the frayed fabric were lovely!
Kim's canvas was vintage and vibrant with a great message!
Here finally is Vickie's, full of fabulous texture and I love those little screws! It's just a pity the light couldn't catch the subtle colouring of the wings and central plaque.

So many variations on the simple heart shape! It's amazing how differently hearts can be interpreted. Thank You so much to Vickie for organizing this swap so well and to everyone for sharing their art so generously. It was an absolute joy to be involved and I'm still loving those hearts, although Valentine's day is long past. Have a lovely creative week everyone and may your hearts be full of joy.