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. 


  1. Oh Julie Ann! Your paintings and stories are truly captivating! Lydia's story is so sad but she looks as though she can cope! I loved reading how you made these too!Have a Happy Easter, hugs, Chrisx

  2. stunning!! always love reading the story behind the art, too..

  3. Oh these are so lovely and magical! I'm so glad to see them.

  4. These are so wonderful, Julie Ann. Lydia is absolutely beautiful!

    Lucy x

  5. I definitely have the sense that Lydia is ethereal but also possessing strength of character and a sense of determination, I don't know how you do it but it is all captured within her face, particularly her eyes, the gaze that she meets straight on when she looks at others.
    You weave the most magical of tales, I am swept away to whichever land you take us on a journey to and what is so beautiful, each and everytime I actually believe that those lands and characters exist.
    I know you are a reader and wonder if you've ever read Alice Hoffman. She has a distinct style, I will call it magical realism, just like your characters, I believe in the magic that surrounds them.
    You have the most astonishing talent.
    Have a lovely weekend and sorry if I seem to dip in and out of all on-line activities but I know you understand :)

  6. Just fabulous. I'm really drawn to your clown. She is just great. Lx

  7. Oh Julie Ann you sweep us away on a magical journey which I love. I agree with Lynne you capture so much of your characters soul in their eyes which brings such depth to your work. Love it xxx

  8. Wonderful art Julie Ann! xxx

  9. A fabulous story!
    Julie Ann,I love how you truly achieved the ethereal in Lydia and the pages you have created for her are just mesmerizing to me! Oh i do so hope that you write and illustrate a book with these wonderful characters!! xoxo


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