Sunday, 5 February 2017

Capture Life's Moments!

Hello and Welcome to Magpieheaven. Back in January I resolved to write more blog posts - oh dear - I haven't done so well yet. Never mind, today I put fingers to keyboard here at Magpieheaven, just for fun and I'm sharing some pieces I created for a very special class! 

 I'm celebrating a lovely on line workshop I participated in last Summer. Saints, Sinners and Shrines, Alternatives to honouring the Divine within was part of the Artful Gathering collection of classes, taught by the inspiring and talented Mary Jane Chadbourne. I always learn so much from Mary Jane's classes. She creates a very special place for her students in which they can learn new techniques and gain in confidence and inspiration not only from her expertise and talent, but from generous and gifted class-mates too. I find that the inspiration from these classes stays with me throughout the year, enabling me to go on creating long after the close of the class.

We discovered the serenity of religious retablos and the fun and exuberance of Mexican Day of the Dead! I purchased one of Mary Jane's MDF retablos, beautifully made by her husband, but a pattern was included in the class, so I was able to add to my collection.

 The piece below, which I created most recently  is something of a 'What if...' One night as I lay awake, I thought about anthropomorphic animals. So often we see ourselves in animals and animals in ourselves. The shrines and Retablos we created in class were sometimes inspired by Renaissance paintings of beautiful, regal women - and some class-mates did create shrines and retablos honouring pets. What, I wondered, if I combined animal and human? What might a wise Renaissance owl look like? I started with this sketch in ink and water-colour on the pages of a vintage copy of 'The Natural History of Selbourne'.

I paired her head with that of a little girl's body in a Renaissance study and added some finishing touches. Meet Ava, the wise Owl, accomplished in Poetry, Music and Science - a true Renaissance bird-woman! I had lots of fun crackling and ageing the MDF frame.

Her wings and the tiny owl flying out of the picture are from Calico Craft Parts. The little rose is created from a mould I made myself and some paper clay painted with PaperArtsy Fresco paint in London Bus, Blood Orange and Brown Shed and touched with some Treasure Gold.

For the background on this and the first retablo, I created a 'Master-board'. I took a sheet of thick, drawing paper and painted, stencilled and stamped layers on it and then cut shapes from it as required. I still have some left for future projects like ATCs and greetings cards.

The Tim Holtz word band reads 'Capture Life's Moments' - something that I suspect Ava aims to do as she flutters out into the night. Thank You so much for stopping by my blog today. I've really enjoyed sharing these makes from Mary Jane's Summer Workshop on this rather cold and wintry day. February always makes me think that Spring is not so far away, though. Have a great creative week wherever you are and whatever the weather.


  1. Oh My Julie Ann! Your art is always such a delight to see! Your imagination and inspiration to make this fabulous framed portrait is amazing! Chrisx

  2. always great to see you create Julie Ann - this is gorgeous!

  3. Julie Ann, I cannot tell you how much I have missed visiting your blog (and so many other friends) and sadly, cannot guarantee that I will be visiting on a more regular basis but for now, here I am and what a place to be!
    When I view your art, it is as though I am being led by the hand into the past where I am introduced to the most fascinating of people, people who I cannot quite determine are they half human and half animal or half animal and half human! Nevertheless, they exude warmth and a spirit so welcoming that I am happy to while the time with them.
    Thank you for creating magical art that allows us to dip into our own imaginations.
    A stunning array of artistry and I so enjoy soaking up the details of each piece.

  4. Your work is so gorgeous julie ann, the first piece makes me think of lynne perrella in style. I agree, february makes me think spring is not far away,

    Lucy x

  5. Fab projects, I particularly like the second piece

  6. Fantastic creations as always Julie Ann. Love the crackly frame and pleased that you have had so much fun creating! Xx

  7. These are absolutely stunning, Ava particularly so.

  8. We all did and I haven't done it either, but have been making my projects for my 52 projects challenge to myself. Such great personality in all your creations Julie Lee. xox

  9. Julie Ann, what a wonderful regal owl! I just love how you are able to create such characters along with a bit of their life's story- you impress me more each time! As I look at your wonderful pieces, I wish that I had taken MaryJane's class as well "(
    Thank you so much for sharing these and post when you can, life does get in our way sometimes, does it not?
    Thank you also for sharing your beautiful thoughts and comments on my post, I can't seem to find an email for you so I am writing to thank you here. if you have a moment, would you mind sharing your email with me at (Kampysgirl)(@) (gmail)(dot)(com)
    sending love & hugs,jackie

  10. Stunning creations, Julie Ann - it's clear how much inspiration you find in Mary Jane's classes, and wonderful to watch the "what-ifs" coming to life - the wise owl woman is magical. The first icon is simply glorious with those golden wings and intense Renaissance colours.
    Alison x


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