Friday, December 1, 2017

Creating Women Who Run With the Wolves

Faces are fascinating. They can convey softness, strength, vulnerability, power, anger, sadness and a multitude of other emotions. But faces are tricky to draw or paint from scratch. A great help is using a stencil to get the basic proportions right. Once the eyes, nose and lips are positioned, you can let your imagination run wild.

For two recent journal pages, that is exactly what I did. Once the facial features were in place, they developed into strong, fierce looking women, who reminded me of archetype women inspired by the book Women Who Run With the Wolves, by Clarissa Pinkola Est├ęs, PhD.
What started as a stenciled face morphed into an archetype woman
after adding some handwritten thoughts and Gwen Lafleur designs.
I started this face with an old Jane Davenport stencil. On my lunch break, I lightly traced the stencil lines into my handmade journal and added watercolor randomly. I was going for unnatural colors and sort of an alien mood. I could have stopped at the watercolor stage, but my brain cried, "More, more, more!"
Over the weekend, I had  more time to work on the journal page, so I used three of Gwen's stencils to add interest and texture. Using a small wedge cosmetic sponge, I applied white acrylic paint through the stencils, giving a suggestion of a neck tattoo with the decorative folk flower stencil, a dangly earring with a section of the art deco border stencil, and a crown with the decorative medallion stencil.
I then added a little more color and accent with colored pencils, white paint, chalk and gold paint.
The last steps were adding some sparkle to the eyes, and words about inner strength that came into my mind as I looked at the almost-finished page.

I recently got a new Khadi journal, which is made with wonderful, handmade Indian watercolor paper. I have been testing various art mediums in is terrific for watercolors, watercolor crayons, and watercolor pencils, but if used for stencils, you need a layer of paint or gesso first to prevent unwanted bleeding, which I found out the hard, messy way!

So, I put down a layer of white gesso on the journal page and let it dry. Then, through another old favorite Jane Davenport stencil, I penciled in the lines of the face and added in my own lines for the hair and upper body.
Next, I used some parchment paper as a mask before I started working on the background. I wanted to showcase some of Gwen's stencils in the background, so I mixed up some purple acrylic and sponged it through the decorative folk flower stencil. It was a little too dark, so I used some white paint on bubble wrap to soften it.
Next, I went to work on the face. The color I mixed was not perfect, but I knew I would paint over it.
I painted in some lines for the hair and clothing, and when dry, added color with watercolor crayons.

The page looked like a hot mess with no hope, so I put it away for a few days.

The next weekend, I used some more acrylic paint and colored pencil to get the face to look less gray. I added eye color with a TomBow brush tipped marker, and some turquoise watercolor to add depth to the purple stenciled background. It started to look like less of a hot mess.

The eyes needed work. I softened the eyebrows and added some blue accent under the eyebrows. I also added green watercolor to the clothing.
She looked almost done, but something was missing. Using a sepia ink pad, a small cosmetic sponge and a mini dabber tool, I added Artistcellar mini chakra pocket stencils at her throat, third eye, near her heart and in the background. With a sharpie marker, I added inspirational words.
Once the words and symbols were added, what had been just another pretty face transformed into a second archetype woman.

Both women on these journal pages are beautiful, feminine, and graceful, yet the added words and symbols convey inner strength, knowledge, and wisdom. Side by side, they make a powerful team.


To see the two types of Artistcellar mini chakra stencils I used, click here.
Jane Davenport stencils are available here

In December, Gwen's Artist Tribe is focusing on creative ways to use Dresden Trim and English/German Scrap. Look for posts from me, along with Jackie P. Neal, Lynda Shoup, Jill McDowell, Sandee Setliff and of course, Gwen Lafleur (links are on Gwen's blog) ...annnnnd you can save 15% when you order any Dresden or Scrap during December. Details are on the coupon below.


Renee said...

Linda, I LOVE this theme. You did an amazing job, she looks fierce!

Jackie PN said...

Linda, Your women are absolutely Gorgeous! I love how you used those stencils to bring them to life! Truly with the tattooing and details you added, you gave them such strong personalities and their beauty shines through!
Remarkable- I absolutely love your women!
As for the book you mention, I need to read this,huh? Will check my library to see if it is available
Happy weekend my friend!
Jackie xo

Gwen Lafleur said...

These are such gorgeous pages Linda! Love your fierce women (and their unusual coloring!) The trick with the bubble wrap is fabulous! Thank you!

Jill McDowell said...

Linda, I love hearing your process. Your women are gorgeous! It’s good to know that you go through hot mess stages too. I’m not good at face and you’ve given my hope. Thanks.

Kate Yetter said...

These journal pages are amazing! How very clever to use stencils for details. I love it!

SandeeNC said...

Beautifully created, love how you embellished the faces!

Lynda Shoup said...

Linda, just realized that I never left a comment. I love how you used the stencil on the forehead of the first face. It absolutely looks like a crown - whether that be a battle crown or one for a coronation.The way you combine the stencils is fascinating. These are some seriously strong women. Let us be them.