Thursday 17 September 2015

She Who Doesn't Smile

Today I finally jumped the hurdle and took up doing portraits again. I hadn't done portraits and faces in general for ages...maybe because I never really could decide on what to do to finish them up satisfyingly. Now that I have been exploring mixed media and other "non-academic" media and techniques I thought that I might succeed this time...

And I knew that I had to trick myself so I wouldn't erase and correct my "mistakes" all the time (and until I had erased a hole in my heavy artists paper). So I forced myself to "draw" the first rough (and quick) sketch with a soft brush and walnut ink and focus on the shades first instead of trying to get all the proportions and parts of the face in the right places and shapes. And that worked just brilliantly!!!

I took some steps images so you can see how I approached the portrait:

 Step 1
I quickly painted shapes and layers and did some rough shading
using a soft brush and the diluted ink

Step 2
For details I went in with a dark brown wax crayon

finished sketch

Next I sprayed on two coats of heavily diluted DecoArt media Matte Medium to seal my sketch so the ink and crayon would not react with the water and wet paints.

Then I made a copy of the sketch to use as a mask in the steps to follow. 

 I covered the face with my selfmade mask and stamped on some Chinese text and other patterns in various spots using black archival stamping ink. Then I applied DecoArt media white Modelling Paste using various stencils and a palette knife.

I let the modelling paste dry naturally (using a heat tool can cause bubbling). In the meantime I cut a lot of small circles from old book and magazine pages. I cut them by hand so the shapes were irregular and therefore not perfect circles as perfect circles quickly get too dominant in a painting and look too artificial (which doesn't go well with handpainted projects).

The cut out circles were then glued onto my sketched portrait using DecoArt media Matte Medium.

In a later step I painted them and outlined them roughly, seeing to it that I ended up with various shades of natural whites, browns and orange. Some were painted with DecoArt media Translucent White, which makes toning in collaged on elements really easy. The dark brown colour between the circles was painted in using Raw Umber DecoArt media fluid acrylic and a fine tip brush.

I added some doodling with a white Sharpie, dots of acrylic paint, DecoArt media Metallic Gold paint and smudged outlines with a watersoluble black pencil and a wet brush here and there.

The stencilled on texture was first given a wash with diluted DecoArt media Raw Umber fluid acrylic and once that had dried I rubbed on some DecoArt "Brilliant Turquoise" Metallic Lustre. I also painted some of the glued on circles and shapes with the Metallic Lustre (using a soft brush and little water).

I added washes and scraped on layers of DecoArt media fluid acrylics Diarylide Yellow, Burnt Siena, Transparent Yellow Iron Oxide, Quinacridone Burnt Orange, Titan Buff and Raw Umber alongside some scraped on black and white DecoArt media Gesso.

Using the palette knife to scrape on and layer paints creates a lot of depth and texture.

I finished up my painting by highlighting the eyes (with white paint and a black brush tip china ink pen) and adding some white, red and black doodling to some of the collaged on circles.

And here she is:

I hope you like her as much as I do!

And I just discovered that I am well in time to join in the lovely and utterly inspiring community of "Show Your Face" - hosted by the wonderful Kim Dellow!

To find out more about it and this weeks link up collection, click HERE.

Hugs and happy crafting,


  1. Vielen Dank für die ausführliche Anleitung, wirklich großartig!! Trotzdem sehen meine 'Kullern' aus wie Eierpflaumen ;-) ich habe sie dann doch ausgestanzt. Schönes Wochenende, LG Kerstin xx

  2. Wow Hut ab liebe Claudia, diese Gestaltung ist so genial und fantasievoll und das Gesicht perfekt,wenn es auch nicht so freundlich schaut. Ich bin total begeistert davon. Da hast du dich selbst übertroffen.
    Vorm Gesichtermalen brauchst du nun wirklich keine Scheu haben, das liegt dir.
    Liebe Grüße und schönes Wochenende.

  3. Kreisch...wie geil!! .... and stamped on some Chinese text? Chinesische Stempel? Wo gibt es die denn? Super gelungen. Gesichter sind ja nicht einfach und ich fand deine ersten Schattierungen schon mega. Das End - Ergebniss ist der absolute Burner :o)

  4. You never cease to amaze me with everything you do. So many wonderful new things I learned today from reading this post. Your face is awesome sauce! And walnut ink is new to me. Wowzers on so many levels. Thank you for letting me see the process and learn. You are fantabulous! Hugz. ~Niki

  5. That is beautiful. Thank you so much for showing us the steps involved. It's a great mixed media work.

  6. superschön Claudia! Bin begeistert!

  7. This is such a lovely piece of art, Claudia. I am amazed at your always beautiful work.

  8. just amazing. and you make it sound easy. all that clever shading is not easy. you are gifted :)

  9. Wow.. gorgeous woek here.. So glad DA shared this post


  10. fantastic portrait! I love your creative inspiration when putting this project together. Think you should keep up with your portrait art.

  11. This piece of your hand looks amazing!
    Thanks for sharing Anneke

  12. A-Maz-Ing, Claudia!! Just WOW!! The depth is astounding--You've created so much character in this portrait, Claudia--Just WOW!! Again, all that I can get out!! One could get lost in these eyes!
    Fabulous tutorial! XOXO-Shari

  13. You should tell her she's soooo beautiful: maybe she's going to smile then...

  14. She is wonderful. I love the sketch stage AND the final!!

  15. I absolutely love your mixed media portrait. I've never heard of mixing matte medium with water in a spray bottle , to spray on areas with water soluble media on it. I will totally be trying this out, I usually just try and dab the matte medium on instead of brushing it, I only have liquitex matte medium, hope it works. What is the ratio of water to matte medium, you use? Thanks

    1. I usually use about 2 parts matte Medium with 1 part water. And I always spray on two coats (with the time for the first layer to dry completely) - this way I make sure I have covered everything. Hope that helps. If you make a more waterbased spraying solution you might have to add a third layer. Just try can always add one or the other if you think it doesn't spray well. Hope that helps. x

    2. Thanks for the quick reply, I will try the 2:1 ratio. And I really like the new portrait you posted, I'm thinking she looks like Angelina Jolie, lucky lady!

  16. Absolutely stunning artwork - I love LOVE everything about this.
    Loved seeing all the different stages - fab photos - thank you for sharing the process.... Gill xx

  17. Amazing! Love and I love seeing your stages. It is an absolute pleasure to have you joining the Show Your Face community and I so hope that you will come back! Thanks for joining in Show Your Face and for the shout out too. Kx

  18. She is truly magnificent! Adore all of the textures created by the collage and mixed media around her face!


Thank you so much for your visit and especially for taking the time to leave me a short comment! This is highly appreciated! xxx