29 Faces : The Aftermath And Unfinished Pieces….

So, today is the very last day of this February’s 29 Faces hosted by Ayala Art.

As you can see, with a quick flip-back, I have indeed posted every single day of this month…

Many were scheduled out early…many were done the day they posted….many many were sketched and left unfinished.

Did I sketch at least one face every single day in February?  Yes, yes, I did.

I have a TON of unfinished sketches…yes, the lighting was bad when I took the pics, but these were the best ones…you can find every sketch on instagram, if you prefer to see them a bit more clearly…


altered playing cards…see the finished ones here


Counting finished and unfinished altered playing cards, I created 33 tiny faces.


The two larger are 6 inch by 12 inch, the smaller is  6 inch by 6 inch.watermarked-P1090419

These are all reclaimed pieces and bits from last year.  They are basically 5 inch by 10 inch, watercolor paper.watermarked-P1090420I know the lines start to get very pale here…you should see them in person…very faint lines…but they are all there.

For the most part, these guys are 7 1/2 inches by 9 inches, watercolor paper. Except the reddish one in the top left-hand corner.  That is actual made from strips of watercolor paper glued down onto, I think, mixed media paper.  It was a reclaiming project.  It’s a bit larger than those surrounding it, but not by all that much.


More of the 7 1/2 inches by 9 inches watercolor paper.  The last two are darker and more visible because I went over them in black stabilo marks all pencil.watermarked-P1090423

This is a canvas, one my youngest son just LOVES to pieces.  She is roughly 24 inches by 28 inches.watermarked-P1090425

The very last sketch that I did for 29 faces this round.  She is done on 15 inches by 11 inches watercolor paper.

I still have 1 a lot of pieces to include on this board and 2 a lot of pieces to finish before I can put them anywhere, but if you are interested in seeing the entire finished collection in one place, this is the pinterest board I created just for this challenge.

So, now you have seen all the unfinished work I did in relation to this challenge, and in my own typical work and routine…

What did this challenge do for me?

When I took the 29 Faces challenge last year in September (the first time I had heard of it), I was having fun, using things from different classes I was taking at the time, stepping into different places and testing out different spaces.  You can see the faces created for that challenge here.   It was so much fun.

When I decided to do this challenge this year, I had more opportunities in front of me, because I wasn’t fighting to keep up with classes or anything like that.  (This is my year to explore my own work and my own style based on what I have learned taking classes the past couple of years.)

When February began, I was already knee-deep in the creation of one series, which you can see here.  I am not sure all the pieces have made it onto that board yet, but hopefully by the end of the week they will.  I decided to continue the series and let it play out.  Which turned out to be a good thing, because it shifted into … girls with crowns.  Since I haven’t painted most of them out to completion yet, I have not fully explored why they are coming up.

I was determined to do faces on altered playing cards, and I really love how these tiny little faces are so different from one another every time.  I follow the same format to sketch every single face, trying not to be too in-depth as they are so small–and yet, every one of them has her own character, her own style.  I love that.

I allowed myself to explore the framework of faces in ways I hadn’t really allowed myself before, creating more fantastic creatures, in exploration of various books and websites I follow, as well as my own crooked imagination.  I am currently looking at what to me right now is a very pedestrian sketch that I did and I am already thinking, once i get the basic face fleshed out, I can do this and this and this and that…and that is awesome…I love the idea and the flavor of that.

One reason I have these stack of unfinished pieces…well, there are two reasons.  One is I found a stack of backgrounds and pieces I made last year, for various reasons.  Two is with this challenge and wanting to create every day, and to create things that push me outside of my normal comfort area, while still being me, I sat down and just sketched freely, without constraint, allowing myself to make goofy and odd things.  Removing my own sense of judgment–oh no–you can’t draw a chicken lady (for the record, she is not a chicken...and neither is this one...but, uhm, other than that, I can’t really say what they are…)

This month has been an amazing exploration.  It felt so good to work through all these things.

But the best thing is–not just the expansion in my self and how I view my work–but also the plans for different things that in the works on down the line…as in…March…

I have a stack of images for the male faces challenge…I have seen Ayala speak of it now and then on her blog.Just don’t ask me where or when.  I want to make sure I have a stack of reference material for that one.

As February draws to a close, I am also pondering some new…I want to call them shifts, but it would be more clear to say I am drifting back to the way I like to do things versus the ways I have been taught…even as I set out to articulate the shift…when I look back over this past month, I see that has been present all along…it’s simply me noticing it now more than anything else…it makes me happy…and I plan to go forward with things…as I am so inspired.

I am so grateful for Ayala and the wonderful community of people who have participated in this challenge.  I am also very proud to have gotten my daughter involved…as well as my best friend.

Another Before And After

Ok–so I have about three art journals where I pre-prepped a rather large swath of pages with clear gesso based upon a class I was taking at the time…and then I discovered, I was not all that enamored of the actual technique that required the clear gesso to be down to prep the pages.  I sort of just set those three journals aside–even though there are still plenty of untouched, unprepped pages in them.

Slowly…slowly…I am coming around to these pages, one at a time, when boredom hits and I seek to push myself outside my normal comfort zone…

I started here, atop the clear gesso, with a charcoal pencil.

View this post on Instagram

WIP. ..charcoal sketch…time to clean her up… #29faces

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Her chin was all blacked up from the charcoal here and I hadn’t even begun yet.

This journal is a smaller one, roughly 8 inches by 5 inches…and part of my goal was to use a larger than needed brush to create this piece.  So using a larger brush than I needed to I added some gesso into the charcoal to pull out shadows and to define the lines i had already lain down.

Then, I let her dry, completely, under a book actually.  I knocked over my tin of colored pencils…colored pencils went flying everywhere…and were in dire need of rescuing–so I totally forgot about the piece as it sat under the pencil tin as I gathered my pencils together quickly, before anyone came in to ‘help’…

She turned out fine.


She is actually finished with colored pencils.  They blend nicely with a finger over the clear gesso background…the actual background color is watercolor…

It’s My Birthday

I love where this spread went…even if it was an accident.
Look at this:

watermarked-bday spread

That looks like an ORANGE background, doesn’t it?

Now, I have nothing against orange…but with this spread–I actually started with a tomato red, a princess pink and a bit of misty white.

Then I used a citron color on bubble wrap … and somehow that greeny-yellowy shade plopped down on top of everything else made the initial layers look–orange…and I liked it enough to leave it that way too.  With some pale sky blue also laid down using the same bubble wrap over the citron.

The message you can’t see underneath the watermark says. : “be you, fearlessly”…

If you ask the Universe for an answer, one always comes….even when you already know what that answer is.

Sometimes confirmation is the greatest thing in the world.


Finishing A Project From Last Year

Last year at some point, I did a contour drawing…and this is it:

Well, more or less…I had already started to redo the eyes and the mouth there…
It’s done in washable poster paint–the only stuff my toddler is allowed to use–other than his own watercolors…I had gone in with a black stabilo marks all pencil, hated it and used a baby wipe to remove the stabilo –and then — POW–added benefit–or not–because I had actually wanted the initial painting to stay where it was–I liked it…

Here is where she ended up…


What is funny is between the original painted ‘sketch’ and when I finished her, we sort of switched to a different brand of poster paints.

The old paints were chalky and opaque — these ones were thinner–and yes, I shook the heck out of the bottles before pouring paint out to use…and very transparent…

I had decided to work with a limited palette — because my toddler was in my chair blocking my way to my paints and I didn’t want him too interested in what I was doing…

So–I pulled out white, black, yellow, orange, pink and two shades of green.  I had originally intended to go back for a shade of blue for the hair, but by the end, I was really happy with how she turned out all around.


Stare Into My Orange Eyes…


Ok, so not the best scan in the world…but she is one page of a two page journal spread and after fussing too much as it was, I just said, ok…you can see her, part of her face is in shadow…because this face I did not add a great deal of shadow to…but I am calling it good for right now so I don’t drive myself insane.

She was actually fun to create.  I started with water-soluble graphite…and then fleshed her out with craft paints (as she is in my art journal) –then I used watercolors over that…and finally added some colored pencil…and a bit of black stabilo marks all…and there…ta da…

I usually dislike the eyes falling outside of the face, but lately, that has been happening in my work.  Rather  than fight things like this, I tend to embrace them.  It pushes me outside of my comfort zone and every time I allow that to happen, good things come of it.  When I fight–I get frustrated and then I don’t want to do anything at all.  Go with the flow…I’ll just have to see where this takes me.