September 29 Faces Check-In

Ayala Art’s September 29 Faces is here…and it began on September 1.

Forget anything I said about planning anything

September 1 arrived…and I basically panicked…

I grabbed my two-minute self-portrait journal and figured — quick fast and dirty portraits: GO!

So these are not two-minute portraits.  So far, most are done in charcoal pencil…the last couple in water soluble graphite pencil.

But–I keep on keeping on…and I am looking forward to painting these … faces … out.

I am actually surprised by what has shown up in these wicked fast sketches.  It’s pretty interesting…my subconscious and conscious are listening … it shows…

I have been posting my pics on instagram every day–you can find the link in my sidebar here.

My daughter is also participating, posting on her instagram account.

Here’s what I have sketched out so far:

WIP. .. first sketch for #29faces

A post shared by Tabitha Low (@tabitha_j_low) on

WIP. ..#29faces

A post shared by Tabitha Low (@tabitha_j_low) on

WIP #29faces

A post shared by Tabitha Low (@tabitha_j_low) on

WIP #29faces

A post shared by Tabitha Low (@tabitha_j_low) on

WIP #29faces

A post shared by Tabitha Low (@tabitha_j_low) on


Ayala Art’s 29 Faces Challenge This September

Ayala Art hosts 29 faces every February and every September.

I have participated in two of these challenges thus far, because those are the only ones I have known about.  However, I am greatly looking forward to this September 29 Faces challenge.


It’s August right now.  I am already contemplating — style — genre — technique — which journal — what sort of paper.

No ATCs with this challenge.  Not for me.  I also don’t want to work too big.  I don’t want to work too small.  Plus, I still have all the ATC faces from this past February’s challenge sitting here waiting to be painted out.

I have my two-minute portrait journal.  I have the red coptic journal, which I have not started to work in yet.  I have the butterfly coptic.  I have the new red journal.

What I want to start playing with is more unreal, more surrealist faces.  Something more disjointed, less pretty, more strange.

I am very excited about the idea.  Now, it’s August.  I may start playing with this idea before 29 Faces…or not.  I have no idea.  This is where my heart is at the moment.

We’ll just have to see where it goes.


My Last 29 Faces Face For The September Challenge






During the second week of working through the 29 Faces challenge, I created a series of sketches in one of my smashbook art journals (the pages are prepped with clear gesso already, most of them).  This was one of the ones I sketched but hadn’t painted out…until now.

She is just charcoal pencil and white gesso, with colored pencil.

I very nearly left her black and grey, but she needed just a bit of color to her…and it really added to her appeal.

Just fyi, I created a little flip through video of my 29 faces expedition...although keep in mind, there are many more than just twenty-nine faces for me this month…


Thanks for coming along.  🙂

29 Faces Check-In

Didn’t expect this today, did ya?

But I love this…

Faces 23? to … uhm, 31… 🙂

This one is an old sketch on a 4in x 6in postcard that I did forever ago.  I decided now was a good time to finish her.


This one was actually fun and is more minimal than you think.  This is a spread that started as smears and blots of paint from other work.  All I did was add in the facial features and a tiny bit of shading…the ‘skin’ was already there.


This is a crop of my Equinox spread.


This is the face of the first full mermaid I have done in a long time.  There is a story about this one; I’ll tell you some other time.


This is a second mermaid close-up.  On canvas board.  Oh, there will be many many more mermaids coming…


Sketch book playing, creating shapes without sketching them in first.


This is part of my Full Moon Spread…which is coming this Monday…


Playing with paint, minimal palette, in my 8in x 5in journal.

watermarked-brown hair

This is my truly minimal piece today.  Gesso and charcoal.  A little color on the lips.  Indigo for a tiny bit of shading on the face and in the hair.

watermarked-minimal raven

Another 29 Faces Check-In

Numbers 16 to 22

I had a bit of a brain freeze…which means my hands froze as well…no painting after about Wednesday…and then there was a *click* and everything was fine again…but none of those faces are posted here as I have not scanned them all in yet.

And please note–I post a lot of unfinished faces and in process faces in instagram, (among other things) if you’d like to see what goes on there…

First, we have the very first ACEO face that I have ever done…working that small is definitely an experience.  I do think I will keep it up to see what else comes up with it.


Her nose…now matter what I did, her nose kept wanting to do its own thing…and I had to finally just stop and let it be what it wanted to be…or at least be where it was…and move on …before I drove myself crazy.


To be honest, when I laid down the basic sketch, I hated this piece…but I know I know I know, if I work with it and I let it go where it wants, I will be happy…or at least in some cases happier…this one I am happy with at the end of the day…


This one was inspired by the New Moon…it says, etched into the gel medium: Shine Your Light…


This piece is actually 18 inches x 24 inches…and the face is only a part of that…


This is a 6in x 12in canvas…I have a stack of four –now three, I guess, where I had used an anatomical heart stencil…and once I had the heart stencil on and set on these canvases…I had brain freeze…and then one day last week, I grabbed one of them, grabbed my charcoal pencil, scribbled on a face…and let her emerge from there…and here she is…she is called My Heart Still Beats…

watermarked-myheart still beats

This is yet another refurbished She Who persona…She Who Breathes Life Into My Soul…

watermarked-she who breathes life into my soul

There are more faces coming…please stand by…


29Faces Share (Six Faces)

There is just no way I can create a piece and post it the same day–not without going completely crazy…so I will post randomly…when I have enough to make it worth my while.

I would love to say, hey, I am creating one face a day–but … nope…I have three kids…two dogs who are both worse than the kids…and a gerbil all alone in his task of taking over the world (long story…Pinky lost his Brain…and seems much happier…anyway…)

I’ll get there when I get there.  🙂

Today–I do have something to share…and in no particular order …

Face #1:

6in x 4-1/2in wood panel


Face #2:

in 3in x 5in journal

watermarked-girl on red

Face #3

in 3in x 5in journal


Face #4

in 3in x 5in journal


Face #5

roughly 10in x 7in smash book


Face #6

5in x 8in Dylusions journal

watermarked-you are worth saving

I have one more face drying at the moment…

I don’t do just one face at a time.

I sketch one face, usually using charcoal, water-soluble graphite or stabilo marks all pencl…then I use gesso or white paint to use the mark marker to create shadows and depth as I fill in the face and hair  as if preparing the surface before I start really painting–which I guess is really what I am doing.

While that is drying, I might work on creating another background…or maybe I’ll sketch another face.  Some days I might just prep pages…or maybe just sketch faces.  I do try not to do the gesso layer on more than one face at a time…because sometimes I get antsy/bored/whatever and over-paint the marks and lose too much of what I meant to keep.

Color can be added in many different ways.  Many of the above pieces were done over clear gesso…so there was a lot of colored pencil going on…because I have found I love colored pencil and clear gesso’s relationship with one another.

I also use a variety of paints, oil pastels, Caran D’Ache water-soluble crayons…to name what I have used in the past few days…

I try to work on at least two faces at a time, so I have a good reason to leave one alone to dry…otherwise, I will overwork a piece and overwork it…and get fed up…and then…collage over it…which sort of what happened with face # 6…she started out as something COMPLETELY different… I was trying out a new style…and found out…after about 2 days of trying to make it work…that that is not my style…so…collage covers a lot more permanently than gesso…

That’s my story and I am sticking to it…

More faces soon…