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Hi ho lovelies.

Today’s post is a look back at my first art show. It was 2 years ago this month. My friend Marva invited me to join her in a Krampus-themed show at the Cafe Bedlam. Marva creates terrific hand-drawn and hand-carved Krampus art.  She also created a Krampus costume.

A few months earlier, Marva asked me to take some photos of her in her awesome costume.  We went to a nearby park and I took a bazillion photos.  She kindly gave me permission to use the photos any way I wished. It was a beautiful day and the photos under the trees have a nice green, shadowy cast to them.  Mysterious!

Most of my art for the Krampus show were the photos of Marva in her costume.  I had a lot of fun playing with the photos in Gimp. In fact, I’d say it’s time to revisit the Krampus photo shoot and edit a couple more photos.  I’ve learned quite a lot about the Gimp’s many wonderful features – filters, effects, and ways to enhance my photos. But that’s a post for another day.

When the Krampus show was drawing near, I was deep in my mixed media art heaven and I wanted to include one of my paintings.  I happened to be in Effy Wild’s Radiant Faces class.  I was working on Tam Laporte’s Inner Child lesson.  As part of the class, Effy encouraged us to work the lesson as presented, make notes and then go back to the lesson and give it your own twist.

Tam’s color scheme leans toward pastels. I prefer a darker color palette.  The idea hit me to create a Krampus-themed portrait, and Krampus Handmaiden was born.


Both girls were painted on hot press watercolor paper, 140 lb, 11″x17″.  The biggest I had worked at that point – scary! I enjoyed having more space to fill. Both paintings were done primarily will water-based supplies, plus some permanent pens and stamped images with Stayzon ink.



I also enjoy the big-headed girls. They remind me of the Blythe doll, although the proportions used in these paintings are not quite as extreme as Blythe.  I took both gals to the Swedish Craft Fair and was pleasantly surprised that Krampus Handmaiden was purchased.

Tonight, I did a little editing on Krampus Handmaiden with the Gimp. I added a Color Enhance layer and a Tending layer, where I added some dodge and burn to increase the highlights and shadows on my gal.  I also re-sized the image to print as 8″x10′, which happens to be a ratio of 4:5.  Once I figured out that I could crop my paintings to the 8×10 ratio, it make printing a lot easier.  Unfortunately, I had to crop out a bit of the top of Krampus handmaiden’s cute devil hat.  Next time, I’ll be more mindful of placement of hats.

As I was writing this post, it occurred to me that I could cut/trim the watercolor paper to the 4:5 ratio so I don’t have to decide which part of the painting gets cropped out for the print version.

Krampus Handmaiden and some of the photos of Marva frolicking in her Krampus costume are available as prints.  If you interested in buying some Krampus-themed art, please stop by my Etsy shop:

I love working with themes – having something to focus on gets my creative juices flowing.  What theme are you working on right now?  Leave a comment or link below. I’d love to see what you’re creating!

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Radiant Faces Part 2 Lesson 9

I’m skipping ahead to the end because I haven’t yet taken a photo of Part 2 Lesson 8. So, here we are, at the last lesson of Radiant Faces. Effy’s take on the Inner Artist.  I loved the Part 1 lesson with Joanne Sharp and loved Effy’s version as well.  This one is on 11 x 14 canvas board. Done with acrylics, Neocolor 2’s, and various pens.

I really enjoyed Radiant Faces.  I loved all the lessons, teachers, techniques, Effy’s class notebook. While there were a lot more lessons involved than I expected, I learned so much and have a whole new group of teachers to take classes from! .


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Radiant Faces Part 2 Lesson 7

Part 2 Lesson 7 is Effy’s take on Jaime Doughterty’s Dreamer.  I really liked the idea of transferring my Part 1 Dreamer onto one of my art journals, so I did. I added some collage that included the 3 places my on-line art teachers reside: Canada for Effy, England for Tamara and Australia for Jane.

For Part 1, I drew my Dreamer then traced her onto tracing page so I used that to transfer my gal onto one of my Canson journals.


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Radiant Faces Part 2 Lesson 5

By the writing of this post, I finished Radiant Faces and it only took me an extra 3 months!  Both Radiant Faces and Mermaid Circus had multiple lessons every week, which is why it took me extra time.

Anywho, Part 2 Lesson 5 is Effy’s take on Julie Gibbon’s Inner Goddess. Effy’s take on this lesson involved 4 variations!  I tried all of Effy’s variations, but my favorites are these 2 gals.  Effy and Christy Tomlinson used black Stabilo All pencils. I liked the look of it in the videos and picked one up.  However, I didn’t care much for the look of the black Stabilo when it was activated with water. It looked dirty to me. But I liked the way the activated pencil looked like ink, so I bought the other colors available at Artist & Craftman: red, yellow, brown, blue and green.

For this lesson, I made these girls with the red and brown Stabilo Alls. I made 1 gal monochromatic and the other gal limited to black and red.  I really liked how these 2 gals turned out and really wanted to go back to Christy’s Girly Girl lesson using the brown Stabilo.  I decided to wait until I got through all the class lessons before revisiting the lessons I’d completed.

That took some willpower, let me tell you.

anne-thompson-part2_lesson5-brown anne-thompson-part2_lesson5


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Radiant Faces Part 2 Lesson 4

Effy’s take on Girly Girl.

At this stage of the class, I’m doing much more sketching before starting to work on each piece. Here are my sketches for Girly Girl. I like the idea of the water-activated Stabilo pencil, but the black is quite stark and can look dirty if you’re not careful. I was planning to just sketch, but then I felt compelled to continue working each page. So I did. I worked the same colors on both sides of the journal but in a different arrangement to see what would happen. Would they relate to each other? I also decided to make them look in the same direction, which I think ties them together.

One thing I tried this time was the way Effy (and Christy) apply the collage layer: very neatly in a vertical/horizontal arrangement. I’m a very random, higgedly-piggledy collage person. I love to just tear and glue pages all over the place. I felt this up and down method was a bit too rigid, but I tried it. Although it is rather difficult for me to stay within the lines, it does provide a kind of tension to the background, particularly when Effy added washi tape.

Here is my piece for Part 2’s Girly Girl. The up and down collage method sort of worked. Now that I’m taking more time at each stage, the landmarks of my faces are correct (or more so, anyway) even when I change the tilt of the face. She reminds me of my doll photos. I almost always tilt my dolls face, even when I shoot them looking into the camera. I feel this gives more life to their faces. I think it has to do with the shift of shadows – peoples faces are always moving and light dances across them all the time. Tilting the dolls head, even just slightly, changes the shadow play across their face.

But I digress. I was awake early Christmas Day, which is when I finished this page. By this time, I had spent a couple of evenings drawing a bunch of faces, in the styles I’ve learned over the past 18 months. I feel like I have a style, although I don’t want to become constricted by a single style. I can’t say I was completely successful with the black stabilo pencil on this one. I picked up a brown Stabilo that will start appearing in future pages. Overall, I love the way this version turned out, even though the black got a bit smudgy and dirty face looking.

Happy creating!

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Radiant Faces Part 2 Lesson 3

Effy’s take on Tam’s Inner Child. Life me, Effy has taken a lot of classes from Tam. However, she does not like NeoColor 2s and says she struggles with them. It didn’t look like a struggle on camera, but you know, everyone has their favorite mediums (medias?).

Oh, and although I watched Part 2 Lesson 2, Effy’s take on the Nymph, I am leaving this lesson for the last. Why? This lesson was quite a struggle for me, so for the second version, I want to make it my own and find a painting that speaks to me. I haven’t found it yet, although I have a couple of ideas….but I digress.

In watching Effy’s videos for Inner Child, I got several ideas and took notes on what I would do for my version. During Effy’s tending stage, she chose a single doodle shape (a circle with a dot in the center) that she drew in black pen over the entire background.

I love Tam’s lolipop gals for their Blythe doll quality, but I have worked on my own proportions for a girl. After sketching in my girl and her stuffed animal friends, I took a light purple Spectrum Noir alcohol marker and doodled the background. I enjoyed riffing off Tam’s lesson with Effy.

She offers alternatives during the lesson. As I’m just entering my second year of mixed media arting, I still have tons to learn and explore. Overall, I enjoyed how this page turned out, except for the dark blue spray ink blobs didn’t quite work as planned, but there you go. Live and learn, right?

Happy creating!

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Radiant Faces Part 1 Lesson 8

The Mystic with Effy Wild.

Even though I used Effy’s composition, techniques and color scheme, by now, I’m feeling confident with my face style. This is the last class of Part 1 and my third ever lesson with Effy. I really enjoy her teaching style and her attention to detail, what she calls ‘tending,’ which is very involved. However, her method takes a relatively simple composition, compared to Tam’s multitude of layers and turns it into a lovely piece of art. Without the tending stage, this style of working would look, to me, unfinished.

I have noticed that Effy’s color scheme is darker and she tends to work primarily with acrylics. And, like me, she has a thing for gingers. She uses glazing quite extensively, which I’m enjoying. She also has a really great face shading technique that involves colored pencil followed by scrubbing on zinc white that activates the pencil pigment so you can push the color around.

For this page, I used acrylics, including pearl Andirondak paint dabber, and interference Golden. The text is from the Supreme Beings of Leisure song, “Perfect.”

I was going to say that much of this lesson involved bravery, but thinking about it, all of the lessons in this class involved quite a lot of faith, a sense of adventure and being brave.

And now, onto Part 2!

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Radiant Faces Part 1 Lesson 7

The Stranger with Dina Wakely. When I saw Dina on the list of teachers, I knew I had to take this class. I’ve been a fan of her work for quite a few years. I loved this lesson, all sketchy and impressionistic. Leaving some of the features hinted at but not finished.

Being in the midst of 3 classes, I haven’t really taken the time to explore each of these lessons. It was around this time that I had an idea for 2015: go back to the classes I’ve taken that I still have access to. Re-watch the videos, take notes, and re-do each lesson. Really explore the techniques. So I’m looking forward to devoting more time to this lesson.

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Radiant Faces Part 1 Lesson 6

The Watcher with Jamie Doughtery. This one was quite a stretch: profile on wood using Prisma pencils. I haven’t worked on wood before. And profiles have always been a challenge for me. Julie had a nice way to map the profile and I made several sketches before started on wood.

It was a rather slow process of laying down pencil then blending. Repeat. Layers and layers of color and blending. I’m not completely happy with how my profile turned out, but, as with all new things, practice, practice, practice. I enjoyed working on wood with colored pencils and am really curious about Effy’s take on this lesson.

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Radiant Faces Part 1 Lesson 5

Part 1 Lesson 5 of Radiant Faces is with Kylie Fowler and a paint over collage technique. This is a technique I’m familiar with, since Tamara Laporte uses it quite a bit. This was quite a dramatic lesson because Kylie chose to try several new things in this piece. And some of them went wrong. Very bravely, Kylie continued filming and showed how she painted herself into several corners and how she worked her way out of them.

Lessons learned: make your life slightly easier by trying 1 new thing. I was also glad that, by this point, I am watching the lessons and taking notes. Had I worked while watching the videos, I would have run into the same problems Kylie did.

One of the problems Kylie ran into was that she home color printed the selfie photo she used for her page. She had buckling problems and tore some of her printout in the course of her work. By the time I got to this lesson, I learned from Mermaid Circus that if you’re going to use color printouts that employ wet layers over top, you need to use heavier paper.

Rather than use a selfie for this, I used one of my favorite art journal girls from one of my early Jane Davenport classes. The girl didn’t quite turn out – her features were a bit off, but I didn’t paint over her. In fact, I tend to leave a page alone if it doesn’t work out – I just stop and leave it. I’m glad I don’t paint over pages I don’t like because, in Mermaid Circus, I learned how to re-visit previous work. I scanned and printed several random pages for Mermaid Circus. I used one such gal and took the opportunity to correct her features in this page.

Looking at the page today, it seems a bit busy but I do like how it turned out.