Spirit Portraits – The Art of Seeing Faces

The Art of Seeing Faces


I see faces everywhere and in everything. I guess I always have. From a young age I was fascinated with portraiture, and the ability to capture human expression on paper. To me it was something special, something magical that could not be captured in a photograph. I found that I could sketch quickly and that I could capture at least an essence of my subject even if my skills as an artist weren’t very refined at that point. But I loved to draw, and I loved to draw people in particular.

Spirit portrait - original artwork by Maria-Xosé Phillips

It wasn’t until my early 20’s while I was living in Germany that I consciously drew my first spirit guide after an incredibly vivid and significant dream. The following morning I awoke jumping out of bed, grabbing my sketchpad and pencils and began to draw furiously, trying to recreate the image of this most special entity from memory before it faded. I had never been able to do that before. It is generally quite a difficult thing to do as any artist will know. From then on I would attempt from time to time to sit with a blank sketchpad on my lap and draw what I saw in the paper. However, my efforts were fairly basic reproducing faces with simple  lines, but very little detail. I just didn’t have the confidence or the focus that I was to develop. I continued to see highly details faces in things from time to time, real faces that would capture my attention peering out from within a stack of logs, or the rough texture of a wall.

With time my intuitive abilities have grown and evolved, and about five years ago I took up art again after some years of abstinence, making a concerted effort to focus on channelling, whoever or whatever it was that came through to me. I also changed the way I drew. I began putting a thick layer of graphite over the paper realising that I saw faces best in patterned and textured surfaces and they began to appear in force. So I began to ‘pick them out’ with a putty rubber to accentuate highlights and form, then deepen the shadows with pencils or charcoal, tracing their features as I saw them before me on the paper. It simply had never occurred to me previously that I could just trace what I saw!

I would sit and connect and sketch several faces a night, and I have done this pretty consistently since. It’s been an incredible journey of discovery for me, not only in terms of my own abilities as an artist and an Intuitive Channel (I prefer not to use the term psychic-medium because of the association it has with fortune-telling), but it has helped broaden my understanding and appreciation for life, existence and the myriad of absolutely awe-inspiring souls that we all live amongst daily, including ourselves.

Spirit Portrait 'The Boxer'

I draw only what I see, or rather what  I am shown. I know when I have a connection because its like a light bulb switching on inside me, it makes me sit up straight, then I am filled with a warm glow and an undeniable sense of presence as some-one stares right back at me. It can be quite an exhilarating and euphoric experience, particularly if the connection is strong.

How well or clearly the subject of the sketch is portrayed is dependent on the abilities, desires and intentions of the entity that I am connecting with during a sitting. Often the omission of a feature or detail, or the lack of clarity is a clue perhaps about who they were in life, or are still, or an event that was particularly significant for them.

For example, during a particular sitting I was sketching the face of a young man and all was going well except for the left eye, which for some reason I kept wanting to draw larger than the other despite the ascetic artist in me wishing to correct it. It’s difficult for me as an artist to not fill in the gaps. However, I made a promise to myself when I began this particular phase of spirit drawings three years ago, that I would only draw what I saw even if it appeared ‘incorrect’. In this way I am able to capture expressions that I just couldn’t make up even if I tried.

Spirit Portrait - Original artwork by Maria-Xosé Phillips

I later discovered through trying to research this personality based on the clues that I had been given that the subject, who subsequently was very much alive, had suffered a trauma to his left eye so it was very swollen and enlarged compared to the right eye! It reinforced and validated for me the importance of keeping true to what I see on the paper or canvas before me, and to trust myself and my abilities. Also it brought to my attention that not all my subjects are necessarily entities that have passed on from physical life. For me the term ‘Spirit’ refers to the non-physical body and does not necessarily mean ‘deceased’ in usual terms.

I know from my own experience that people project ‘telepathic’ energy particularly under intense circumstances and emotion, whether negative or positive. Just like when you think about some-one and the phone rings and it’s the person you were just thinking about (I know many people will be able to relate to this!).

The entities that come through the most clearly from experience seem to be the more mature subjects, often appearing with almost photographic quality, or the ones with a strong intent to connect. So I don’t often connect with children, seldom in fact, or they may establish a connection through an older personality. I often find adolescents and young adults will only show part of their faces, often half hidden or with the eyes not visible at all, quite a few sittings maybe necessary for them to come through with any clarity, though sometimes not at all.

It fascinates me and excites me every time I sit with the intention of channelling and drawing a spirit entity. It’s a wonderful feeling to connect with another soul energy in this way. They have so much love to give, with their own sense of excitement being very

Spirit Portrait 'Joanne'

palpable at having made a connection with you. It is a symbiotic process requiring agreement on both our parts, mine as an Intuitive Channel and artist, and on the part of the entity or entities being channelled.

They all have stories to tell, or information or messages that they wish to express and pass on. With each entity I get a sense of the time period they relate most to, I may get names, partial or full histories. It’s a mix of me listening to my intuition and a little bit of detective work in deciphering the clues that I have been given by them. The messages, like the drawings themselves at times, aren’t always so clear.

I don’t always draw everyone that I see. I tend to wait for a very strong or persistent connection to manifest before I put pencil to paper, not that it takes too long usually. I will often see faces in full detail, although I may only see one feature at first such as a mouth line or a nose and the rest materialises from there as I sketch and therefore become more entranced and attuned with the spirit energy.

I’m coming to the dawning realisation that this ability  has led me to some of my greatest achievements in life, and along my most treasured journeys both physically and metaphysically. It has led me to this point, and the creation of this blog. There are just no words to describe the tidal wave of sentiment and gratitude that I feel at having been given this gift; the gift of guidance and friendship that is not of this physical universe, but something beyond of a magnitude unfathomable. Thus I hold true to my promise to my many friends and guides in the realm of spirit upon their request, that I will share their stories so that others may experience a little of their love and magic for themselves, and experience if but for a moment the sheer wonders that rest at their very fingertips.


5 thoughts on “Spirit Portraits – The Art of Seeing Faces

    1. Thank you for reading and appreciating my work. But it’s one of those things I can’t help but see, I have no real choice in the matter.. all these people keep looking at me from everywhere. It used to freak me out a little, but I’m so used to it now that I kind of feel a bit left out if I don’t see them! 🙂
      Drawing them just seemed like a really nice way to honour these very real people, also so that I could prove to others that they were there in part.
      Enjoy the rest of your day!

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