Creative Friday!

Ready for creating, organised creative space with art supplies by Peony and Parakeet
Friday evenings are the best! I go to the library room of our house and start creating. And yes, it’s always this clean before I begin and also after I have finished. I love creating when everything is in order. I also like to see the art supplies I am using.

Electric pencil sharpenerAt the front of the big photo there’s the only electrical vanity item that I can’t give up: an electric pencil sharpener! After I bought it I have used my colored pencils more than ever. The pencils are always sharp as it’s so fun to sharpen them after using them. My model is Derwent universal sharpener that has 5 holes for various sized pencils.


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Happy New Year 2014

2014 by Peony and Parakeet + a doodling idea using a scanner and a printer
With this overly doodled number I wish you happy new year!

A detail of 2014 by Peony and Parakeet

Doodling Idea

I made this image by making a roughly doodled collage that I scanned to the computer. Then I adjusted the colors and printed the photo. I made the size bigger than in the original.

Then I began doodling again. After doodling I adjusted some areas by coloring them with color pencils. I also added some collage pieces.

Finally I scanned the collage again and adjusted colors in some areas.

This way I was able to add detail after another. I could have continued these steps over and over! Grazy – I know!

A detail of 2014 by Peony and Parakeet

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How To Love Your Art Journal

If you have not been art journaling for a long time, you probably have a journal or even many that you are not satisfied with. Maybe you have even ripped off few pages, just to keep the journal pretty. If you feel disconnected with your journaling, this post is for you.

Empty journal is a sad journal, by Peony and Parakeet
If your journal is empty, it’s like freezing. “Give me some colour, give me something warm to wear!”, it screams! You won’t get to know your journal, neither your inner world, if you search for the perfect moment to create the perfect page. The pages can be built gradually, layer by layer, and you have to start filling those empty pages.

Unfinished art journal page, by Peony and Parakeet
If you do not know where to begin, take a dry brush and some acrylic paint and paint a thin layer. You get visually better results if you do not repeat one color but make the page as asymmetrical as possible. That way colors get their own space and character from the beginning. You can paint many pages if you feel like to. If you are tired and lack inspiration, this is the thing to do!

Travel with your art yournal, by Peony and Parakeet
The next thing you need to do is to let your journal see the world. Take it with you when you go to library, travel, where ever you have little moments to spend quality time with it.

A couple of unfinished art journal pages with doodles, by Peony and Parakeet
While on the road, take a black pen with you and draw or write something, it does not have to be special. Remember, the pages can be built within time and even the smallest scribbles help to fill the page.

Unfinished art journal page, by Peony and Parakeet
When you feel more focused you can continue with the pages that have painted backgrounds. I used acrylic paints and thin brushes to draw some doodles and colour pencils to add dimension. If you have nothing else in mind, strengthen the colored areas that you painted. Add more similar hues to each area with color pencils and work with horizontal or vertical strokes. Always work fast as it makes you use more imagination and less rational thinking. The result at this point is like a photo without a focus.

Art journal speaks, by Peony and Parakeet
Then  decide where you would like the focus to be. Add some details there. I love to use my own hand decorated papers for details. Finally find or create a background for journaling. When I begin to make a page I do not usually know what to write but in the end I just write what I had been thinking while creating.

An art journal is the photo book of your inner world. Like with photos, the pages are not always perfect. But when you have a collection of them, they tell a story. And I guarantee – you will then love your art journal.

Expressing an Aha Moment through Art

Should Be Higher, a detail of a collage by Peony and Parakeet

Being a visual person I often have problems expressing my thoughts through words. Especially if I need to explain those aha moments when I suddenly understand something that used to be only complex and strange.

A snapshot from the concert of Depeche ModeThe story of today’s collage began a couple weeks ago when me and my husband went to the concert of Depeche Mode. I had bought the tickets as a birthday present for him. Depeche Mode is one of his favorite bands but I hated the music. It was too introvert, strange and edgy for me.

But after staring the band for song after song, I began to open myself up to the music. It sounded pretty all right after a while. Then great. I got it!

I tried to analyze what happened. Perhaps my brains had been expanded! I felt like I had understood the formula how the music was stuctured but could not put it into words.

I saw colors. A sunny day. The window.

Should Be Higher, a phase photo of a collage by Peony and Parakeet

Something began to happen at the window sill. I put some ceramic pots there, then a porcelain figure, a horse.

Should Be Higher, a phase photo of a collage by Peony and Parakeet

Then the music began to play in my head: “You should be higher …” The party at the window sill began. A surreal world of rigid objects and mechanical rhytms came to alive. The temperature rised and the colors deepened.

Should Be Higher, a collage by Peony and Parakeet

One of the best things in art is that it combines the intellectual to the intuitive. This collage is very meaningful for me. It is not only the memory of the concert but also a proof that the world is as full of inspiration as long as I am willing to watch and listen to it.

Should Be Higher, a detail of a collage by Peony and Parakeet

Should Be Higher, a detail of a collage by Peony and Parakeet

Inspired by William Morris

Inspired by William Morris, a collage by Peony and Parakeet

As a big fan of art nouveau and arts and crafts pediod, it may not be a surprise that I adore William Morris designs. Our home has William Morris curtains in two rooms. I love how detailed and decorative elements are combined to create repetative patterns in the two fabrics.

The little collage of this post was created after browsing some of the old William Morris designs from a book. I wanted to express the beauty of repetitions without creating absolute symmetry. The dark colors in the background change to shiny yellow to give the expression of hope and warmth. William would have used perfect symmetry and more muted colors. I tried to compensate my lack of technical skills by adding self expression.

Being too self-critical is not a good thing. It stops us doing what we really love. I know I cannot be the reborn William Morris. However, in my imagination I can go back in time and pretend to be his apprentice!

Wrapping Paper from Newspaper

Wrapping paper from newspapers, full sheet of handdecorated gift paper

Did you know that newspapers are treasures? Neither did I before I began to wrap Christmas presents and realised that I had ran out of wrapping paper. I solved the problem by creating decorated gift paper from newspaper sheets!

Here’s the sheet in the beginning of the process.Wrapping paper from newspapers, the beginning of the process

I had three various reds of india inks which I used to color the background. Any ink would be suitable. And if you do not have ink, paint a thin layer using acrylic paints.Wrapping paper from newspapers, process photo, adding background colours

Wrapping paper from newspapers, a process photo, adding gessoAfter the background paint was dry, I painted round shapes with gesso. If you do not have gesso, use white acrylic paint. Thin, even layers are better than thick and bumpy ones. Let dry.

Finally I took a correction pen, some markers and india ink to decorate the white areas.

Ironing makes the papers smooth and shiny.

Wrapping paper from newspapers, process photo, decorating white areas

I could not help making some more. I varied the shape of white areas to make different designs.
Wrapping paper from newspapers, process photo, adding gesso to create patterns

I was pretty pleased with all the three of them!Wrapping paper from newspapers, three sheets of homemade gift paper

Who would have guessed these were just newspaper sheets in their previous lives!
Wrapping paper from newspapers, three gifts wrapped in homemade gift paper

Copying a Pattern on Hand Decorated Paper

Decorative Art Collage by Peony and ParakeetMy collage art is strongly based on my own handdecorated papers. Making my own papers changed a lot. I began to feel more happy and content with my art. Even if it’s imperfect, it’s all mine.

I feel sad when people tell they hate their handwriting and say that they can’t draw anything. Putting pen to paper is very important. I believe that it’s our connection to the subconscious. For me, drawing and painting has always been a part of self-discovery. Despite of that, I have felt bad with my drawing too. But I have got rid of that by drawing so much that I have found my own style and accepted it’s imperfections.

The little collage shown here consists of my own papers and doodles. But some of the papers are made with the help of a machine. I used ink jet printer to combine layers of doodling by photocopying. Here’s how I did it!

1) I took some of the papers that I had made using watercolors and color pens. (You can see the instructions at the blog post Frugal Crafter’s Guide to Hand Decorated Papers)


2) I put the paper to the printer’s tray. At my printer (Canon MP550) you have to put the paper backside up to get the printing to the right side.


3) Because I love doodling on white paper I have a small pile of these wildly doodled sheets. I opened the lid and put it upside down to use it as a photocopy.


4) Then I pressed the Copy button and here’s the result!


I could not help making more of these!


Some extra directions: Make sure your papers are completely dry before inserting them to the printer. Use fairly thin paper. When making the colorful papers, do not use very dark colours so that the copied doodles will show.

Have fun using those odd doodles again and again!

Art Nouveau Houseplants

Art Nouveau Houseplants, a collage by Peony and Parakeet

I love my houseplants and many of them appear in this collage. It’s style is a mix of art nouveau and 1960s. It is the result of staring some art nouveau tiles and the works of Birger Kaipiainen. Namely, not too long time ago I went to see Birger Kaipiainen’s exhibition in Espoo, Finland.

Paivi and Birger Kaipiainen's plate

This decorative plate was one of my favorites. I love the way the artist used textured surfaces to show off the details. And I have always loved ceramics, one of the favorite materials that I like to think of when making art. I am constantly inspired by materials and I try to imitate them by using inks, markers and other supplies.

Creative Process

I took some photos of the phases when making the collage.

Art Nouveau Houseplants, a collage by Peony and Parakeet, phase 1

I began with india inks.

Art Nouveau Houseplants, a collage by Peony and Parakeet, phase 2

Then I randomly added some cut pieces of handdecorated papers. In the beginning I work very systematically but for a while I start to get impatient.

Art Nouveau Houseplants, a collage by Peony and Parakeet, phase 3

I have reached the point where I want to do something crazy. This time I just made a mess with a correction pen!

Art Nouveau Houseplants, a collage by Peony and Parakeet, phase 4

I added collage pieces and doodled with markers. Then I decided to add black acrylics to add contrasts. Looks pretty awful but I do not mind. It always looks terrible at this point.

Art Nouveau Houseplants, a collage by Peony and Parakeet, phase 5

India ink looks great over white doodles.

Art Nouveau Houseplants, a detail of the collage by Peony and Parakeet

Here’s a detail of the finished work. I love to use thin markers, it is like sharpening a blurry image!

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Drawing on Fabric

Miracles Happen, handpainted fabric by Peony and Parakeet

I missed the feel of cotton fabric so I decided to use it as a base instead of paper. It was so much fun! I used both the fabric paints and fabric markers here.

Miracles Happen, handpainted fabric, a detailThere’s not much difference between drawing on fabric and drawing on paper. I use thick cardboard under the fabric so that I do not have to worry about colors ruining the table top. Another tip is to wash the fabric first so that the colors get into it. And iron well before and after painting.

This is quite large piece (19,5 in x 13.5 in) but you can start with smaller ones. I am so tempted to start a new project by painting small squares and use them in the next quilt.

More photos

Scrap Paper Collage

A scrap paper collage, a freeting card by Peony and Parakeet

I made a greeting card from the paper scraps that I have. I make my own papers that I use for collage art. And even the tiniest scraps are saved in a container that I call “The Treasure Box” with capital letters.

Handmade paper scraps by Peony and Parakeet

These scraps have practically no monetary value but still I treat them as they would cost a million. I have put a lot of time in creating each little scrap.

Greeting card, original collage by Peony and Parakeet Original Collage by Peony and Parakeet, a detail

The scraps also have another property that I am fond of. They look ugly as individual scraps but are beautiful when they are combined together.

Many things in life are like that. Nothing particular when examined separately but spectacular and successful when they are seen in the big picture.

More photos of the card

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