Peony and Parakeet

Messy Backgrounds – How to Create Art on Them?

Explorer's Destination, an art journal page using a messy background, by Peony and Parakeet. See the video of the process!

Here’s my latest art journal spread called “Explorer’s Destination”, based on a messy painted background. The spread is a bit rugged looking in the photo as it’s made on my older Dylusions Creative Journal. The journal is getting really full and the spread is in the end of the book so it was a bit difficult to photograph.

Full art journal by Peony and Parakeet

I remember when this journal was brand new and I was afraid of ruining it. Now all those filled pages, some messier than others, make me happy! Am I the only one who loves journals that are worn and full, I wonder!

Messy Backgrounds – Do You Have Them Too?

My very unintentional mess was created by just using up extra paints left on a palette. I know that many of you have these kinds of pages or canvases that are more like messy backgrounds than finished paintings. They are supposed to be finished someday but don’t look very inspiring after some time has gone by.

A messy background by Peony and Parakeet. See the video of how to paint internal landscapes using messy backgrounds as starting points!

So to help you make the most out of your messy backgrounds, I made a video about creating “Explorer’s Destination”. Hopefully, it will help you to turn some of your messy backgrounds into more expressive pieces.

Watch the Video

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11 thoughts on “Messy Backgrounds – How to Create Art on Them?

  1. This would probably be one of the hardest paintings I’ve ever tried. Somewhere along the way I would see something that needed to come out and I would quit playing and enjoying the present to get more involved in “showing” what I was thinking. I love that your piece doesn’t do that – but not sure I could turn off my story telling brain so my fingers could just enjoy themselves. I guess that means this is exactly what I need to practice doing, so that I get better at NOT showing everything I see. I will try, try, try.

    1. Mary, there’s nothing wrong with doing that – showing more! This was a very color-based process, I focused more on color than any illustrational images.

  2. When you started did you have some idea of where you would go with this?
    Did you see something in the background that inspired the finished piece?
    Your work is amazing — I love your videos

    1. Gloria, thanks for asking, I realized that I had left out this information: I was inspired by the color combinations, I thought that peachy orange would look great with the yellows and that’s how it began. All in all, color combos were part of my inspiration.

  3. I am just starting out expressing myself with painting so have few messy pages that didn’t start out with just using up pain. What a way to just create without worrying so much about how it will turn out. I am still trying to use my journal pages. I don’t want to ruin them! You inspire me to just close down my worries and just do it. Thanks so much!

  4. Paivi, I have three full journals and I love looking back at them now. I see so many stops and starts and fits and tries but I also see my development along the way. Mine are fat with inserted pages and odds and ends. I still have fears about ruining the pages of each new journal I get. This lesson has been very inspirational to me. Thanks!

    1. Thank you, Brenda! I also love to look at my filled journals, I think it is very important part of the creative process – to be inspired by something made in the past!

  5. Just so awesome! I love the transformation…and your positive attitude about making the change from messy to engaging. Thank you Paivi…this is a jewel of a lesson. 🙂

  6. Paivi . . . What kind of paint did you use . . . watercolors, acrylic?

    I, too, don’t know what to do with a page that looks like a big blob. This has really helped in using the messy page as a background.

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