This week, I get back to the project that I started earlier this spring. It’s a small notebook that I have filled with happy art. I call it Rainbow Journal because it has brought me both joy and hope. Here’s a quote from the video below:
“When working on this journal, I have been able to live inside a happy bubble momentarily. It’s been refreshing, and my inner critic has got gentler. I have gained new inspiration for my paintings and classes.”
Watch the video to get inspiration for yours!
Creative Prompts for Your Rainbow Journal
Use the following prompts to make yours!
Cover – Make It as Decorative as You Can!
Use a limited color palette and let the colors and shapes flow.
Spread #1 – Get Inspired by Happy Interiors!
Think about textiles, wallpapers, and painted motifs on wooden furnitures and dishes.
Spread #2 – Embrace the Good and the Innocence!
Once you have set the style of the world you are building, who could be wandering there, full of happy thoughts with an innocent mind?
Spread #3 – Paint Something Juicy!
Show how it feels when the glass is full, even overflowing.
Spread #4 – Grow the Flowers of Imagination!
The dark soil makes flowers grow and shine.
Spread #5 – Show the Bright Future!
Get creative with rainbows, how many can you fit in?
I hope this lifted your spirit and inspired you to keep creating!
I have never been overly enthusiastic about bright reds, but now seems to be the time. I feel that in this black world, we need to salvage the delicious colors and amplify them with sugary decorations!
Finding Comfort from Delicious Colors
In the evenings, while waiting for the news around the world to be gathered, I paint in my little studio room. The more I think about the sad statistics, the more I want to create the opposite – a careless world with deliciously tasty and juicy colors.
My studio is now like a sweet bakery, and as the main cook, I have lots of motivation to create!
Delicacies from DecoDashery!
What first was just one little painting, has now grown to resemble a series that expresses an imaginary world. I call this world as DecoDashery, inspired by the old haberdashery from the movie Emma. DecoDashery will also be the next class that I am building, hoping to release it within a couple of months!
You Can Always Start Small!
As usual, I haven’t made paintings only, but also collage pieces to my boxes of joy.
Delicious Meringues, Lace, and Porcelain
Now when my husband is working from home too, we eat together more than ever. Fortunately, he can cook! I have never been into that so much. But my specialties are side dishes and desserts, and it’s been fun to make one good meal in a day and combine our skills.
I had never made strawberry meringues, but a recipe from a knitting magazine caught my eye. Strawberries, an old plate, and a hand-crocheted lace doily were all as essential as the meringues themselves.
My current oil painting has progressed well too. Even if there’s a lot of work left, I get a lot of pleasure from working on it. Salvaging all the deliciousness of the random shapes feels so good.
Doesn’t the painting look strangely similar to the meringues, lace, and porcelain? The world of Decodashery is expanding!
Meaningless Has Given Me a New Meaning
It’s kind of funny that when I decided to remove deeper meaning from my work for a while, I feel that my art the overall creative process has become more meaningful than ever.
It’s like I have released the beast that I have always quietly carried with me, and once I have seen it eye to eye, it has become my angel in the crisis.
This week, I needed colors that are so sweet that they almost taste on the tongue! I found a little watercolor notebook from my paper stash and made a gouache painting on the covers.
Painting the Covers
I used a limited palette of gouache paints – pinks, reds, and greens, and made pastel hues by mixing them with white.
After painting the background, I filled the covers with decorations.
Making all the little dots and lines was both calming and refreshing. The darkness of the world faded away!
Here’s how the covers look when the journal is closed. Isn’t that sweet?!
Inside: Decorated Papers and Flowery Shapes
I also decorated an inked paper and taped it on the inside of the cover. Flowers are easy to make with colored pencils!
I also combined gouache paints and colored pencils and made a mixed media drawing on the opposite page.
Inspiration from the Movie Emma
A couple of weeks ago, I watched the movie called Emma, and the beauty of it blew my mind. I love Jane Austen’s stories and had planned to go to a movie theatre to watch it, but they closed. Fortunately, it became available on iTunes, and within 48 hours of the renting period, I was able to watch it twice! I have always enjoyed examining decorative tapestries, furniture, clothing, and such, so I took my time, especially on the second time, stopping the movie now and then just to admire the beautiful sceneries, interiors, and dresses.
Here’s Emma’s friend Harriet and all kinds of decorative elements from my imagination.
Decorative Art Style – Fun to Design, Fun to Paint!
This year, I have been practicing pattern design, trying to make at least one pattern per month. I have used my watercolor paintings as an inspiration.
These design ideas go back to my paintings as well. I have really enjoyed making them more decorative now.
I feel like I am connecting the dots between the many styles that I am fond of. It’s like William Morris, Marimekko, and decorative Russian metal trays are coming together. My detailed style to draw and the intuitive style to paint seem to integrate, and it all feels so effortless and fun. I am going to do more of this kind of decorative art style projects – I hope they inspire you too!
Arteza’s gouache paints are very affordable compared to artist quality paints. I have few tubes of Schminke Horadam Gouache paints, and with the price of 60 colors of Arteza, you can only get a few tubes of Schminke!
But of course, there are differences too. Schminke, manufactured in Germany, has a higher pigment level than Arteza, manufactured in China. These tubes are both Burnt Sienna, but Arteza’s color is much more pastel and creamy.
Most of Arteza’s colors have names that are not pigment names. They describe the tone very well and sound tempting, like “Blush Pink.” But if you have used to dealing with pigments and their individual qualities in transparency and archival quality, it can feel frustrating. If pigments are individual spices, Arteza’s gouache paints like spice mixes – easy to use for beginners, but a bit joyless for professional cooks.
The differences between these paints are small, and it requires an eye for nuances and experience on pigments to notice them.
When painting, Arteza’s creamy paints are like family vehicles, easy to maneuver. Schminke’s gouache paints are more like sports cars, quick to react with water and more suitable for fine brushwork.
Traditional vs. Acryl Gouache – Reacting to Water
Some gouache paints are marked as acryl gouaches. It means that they are not opaque watercolors as gouaches normally are, but translucent acrylic paints. I had some Turner acryl gouaches (made in Japan), and you can see the difference below. Unfortunately, I didn’t have similar magenta tone, but the color doesn’t matter when testing how the dried layer reacts to water. Both Arteza gouache and Schminke Horadam bleed, Arteza a little more than Schminke. But acryl gouache doesn’t bleed at all!
Bleeding is not necessarily a bad thing. Actually, I prefer paints that bleed because I often like to remove color in later stages.
Bleeding wasn’t any problem when making this painting either. I used both thin and thick paint quite effortlessly.
I hope you enjoyed the video, and let’s keep creating!