Art of Making the Most of the Ugliest

Digital art and a video story by Peony and Parakeet

This is a surprising video story about a continuous creative journey and about the art of making. If you are interested in reusing your art or creating digital art from your handmade pieces, this video is especially for you. (You might have seen some of the work shown here if you have liked Peony and Parakeet at Facebook.)

From Quilting to Digital Art – A Video

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Art Quilts in a Modern Way

Folk Music, digital art from handmade elements, by Peony and Parakeet

Here’s something that I have wanted to show you for a long time! I have been working with a custom order which made me think of a new idea: to create fabric prints and make quilted wall hangings from them. This idea is very versatile as you don’t have to be a quilter, you can print your art on fabric and use it for bags, purses, clothes – anything!

The artwork above has been composed digitally of various art pieces that I have made. The person who ordered the wall hanging is a fan of modern folk music and the color red. (If you have not listened to modern folk songs, try Hanneke Cassel for example!)

A leaf motif by Peony and Parakeet

I created one new collage piece for the artwork. All the other details are picked from my archives.

It was pretty exciting to send the artwork to Spoonflower. When I received the fabric, the print quality was really sharp and detailed! I already knew from the previous experiences that big areas of black don’t print well, so I avoided those.

A digital fabric print designed by Peony and Parakeet

If you are a quilter, you know that the fabric will look so much better when quilted! I sandwiched cotton wadding, two layers of fusible interfacing and backing fabric and took out my sewing machine.

Quilting an art print by Peony and parakeet

I am not very experienced with free-motion quilting using the free-motion foot, so I used even-feed foot instead. But with patience, I was able to create quilting that enhanced my brush strokes.

Making art quilt by Peony and Parakeet

The finished quilt is about 45 x 39 inches.

Art Quilt using digitally printed design, by Peony and Parakeet

I used various colors of shiny embroidery threads for quilting. Using black thread brings the real black that was not produced by digital printing.

A detail of an art quilt using digitally printed design, by Peony and Parakeet

Quilting on watercolor!

A detail of an art quilt using digitally printed design, by Peony and Parakeet

Entering the flow state when playing modern folk was in the center of my inspiration.

A detail of an art quilt using digitally printed design, by Peony and Parakeet

I added the label to the printing file too.

A detail of an art quilt using digitally printed design, by Peony and Parakeet

Here’s another project that I actually made earlier to test the idea. This one does not contain much digital processing, I only took a good photo of the original art and enhanced it a little bit.

Original paper artwork and a fabric quilt made from it, by Peony and Parakeet

I think this artwork looks really good on fabric! The actual idea when creating the original was to mimic hand embroidery! Read about creating the original artwork: When Pens Replace Needles

Folk Leaves, digitally printed fabric quilt by Peony and Parakeet

I added some embroidery before quilting but found out that quilting works well as decoration.

A detail of a digitally printed art quilt, by Peony and Parakeet

A printed fabric label can be found from here too.

A detail of a digitally printed art quilt, by Peony and Parakeet

I also have more fabric prints waiting to be transferred into art quilts!

Fabric prints from paper artworks, by Peony and Parakeet

Paper prints news: New card sets have arrived at my Etsy shop.

Art Postcards by Peony and Parakeet

Life can never be too colorful!

Art Postcards by Peony and Parakeet

Stella and Cosmo send their greetings to all artists and quilters: Have a relaxing weekend!

Beagles with quilts by Peony and Parakeet

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Simple Shape, Plenty of Expression

Circle #1, by Peony and Parakeet

I began to create these circles a while ago. They have been created in Photoshop but they use scanned elements of my hand drawn art. The message here is: don’t wait for a major inspiration or grand idea! Your starting point can be one simple shape. Self-expression does not require complex sketching.

Simple Art Journal Page

Creating an art journal page is easy:
1) Draw a circle.
2) Doodle inside it.
3) Color the page. You can add more details while coloring.

Simple instructions for an art journal page, by Peony and Parakeet

When creating this page, I was thinking about spring. It is amazing how the sun and rain take turns and make everything flourish.

Sun and Rain, a simple art journal page by Peony and Parakeet

More Inspiration

Circle #2, by Peony and Parakeet

Circle #3, by Peony and Parakeet

Circle #4, by Peony and Parakeet

More fun projects with colored pencils – Buy Coloring Freely!

I Dream to Create …

I have big creative dreams: to create something that makes a huge impact – I mean HUGE!

1) Interiors

Trick photo: entering the room decorated by Peony and Parakeet. Read more about my creative dreams.

I dream about people entering the room and feeling that they almost faint. Colors, patterns everywhere! The best thing would be to see their reaction: “OMG! You must be kidding!”

2) Exteriors

Trick photo: Mies van der Rohe's Barcelona pavilion decorated by Peony and Parakeet

I dream about painting street art for buildings and great arcitectural places. I would change all those white boxes to something overwhelmingly colorful. It did not matter if it would be a temporary mask. At least the building could say: “There was a time when I was alive!”

3) Huge Paintings

Trick photo: huge painting by Peony and Parakeet. Read more about my creative dreams!

I dream about people sitting on the bench nearby staring at them. A big company could have them in their lobby area. What a wealth of colors!

4) Big Quilts

Trick photo: quilted fabric by Peony and Parakeet

I dream about designing every single fabric piece which is sewn in them. All original, all full of patterns!

5) Stage Backgrounds

Trick photo: concert background show designed by Peony and Parakeet

My ultimate creative dream: Creating a stage background for a concert – a picture show which visualizes the music! I dream about the steps to design the backgrounds: how I would listen the music again and again, create sketches for evaluation and work with a big team to make it all happen.

Obviously, all the photos here are trick photos created in Photoshop by combining my own photos. These creative dreams might never come true but dreaming is kind of playing. And playing is a key factor in creativity, so let’s keep on dreaming – BIG!

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Fun Designs from Decorative Papers

Kira Surface Pattern by Peony and Parakeet

Were you ready for the color bomb? I just could not resist creating this design with the vibrancy that is almost inappropriate. Hopefully, you are like me and need to get your overdose of colors and patterns now and then!

Collage Elements

I have created this surface pattern from handmade collage elements. I often mention how I create single decorative elements which I use in collage art or art journaling later. This time, I made a pattern that is based on those odd elements. These elements are like mini collages. They were made by cutting handmade decorated papers and adding some doodling with markers.

Decorative Collage Elements by Peony and Parakeet

The elements might look complicated but are super simple to make:

1) Combine few paper pieces.
2) Add details with markers.
3) Cut the combined piece in half.
4) Repeat the previous steps changing some of the pieces as you go.

Cutting and combining the cut pieces repetitively is fun, and the result is like a mini quilt. Especially if you add seams with markers like I have done.

Decorative Elements by Peony and Parakeet

Surface Pattern

When creating a surface pattern, you also need something in the background unless you will put the elements tightly together. I wanted to add the background to make the design more interesting. The plain black background was something that I considered first. But it looked too separate from the pieces.

Luckily I save all kinds of doodles, even the ugly ones. I found a file called “blue mess,” a scanned image of the paper which I made a long time ago.

Background pattern for Kira surface pattern

At the time I had thought this doodle was horrible, but now it would be just fine!

Kira surface pattern, a repeat, by Peony and ParakeetI processed my scanned images at Photoshop image processing software. At Photoshop I created a solid colored background, added the blue mess as the second layer and changed its color. Then I removed the white background from each of the four decorative elements and added a stroke to each element.

The repeat was created so that one decorative element is in the middle, two at sides and the fourth one at the corners. It takes some accuracy to place the elements so that they match when the design is repeated. It would have been easier to have each element separate, but I wanted to create a sort of appliqued look.

If you do not make a commercial pattern, you can just create an artwork manually instead of composing a repeatable pattern on the computer.

Here’s the design again, with more muted colors. This design reminds me of an old quilt, colors faded a bit unevenly but still suitable to be the centerpiece of any room.

Kira 2 Surface Pattern by Peony and Parakeet

I call this pattern Kira.

Create more hand-drawn collages: Buy Doodled Luxury!

Experiencing Art

Expericence Art in an Art Museum, a digital art journal page by Peony and Parakeet

I read from an article how strongly people respond to art. It claimed that art museums are like churches. A visit to them is an experience which can change you. That reminded me of the unforgettable experience which I have illustrated in this digital art journaling page.

Art Museum Experience

About 15 years ago I visited a modern art museum in Nice, France. I was traveling alone, attending a conference which was located near the museum. Walking in the isles of the museum I began to think of my busy life and how I approached it. Suddenly I noticed that I was staring at a painting. I could not take my eyes off it. It. Half of the painting was painted black and another half was white. It was the kind of artwork that many people would have commented: I could have painted that!

But really, if I talk about myself, I could not have painted that! Still, it was not only the visualization of my thoughts, but also some kind of solution to my anxiety. I realized that I loved that painting because I so strongly believed in black and white: how good it was to pursue extremes. I had difficulties to accept that most of the days are practically various shades of grey. There in the museum I was in my church seeing my ideals. When I left the museum I decided to make some compromises, make my life a bit easier. It did not anymore mean that I had to work against my values. It was more about accepting human errors as a part of the life.

Even if I never saw that painting again, thinking about it still gives me consolation and perspective to life. And even if I often write how you need to experience art by creating it yourself, art can truly offer experiences in many other ways too if we just open ourselves to it.

I have experienced ART by Peony and Parakeet

What has been a significant work of art for you and where did you experienced it?

If you art journal – now there’s a subject worth documenting! (Read my tips on how to get inspired by fine arts)

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Hand Bags Only You Can Make

Bag themed art journal pages by Peony and Parakeet

The fashion themed Smash book is just perfect to show my love for bags. When I made these hand decorated papers became heavy fabrics and leather in my mind. It was so fun to draw stitched seams, add layers and choose decorations.

Collage bag by Peony and Parakeet

I have a lot of ugly papers in my hand decorated paper collection. I do not take my papers too seriously. Their common nominator is that they are made by myself and thus they fit together whether pretty or ugly.

Hand Bag Card by Peony and Parakeet

If you prefer to make cards instead of art journal pages, you don’t have to miss the fun. Create bag themed cards like I did! This card is a birthday card for my sister. She loves everything red. I also added some stuff that could be found inside the bag: a lipstick, perfume bottle, small scarf and a necklace. We can always give dreams, even for people who have everything and do not want to own more.

Hand bags collage by Peony and ParakeetI want my art journals to be like catalogs: full of items to pick and choose. I am like a dream shopper with a hand made credit card (how would that look like, or a row of them!). I could ask from the maker of the turquoise pouch: “Do you make these in green too?” And the maker would respond: “Of course, which tone would you like?” With a little help of image processing in Photoshop, the options are right there.

Think about it: there are millions of hand bags which you, and only you, can make!

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Subconscious Goals

A Horse Tells a Story, an illustration by Peony and Parakeet

Here’s an illustration that came out without any pre-planning. I just added a layer after another and in the end was surprised about the animals, and the scene. What was I thinking about?

Creating Subconscious Art

Background paper, by Peony and Parakeet

First I created the background paper in Photoshop. I duplicated my old sticker designs there!

Subconscious art. Decorating a background, by Peony and Parakeet

After printing the backgroud I made some random spots with alcohol inks and random lines with white correction pen. Then I added a lot of details with markers and gel pens.

Decorated background paper, by Peony and Parakeet

Yes, a lot of details.

A Horse Tells a Story, the illustration by Peony and Parakeet

Finally I constructed the main elements from decorated papers. Then it came: the horse on the pedestal and the dogs. The horse tells a story for the dogs, and the dogs are captivated by listening to it. When finished, I realized that I want to be that white horse! I want to develop skills to tell visual stories.  I want to learn how to create images which not only appeal to the eye, but the mind as well.

Isn’t it a wonderful thing that with creativity we can reveal our subconscious goals!

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