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!
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!
This blog post is for us who love Jane Austen and Sanditon tv series. I watched the series last month, and it has inspired me a lot. I hope you enjoy this Sanditon inspiration overload!
Torchbearer – Esther and Lord Babington on the Beach
My newest watercolor painting called Torchbearer had a modest beginning and I had no clue how to finish it – until I saw episode 8 of Sanditon!
My favorite female character of Sanditon is Esther and the scene where she is in the carriage with Lord Babington was so romantic! The sudden change in her appearance, his gentle smile, black horses, empty shore – oh my! It hit me, that even if my painting has flowers, not people, I could express the emotion from the scene.
The tallest flower and the glow come from Esther’s powerful spirit.
The flower that bends down, expresses her sensitivity.
I tried to paint every flower so that they highlight the bubbling energy. Their stems are like the carriage where the couple sat.
The black background represents both the horses and the lord, supporting Esther’s joy.
In this painting, Esther is a torchbearer who leads us to better times.
Tin Box – A Souvenir from Sanditon
I like little boxes that can be used for storing hand-drawn pictures and papers. I wanted to decorate a small tin box so that it would have old-fashioned and luxurious feel. So that I could think of it as a souvenir from Sanditon!
I already had saved a hand-drawn piece that was quite perfect in size.
I also found some papers with a watercolor print. They were test runs of the surface pattern designed earlier this year. I mostly designed the pattern manually, so by painting a design on the center of the paper and then cutting the paper into four parts.
This way you get a continuous design.
Avoid painting edges, and re-arrange papers until they are all fully painted.
Then scan the papers, and clean the edges in an image processing software. Here’s a sample of my design.
I made several variations in Photoshop. These papers go really well with hand-drawings, so they were perfect for the box.
The center motif was first colored with watercolors.
Then I hand-stitched it on a background paper and added more hand-stitching around the center. In the photo below, I highlight the surroundings of the stitches with a pen so that they look more 3-dimensional.
I also added beads, more colors and decorative marks.
The centerpiece is a button with a shank removed. I love this little box!
Esther Denham – Sanditon Paper Doll
I also wanted to create something for my ever-growing collection of collage figures. “Just an unknown habitat of Sanditon”, I decided first. I didn’t use any reference and drew the doll just freely, but when she was colored, she looked just like Esther!
I played with her proportions so that she has overly long legs. That way I could make the dress more imaginative. The hem was cut from one of the watercolor papers. I couldn’t help playing with her right away, trying wings on her, filling the teacup with herbs from Sanditon. The wings and the teacup are from my fun class Magical Inkdom.
Her hat is also a collage piece cut from watercolor papers.
Souvenirs from Sanditon!
The Romance Continues
I am currently painting an oil painting that looks quite romantic already.
My vision is to make it the third in the series after Icebreaker and Torchbearer – and put it in the middle of them.
One Source of Inspiration – Many Interpretations
If you have been following my blog, you know that some of my projects are fine art, others more illustrational, and there can be a bit crafty things too. This blog post demonstrates well how the inspiration can be the same, but the interpretation is different. For me, the wide range of projects is a way to stay inspired and creative, and I hope that you have tolerance for all of them. I don’t believe in getting too serious or not getting serious at all. The humorous side of art allows us to get playful, and the playfulness feeds our ability to express the deeper side of our inspiration.
Esther can be the person who handed me a crafty gift box, or an innocent paper doll, or a mysterious flower in a painting that took tens of hours to create. The key to your artistic style is less in the looks and more in the inspiration. For me, it’s often old-fashioned romances, like Sanditon.
On this last day of the decade, I share some moments from my art studio in Finland. Watch the 1-minute video!
Many times when people look at art, they say admiringly: “How did the artist do that?” They assume that the artist intentionally painted every spot. But often, art is more about seeing what accidental spots to preserve rather than how to intentionally paint them. It’s the nature of art to explore the wild and uncontrollable side of life, and it’s the job of an artist to make it serve the expression.
During the past years, I have tried many art techniques, many approaches, but this the journey that’s for me – to produce and teach art that goes out of control at times, and that has unrealistic and abstract elements as well.