This week I have a video about painting in an expressive abstract style. It’s a very contemporary style which many artists have nowadays. It’s based on loose strokes, and I guess it’s the style that many who are not so much into art say that even a child can do it, but it’s not quite like that! Watch the video!
Are you interested in creating abstract art? Do you wish to learn more about abstract art in my blog and in my classes? Leave a comment!
This week, I have finished an oil painting and started an art journal that I want to make as pretty as possible. I also talk about my aspire to paint horses and ask how deep you have to know the subject to own it in your art. This post has lots of pics!
Wreath Maker – Painting with Oils Like They Would be Watercolors
I started this painting in January, and I am so glad that it’s finally finished. Even if this is an oil painting, I used the approach that’s best for watercolors – I started with pale pastels and worked towards darker tones. I really like painting like this, and the result pleases my eye. The pictures below show the process and I have also blogged about this painting in May 2020.
The Series of Three Floral Paintings
The painting is called “Seppeleentekijä – Wreath Maker”. It’s the last one for the series of three paintings. The two first ones are watercolor pieces called “Jäänmurtaja – Ice Breaker” and “Soihdunkantaja – Torch Bearer.” I made the paintings so that they could be seen as a triptych where the flowers of the two watercolor paintings lean towards the centerpiece. Click the image below to see the series as a bigger picture!
The Shelf of Art Journals – Re-Organizing the Studio
Making the three paintings was quite an accomplishment, and finishing the last piece made me feel empty. What to do next? Well, I don’t know about you, but if I need recreation, cleaning and organizing is the thing! While going through the stuff on the shelves of my little studio, I gathered the sketchbooks and art journals in one place.
Smash Books – Do You Still Remember Them?
I found one almost empty old Smash Book – do you remember the time when everybody had them? See the flip-through videos of my two Smash Books here:
The third Smash Book has a silver back and with that, I remembered how back then, all the art journals were more or less messy. In 2012, I daringly wrote a blog post that asked: “Can’t there be pretty art journaling?”
So it hit me, that the extra Smash Book could continue the tradition of the two past ones and be a pretty art journal. It could also be my tool for encouraging myself to paint what I really want, and not fall into the trap of trying to paint what seems more appropriate. Namely, I would like to paint things like … (gasping a bit)… ahem … HORSES! I tried to make a long list, but all I could think of was HORSES.
Horses – Can only an Expert Paint Them?
You see, I am no expert in horses, I have ridden on a horse only once, as a child, and I have never been living close to a stable. But I had toy horses, and I have always admired their beauty. I have tried to get rid of this disease by drawing zebras for the class Animal Inkdom, and horses for its independent sequel Magical Inkdom, but it hasn’t gone away.
Can you paint something you are no expert in? Many years ago, I heard an interview with an artist who said that everything clicked when he started painting cows. He had been living with them most of his life, and he knew exactly how they are. You have to know what you paint, he claimed, as far as I can remember. It makes sense. I love plants and have always been growing some. I feel I know the soul of flowers and in the oil painting that I just finished, I wanted the flowers to reveal their soul, to be chatty and curious, just like they are if you silently observe them very, very closely.
But isn’t it possible to use the expertise for other things too – to transfer the soul of a flower to a horse, and thus, regain the mastery? To use the flowery language from Decodashery to express a moving thing?
It doesn’t have to be anything grand at first, just a small art journal page.
Pretty Art Journaling Can Be Reverse Creative Exploring
If I can paint a horse in the language of flowers, couldn’t it also be possible to revert the process? Could I make an art journal page from the painting, a sketch after a result?
I want to allow this free flow from one theme and one media to another happen again with this journal.
The image of the painting was printed on a sticky canvas bought ages ago. Then I drew and colored the floral frame, and added some gold and silver paint too. Here’s the first spread of the “new” Smash Book – the new beginning of pretty art journaling!
Handmade Picture Shelf Finishes the Display
A part of reorganizing was to get a picture shelf on the wall. My skillful husband made it, and I absolutely love it.
Finished paintings, paintings in progress, and art journal spreads can now be displayed together.
Tell me, what inspires you at the moment? What do you put in your list of what to paint or draw?
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!