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 is all about art journal inspiration. You see more spreads from the art journal I started a couple of weeks ago, and there’s also a video of making the spread below.
The world needs the kind of magic where those who are seen as weak appear strong, and where the future is gentler than the present. Let’s create that magic!
Including Text in Art Journal Pages
I have a pile of these kinds of small stories about art and imagination. Or maybe I should say “a feed” instead of “a pile” because I post them regularly on Peony and Parakeet’s Facebook page. I have always liked writing, and I have a natural urge to share thoughts about my passion. So it hit me that I should write more in my art journals too. And why not use those stories that are born so effortlessly every week?
I have always wanted to find a genre where I would belong in art. I follow fantasy artists closely because I love their openness and enthusiasm. But I guess my genre would be defined more by the process rather than by the result. Between every painting, I need internal processing by drawing, painting, and writing. While many artists have sketchbooks, mine are more like creative diaries. They don’t sketch the next painting but move my thoughts towards it. We art journalers meet ourselves when we open our books. Like thoughts, some pages are less finished, some more, and when the journal is full, one chapter in life comes to an end.
Art Journal Pages with Typed Text Blocks
After writing by hand, I decided to make the next page so that the text would be typed. Not that I hate my handwriting, vice versa, hand-written pages always look great. But when I was a child, I used to write a lot with an old Bijou, and I missed the typed look. I still have the old typewriter, but the possibility to play with the size and style of the letters, made me use a computer instead.
Every person has an imaginary world where priorities and hierarchies change. In my imagination, plants always win. Every morning when I look at my houseplants, remove dried leaves, change their position, they not only maneuver my hands but take over my mind. I have tried to battle against these modest and silent spirits, but they always win. So, when I’m painting, I am at their service!
Here’s the spread with the two pages side by side.
In the second spread, I wanted to play with the orientation and the shape of the text blocks.
Art is not just about being in the present. You can ask questions like: What would be possible if I were tens of years younger? If I were somebody else? If I traveled to any time and place? Even: if the laws of physics were absent? These questions may first have a bit bitter tone, but in art, these ifs taste sweet. Our real-life can be like living in a pot, but through our imagination, we can reach further. No matter who you would not want to be in real life, in the world of art, it’s all good.
Mixed Media Art Journal Pages
For the second spread, I printed a gouache painting that I had made for the class Decodashery on a sticky canvas and adhered it on the page.
I really like the yellow-green circles, made with alcohol inks.
This week, we are creating an intuitive painting step by step. This project is more about following a process and mindset than trying to replicate my example.
I call this “Deer to Dream” because if you look at it from a distance, it looks like a bunch of flowers the view is more interesting when you find the deer. This is a small acrylic painting, 35 x 27 cm (about 13,5 x 10,5 inches).
Step 1 – Explore Mud – Paint a Background
Pick a few tubes and mix colors freely. Allow mud to be born!
Don’t expect clarity right from the beginning, but trust that the painting process will purify your mind. The muddy start will make you grounded.
Step 2 – Take a Flight – Paint a Flock
With a bit brighter tones, add strokes so that they make a stream across the painting. Paint dark shapes so that they group the strokes.
Keep the focus on expressing the movement rather than trying to create something accurate and realistic. The groups can be flowers or birds or anything that comes to your mind.
Your spirit has raised from the mud and begun a journey to a new world.
Step 3 – Land Towards the Light – Add Bright Pastels to the Flock
Mix white to the colors, and add bright strokes to the elements. They are now exposed to light, and the flight is getting closer to its destination.
You can leave the painting like this, but for me, intuitive painting is an adventure rather than a safe performance, something that includes risk and excitement, and we haven’t gone far enough yet. So, let’s keep painting!
Step 4 – Become Adventurous – Paint over the Elements
When we want to deepen the process, disruption is needed. Use a little bit more water and make brush strokes that partly cover what you have painted so far.
New layer is like an emotion that takes over. It makes the painting messier, but also freer and more open to new ideas.
Step 5 – Explore the Wilderness – Paint Details
The painting is now like a wilderness, and you need to know its every corner. Slowly go through every small area and forget the big picture. Make paths from one element to another, allow some parts to become more intense than others, and add little spots and strokes where you want the eye to stop and admire the view.
Imagine that every shape has a personality and that it’s your mission to make the shapes interact with each other. Connections can be built so that they share a line, a color, or form.
In this step, you begin to experience creative freedom. At first, it’s like a smell that you become slowly aware of. It’s a possibility to take a new direction and follow your instinct. So again, let’s keep painting!
Step 6 – Dare to Dream – Meet a Spirit
Dare to dream further than what you would expect in the beginning! Every painting has a spirit and your mission as an intuitive painter is to recognize it. Even if it’s you who created the painting, the spirit is free.
Feeling the presence of the painting’s spirit is often enough, but recently, I have dared to look at it to the eye and paint it too.
My latest watercolor painting has lots of vintage style flowers. I call it “Lemonietta,” and it’s inspired by home decor, afternoon tea, cream cakes, piano music, and of course, my favorite fruit – lemons!
Vintage Style Flowers in Three Colors
I have always liked old art and not just masterpieces, but decorative die cuts, vintage postcards, and all the more kitschy stuff too. So this post is dedicated to vintage style flowers, and I show how to make a cluster of vintage style flowers to your box of joy – any box that you fill with handpainted and hand-drawn collage pieces!
The tutorial is for watercolors, but you can use any paint for it. Just make sure to keep the color layers transparent. I use a piece of smooth watercolor paper, but almost any paper will do. And you only need three colors: yellow, pink, and green!
Step 1 – Three Yellow Circles
Start with yellow and paint three circles.
I painted the circles in three sizes: large, medium, and small. They form a curve rather than a straight line. This way, the composition will become more elegant than if you have similar sized flowers in a straight row.
Step 2 – Pink Petals
Add pink circles or ovals around the flowers.
Some petals can be smaller than others, so that the orientation of the flowers varies a bit. Compare my biggest flower to the medium-sized one!
Step 3 – Darken the Centers
Continue with pink, but use a little less water so that it’s darker. Make the centers and petals clearer by painting around the center and the top parts of the petals.
I use a thinner brush to get sharper points near the petals.
Then mix some more water to pink paint, and add small circles to the centers.
I use a bigger round brush for round shapes.
Step 4 – Green Leaves
Paint green ovals around the flowers.
Again, my ovals have a variety of sizes so that the composition looks more lively.
Continue with green, but now use a thicker color. Make the leaves sharper and a bit more elegant. Only paint a part of a leaf with a darker green.
See how pointy my darker shapes are, and how they don’t cover the whole leaf!
Step 5 – More Details to Flowers
Start with thick green paint and a thin brush. First, add green triangles between the petals to make the flower look more three-dimensional.
Second, paint around the petals so that they look more frilly.
Then change to a bigger brush and add more water to make the paint transparent. Paint pale green spots on petals and on the centers.
With a thinner brush, add green lines to the petals and centers. Finally, change to pink, and paint centers and petals so that they are partly darker.
The nostalgic look comes from the contrast colors and the color variation.
Step 6 – More Details to Leaves
Add pink shadows to the leaves.
With thicker green and the smaller brush, paint think lines on the leaves.
Step 7 – Dark Background
Mix thick paint from green and pink, and paint the background areas between the flowers.
I also check all the edges around the cluster so that it’s easy to cut.
Step 8 – More Color Variation
To make the flowers glow, add more color variation. Use thin paint, and add yellow to the leaves. Only paint each leaf partly.
Similarly, add green to the centers.
Here’s my finished cluster before cutting.
Step 9 – Cut It Out!
You can still change the shape of your cluster when cutting around it.
It’s so much fun to make and find backgrounds that come alive with these little flowers.
And of course, they bring more joy to the box of joy too!
Vintage Style Flowers – Starting More Intuitively
Painting small pieces is fun, but my bigger paintings are born more intuitively and they take a longer time.
I love to dig out flowers of random blooms and spatters, and then move on to paint them more intentionally.
When the paper is full of details, it’s sometimes hard to decide which ones can take the central role and remain bright, and which ones get more background color so that they don’t stand out so much.
Here’s the finished piece again. It took about two days to complete.
Even the smallest single flowers are still part of the same world.
I hope this post inspired you to create, whether it’s a project of two hours or two days!