Peony and Parakeet

Video: See What You Think

Are you searching for art journaling inspiration? Are you wondering what to create for your art journal next? Let the pen move and see what you think!

Inspirational Drawing is built so that you can enjoy developing the three dimensions of creating:
1) increasing your imagination
2) improving your technical skills
3) using inspirational source material.

You will learn a creative process in detail through art journaling exercises. Course videos will not only show you how to do, but I also talk about the emotions and the inspiration behind them. You can start enjoying free drawing without wondering what to draw or how to draw. The process itself will take care of that! >> Buy now!

Art Journaling with Colored Pencils

Being Alive, an art journal page made with Cretacolor Aqua Monolith watercolor pencils by Peony and Parakeet

My latest art journal page started with new colored pencils and rambling thoughts of the latest news from Helsinki: the architecture competition of Guggenheim Museum has ended and now there’s a big debate whether the city of Helsinki should finance the museum or not. I did not mean to include the winner building on the page, but you know how it goes: once you think something, it will appear! See the black element on the right!

Cretacolor Aqua Monolith Watercolor Pencils

Last Monday I went to the biggest art supply store in Helsinki to buy some paper and see if they had any Cretacolor Aqua Monolith Watercolor Pencils. I had bought one pencil about a year ago just to see how it works. After many months, I noticed the growing use of that pencil. So now I was thinking to buy a couple more. It turned out that they did not sell the pencils individually anymore, so I bought the smallest set of 12.

Creatacolor Aqua Monolith Watercolor Pencils

As you can see from the picture, these pencils are nothing like ordinary colored pencils! They are not wooden at all; they only have a thin lacquer coating! For me, it took some time to get used to how they feel when holding them. But once I got over it and started treating them as any pencil, (pressing lightly and creating multiple thin layers), I noticed that they work great. These pencils are soft enough to make the coloring pleasurable but not too soft for detailed work.

Creating an art journal page by Peony and Parakeet. Using Cretacolor Aqua Monolith Pencils.

It is fascinating that you can also use shavings if you add a little bit water to them!

Cretacolor Aqua Monolith Watercolor Pencils

My art journal page was made without water – these watercolor pencils work well that way too.

Creating an art journal page with colored pencils, by Peony and Parakeet

All of my colored pencils fit in two jars as I usually use them all at the same time, no matter what their brand or type is.

Adding Journaling to the Page

I was drawn to green tones even if I was thinking of the city view. There’s something magical when the tourists arrive Helsinki in the spring. They make shy and withdrawn Finnish people more friendly and helpful. When the hard winter is over, everybody is willing to make a fresh start.

While continuing the coloring of the page, I thought about cultural institutes and their events. Whether it is a city full of tourists or a concert hall full of audience, it feels alive and uplifting. It gives me energy and inspiration to create once I get back home. I felt drawn to the word “alive” and decided to add some words to the page too. By erasing some areas after coloring, I created areas for writing.

Erasing places for writing when art journaling with colored pencils, by Peony and Parakeet

For me, being alive is a visual thing. When I am using my senses, I see images. When I draw the images, I feel alive.

Being Alive, an art journal page made with Cretacolor Aqua Monolith watercolor pencils by Peony and Parakeet

Create an art journal page with colored pencils and words by answering:
What does make you feel alive?

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Using Fabric on Art Journal Pages

So Much Gardening to Do, an art journal page that uses fabric pieces. A fabric collage by Peony and Parakeet
At this time of the year, at the beginning of summer, there’s a lot to do in the garden. I started early this year, but recently there has been so many activities that I feel I have neglected the garden. This guilty feeling also showed up on my latest art journal page!

This page is made on a spread of Moleskine Sketchbook, so the image is fairly small, about 10 inches in width. A special feature here is that I have added two small cotton fabric pieces to boost my imagination. Using the technique of fabric collage was just a sudden idea, but I love how the page feels when touched!

Creating fabric collage with fabric pieces and freehand drawing, by Peony and Parakeet

I attached the first fabric piece at the early stage. Golden Soft Gel Gloss Medium was used for attaching the fabric.

Using Fabric Pieces on Art Journal Pages, by Peony and Parakeet

After attaching the fabric, I doodled with a black drawing pen to get the creativity going.

Using Fabric Pieces on Art Journal Pages, by Peony and Parakeet

When I began coloring, I realized that I want to create a spread instead of a page. So I attached another fabric, purposefully a bit different from the first.

Using Fabric Pieces on Art Journal Pages, by Peony and Parakeet

While coloring the page, I added more details. As my garden looks wild at the moment, I wanted to show the growth on the page too.

Tulips in the garden

Here’s one corner of our front garden. Tulips bloom beautifully, and peonies (my favorites, of course!) grow fast.  Lots of weeding to be done!

Using Fabric Pieces on Art Journal Pages, by Peony and Parakeet

Why not try some fabric collage in your journal?

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Art Journaling with Still Lives

Stay Still, the art journal page spread by Peony and Parakeet

For the last couple of years, I have felt drawn to still lives. I even have the Pinterest board of the ones that I especially like. I used to think that old still lives are very conventional but they really are not! There can be anything happening in the painting, like a squirrel running on the table, and there can be a wide variety of objects too. And even the flowers look magical! Art journaling has a lot to learn from the old masters.

So, I thought it could be a fun concept to create still lives by applying the tips from the previous blog post.  I could combine odd paper pieces and doodles with text and create surreal art journal pages.

A detail of an art journal page spread, by Peony and Parakeet

I kind of like how this first still life combines conventional elements like flowers with the more surreal ones, like the eye. The same contradiction is also seen in the color scheme: bright purples look mystical when combined with olive greens and warm browns.

Group the elements!

The principal of composition in still lives is simple. Just group the elements closely together!

Unfinished art journal pageMy art journals often have unfinished pages with elements here and there. This page had some doodles and a small illustration that I had drewn for a surface pattern. I often glue odd pieces to my art journals to save them. A page like this can be a great starting point for a still life!

I started working this page by adding the text so that it creates the vase for the flowers. I emphasized that with colored pencils. Then I colored the soft background with colored pencils. The softness is a great contrast to the graphic element on the bottom.

2 art journal pages by Peony and Parakeet

The third still life is formed around a doodle found on another page. It included just the bird and the flowers. I added the pot, stamped the text, colored the doodles with colored pencils and finally created the background with markers.

Why Are These Pages So Fast and Simple?

1) The starting point does not have to be grand, just some doodles, or paint, or odd pieces of paper.
2) Stamping few words tie the oddly placed elements easily together.
3) Coloring does not have to take a lot of time when it adds something new to the page.

More Still Lives

Watercolor 101 for Intuitive Painting – my video introduces an easy method which is especially suitable for surreal still lives and landscapes
A Formula for Composition – another way for creating a still life
Stretch Your Style – instructions to step out of the comfort zone, showcasing one of my favorite still lives

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