Peony and Parakeet

New Oil Painting and Pretty Art Journaling

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

"Wreath Maker" - an oil painting by Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet

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.

Making of an intuitive oil painting, by Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

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!

A series of three floral paintings. By Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

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.

Art journals on a shelf. By Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

Smash Books – Do You Still Remember Them?

Smash books as art journals. Pretty art journaling.

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:

>> Pink Smash Book Flip-Through
>> Black Smash Book Flip-Through

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.

A colorful zebra and a fantasy horse. By Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

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?

Painting with silver and gold acrylics. Pretty art journaling. By Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet. Golden Heavybody acrylics.

It doesn’t have to be anything grand at first, just a small art journal page.

A decorative horse painted with silver and gold acrylics. By Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

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?

Pretty art journaling. Making a pretty page. By Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

I want to allow this free flow from one theme and one media to another happen again with this journal.

Pretty art journaling. An inner cover of a pretty art journal. By Peony and Parakeet.

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!

Pretty art journaling. An art journal spread with painting and drawing. By Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

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.

A hand made picture shelf for paintings and a small table for displaying art and art journals.

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?

Classes which inspired this post:
Animal Inkdom – Draw and decorate wild animals! – Buy here!
Magical Inkdom – Draw the magic of mysteries and fairytales! – Buy here!
Decodashery – Paint beautiful florals and more! – Buy here!
Flowers masterclass: Floral FantasiesBuy here!

Art Deco Journal Covers

Art Deco style handmade journal covers by Peony and Parakeet
My sisters will get empty handmade journals from me for Christmas. They both like writing and literature so I hope they will put the journals in use. My idea is to include some photos, decorative papers, scrap pictures and such – so that the journal is like a handmade version of Smash book more than a basic blank book. I have also chosen the themes for the journals. The older sister will get an art deco themed book and the younger sister will get flowers and fairies. Here’s a snapshot of the latter.

Handmade smash book like journal covered with Elsa Beskow's illustration, by Peony and Parakeet

I had an old Elsa Beskow’s children’s book which I used for the cover image. There are plenty of pretty papers too! My other sister would not have this, it is much too cute for her. She likes something more artistic.

I chose art deco as I have been thinking a lot about that style lately. I love the muted, sliding color transitions combined with black and white. And I have been more and more into using graphic, sharp shapes.

Art Deco Journal Covers

I will show you how I made the covers for the art deco themed journal. First, I picked some Sticky Canvas by Claudine Helmuth Studio. It is a canvas sheet that is like a huge sticker. You can attach it without glue after you have finished it. You do not need sticky canvas for this project. You can use a drawing paper or thin fabric instead.

1) Background Colors

I started with watercolors, then used some Dylusions ink sprays. As the canvas got all wet, it got wrinkled. I emphasized the wrinkles by brushing Distress ink pads against the canvas.

Art Deco style handmade journal covers by Peony and Parakeet, step 1

Now I got the muted, soft color transitions. Next task was to add contrasts and sharpness to it.

2) Background Motifs

I cut art deco styled shapes from old cardboard boxes and arranged them on the canvas.

Art Deco style handmade journal covers by Peony and Parakeet, step 2

Then I sprayed with the black Dylusions ink spray over the shapes.

Art Deco style handmade journal covers by Peony and Parakeet, step 2 after spraying

3) Finishing the Covers

I cut two thick cardboard pieces for covers. Then I covered them with the sticky canvas. I had a couple of handmade decorated papers which I wanted to use too.

Art Deco style handmade journal covers by Peony and Parakeet, step 3, adding decorated papers

I added decorated papers to the covers. Colored pencils were used to highlight the muted tones. The holes were punched with Zutter Bind-It-All. It is amazing how thick it can cut!

Art Deco style handmade journal covers by Peony and Parakeet

The front and back covers are shown on the left, and the inside covers on the right.

Handmade journal covers by Peony and Parakeet

Now I just have to add pages, draw some art deco style ornaments to them and find a photo of my sister where she looks a bit like a beauty of that era!

Art Deco appeared first time in 1920-40s, just after Art Nouveau.  
Leave a comment, what do you like in Art Deco or have you noticed it at all? Have you ever made anything Art Deco?

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