Do you sometimes feel like there is magic in the air? Like anything you can dream of is actually possible? Do you sometimes feel so inspired by the inexplicable beauty of Nature that your heart can hardly contain it all?Come discover my biggest painting to date and join me for a few moments of magic and inspiration in the Secret Garden.
Oh how good it feels to be painting big again! This new work, titled "Imagine", has been such a beautiful, joyful, relaxing journey... In fact I've enjoyed it so much that I have started a whole new grid-based series. And so today I want to talk a little bit about the creative process, and the sweet dance between intuition and... structure!
As we stand on the threshold of a brand new year, we breathe out the old, and breathe in the new. The past no longer exists, and the future isn't born yet. All there really is is Now, Here, and the desires in our hearts that will create our new reality, soon, if we let them, if we learn to just allow...
There has been so much going on around here lately, the ups and downs of life, and inner growth too... Months have passed like shooting stars and it's high time I shared all the new art that has been born in the interval. So in the coming days I'm going to take the time to let these new creations tell me their stories, so that I can share them with you. And so it begins...
In love with wax...
Do you know that feeling when you discover something new and from the first second it feels like home? Well, that's what just happened to me when I tried encaustic painting for the very first time two weeks ago.
I had been wanting to try wax for the past 2 years, I was in love with the dreamy look and soft texture of the medium, drooling over the artwork I dicovered on the web (see my wax board on Pinterest)... I didn't dare for a long time but now... I'm hooked! Love at first sight (first brushstroke really)... Participating in Kellee Conrad’s 100 artworks challenge gave me the little push I needed, and I'm so thankful!
For now I have only started working with encaustic medium combined with other mixed media techniques (pencil, inks, oil paint, a bit of collage...) and it has already opened up such a world of possibility! I can't even imagine what's going to happen when I try mixing some encaustic paints...
One of the things I most enjoy is working with a natural medium (encaustic medium is made of beeswax and tree sap), plus it smells divine... I also love that I get to play and mix my own medium, it's quite magical really: crushing the beautiful Damar crystals, melting the wax, watching the cloudy effect when it becomes solid again, the whole process feels somewhat like alchemy...
Here is what they look like after 2 coats of wax:
And after working on that surface, scratching, painting, staining and fusing, scratching, painting and fusing some more...
So here is #1/100, my very first encaustic painting!
I have 9 pieces in progress in this series and will share the rest here soon so stay tuned! (if you haven't already, you can now subscribe to new blog posts by email HERE).
NB: All pieces are 8" x 8" on MDF wood panels and are available for purchase (they still need to dry for a few days though!). Shoot me an email or PM me on Facebook if you'd like to know more. * EDIT: SOLD! *
Have a beautiful creative day!
Light & love
Inner truth... a new painting
These days are days of transition.
Letting go of what needs to go.
Opening up the gates and letting new energy flow.
Days of introspection.
Turning inside and re-connecting to inner truth.
On trust, commitment, and leaving the battlefield
Hi there! The blog is finally back after having been down for several days, due to a very nasty spam attack. All is well now and I am very thankful to my webhost who helped solved the issue. I have put so much time, energy and love into building this website from scratch. Feeling "under attack" for no reason at all, with the threat of losing it all because of some unknown hostile person, that felt really awful. And I am so relieved and thankful that it all turned out OK. The whole thing has once again led me to think about Trust (my "word of the year").
What does it mean, to trust, to believe, to have faith in something, in someone, and especially in oneself? What does it mean, to commit to one's dream, to one's own truth, to try and stay strong in the face of adversity, or even plain hostility?
In the past year, I have made decisions and taken new steps on my journey: going back to school, working with elderly people, learning new skills that will make me more able to share my passion for creativity with others, gaining experience, pushing against some boundaries, widening my horizon. I committed to this training for a year and a half, and I'm determined to see it through, even though the price has been making very little art for what seems like eternity. It has felt so painful at times, as if I were losing sight of who I am, of the little artist girl inside.
But the hardest thing, since starting this new adventure almost a year ago, has been to encounter the full-blown hostility of several people along the way, and having to spend a lot of energy protecting myself, fiercely protecting my "inner child", like I would any of my kids. A lot of energy that, therefore, didn't go into making art.
I'm an optimist. And it's not "just the way I am", I'm not some naive dreamer who thinks the world is coated in sugar. Being an optimist is a conscious, deliberate choice, a decision I make every single day, a commitment to myself. It's NOT easy. It's a bit like climbing up the slide: it's not the easiest thing to do, but remember how good it felt, when you were a kid and you reached the top?
But as it turns out, when you are moving forward, and working hard, trusting your wings and starting to see the results of your efforts, well... some people don't like it. Those are people who might have had their own dream some day, but for some reason, at some point they got stuck. Maybe they even gave it up completely. And they probably suffered, and did whatever they could to numb out the pain and forget. But being around someone who hasn't given up, who is working towards their own dreams, it makes them uncomfortable. Because it puts them face to face with their old dream again, with a part of themselves that used to be alive and joyful, long ago.
For some people it can be the little spark of inspiration and hope that they needed to try again. But for others it brings all sorts of negative feelings to the surface: sadness, helplessness, cynicism or just plain anger. It feels like a threat they must eradicate.
I get that. I understand that. But that doesn't mean I should selflessly let myself be trampled upon. Nor does it mean that I should spend even more energy fighting back, wrestling and thinking tactics. When diplomacy fails, it can be so tempting to retaliate. And it would be so easy to let myself be dragged into a battle that, fundamentally, isn't mine. Speeding down the slide, away from my goal. Except that I know where I'm standing on my path, and I know where I want to go. I've made a commitment to myself, with clarity and intention. With trust. Sometimes it is absolutely essential to fight, and sometimes it is equally important to know when to leave the battlefield.
Which I have. And the moment I made the decision, my whole energy shifted. Joy and freedom came back and a new painting was finally born. The last one dates back to April, so I know it's a good sign that I made the right choice.
This is one more experience I am learning from, getting strength from. I feel even clearer about my priorities now, about my goal and intention. It's a life commitment, "forever"...
Dear Jane... A new Austen-inspired painting
Hi there friends! Oooh how I've missed this blog! I can't believe it's been so long. I've been up to my curly head in exams for this training program I'm doing. I still have an oral exam tomorrow, but after that, I really really hope to reconnect with... well, me. My inner artist, my creative journey, my paintbrushes and this whole community I am missing so much.
But I've still managed to finish a new painting over the past month (special thanks to Prince Charming for keeping the kids busy a whole week-end... LOVE). And it's another Jane Austen-inspired lady... Actually, this time it's inspired by Jane herself.
I've spent hours, days and nights writing a big essay this month, and only just realized the similarity with the girl in the painting (although writing a novel would probably have been a lot more fun!). It's funny to find that, in a way, my inner artist has been accompanying me all along, on the canvas, at a time when I almost entirely put her aside.
There's so much I want to catch up on and tell you about. First, I have several beautiful (and long over-due) "Once upon a time" artist guest posts to share with you. I have missed many Life Book lessons but have finally started to dive into Kelly Rae Roberts' "Hello Soul, Hello Mixed Media Mantras" e-course: pure delight. More on that later...
But for now, a little behind the scenes peek: those of you who are following my facebook art page have seen the painting's progress from start to finish, and here it is again, enjoy!
See you very very soon! (fingers crossed...)
Just breathe... a new painting
Hi all! I just finished a painting this morning and simply couldn't wait to share it with you! It's been so long since I finished a real, big canvas, and even longer since I did one of my Jane Austen inspired heroines...
So here she is, this time she has opened her window and the painting is titled "Just breathe"...
At first I wasn't sure, but I think she might very well be Elinor from Sense and Sensibility. Opening her heart, letting in a sense of freedom and hope despite all obstacles, taking a deep breath as she bravely and patiently endures disappointment, all the while keeping her dream alive, however distant it may seem...
The painting reads "Open the window and let your dreams take flight".
And she is the little sister of my Touch the Dream and Miss Marianne, both inspired by Austenian heroines (Anne Elliot from Persuasion and Marianne from Sense and sensibility). Once again, I used pages from the novel in the collage, and Jane Austen's handwriting shows through the characters' skin, as though they drew life from the writer's words...
Would you believe it? This was originally one of the paintings I started in Bloom True back in October! Well, it has gone through quite a metamorphosis...
Have a great week everyone, and don't forget to
Wishing tree... another painting from the Bloom True class
Hi friends! I'm adjusting to this new life now that I'm a "student" again. I'm going to school one week a month and the rest of the time I'm an intern at a local culture and youth center. Fortunately, my schedule allows me to have some mornings off so I can keep painting, yay! Of course I have less time for social networking and blogging. I have decided to stop updating my Google+ page for now, and even my facebook page might get lost in limbo from time to time, but I'm still here and more than ever appreciate your comments and support.
It is a time for new projects, new dreams, new wishes, sending positive intentions into the Universe for this new life, this creative life that is slowly taking shape.
These past few weeks, dreams have grown onto the canvas, hopeful thoughts have revealed themselves in every color of the rainbow, layer after layer. And the tree that had started to emerge on this quiet riverside, has been whispering in the wind: "Make a wish..."
This is my second canvas started in Flora Bowley's Bloom True e-course. At the end of the post you'll find a summary of the different stages it has been through: the first layers, done in Flora's class following her techniques, have given the painting it's direction. Then, once the tree had revealed itself, I let it bloom in my own style.
Now, I'm closing my eyes and blowing wishes into its branches, of abundance, health and love for each and every one of you...
And you, what are you wishing for? Let us know in the comments!
Blooming true: first painting complete..
Happy monday everyone! Today's a bank holiday here in France and I've been making the most of it to finish the first of my three paintings from "Bloom True", Flora Bowley's class (read my other posts about the course here). It was actually canvas 2, for those who've followed the previous episodes...
This painting has been the most laborious one in its early stages, a bit dull, as if I were resisting letting color in. It's been through many "awkward teenager phases" before turning into a renewed love story with color!
It has been about opening up, trusting the process and making it my own, blending together Flora's teachings and my favorite techniques and tools (it seems I just can't give up collage and writing all over my canvases...)
Below is a little look back at most of the phases the painting has been going through. Now it's "almost" complete... but it still needs a title!
And that's where I need you guys: help! Tell me in the comments how the painting makes you feel, what you see or how it inspires you... and if a title comes to mind, please share it! I would love to read your ideas and pick a title from them. And as a thank you, the person who comes up with my favorite title wins a signed print!
I'm looking forward to reading your ideas!
Have a beautiful and inspired week!
And the finished painting:
Winter songs : two new paintings for the cold days...
Brrr... it's been getting really chilly here in the past few days. Samhain / Halloween, the threshold of the cold season, is just behind us, and today we've taken the winter coats, mitains and scarves out of the closet. And Xmas preparations have already started to make their way into our conversations. Winter is on its way... So today I would like to share two "twin" paintings that I completed a while ago - some of you might remember glimpses shared on my Facebook page. I guess they were waiting for the right season to show themselves on the blog... They are inspired by my walks in the woods, one of my all-time favorite things. I call them "Winter Songs".
Do you know that feeling when you take a walk into the woods? Just walking, the crunchy sound of dry leaves under your feet. No goal, no destination. The white sky showing through the interlacing branches above your head. Just walking...
And then a song... Tiny fragments of a melody at first, making their way to the surface of your mind. Humming...
Then a few words remembered. Whispering... There's no one here, only the birds chiming in, only you and the Universe. Smiling...
And the song wants to be sung. And the words want to be spoken. You can feel their warmth in your throat, in your belly, in your feet as you start kicking the dry leaves. Playfully...
And then another song weaves itself into the first, and little by little the well-known words make way for your own. A prayer, a poem, a conversation. Harmony...
Here in this sacred refuge, you are known, you are heard, you are loved.
Possibility... where dreams come to life
Hi friends! Today we're celebrating! A year ago I embarked upon a true life-changing experience: I took a class. But it turned out to be so much more than that. It was Kelly Rae Roberts' "Flying Lessons", and the name couldn't be more appropriate, because it's really about teaching creative people to find their wings, open them and take flight. Kelly Rae has been an amazing training pilot / mama-bird, sharing her experiences, cheering us on, and also helping us deal with our fears.
We were over 500 brave little hatchlings in that nest, and today we are a beautiful, joyful and determined flock, fiercely supporting each other on our creative journeys. We are, as Kelly Rae says, "Possibilitarians":
"Possibilitarians = Possibility-fueled visionaries who stepped into their own limitlessness. Against the grain, against the odds. Just because . . . they had a calling they couldn’t ignore."
And who want to share their journeys so that others can feel they are given permision to follow their calling too, so that "just like that, the impossible simply . . . isn’t."
I made this little mixed media nest over the summer, as I was settling into my new studio. This room truly feels like a nest to me, because it is a safe, soft and inspiring place where my own creative dreams can grow, mature and hatch, before spreading their wings and taking flight into the world.
I believe our dreams, the ones that truly are this "calling we can't ignore", are not meant to stay dormant inside our nest, as warm and cozy as it may be. Eventually we'll need to crack that shell and hatch. And as any baby bird, we'll be small, and vulnerable, and awkward until our feathers grow.
But we're not alone. There are others in the nest with us, and if we're in this together, then it's no longer so scary. With the gentle help and example of those who have spread their wings before us, we can take the leap!
There will most probably be times when we stumble, and fall, and doubt, and get hurt. And maybe we'll never be the most gracious or colourful of birds... But who cares, as long as we can FLY!
This post is part of the Flying Lessons Blog Circle! A few of us are writing about being a possibilitarian today, so follow THIS LINK to read my friend Karrlin's take on the subject, and then you can follow the link to the next blog, and the next and so on, until you circle back here!
What about you? What dreams or crazy projects are you hatching these days?...
Trust your wings and Rise...
There's nothing like a bit of Disney magic... Tonight I watched a little bit of Dumbo with the kids. I hadn't watched it in years and fell in love with this scene at the end where the chubby, clumsy little elephant loses his (fake) magical feather that was supposed to give him the power to fly.
He panicks and falls and falls and falls but at the last second, cheered on by his little friend the mouse, he finally finds the strength and faith to trust his own wings, and gracefully rises. He becomes who he was always meant to be.
Well, that's what this little painting is all about: trust your wings, take off and rise higher than you ever thought you could... (+ an elephant's weight of gratitude to all the little mice... LOVE you guys).
(this painting is dedicated to Yves, his family and all who loved him. Peace and Hope)
Gemini, a new winged key and thoughts on duality...
June... that's my month, and that's when I started this new piece (even though I let it sit unfinished for most of the summer). You see, I'm a gemini (as are so many creative people... it's uncanny).
And not just that. I also have 2 first names. Or rather, my actual first name is made of 2 names, hyphenated: Laly is short for Laure-Elise. And even though I'm French, I live in two languages too (on this blog and more). So, quite naturally, duality is an important aspect of life for me, just as I'm sure it can sometimes be for many of you out there.
Sometimes it can be a gift, and sometimes it's a real challenge. It's the constant pull between desire and fear, the intuitive and adventurous little girl, and the rational, overthinking adult. It's the ability to see light when everything is dark, but also doubts creeping in when everything seems fine. It's about trying to find my way with a compass that points North... and South.
Sometimes I get lost and sometimes I just freeze right there on the spot, paralyzed. So it's also about making choices, with a part of me madly researching every tiny detail of the question, and the other just following her gut. And eventually, finding a third option, inventing a new door, a magical secret passage, holding its unique key...
Most of all, it's about balance and reconciliation. Letting go of the struggle. Sitting with the fears and the enthusiasm, inviting the little girl and the grown up for a tea party they'll both enjoy, where they'll learn to make friends. Maybe I'm not quite there yet, but this I know:
It takes 2 wings to fly...
To find out more about the winged keys series, follow THIS LINK.
Voyage imaginaire... a new painting
Hi there lovely people! As promised, I'd like to share a new painting with you today. I shared some pictures of this work in progress before and here it is! This painting was my first ever commission piece, quite a challenge...
I painted it for some dear friends, whose guest room has the coolest vintage floors ever: they're made of old boards from train wagons and have a gorgeous red/brown color with white painted numbers and signs!
So, first I took pictures of the floors which I printed on A3 paper and they served as the basis for the painting.
Then I asked my friends to give me a list of words, elements and colors to work from. Their list included "the passing of time", "travels", "vintage yellowish papers", "brick red", "misty"... I sat with that list for a while, let it sink in for a few days, went back to it from time to time during the process... I let it inspire me and melt into my own imaginary world.
To add to the travel theme, around the end of the process I asked my friends about their dream destinations and wrote them in white on the painting, together with poetic thoughts and positive intentions.
I titled it "Voyage imaginaire" (imaginary travel) and I hope it will achieve just that: take them away, from time to time, to far-off imaginary landscapes, dreams and memories...