Laly Mille

Busy autumn

Catching up... it's a busy autumn!

Hi everyone! I have so much catching up to do! A magazine publication, stuff happening on Facebook, lovely greeting cards in the shop and an art show coming up! So here we go:

First: I am so excited to have an article in the Fall issue of Somerset Apprentice! Featuring my mixed media painting "Rise" with stepped out instructions. A big THANK YOU to the editor Jana Holstein!

And... greetings! I have restocked my Etsy shop  with new, beautiful greeting cards, ready to carry your love around the world or simply add a soulful touch to your home or your studio: they loooove to get framed! So do the new art prints  I have prepared just for you: they are home printed, archival quality and signed by yours truly. NB: About the greeting cards: quantities are (very) limited so make sure to grab your favorites now   for the holidays!

fragile elusion

fragile elusion

ladies x2 cards

ladies x2 cards

Also, I am sharing a work in progress (a portrait!) on my Facebook page these days, so come on over and join the fun! And I'm answering your questions all along...

painting 1WM
painting 1WM

And finally... an ART SHOW! I have the great pleasure of exhibiting my work alongside sculptor Jacques Cancre next month in France, at the Pavillon Heller in Ballan Miré (a beauuuutiful little venue). If you happen to be visiting the Loire Valley, please stop by! The opening is on Saturday 15th at 6:30 pm. Mark it on your Facebook calendar HERE!

I think that's it for now... I hope these will all be opportunities for you to get inspired and add more art into your life!

Light & love ♥

From the studio

From the studio

Dear friends, I still don't have much time to blog these days, and even less time to translate a post, so I thought I'd just share a few pictures of a project I've been working on: creating a tattered a dress that (hopefully) I will wear at my sister's wedding in August... and a lovely little tutu for my almost 5 year-old daughter!

Sewing has never really been my forte, but with this project I've discovered that I can sew intuitively directly on a dress form: lots of fun!!

And you can check out THIS BOARD in my Pinterest to find out about the inspiration behind this  project... Enjoy!

Laly Mille tattered dress project, lilac roses
Laly Mille tattered dress project, lilac roses
Laly Mille tattered dress project
Laly Mille tattered dress project
Laly Mille tattered dress project
Laly Mille tattered dress project
Laly Mille tattered dress project
Laly Mille tattered dress project
Laly Mille tattered dress project, spiderweb
Laly Mille tattered dress project, spiderweb
Laly Mille tattered dress project
Laly Mille tattered dress project
Laly Mille tattered dress project
Laly Mille tattered dress project
Laly Mille tattered dress project
Laly Mille tattered dress project
Laly Mille tattered dress project
Laly Mille tattered dress project
Laly Mille tattered dress project
Laly Mille tattered dress project

Have a great week-end everyone!

The Wishing Tree

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.

The Wishing Tree, mixed media painting on canvas © 2013 Laly Mille
The Wishing Tree, mixed media painting on canvas © 2013 Laly Mille

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.

The Wishing Tree, detail, mixed media painting on canvas © 2013 Laly Mille
The Wishing Tree, detail, mixed media painting on canvas © 2013 Laly Mille

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..."

The Wishing Tree, detail, mixed media painting on canvas © 2013 Laly Mille
The Wishing Tree, detail, mixed media painting on canvas © 2013 Laly Mille

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.

The Wishing Tree, detail, mixed media painting on canvas © 2013 Laly Mille
The Wishing Tree, detail, mixed media painting on canvas © 2013 Laly Mille

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!

The Wishing Tree, evolution from Bloom True, mixed media painting on canvas © 2013 Laly Mille
The Wishing Tree, evolution from Bloom True, mixed media painting on canvas © 2013 Laly Mille

Gratitude

Gratitude

Today is blog circle day and this month's theme is "thanks giving". To me it is an opportunity to express gratitude for all the good things, and also the not-so-good, because they are all part of the journey.

gratitude
gratitude

Thank you family Thank you friendship Thank you Love

Thank you betrayal Thank you heartbreak Thank you disappointment

You make my heart grow

Thank you rejection Thank you failure Thank you frustration

Thank you creativity Thank you inspiration Thank you serendipity

You make my path clear

Thank you self-care Thank you tenderness Thank you energy

Thank you complexes Thank you fatigue Thank you pain

You make my body heard

Thank you doubt Thank you blindness Thank you abandonment

Thank you spirit Thank you guidance Thank you Truth

You make my soul fly

This post is part of the Flying Lessons Blog Circle. For an inspiring journey into gratitude, I invite you to follow the circle by visiting the next blogs:

(Laly Mille) > Debbie howard of Texasdaisey Creations > Robin Heim of Seasons of Grace & Wisdom > Lulu Bea > Amy Riddle of On A Journey Back To Her Wings > Sandy Mair Art > Michelle Hill Designs > Vickie Martin > Karrlin Bain > Kathie Gadd of Lavender Chalet > Lisa R. Ullrich of Heart Soul Create > Monica Martin of The Artsy Girl Studio > Nancy Lennon of Rainbow Light Angel > Ginger Deverell of Red Pear Creative

And you, what are you grateful for today?

NB: This blog circle is an international group so it’s a bit of a challenge to coordinate the different time zones. If you find that the circle is not yet complete, please check back later today!

Blooming true: first painting complete...

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!

blooming true canvas 2 complete © 2013 Laly Mille
blooming true canvas 2 complete © 2013 Laly Mille

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...)

blooming true canvas 2 complete © 2013 Laly Mille
blooming true canvas 2 complete © 2013 Laly Mille

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!

canvas 2 evolution

canvas 2 evolution

And the finished painting:

blooming true canvas 2 complete © 2013 Laly Mille
blooming true canvas 2 complete © 2013 Laly Mille

Blooming true: 3 weeks already and 3 paintings in progress...

Blooming true: 3 weeks already and 3 paintings in progress...

Hi there lovely people! Week 3 of Flora Bowley's Bloom True class is over already and it's time for a little check-in!

I have been busy on the jobsearch/training front so haven't been painting as much as I would have wished these past 2 weeks. And there is so much amazing content in Flora's class that I'll need to go back to as soon as I can. But anyway, this intuitive painting process is taking me to new territory and I thought I'd share a few pictures with you!

For now it's all about layers: alternating warm and cool colors, black and white, and translucent paints. And above all it's about working on the inner plane to "dance the paint": yoga, meditation, music, movement, intuition and letting go...

Here is the evolution of the first two canvases I was showing you in my previous post, plus a third one I've started on top of a collage background from last summer. As I was saying, my painting time was limited and as I still wanted to keep up with the course as much as possible, I didn't do as many layers of each type as was suggested, but I've still been having lots of fun!

Canvas 1

Remember that solar energy whirlwind from the first layer?

Here it is after a layer of cool colors:

 And then more warm colors:

White layer:

Black layer: a face emerged! (I could actually see 2 faces back to back in the white layer and chose to go with this one)

Transparent colors layer, then more white, warm and cool colors. This is where I'm at now:

Canvas 2

This was the first, warm layer:

Cool layer:

More warm and cool layers:

White layer:

Black layer (a bit Xmas-y I guess...):

More colored layers and a bit of collage, that's it for now!

Canvas 3

(on top of a collage background started earlier this year)

That's it for now... I hope I'll get the chance to paint a little more next week... For those of you who would like to find out more, below is video presenting the course and links to Flora's ecourse and her book.

See you soon!

... and a link to Flora's book:

Trust your wings and Rise...

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.

Rise, mixed media painting on canvas, 2013 Laly Mille
Rise, mixed media painting on canvas, 2013 Laly Mille

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)

Altered book holiday project #1

Altered book holiday project #1

It's my second day in my "nest" and ideas are flowing! I thought I'd share a few pictures of what I have started today. On Sunday I'm leaving for 3 weeks of vacation but I'm determined that it won't be 3 more weeks without making any art! So I came up with a project that should be easy to carry around and will allow me to use the many "treasures" I'm sure to collect in the country and at the sea side.

For a long time I've wanted to try my hand at an altered book. For those of you who don't know what that is, it's an artist book made from a regular book, "upcycled" as an art piece! I love books and I love this idea of giving them a new life. I started a Pinterest board about book art, check it out to see some cool examples!

So, what have we got here? A sturdy children's book that my kids are too old for now (they're 6 and 4).

altered book 1
altered book 1

What I like about it is tabbed, both at the top and on the side. Pretty cool!

altered book 2
altered book 2

The first thing I've done is to peel of the printed layers of all the pages. They came off super easily:

altered book 3
altered book 3

Here is the "naked" book:

altered book 4
altered book 4

Then I've coated every page in gesso. The raw paper soaks up the moisture really fast, so I watered it down a bit. This way it was easier to apply. After coating each double page, I gave it a quick blow with the heat gun to speed up the drying.

altered book 5
altered book 5

And here is my brand new blank book, almost dry!

altered book 6
altered book 6

Next I plan on starting some backgrounds so I won't have to start from scratch every time I want to work on a page during the holidays, because I won't have that many supplies at hand. I'll keep you posted as I go!

I'm very new to this book art thing so if you've got any resources, ideas or blog posts that you'd like to share, please don't be shy and let us know in the comments! Thank you!

Jessica Brogan: a journey of self-discovery

Once upon a time guest series

Jessica Brogan

a journey of self-discovery

 

Dear friends, I am still up to my knees in dust, plaster and paint as the Nest studio is taking shape!! We're almost done painting the walls, "white canvas" style for now... As promised, I am preparing a post to show you the progress of the project, but in the meantime, I have the great pleasure and honor of bringing you a new "Once upon a time" story... Those of you who are catching up and haven't read the first episode might be wondering what this is all about. Well, it started as an idea for a blog series/artist profile/art showcase project. But as I started receiving your beautiful art and words in my inbox, I soon realized it was much more than that. This project, this space, it is a place where we can share our stories, the ones that are so meaningful to us, that come from such a deep place within our hearts that we have let them flow through our fingers and turned them into art. Creative journeys that have helped us grow and that, hopefully, will inspire others to stretch their wings too...

Today you get to meet a beautiful soul, a passionate traveller and a dear friend of mine: Jessica Brogan. Her story is about coming home, a journey of self-discovery...

 

" Once upon a time, I stayed home with my baby boy Liam, attempting to be content as a stay-at-home mom. My marriage wasn't making me very happy, but I was trying to ignore it, focusing on the day-to-day needs of my little one. However, over those two years, I felt an ache growing inside of me, not all that different from the ache I felt to have a child. I felt something missing, and growing within me at the same time. One of the things that "no one tells you" is that sometimes, the most amazing addition to your life - the birth of a child - can force into the light any unhappinesses that you have so far been adept at ignoring. Indeed, this is what I experienced when I brought home my baby boy, Liam, although it did not happen right away. It took two years for this ache to grow into a roaring growl to rediscover my own identity.

 

Just before Liam turned two years old, my mom, Liam and I flew to the Hawaiian Island of Oahu. We traveled there with a specific intention: to bathe Liam in the ocean, at a specific beach, and say prayers to the spirits we believe in there. A baptism of sorts, echoing the ritual my mom had performed for me when I was that very age, while we lived on the island.

During the visit, I was flooded with memories of myself as a child there. I was also enchanted by the colors, scents and the abundance of inspiration. I realized that this was my home, in my soul, and that it was full of color and joy.  Two things that I was missing gravely in my home life at home. And more importantly, I felt more like myself than I had in years. Full of recognition of my true self, desires and needs, all of which had been laying dormant for far too long.

When I got home from that trip, I wanted a way to hold on to the happiness I'd felt in Hawaii. I couldn't live there, so the next best thing would be to try and recreate the colors and images I'd absorbed. And so, I began to paint.

 

I say "paint," but now, looking back, I realize, I wasn't just painting, I was healing myself. I used colors that reminded me of joy. I chose things intuitively: scraps of calendars, vintage books and dried flowers picked from walks with Liam. The more I painted, the more of my own true self I uncovered, dusted off, and brought into the light.

 

And, correspondingly, my marriage deteriorated further. This may sound sad, but it's not. Painting gave me the window into my true self, and once I saw it, I could no longer ignore the things in my life that were making me unhappy. I called for an end to my marriage, and I continued to paint through every stressful moment, every brush stroke and color laid down encouraging and supporting my true self to come to life.

With this specific painting, I created intuitively, as usual but instead of being a random painting of color, it seemed to become a journal as I created it; almost a vision board of what made me, "me." I included a favorite photograph of myself, to honor the feeling that I recall having in that moment, in a small Spanish coastal town, feeling feminine and free, staring off into the blue Mediterranean.

 

I laid down all the colors that suggest warm, vibrant locales, which make me feel at home. There were nods to my love for travel sprinkled throughout, as well as scraps of text. One of my favorite exercises is to tear out text without looking at it, and then to find phrases once I've glued it down. The phrase I found in this piece was: "You are also yourself, wayfarer." I laughed outloud when I found it: of course! I am a mama, first and foremost, but I am also myself, a travel-loving, paint splattered woman on a journey, of spirit and in travel.

 

Jessica and I would love to read your own thoughts and stories of self-discovery and how creativity has entered your own life... Leave us a comment!


Jessica Brogan is a creative entrepreneur, and guide to women seeking truth in their lives.


MORE GUEST ARTISTS:

The Secret : a new winged key assemblage

The Secret : a new winged key assemblage

Ssshhh... it's a Secret...

The Secret: winged key assemblage by Laly Mille
The Secret: winged key assemblage by Laly Mille

Here is my latest assemblage piece in the "winged keys" series. It's a bit different from the other ones because it's the key-hole that's at the center this time. The papers are pages from a french schoolbook with images and words of Little Red Riding Hood, and handwritten lists of workers from a 1906 construction site.* They speak of the duality between the world of childhood and the world of adults, the feminine and the masculine, of initiation.

The Secret (detail) : winged key assemblage by Laly Mille
The Secret (detail) : winged key assemblage by Laly Mille

In the middle there is a little girl, maybe Little Red Riding Hood, or maybe Alice, or maybe a bit of both? Sometimes she is too big, and sometimes she is too small. Just like the key. The world around her keeps telling her "Eat me", "Drink me"... fix me, do this, do that, fit in, grow up.

The Secret (detail) : winged key assemblage by Laly Mille
The Secret (detail) : winged key assemblage by Laly Mille

But she looks through the key-hole. At you, at me, at her own "wonderland" of possiblity. What if she crossed to the other side? What if she were not afraid of the wolf? What if she were the key? Maybe initiation is not just about letting go of childhood to become an "adult". Maybe the "secret" is about welcoming the little dreamer that lives within us, our inner child, vulnerable and brave, innocent and wise, and gently opening the door, inviting her to play...

The Secret (detail) : winged key assemblage by Laly Mille
The Secret (detail) : winged key assemblage by Laly Mille

Have a beauty-full day everyone!

*(a big thank you to Marie-Aimée at AlterTheTime for the gorgeous paper!)

Bye bye Lalyblue...

Bye bye Lalyblue...

... don't worry, I'm not going anywhere! But as some of you might have noticed, "Lalyblue" is softly taking her leave.

Actually, you are no longer on www.lalyblue.com but on www.lalymille.com, and you can now write with the contact form. The same goes with my Facebook page.

But like most things techy, all these little changes (+ more soon-to-be-released changes to  the blog) have taken a gigantic portion of my time lately. I'm sleep-deprived, the kids are mom-deprived and prince charming is showing heroic patience and support: he even took his day off today to take care of little sore-throat-princess so I could catch up on some painting and write to you!

So, why bother you may ask? Well, the thing that started it all is that I recently found out about a lovely illustrator/designer from Spain who is using almost the same name (Laliblue, check her out, she's got some awesome stuff). There was a moment of panick, but then I realized I was actually starting to feel pretty OK about using my "real life" name. And after a while it felt more than OK, it felt good, it felt right, it felt empowering.

laly mille scrabble
laly mille scrabble

A year ago, as I was showing my work for the very first time at an art show, I was feeling so vulnerable. I told you earlier that calling myself an artist was a real challenge at the time. "Lalyblue" was the name I had chosen over 10 years before when opening my very first email account ("laly33" ? no thank you, I'd rather add a color, give me some blue sky!). Since then it had become a part of me, even a nickname used by my family. So when I finished my first painting, and signing it was so intimidating, I instinctively wrote "Lalyblue"... And that's how "she" became a sort of alter ego, helping me on this creative path, protecting the shy little girl in me from the fear of seeing her art and herself exposed, helping me deal with fears and insecurities, until I could get comfortable with this new self, my true self, my artist self.

free as a bird Laly Mille
free as a bird Laly Mille

I told you in this post that TRUTH is my "word of the year". At the time I had no idea how it would unfold, but now I see how it helps me every day, gently nudging me in the right direction. Laly Mille is my name in everyday life, and guess what? This creative life has become my everyday life! I feel such gratitude for the kindness I have received from you all on this blog, on facebook, at art shows, and for the love and support of my family. All of it has made my wings grow, and it's carrying me towards my dreams, higher than I would have imagined only a year ago.  For the first time it feels safe to just. be. me.

By the way, do you want to keep following this journey with me?......Subscribe to the blog! And if you have a blog of your own and would like to show your support to this brave new me, grab my button in the sidebar! Thank you!

Wishing you the loveliest of days / evenings, wherever you are ♥

Shelly Penko: She dreams in color

Once upon a time guest series

Shelly Penko

She dreams in color

 

You guys I am SO excited about this! Ever since I started blogging, a little over a year ago, I've wanted this to be about sharing. I was a bit shy at the beginning, didn't always feel comfortable showing my art, not to mention talking about myself, the "artist". At the beginning it was hard for me to dare call myself that. But thanks to YOUR wonderful support and encouragement, I have been walking this creative path towards my dream day after day with more confidence.

A year ago exactly, I was doing my very first art show, making it real for the very first time. And one of the things I have realized this past year, is that the art and the artist are one. That when you paint, sculpt, dance, write or sing from your heart and soul, from a place of authenticity, then you are part of the art that is created, and it is part of who you are. So today I want to take it all one step further, not just sharing my art, my journey, but those of other creative souls. That's why I am starting a new "artist profile" series here on the blog!

But we're not going to do this in the regular interview style. Instead, we are going to focus on one art piece, one that has a particular significance to an artist, a special story, and let the voice of the artist be heard through the tale. The series is called "Once upon a time", and I am truly honored to have a wonderful artist and friend open it today: meet Shelly Penko!

Enjoy the story and we will both be delighted to read your comments!


Once upon a time, there was a dreamer.

Shelly Penko, she dreams in color
Shelly Penko, she dreams in color
 

When I began this piece, I didn’t feel like painting.  Life was feeling bleak and dark and scary.  Sometimes big endings feel that way.   I was afraid there was only sadness within me, so I decided it would be okay to paint the sadness, or whatever came up.  I gave myself permission.

This painting was intuitive, begun without a plan, no final product in mind, no idea what the subject would be.  I painted colors and marks with detached abandon, just making marks and enjoying the colors and movement of the paint.  I was squirting water, watching the paint drip, making marks.  The colored ovals drew me in, so I made more of them, painting directly with fingers rather than a brush.  The swallow appeared next, swooping in as swallows do.

 

Swallows nested on my front porch a few summers ago and impressed me with their teamwork and ingenuity.  When the young hatched, several adults worked tirelessly to feed the brood. The babies grew until it was a marvel that they all fit in the nest…becoming sleek and beautiful.  For several days, the juveniles fearlessly practiced acrobatic flying under the watchful eyes of the adults lined up on the edge of my roof. Then one day they left the nest for good to make their way in the world.  The swallows made an impression on me with their dedication, community, grace, and courage.  When they showed up in this painting, I realized they had become a sort of talisman for me.

 

 The face of the woman appeared next.  It was a dark face, which was unusual for me.  I’m usually all about contrast and light.  This face seemed shrouded.  I let her be.  More flowers, more color and glowing shapes followed.  As the painting evolved, I realized she was dreaming…and her dreams were bright and colorful and happy.

 

It reminded me that when darkness is all we see, a light still burns inside of us. For me, that light is creating.  From the time I was a little girl, I always wanted to paint or draw or decorate anything I could get my hands on.  It’s a part of me.  A part I had shoved aside all too often to take care of “more important” things.  This painting reminded me to dream big and to dream in color.  It also reminded me that I don’t have to do it all alone.  I can have a community.  I’ve done a lot of paintings since I completed this one, but this one marks the beginning of my journey back to myself;  the woman who is part of a community of like-minded souls, the woman who is a dreamer and a creator.  Now that I’ve found her, I’ll never shush her again.  “She Dreams in Color” wasn’t about endings after all, it was about beginnings.


Shelly  little girl
Shelly little girl

Shelly Penko isa contemporary artist, living and working in Austin, Texas.  Shelly likes to use beautiful colors and soulful imagery to reflect her joy in the simple beauty of life, family and friendship.


More Guest Artists:

What I've been up to... art and announcements!

What I've been up to... art and announcements!

hands

Hi friends! There has been much going on lately! So here is a visual peek at what I've been doing lately (although I won't be including pics of my stay-at-home-with-sick-daughter days...) and a few announcements!

First announcement:  I am so proud and excited to be a contributing artist to this beautiful book, which will be published next October! And it's already available for preorder from Amazon! For those of you still wondering what mixed media really is all about, this should be an excellent place to start!

Below is an affiliate link, which means that if you purchase the book from my blog, I get a little gift certificate to buy more art supplies! Thank you for supporting my creative dream!

Incite, Dreams Realized: The Best of Mixed Media

My mom came over on Monday so we could try our Gelli Arts printing plates together. What a fun day! It is such a blessing to be able to share our passion. If any of you have creative parents and have never tried creating alongside each other, I really encourage you to try it! It's a great way to (re)connect, share "a-ha" moments and see our parents in a different light. When my mom made her first sheet of marble paper, she screamed in delight and I got a glimpse of the little girl in her... priceless!

I've been working on 2 paintings lately, one of which was pretty much stuck last January but is now starting to unfold:

The other one is a commission for some friends and the theme is travel and old trains. Why you ask? Well, their guest room has this incredible wooden floor made of old train wagon planks, in rich brown and red tones... Look how gorgeous it is:

And here is what the (almost finished) painting has been going through. There was a moment when I thought it was finished, but something was missing, still is actually. Since then I rotated the canvas and erased the black letters, it's coming together... patience...

On Sunday night, out of the blue a new assemblage "had" to come out. Although it might seem all nice and cute with its Little red riding hood pictures and vintage look, that one was hard. It pushed and pulled me until I unearthed some difficult memories and experiences and faced them. It's going to be part of the "winged keys" series, but I'm not yet sure it's going to have a key at all, maybe just a key hole. I don't know, we'll see how it evolves. What I do know is that its title is "Innocent".

So lots of work in progress! The spring break starts this Friday here, and we're going to Brittany. I probably won't have any internet for a week, but please please please leave me lots of comments, I'll read them when I get back! 

And second announcement: next month you're in for a treat! I'll be starting a new blog series that will introduce you to some gorgeous art, amazing artists and beautiful stories! It will be called "Once upon a time..."

♥ Thank you each for your continuing support and kindness ♥

♥ Have an inspired week-end and week! ♥

"Vulnerabilis" a new winged key assemblage

"Vulnerabilis" a new winged key assemblage

This is my latest "winged key" assemblage. This one is called "vulnerabilis" and speaks of how sometimes we get hurt, betrayed, abused, but we feel we have to soldier through it all and keep going anyway. So we lock up our heart and soul like fragile butterflies. "Safely", behind glass, standing still, maybe visible, but untouchable. Too vulnerable.

Vulnerabilis, winged key assemblage by Laly Mille

Vulnerabilis, winged key assemblage by Laly Mille

We protect ourselves, we pretend. We cringe if someone comes too close. We recoil. We put up signs that say "handle with care" or even better, don't touch me at all. Don't break the glass. Love, friendship, a helping hand, empathy, intimacy? Entering the danger zone. And we get used to it, living behind the glass, seeing life through the glass. We make it home.

Vulnerabilis, winged key assemblage, detail by Laly Mille

Vulnerabilis, winged key assemblage, detail by Laly Mille

And yet, being vulnerable, truly vulnerable, is something different. It doesn't mean we're too fragile for life. It means mustering up the strength to let ourselves be seen, heard and touched again. Owning our story, daring to let this butterfly spread its wings, alive. Vulnerability doesn't mean weakness, it means courage.

But when we're so used to our pretty cage, our self-inflicted imprisonment, it's not easy to open it and take flight. Yet it's not sealed forever, somehow we know there is a way out, we hold the key. And maybe, if we let ourselves dare to trust again, someone will gently help us unlock it from outside. And we'll feel the wind again.

Vulnerabilis, winged key assemblage, detail by Laly Mille

Vulnerabilis, winged key assemblage, detail by Laly Mille

The "winged keys" are an assemblage series. I add a new one from time to time. You can see the other pieces HERE.

Wishing you a good flight today...

Vulnerabilis, winged key assemblage by Laly Mille

Vulnerabilis, winged key assemblage by Laly Mille

New blooms! a sister painting...

New blooms! a sister painting...

The painting we did together in the "step by step" project has a little sister! I still haven't found a name for these newborn lovelies, but here they are anyway!

The new painting:

The 2 paintings together: I'm thinking I should sell them as a set, don't you think?

And I even had a little fun putting them side by side in a "virtual room"! They need a home now...

Have a beautiful week!

Let's bloom! step by step painting (part 2) "How to" let art come to life

Let's bloom! step by step painting (part 2) "How to" let art come to life

Well everyone, first I want to thank all those of you who have been following my "work in progress" on facebook. Your response has been amazing and it really was like you were by my side while I painted! Thank you for your support and for making it so much fun!

Now, today is the 3rd Thursday of the month, which means it's Blog Circle time! And guess what this month's theme is? "How to..."! Talk about synchronicity. I think several of the Circle ladies are planning to talk about "how to" find inspiration, how to plant seeds for your creativity and your life, how to bloom! So as I share with you my finished "blooming" painting and the 2nd part of the process, we'll talk about that too, and I'll show you a little video!

But first, here is the newborn painting! It hasn't got a name yet and I think it's waiting for all of you fairy godmothers/fathers to find it, so please leave your suggestions in the comments!

Mixed media painting by Laly Mille

Mixed media painting by Laly Mille

So, "how to" go from the white canvas to this? I've shared the techniques on my facebook page (and you'll find images of all the steps at the end of this post), but if it were for techniques alone, it would never work. They're the visible part of the iceberg. And here is the very important "invisible" stuff :

- Feeling safe: to me this means that the blank canvas must go from intimidating white desert to fun familiar playground. In this painting it translated as putting some colors that I already like on the canvas, by randomly applying the left-over paint from my previous painting. And then writing whatever positive words came to mind all over the canvas as encouragement! And by using photos of real roses as guidelines so I don't have to worry about "how do I paint a rose???"

- Playing: when I paint, I go back to my childhood self, to this little girl who likes to play and believes in magic, who dares to just have fun, losing herself in the moment. Randomly sprinkling color, spraying water, moving the canvas, this is all so much fun! A little bit of this, a little bit of that, never over-thinking it... And this time it was also so much fun to have you all as playmates!

- Trusting and daring: by now I know that it's not all in my hands, that our art, just like a child, doesn't "belong" to us. It is born from us, we are the vessel through which it comes to life, we give it the best we've got, but eventually it has a life of its own, a place in the world that is not ours to "control", a purpose that we may never fully grasp. And once we accept this, what a relief! I like these words from Alanis Morissette : it's "the best platform from which to jump beyond myself" Yes it is! This sense of trust allows us to let go and dare! In this painting it translated as choosing a large canvas, writing intuitively all over the almost-finished painting with white-out, loading a brayer with white paint and covering many of the flowers even though I liked how they looked, blowing droplets of black India ink... And of course the scariest part was to share the process "live" while having no idea how it would end up! But scary + exciting = good!

So, here is a little video showing you the evolution of the painting, coming to life, from start to finish!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ej9QHg47YNM

And below is the 2nd part of the steps that led to the finished piece (the 1st part is here). There are a few steps that you didn't see on facebook...

And then you can head over to fellow artist Jean Wagner's beautiful blog and read her "how to" on happiness!

Have a lovely blooming day!

I'm looking forward to reading your feedback and title suggestions in the comments!

step30
step30

Let's bloom! a step by step painting project with roses (part 1)

Let's bloom! a step by step painting project with roses (part 1)

step11

Hey beautiful people! As some of you know, I've started another "step by step" painting project on my facebook page! Twice a day I post pictures of a painting in progress, explain what I'm doing and answer your questions in the comments...What an adventure! OK, I am a few steps ahead of you, but it's still pretty scary and exciting at the same time (the best kind of scary then!). The project started earlier this week and we're going to finish it by the end of next week (yes we are!). So in the meantime, here is a little check-in on what we have done so far (with some extra pictures...)

Here is what we've got so far:

And how we got there:

You can check out the previous step-by step I did HERE. I look forward to seeing you on my facebook page, come join the fun!

Bloom with JOY! A new floral painting

Bloom with JOY! A new floral painting

Joy! mixed media painting on canvas by Laly Mille

Joy! mixed media painting on canvas by Laly Mille

Here is the first completed painting in the floral series I'm working on! I love how joyful and alive everything is in spring, so I've called the painting, very simply, "Joy!" I'm pretty much in love with that one actually... And if you want to see this painting's big sister come to life, check out my facebook page! I've started a "work in progress" project there last Saturday, which means that every day I'm posting pictures of the process and you get to ask me everything you want to know in the comments! I'd love for you to join me on this adventure!

And don't forget to leave a comment on my previous post to enter my very first giveaway! Tell us your favorite quote about love, dreams or nature and you'll get a chance to win a lovely surprise package full of homemade, vintage and artsy goodness (no, I'm not telling!!!)

Have a very JOYful week!

 A few close-ups...

Soulful messengers : new greeting cards and a giveaway, yay!

Soulful messengers : new greeting cards and a giveaway, yay!

hearts-1024x7672.jpg

Well my dear friends, spring is definitely on its way and it's time to shake things up a bit in my Etsy shop! Hibernation is over, yay! I've just packed it with lots of gorgeous greeting cards, and when I say gorgeous, I mean I've had a hard time not buying cute little frames and putting them all over the shelves and walls (well I did buy just the one frame, but don't tell...) This time I've edited the pictures just a tiny bit more than in the previous batch and the colors really pop!  And the paper quality is as awesome as ever.

I've had a lot of fun putting together some "mini art collections" JUST. FOR. YOU!

First (drrrrrums please...) the LOVE collection! I've put so much love and positive intentions in these paintings, and now I hope all these little hearts will carry your loving messages around the world!

hearts
hearts

The DREAMERS collection is for all of you beautiful souls who fiercely believe in your dreams, who dare to hope and listen to this little voice inside. Let the magic happen!

dreamers
dreamers

And finally,  since I seem to have caught the spring fever, here is a collection inspired by NATURE: Flowers, birds and nests are so fragile, so vulnerable, and yet they are so alive and determined to grow, to fly! I once heard an artist cynically say: "In today's world, how can anyone still paint birds?" Well, I do, and I love them and probably always will, like I know many of you do! Let's spread those wings!

nature
nature

I'm really proud of these little collections actually. When I make art, I always feel that it's not just for me, that it means more than that. And I always hope that it will speak to someone's heart, resonate with someone's soul. So I really wish these little soulful messengers will bring you some joy and inspiration...

AND... here comes the best part! I've wanted to have a GIVEAWAY since I revamped the blog, and now is finally the time! I'm putting together a lovely little package, but I'm not telling you what's in it, it's a surprise (well I can tell you there will be some homemade and some vintage french stuff...) To enter the giveaway, tell us in the comments:

- Your favorite greeting cards collection: Love, Dreamers or Nature

- Your favorite quote about love, dreams or nature (+ tell us who it's from!)

- Make sure to give me your name and correct email address

You have until Sunday 17th to enter the draw and I'll be announcing the winner soon after (and I'll show you what's in the package then...). To make sure you're the first to know, you can subscribe to my blog by email or through your favorite reader.

I'm really counting on you guys to spread the word! Share this post on your blog and/or facebook page so all the beautiful souls out there get a chance to win + it is so amazing to meet fellow dreamers, it makes my little heart so full and grateful ♥

Now my next step will be: making friends with my printer (we're not on speaking terms right now but I think it's time to make peace) and adding lots of prints to the shop (I can do it, yes I can, yes I can!)

Have a wonderful, love-filled week-end!

Floral frenzy! Painting my way into spring

Floral frenzy! Painting my way into spring

Hi guys! It's been a while! The kids are back to school after a 2 weeks holiday, and it feels like spring already!

Yesterday was one of those wonderful "new beginnings" kind of days. It was monday and, although I do get Garfield's point, I really love mondays, the sense of a brand new week full of new possibilities... The sky was bright blue and the air was warm for the first time of the year, and as I was at the playground with the kids after school, a huge gathering of cranes came circling above us before flying off to a nearby lake. It was such a magical sight!

It all really felt like springtime, which put me in a very "floral frenzy" mood. So I thought I'd share some of the fun with you!

Here is what my kitchen table looks like in full "artist studio" mode! I started 2 new floral paintings:

A messy floral painting session!
A messy floral painting session!
Small floral painting in progress
Small floral painting in progress
larger floral painting in progress
larger floral painting in progress
keeping Flora Bowley's book by my side while painting!
keeping Flora Bowley's book by my side while painting!
Floral paintings drying
Floral paintings drying

So tell me, do you get "flower fever" too?